Find Your Way 2019-20 / Leadership for Musicians


      An annual programme of sector-specific mentoring, coaching and   placements for senior and emerging managers in ABO member organisations


“Find Your Way has given me a network of support where we can turn to each other and seek advice. The course has given more strategic awareness and a confidence in looking at the bigger picture. I am pushing more for certain things to happen within my organisation and feel I can ‘hold my own’ and justify my ambition for the orchestra.” Find Your Way programme participant


What is Find Your Way? (See below for information about Leadership for Musicians)

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 2019, offers professional development based around a tailored Individual Development Plan co-developed with an experienced coach.

Richard Wigley, Wigley Arts Management Ltd, and Managing Director of the Ulster Orchestra, leads the Find Your Way programme with Andy Beaumont, leadership trainer. Fiona Harvey, ABO Education & Youth Ensembles Consultant, is the programme’s Project Manager.

Who is it for?

The ABO is looking for 6 participants who have ambitions for leadership in the orchestral/classical music sector. You should have at least five years’ paid work experience in the orchestral/classical music/arts sector. In the cohort of 6 there will also be one place for an orchestral musician who has aspirations to develop their leadership.

In a new partnership with the ABO, Help Musicians UK are supporting Find Your Way. We are particularly welcoming applications from underrepresented groups at leadership level - female, black and minority ethnic, disabled and LGBT+ candidates.

What will be 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 and ideas; and to bring valuable new thinking to their own organisations and the ABO Annual Conference (in a Fresh Thinking session). Alumni from the previous programmes are available to advise applicants about the programme, on request through the ABO (see bottom of the screen). Equally the ABO welcomes (and expects) that successful participants will contribute ideas for improving future Find Your Way programmes.

Features of Find Your Way are:

  • Three full-day group sessions, Mondays 14 October, 11 November and 9 December 2019
  • Opening coaching session for 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 (self-organised)
  • Attendance at the ABO Conference, 29-31January 2020 in Manchester
  • 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*
  • Final group meeting, 11 May 2019

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

* The residential course in 2020 is conditional on successful fundraising, the outcome of which will be known by late autumn 2019

The cost

Find Your Way is part-funded by the ABO Trust and each participant’s orchestra/ organisation is expected to contribute a course fee of £1,500 plus VAT which may be reduced subject to the successful outcome of fundraising.

What’s included:

  • ABO Conference: delegate fee
  • Residential course: delegate fee, accommodation and meals/refreshments (pending successful fundraising)

What’s not included:

  • Travel: to and from group meetings; to and from meetings with your mentor; to and from ABO Conference; to and from the residential course; to and from any additional training or meetings
  • ABO Conference: Accommodation, Conference dinner and concert
  • Accommodation: if required when attending meetings with the other participants, or mentor

Time commitment

Find Your Way aims to be a programme that is tailored to your professional development needs, determined by you, 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 you will attend e.g. the first three group sessions, the ABO Conference/ the Fresh Thinking session, the residential course and the final group session. The rest of the programme should fit around your working life, and we would encourage you to talk to your CEO/line manager about participating in the programme before submitting your application.


Participation in the programme aims to provide the following outcomes:

  • Increased confidence, individual motivation, clarity of direction, productivity, and creative thinking and planning
  • 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
  • A network of 50+ Find Your Way Alumni - offering peer support, advice and experience

How to apply

Please download and complete the application form and equal opportunities monitoring form at the bottom of this page.  Completed submissions should be sent to no later than 5pm on Monday 15 July. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to participate in phone interviews early- mid August 2019

Leadership for Musicians – Find Your Way

Find Your Way is the leadership programme for the ABO and is introducing a new strand especially for musicians who wish to develop their own individual style. Led by Cath Arlidge (Sub-Principal, Second Violin, CBSO and National Children’s Orchestras) with Richard Wigley (Managing Director of the Ulster Orchestra, formerly a Bassoonist with the Halle), this one-day programme (plus follow up) is for musicians who want to contribute more to their organisation and beyond. We will explore the following:

·       Personal style

·       Individual impact

·       Personal responsibility

·       Marshalling and expressing your point of view

·       Self-confidence in a non-playing environment

·       Mutual coaching – how to collaborate with others to be more effective

·       Seeking the perfect role for you

We welcome applications from those from under-represented groups, and there is a space on each day for a manager who wishes to better understand musicians’ perspectives.

There is a choice of days, either Sunday 15 September in Manchester or Monday 16 September in London, and there will be an opportunity for follow up a few weeks later.

The closing date for applications is 5pm on 15 July 2019 and the fee for the programme is £350 plus VAT.  To apply, please download and complete the application form and equal opportunities monitoring form at the bottom of this page.

If you have any questions please approach Fiona Harvey (; alternatively you can contact Cath or Richard direct.


If you have any specific questions about the two programmes please contact Fiona Harvey, ABO.

Previous full programme participants

The 2015-16 pilot programme year participants were: Catherine Arlidge, CBSO; Flo Ambrose, Royal College of Music, Tim Davy, London Symphony Orchestra, Patrick McCarthy, Ulster Orchestra and Sue Voysey, The Hallé. 

The 2016-17 programme participants were: Anthony Brice, Academy of Ancient Music; Jenny Chadwick, Academy of St Martin in the Fields (now CBSO); Matt Downes, Welsh National Orchestra; Jeongmin Kim, London Philharmonic Orchestra (now Düsseldorf Symphony Orchestra and Hall); James Thomas, Sinfonia Cymru (now Manchester Camerata); and Alex Walden, BBC Concert Orchestra.

In 2017-18 the participants were: Claire Bayliss, City of London Sinfonia (now Royal Opera House), Toks Dada, Town Hall Symphony Hall, Birmingham, Helen Dunne, Royal Opera House, Simon Fairclough, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Nick Jackman, London Philharmonic Orchestra, and Annie Lydford, English National Opera (now Creative Industries Federation)

In 2018-19 the participants were: Rebekah Cork, Artistic Planning & Tours Manager, Royal Scottish National Orchestra;Joanne Green, Violinist, Scottish Ensemble; Jo Johnson, Senior Marketing Manager, Digital Communications, London Symphony Orchestra; Chris Lewis-Todd, Orchestra Manager, Halle; Hannah Muddiman, Planning and Tours Manager, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra; and Louisa Stanway, Orchestra Manager, Scottish Chamber 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.

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