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Development programme to inspire future female leaders


Senior Lecturer Kate Dashper from the School of Events, Tourism, Hospitality and Languages, has set up a leadership programme to inspire and empower the current female cohort.

To establish this new initiative Kate collaborated with former colleague, Sofia Rebelo. Applications were sought from across the School, with 15 students being selected to take part in the programme. All of the School’s four undergraduate courses are represented across all year groups. As part of the process there was a competition for students to name the programme - the winner was ‘SuffraBecks’ as named by Events Management student Josey Stoddart.

SuffraBecks focuses around career development, providing networking opportunities and chances to increase each individual’s confidence within a professional context. The first session of the programme took place on 1 March on the University’s Headingley Campus, where the group welcomed Fay Sharpe, founder of events agency Zibrant and the women's mentoring programme Fast Forward 15.

Fay is a leading figure in the events industry and she shared her professional story, offering students advice for succeeding in the world of events. It provided them with a unique opportunity to learn from an inspirational female role model within an informal setting.

Talking about her experiences on the SuffraBecks programme to date, final year Events Management student Josey said: “The SuffraBecks has been fantastic so far; being part of an elite network of women who can learn from each other's experiences, as well as those of key industry leaders, is invaluable for my growth and development as I look to enter the industry. The programme has already boosted my confidence levels and I look forward to seeing what the next few sessions bring."

Senior Lecturer Kate Dashper adds: “The SuffraBecks programme has already achieved more than we hoped it would. Fay Sharpe is an inspirational woman and a great role model for women in events and her visit proved very beneficial for all involved. It was great to see the students grow in confidence as they spent time with Fay and we can see how their presentation and networking skills improved each time we meet."

In addition to this, there have been a number of other informal meetings, with the aim of building a supportive network which included a session with the University’s careers service on confidence and networking.

The next event in the programme will take place on 22 March with Valerie Donaldson, General Manager of Radison Blu in Leeds. For the final event of the programme, the SuffraBecks will welcome Carole Favre, founder of Small Matters, a tourism consultancy firm.

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