ABO has today announced a brand-new cohort of future industry leaders on the ‘Find Your Way’ programme, including THSH’s Programme Coordinator Toks Dada.

The Association of British Orchestras (ABO) is the national body representing the collective interests of professional orchestras, youth ensembles and the wider classical music industry throughout the UK. The ABO's mission is to enable and support an innovative, collaborative and sustainable orchestral sector by providing advice, support, intelligence and informationto the people who make British orchestras a global success. 

Find Your Way is the annual programme of sector-specific mentoring and placements for senior and emerging managers in ABO member organizations. 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 nine-month programme, starting in October 2017, offers professional development based around a tailored individual development plan co-developed with an experienced coach.

The successful applicants for 2017/18 are:

Claire Bayliss, Orchestra Manager, City of London Sinfonia

Toks Dada, Programme Coordinator, Town Hall Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Helen Dunne, Orchestra Manager, Royal Opera House

Simon Fairclough, Director of Development, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Nick Jackman, Development Director, London Philharmonic Orchestra

Annie Lydford, Head of Communications, English National Opera

Toks Dada, who has been part of the programming department at THSH for two years, said: “I am thrilled to have been identified as an emerging leader and chosen to participate in ABO’s Find Your Way programme. I hope this opportunity will provide me with the skills to attract more young people, like me, to classical music, in order to ensure the future sustainability of the sector.” 

Richard Wigley of Wigley Arts Management Ltd, a company designed to provide high level support to the orchestral sector, and currently Managing Director of the Ulster Orchestra, will lead the programme, joined by leadership trainer Andy Beaumont, and Fiona Harvey, ABO Education & Youth Ensembles Consultant, the programme’s Project Manager.

At the heart of Find Your Way is the commitment of aspiring 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, to bring valuable new thinking to their own organisations, and curating a ‘Fresh Thinking’ session at the ABO Annual Conference.

Following a successful pilot residential course held at Snape Maltings in 2017, Jerwood Charitable Foundation will be supporting the participants to attend the residential course in 2018.