Plane speaking from maverick aviator

HEAD FOR HEIGHTS: Keynote speaker Mandy Hickson, fifth left, the former RAF Tornado pilot, with representatives of sponsors Savills, AFC Bournemouth staff and guests at the AFC Business directors’ lunch at the Harbour Heights Hotel, Poole

Former RAF Tornado pilot Mandy Hickson swooped into the Harbour Heights Hotel in Sandbanks to tell her story to guests at the AFC Business directors’ lunch.

The motivational speaker told of her remarkable career of flying through the glass ceiling and breaking into the male word of flying jets – while keeping her feet on the ground.

Around 80 leading members of the central south region’s business community attended the event – the second that AFC Business has organised.

Introduced by her wingman Harvey Thorneycroft, Mandy explained that persistence and determination had had finally led to her Top Gun career taking off after many set-backs.

She spoke about flying over Iraq and how teamwork and communication were essential for success.

Mandy – dubbed Big Bird by RAF colleagues – also explained how debriefs were crucial and honesty about mistakes led to learning and improvements.

AFC Bournemouth partnerships manager Amy Marks said: “Mandy was truly inspiring and everyone took a great deal from it.

“Her experiences and lessons are easily applied to business and hearing details of her career was quite astonishing.

“We were also indebted to Savills for sponsoring the event again.”

Steve Clark, associate in planning at Savills, detailed how the company had acted as AFC Bournemouth’s planning consultant for the recent planning application for a new training complex at Canford Magna.

The Wimborne branch is one of Savills largest and has a staff of 100 people.

AFC Business is AFC Bournemouth’s free-to-join business club which offers a host of benefits to its 1,600 members, such as attendance at regular events and breakfast networking meetings and enables the club to maintain a high profile in the business community.

AFC Business Breakfasts resume on Wednesday, September 5 after the summer break.

For details about AFC Business see

News release issued by:
Cliff Moore, Account Director
Deep South Media
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Office: 01202 534487