‘High Flying’ Mandy Hickson to present at Business Breakfast

Chilworth Partnership and Venture Recruitment Partners are delighted to announce that former RAF pilot, Mandy Hickson, will be giving a presentation titled ‘Realising Goals in High-Pressure Situations’ on Thursday 21st May at their next Business Breakfast.

Mandy was one of the first female pilots to serve in a front line Tornado GR4 squadron, taking an active role in the Iraq conflict. From a very young age, she was obsessed with flying and applied to join the RAF while at university. Despite failing the computerised tests twice, which Mandy described as ‘devastating’, her commanding officer believed she had what it took to make it so he asked for two impartial instructors to come and fly with Mandy and they graded her as above average. She stated that “I had a computer saying I couldn’t fly and instructors saying I could, so theydecided to take me on as a test case. Women had only just been allowed to become pilots and they couldn’t understand why they were disproportionately failing the aptitude tests, so they tried to see if I could prove the system wrong, and I did.”

Instructors passed her application and she was soon on the path to joining an elite group of fast jet pilots and, after twenty years’ service, she now talks about the personal and strategic lessons learned with frankness and appropriately wry humour. From motivation to decision-making, Mandy gives a vivid insight into the leadership, teamwork and communication required to define and then realise specific goals in high-pressure situations. She also highlights the value of honest and open debriefing after any project or phase; something the Royal Air Force always do, but which businesses often overlook.

The Business Breakfast, which is taking place at the Chilworth Manor, is scheduled to begin with a Full English Breakfast being served from 7.45am, with Mandy starting at approximately 8.15am. The presentation will then be concluded by a Q&A session. An invitation for this event is due to be circulated very soon, with demand for places expecting to be high. Therefore, we stress that invitations are responded to as promptly as possible in order to avoid disappointment.