Association of British Orchestras

Find Your Way

“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


Friday 20 - Sunday 22 March 2020, Snape Maltings

The ABO has six additional places for participants to join the six members of the Find Your Way 2019/20 cohort for a residential leadership training course at Snape Maltings, Snape, Saxmundham, Suffolk IP17 1SP, from 12noon Friday 20 to 1.30pm Sunday 22 March 2019. The ABO is making available these places for ABO and non-ABO member organisations and welcomes applications from musicians. Applications from non-UK orchestras, through our international partnerships, will be also considered. There will be a competitive selection process for the course and applications should be made by using the form below

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, creative programming, realising concepts, diversity: exploring the nature of self-limiting beliefs and how they can manifest themselves in the workplace; marketing, learning & participation, fundraising, coaching and 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, Monday 3 February 2020.

Cost of the residential course: £700+ VAT (ABO members) or £900+ VAT (non-ABO members and non-UK orchestras)

What does the cost include?

- Cost of the course
- Bed and breakfast accommodation in Aldeburgh
- Lunch on Friday 20 and Saturday 21 March

What does it not include?

- Travel to and from Aldeburgh and Snape Maltings
- Evening meals during the course, lunch on Sunday 22 March
- For further information please contact Fiona Harvey, Education & Youth Ensembles Consultant:

2019-20 programme participants

Sonali Banerjee, Head of Music Planning, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
Doug Bott, Musical Director, OpenUp Music
Helen Brew
, Associate Principal Flute, Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Tom Philpott
, Planning Manager, BBC Symphony Orchestra
Katy Wakeford
-Brown, Artistic Planning Manager (Orchestra and Ensembles), Royal Liverpool Philharmonic
Sarah Whitston
, Finance Director, Southbank Sinfonia

2019-20 Press Release

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, 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, will lead the Find Your Wayprogramme with Andy Beaumont, leadership trainer. Fiona Harvey, ABO Education & Youth Ensembles Consultant, is the programme’s Project Manager.

Who is it for?

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

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 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 Wayprogrammes.

Features of Find Your Way are:

  • Three full-day group sessions in October, November and December
  • 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 in January
  • 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 in March*
  • Final group meeting in May
  • ABO Conference: delegate fee
  • Residential course: delegate fee, accommodation and refreshments (pending successful fundraising)
  • 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: Conference dinner and concert, and accommodation
  • Accommodation: if required when attending meetings with the other participants, or mentor
  • 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

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 is conditional on successful fundraising.

The cost

Find Your Way is part-funded by the ABO Trust and each participant’s orchestra/ organisation is expected to contribute a fee of £1,500 plus VAT.

What’s included:

  • ABO Conference: delegate fee
  • Residential course: delegate fee, accommodation and 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: Conference dinner and concert, and accommodation
  • 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 the participants will 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 the participant’s 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:

Application process

The application and selection process takes place in July/August. Shortlisted applicants are invited to participate in phone interviews.


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

Previous participants

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, Hallé.

2016-17 programme participants were:

Anthony Brice, Academy of Ancient Music; Jenny Chadwick, Academy of St Martin in the Fields; Matt Downes, Welsh National Orchestra; Jeongmin Kim, London Philharmonic Orchestra; James Thomas, Sinfonia Cymru; and Alex Walden, BBC Concert Orchestra.

2017-18 programme 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)

2018-19 programme 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, Hallé; 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.

Related information

Find Your Way - Residential Course Application Form - December 2019

Annual Conference

The next conference will be held in Manchester from 29-31 January 2020,

hosted by The Hallé and BBC Philharmonic