On 22 November, during the Pearle* 2018 Awards Ceremony, the Association of British Orchestras has won a Jury Special Mention in the category Skills & Lifelong Learning for the project “Find Your Way”. Fiona Harvey, Education Expert, tells us more about it.

Find Your Way is a transformative professional development programme for senior and emerging managers in ABO member orchestras and music organisations such as Concert Halls and Conservatoires, who have aspirations for leadership. We learnt many lessons by running a pilot programme in 2015, and since then Find Your Way has developed into a 10 month programme running from October to July. It evolves each year, as it is shaped around the needs of the six participants who are selected to be in each year’s cohort.

At the core of Find Your Way is an ethos of coaching, mentoring and reflection. The six participants benefit from initial coaching and psychometric testing, followed by three leadership focussed group meetings. The ABO very carefully matches the six participants with a CEO-level mentor from ABO member organisations, and they commit to up to six meetings during the year – physically or by phone or online. The participants are also able to take placements with the mentor’s organisation.

Two other key elements of Find Your Way include a session at the ABO Annual Conference which is planned and led by the cohort, which addresses that year’s overall Conference theme.

The second is an intensive 3-day residential leadership training course at Snape Maltings in Suffolk, where they are joined by an additional six participants. The Programme finishes with a final cohort meeting which includes reflection and forward planning. In 2015 the ABO applied for Creative Europe funding with Pearle* partners in France, Hungary and Sweden to run a European scheme, called Future Leaders of Orchestras in Europe, FLOE. We were unsuccessful but decided to continue working with our European partners. Each year we allow for two places on the residential course to be applied for by Pearle* members or their member orchestras. To date, the following have participated in the residential course: Kristian Knudsen, Chief Executive and Artistic Director, Aarhus Symphony Orchestra, Denmark – Alice Nissim, Concerts and Artists Manager, Orchestre national d’Ile-de-France – Nathaly Ossa Alzate, Coordinator, Asociación Española de Orquestas Sinfónicas AEOS

In 2018 we ran an introductory 1.5 day course, the Essentials of Find Your Way, for those who were interested in find out out more about the principles of Find Your Way. Two of the eleven participants were selected to be on the 2018/19 programme. There are now 40 people who are Alumni of Find Your Way.

Fiona Harvey, Education Expert

Association of British Orchestras