Accelerate Mentoring Programme

The deadline for the Accelerate Mentoring Programme 2022 has now passed. 

If you are interested in learning more or being considered for our 2023 programme, please contact us at

The Accelerate Mentoring Programme, organised by Odgers Berndtson, Grant Thornton, and the FDF, is designed to promote and improve the gender balance at board level across the food and drink industry by supporting the accelerated development of female and non-binary talent. When done well, we believe mentoring is a two-way process that should challenge both the mentors and the mentees.

Our mentoring scheme is aimed at helping accelerate female or non-binary leaders aspiring to get to board level. We are therefore looking for mentees who are high-achieving female and non-binary leaders, currently in a senior management position, actively seeking progression to board level. Our mentors can be male, female or non-binary leaders who hold board level roles either as an Executive, Non-Executive Director or as an Owner/Founder.

About the programme

This cross-company mentoring programme runs annually from July. Using insights gathered during the application process, participants will be partnered with a mentor from a different organisation.

Mentoring is a confidential relationship that is established between two people. It provides two-way learning; generating creativity, innovation and developing transferable skills for both participants. For a mentee, the relationship aims to build greater ambition, allowing the opportunity and time to reflect and devise action plans that can support in achieving certain career related objectives. Mentors are challenged to see things from a different perspective and build empathy and insight beyond their regular network.

The benefits

This programme aims to support female and non-binary leaders, from a diverse range of backgrounds, to develop to their full potential.

Currently female and non-binary leaders occupy only 31.7% of board roles in the food and beverage manufacturing sector. This is even fewer in listed food and beverage companies. This programme aims to support female and non-binary leaders, from a diverse range of backgrounds, to develop to their full potential. It is well documented that the benefits of mentoring are not limited to mentees alone.

Benefits include:

  • Effective career planning, development and guidance.
  • Providing an environment to evaluate strengths, development requirements, and priorities as a leader.
  • Promoting effective networking which provides ongoing advice through peer relationships developed within the programme.
  • Encouraging participants to see challenges and opportunities through a different perspective.
  • Challenging thinking and unconscious bias to increase inclusivity and empathy of both mentors and mentees


Accelerate Programme Mentoring Partners: