STH Live guests learn to reach for the skies at celebratory business breakfast
Mandy Hickson set her sights on becoming a Royal Air Force pilot after flying for the first time, aged just 13. Her impressive career saw her overcome seemingly impossible obstacles to achieve her dream. Just the second woman to fly a Tornado GR4, Mandy has completed three tours of duty and 45 missions over Iraq.
Our STH Live business breakfast guests were treated to real-life footage and anecdotes from her exhilarating time spent on the front line, packed into an inspiring keynote speech.
High flier Mandy learned early on in her career not to shy away from failure, a belief that led her to overcome two unsuccessful attempts at the RAF flying aptitude tests, which is the maximum number of times you could undergo assessment. Undeterred, Mandy went on to join the RAF as an air traffic controller, and after the recruiters recognised the shortcomings of the computer-led tests she was approached about becoming a test case of why 80% of women were failing the tests. With her positive mindset she helped change the recruitment process and achieved her dream of becoming a pilot herself.
Mandy’s experience as a former RAF pilot taught her the importance of self-belief and the significance of empowering others within your team. Crucially, “You can’t tell them, but create the right environment and skills and you give them the ability to grow.” Drawing on high pressured stories from the front line Mandy demonstrated to guests the importance of communication when working in a team to draw the best from yourself and others. For Mandy, working as an effective T E A M means: Together, Everyone, Achieves, More.
Mandy was also joined on stage by 2003 Rugby World Cup winner and STH Live ambassador Ben Kay MBE, and Emily Sarsfield, Britain’s leading Ski-Cross athlete, who drew on their experiences of resilience as professional athletes.
With just two days to go before the match, guests wanted to know who Ben was backing when Ireland face England at Twickenham. While Ben confessed he believed Ireland would win the 2018 6 Nations crown from the beginning, he’s backing Eddie Jones’ side on Saturday. England are under a lot of pressure but Ben believes you can’t underestimate the home advantage.
We’ll be publishing a series of videos, including highlights of Mandy’s keynote and our panel discussion, on our STH Live Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn Page. If you don’t already, follow us to make sure you catch them and are kept up to date with all our latest news, offers, videos and events.
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