Find Your Way 2017-18

An annual programme of sector-specific mentoring and placements

for senior and emerging managers in ABO member organisations


Six participants are announced for the 2017-18 programme

Claire Bayliss, Orchestra Manager, City of London Sinfonia

Toks Dada, Programme Coordinator, Town Hall Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Helen Dunne, Orchestra Manager, Royal Opera House

Simon Fairclough, Director of Development, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Nick Jackman, Development Director, London Philharmonic Orchestra

Annie Lydford, Head of Communications, English National Opera

Following a successful pilot residential course held at Snape Maltings in 2017, the Jerwood Charitable Foundation will be supporting these six participants to attend the residential course in 2018.  The ABO is grateful to Arts Council England for their support of Find Your Way 2017-18.

2018 Residential Course - Call for Applications Now Open

Friday 16 - Sunday 18 March 2018, Snape Maltings
The ABO has six additional places for participants to join the six members of the Find Your Way 2017/18 cohort for a residential leadership training course at Snape Maltings, Snape, Saxmundham, Suffolk IP17 1SP, from 12noon Friday 16 to 1.30pm Sunday 18 March 2018. The ABO is making available these places for ABO member organisations and welcomes applications from musicians. Applications from non-UK orchestras, through our international partnerships, will be considered. There will be a selection process for the course and applications should be made by using the application form in the Downloads section on the right hand side of the page.

The three-day course will be led by professional coach and mentor, Richard Wigley, Managing Director of the Ulster Orchestra and Andy Beaumont, leadership trainer. Additional speakers/trainers, including Roger Wright, Chief Executive, Snape Maltings, will be involved in specific areas. Key areas to be covered will include leadership, artistic and strategic planning, realising concepts, marketing, coaching, presentation skills, financial sustainability, organisational culture and managing workload.

Criteria for selection
All places on the course will offered following an application process. The deadline for applications is 12 noon, Friday 2 February 2018.

Cost of the residential course: £570 + VAT (ABO members) £675 + VAT (non-UK orchestras)

What does the cost include?
Cost of the course
Bed and breakfast accommodation in Aldeburgh

What does it not include?
Travel to and from Aldeburgh and Snape Maltings
Meals during the course

For further information please contact Fiona Harvey, Education & Youth Ensembles Consultant:

What is Find Your Way?

Designed to utilise the existing resources, artistic skills and expertise of the ABO and its members, Find Your Way offers emerging leaders the opportunity to discover their long term potential. The 9-month programme, starting in October 2017, offers professional development based around a tailored Individual Development Plan co-developed with an experienced coach.

Richard Wigley of Wigley Arts Management Ltd, a company designed to provide high level support to the orchestral sector, and currently Managing Director of the Ulster Orchestra, leads the Find Your Way programme. He is joined by Andy Beaumont, leadership trainer. Fiona Harvey, ABO Education & Youth Ensembles Consultant, is the programme’s Project Manager.

What is included in the programme?

At the heart of Find Your Way is the commitment of ambitious managers (and musicians) to drive their own knowledge, skills and profile, in combination with mentoring from orchestra CEOs. In return it is expected of the participants that they will contribute energy to their mentor's orchestra through assisting on agreed projects, research, ideas etc, to bring valuable new thinking to their own organisations and the ABO Annual Conference (in a Fresh Thinking session). Alumni from the pilot and first year programmes will be actively involved in the programme. Equally the ABO expects that 2017 participants will contribute ideas for improving future Find Your Way programmes.

Features of Find Your Way are:

  • Three group meetings, 30 October, 13 November and 15 December 2017
    • Individual Development Plan co-designed by each participant with Richard Wigley
    • Psychometric testing using Thomas International Personality Profile Assessments and associated coaching by Andy Beaumont
    • CEO-level mentoring (up to 6 one-to-one sessions)
    • Placements at their mentor's orchestra
    • Attendance at the ABO Conference, 24-26 January 2018 in Cardiff
    • Co-design and co-lead, with the other Find Your Way participants, a Fresh Thinking session at the ABO Conference
    • Participation in a 3-day residential management training course 2018
    • Final group meeting, 16 July 2018

Guest speakers from the classical music sector are also invited to Find Your Way group meetings, to provide different perspectives and additional learning.

Time commitment

Find Your Way aims to be a programme that is tailored to each participant’s professional development needs, determined by them, with a balance between a flexible programme of mentoring, training and meetings within a 9-month structure. There are key elements that the ABO expects the group to attend e.g. the first three group meetings, the ABO Conference/ the Fresh Thinking session, the residential course and the final group meeting. The rest of the programme should fit around their working life.


Participation in the programme will provide the following outcomes:

  • Increased individual motivation, confidence, morale, productivity, focus and creative enterprise
  • Sector specific training
  • Fresh Thinking to help drive the industry forward
  • New skills (hard and soft) that can be shared in the participants’ home organisations
  • Preparation for increased responsibilities for individuals
  • Mentored employees will better understand the value of collaboration and sharing of information, bringing new thinking to their home organisation


If you have any specific questions about the programme please contact Fiona Harvey, ABO at

Previous participants

The 2015-16 pilot programme year participants were: Cath Arlidge, CBSO; Flo Ambrose, Royal College of Music, Tim Davy, London Symphony Orchestra, Patrick McCarthy, Ulster Orchestra and Sue Voysey, The Halle.  The 2016-17 programme participants were: Anthony Brice, Academy of Ancient Music; Jenny Chadwick, Academy of St Martin in the Fields; Matt Downes, Welsh National Opera; Jeongmin Kim, London Philharmonic Orchestra; James Thomas, Sinfonia Cymru; and Alex Walden, BBC Concert Orchestra.


“Time spent with my mentor was also highly inspiring and useful in terms of understanding their style of leadership”

“I feel I was incredibly lucky to be paired with my mentor who has been absolutely fantastic. The perfect person for me to speak to and has provided me with a lot of reassurance and confidence for the future"

“My expectations (of the residential course) were exceeded. The course was well paced, of the right intensity and it was a pleasure to work with everyone who was there.”

“I feel that we covered so many key areas over the weekend and it gave me a great overview of so many topics, far more than I thought we would cover. I also felt that the weekend was shaped to the people who were on the course which was a huge positive.”

“As with the rest of Find Your Way it was wonderful to meet the new participants and find out more about their organisations, roles and backgrounds.”Lottery Logo Black RGB

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