An Absolute Top Guy

Fay Sharpe is introducing Richard Bridge, who is this months’ Hero: “I’ve known Richard for ten years plus. In our industry he’s one of those personalities that everyone knows and loves, humble, accomplished , kind-hearted, assuring,  having had many years of being super successful. And at the Top of his game, he gives back without fuss and with a quiet confidence that any Mentee would want by their side. He really is a Top Banana and one of my Super Heroes: Richard Bridge.”

Who is Richard Bridge?

“From two guys in a garage building a business from scratch, to growing a multi-million-pound company and becoming the MD of TBA Group Brands Division – sometimes I still can’t quite believe what an incredible journey I’ve experienced throughout my career! ‘Every day is a school day’ is a moto that has stuck with me over the years, continually learning and developing. Now it’s time to share my learnings to support others on their own journey, helping them to achieve their goals, and prove that anything can be possible if you put your mind to it.

Growing up, I had no idea what I wanted to do as a career and after leaving school with pretty much no qualifications, my options felt a little out of reach – especially my dream of being a pop star!! 😊 The one thing I knew for certain was  that I wanted to do something that made me smile every day. I have always had a passion for music, so I enrolled on a college course studying audio and visual communication. Before long, I’d gained valuable experience in making videos for live events, and that’s where my passion for ‘live’ blossomed. I loved telling stories through films and experiences and knew I wanted to make a career of it. Despite my lack of qualifications, I was confident I made up for it in drive, determination, and passion.

After landing a job as a production assistant, I fortunately moved up the ranks very quickly. Having dreams, ambition, and drive has been paramount in me achieving my goals — if you dream it, you can do it! I have always tried to challenge myself by setting goals. Having worked at two organisations, gaining 11 years of experience, I was ready for the biggest challenge, going it alone.

That’s when Top Banana was born.

23 fantastic years later, Top Banana has evolved immensely, from two people working out of a garage to three offices and over 60 employees, working with some of world’s leading brands. Supporting people’s growth and helping them develop a career path (not just a job), has been a key driver for me. I am proud to say we have over 10 people who have been with Top Banana for over 10 years. Although internal growth is important, we have expanded a lot, welcoming new team members. I always want to keep my feet very firmly on the ground and it’s essential to me to know who works in the team, to know them by name and hear their story.  It’s their individuality and personality that guides us to success and we pride ourselves on recruiting people who share our business values.

For me now, my role both at Top Banana and recently as the Managing Director of TBA Group Brands Division, is all about supporting the people around me, bringing out their best self and helping them to drive the business and achieve their/our goals together – and I truly love it!

There’s no denying that women within the events industry have often experienced difficulties and challenges. However, having been surrounded by amazing women throughout my life, I feel it is crucial to recognise their needs and allow them to grow and develop, whilst remaining flexible, allowing them to juggle a family and personal priorities.

I massively value that FF15 in championing inspiring women within the industry, and not only has it given me the opportunity to share my knowledge and experience, but also learn a new skill, in mentoring.

It’s an incredibly rewarding process for everyone involved, and there’s really nothing better than seeing your mentee grow, develop and watching that smile on their face when they realise how much they’ve achieved. My current mentee, Charli, has been amazing to mentor. Charli has gone on to elevate her business and win countless awards for her incredible commitment. Every goal we’ve set, she’s surpassed, and we keep setting the bar even higher because she’s smashing it! Being able to offer my help to people outside of my usual business setting has really helped me to channel my entrepreneurial energy even further too, which has felt fantastic.

It’ll be a sad time when my first year of mentoring with Charli comes to an end, but I’m so excited to get started with my next mentee this year and can’t wait to see what they can achieve!”