08/11/2022

Top Role Models for International Men’s Day 2022

 

                  International Men’s Day is a worldwide institution, highlighting the value men bring to communities and celebrating positive male role models. Falling on the 19th November each year, it is the pinnacle of a month dedicated to raising awareness of men’s health issues, and is a great time to engage with male friends and colleagues about the challenges they face.

                  With this year’s date falling on a Saturday, many organisations will be looking to celebrate International Men’s Day with events on the weeks before and after, and keynote speakers are a great way to open up conversations and celebrate great role models. The theme for 2022 is Helping Men & Boys, with an emphasis on helping males to identify and overcome societal issues that may be affecting them such as toxic masculinity, redefining male roles in society and a lack of role models.

 

Here are a couple of the best role models for International Men’s Day 2022;

 

Ed Stafford

As a soldier, Ed had ingrained into him that vulnerability was weakness. Outward displays of emotion or affection were frowned upon, less subordinates see it as a sign of softness. Fully indoctrinated in this mindset, it wasn’t until his televised Guinness World Record of walking the length of the Amazon that Ed realised that vulnerability is actually a person’s greatest strength, challenging them emotionally and allowing for the greatest personal development. He has now reached the understanding and shares eloquently, that the very act of building the ‘tough guy’ front he hid behind should have made it obvious he wasn’t as tough as he thought he was.

 

Dr. Alex George

Former accident and emergency doctor, Alex came into the public eye as a contestant on the hit reality show Love Island where his down-to-earth and personable nature garnered him a huge fanbase. Upon leaving the show, Alex decided to use his influence to raise awareness around mental health issues, the aftermath of which he had encountered in many of his patients. As well as dealing with his own issues around body image and social media pressures, he tragically lost his younger brother to suicide in 2020, hammering home the urgency of the mental health crisis. Appointed as the Youth Ambassador for Mental Health by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in 2021, one of Alex’s priorities is including mental health education on the national curriculum.

 

Jonny Wilkinson

England’s hero of the men’s 2003 Rugby Union World Cup, where he scored the winning drop goal, securing the long-coveted trophy for the British side. Despite his sporting success, since retiring Jonny has opened up about his challenges with mental wellbeing both during and after his professional career, in particular discussing how he managed with retiring from professional sport. It is widely documented that professional athletes struggle with the transition from such an all-consuming career path, and Jonny was no exception. With help, he has learned to redefine who he is and how he perceives himself, and find a new purpose and direction in life, refocussing his competitive spirit into new endeavours.

 

Chas Howes

With a career in finance spanning companies such as Cadbury Schweppes, Diageo, Raleigh and Debenhams, Chas spent decades as a C-suite mainstay with a track record of delivering improvement throughout periods of change. As CFO of Superdry, he led the charge to list the company on the London Stock Exchange, taking the business from sales of £25m to £314m, but after three successive profit warnings, Chas found himself lined up as a scapegoat and fired. The cutthroat nature of high-level business took it’s toll, resulting in multiple suicide attempts and a diagnosis of depression. His experiences however have afforded Chas the opportunity to take a more critical look at the self-perpetuating culture of macho behaviour in board rooms across the world- an environment he admits that the men inhabiting it have created for themselves.

 

Gareth Southgate

A professional footballer with Aston Villa and Crystal Palace, Gareth ended his playing career with Middlesborough who he then went on to manage. Picking up the England Under 21’s in 2013, he took up with the men’s national side in 2016 where he remains still in charge. Gareth has become a sporting legend in his senior role, not just for his success on the pitch, but for his calm and nurturing style of management that has turned the alpha-male manager stereotype on its head. His considered approach has challenged the notoriously macho environment of professional football, currently under harsh critique for reports of racist and homophobic behaviour, and provided his teams with an inspirational leader who provides a safe space for his players to develop mental and emotional strength as well as physical skill.

 

Keywords: Keynote Speakers, International Men’s Day, Male Role Models, Inspirational Speakers

08/10/2022

Why COP27 is the most important one yet.

As the effects of the climate crisis become ever more apparent, this year’s COP27, held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, will be a critical test of the ability of global powers to put their money where their mouth is and deliver on their promises to save the planet. The gathering of global leaders will take place 6th-18th November 2022, in the hopes that some ground can be gained in the race to cut emissions before a critical point is reached- a date experts indicate could be as soon as 2030.

This year’s summit will focus on the huge deficit between targets and results, which has so far displayed many of the member states to be delivering a lukewarm commitment at best to developing real and lasting change. However, with or without the reticence of governments to enforce checks and balances on our use of resources, the onus is, and always will be, on every individual to do their part and look to the small changes they can make which will add up to a huge difference.

So how can we help? Despite the current bleak outlook on the future of our planet, the power to get back on track lies with us all. There are a few small things we can all do to contribute to helping the planet;

Eat less meat and dairy

With more and more people adopting vegan and vegetarian lifestyles, plant-based alternatives to meat and dairy products are becoming better quality and more readily available. This makes it much easier for people to switch, but if a fully vegan lifestyle is not for you, even including just one vegetarian day per week can save nearly 100kgs of CO2 per year. This could be as simple as switching out meat sausages for plant-based ones. 

Reduce waste

There are many things we can do to reduce our waste, from saving our food leftovers to re-purposing household items. Social media is a great resource for finding new ways to reuse instead of throwing things away, and it has led to a new breed of internet superstar with influencers in this sphere attracting huge and dedicated followings. And the best news of all- less waste means less to replace, saving savvy up-cyclers hundreds of pounds each year.

Switch to renewable energy

With many energy providers now offering plans fully or partially from renewable sources, it is a simple process to make the switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy, a move that could save 1.5 tons of CO2 per household per year. To take this even further, being energy conscious around the house or office can also have a huge impact on the amount of CO2 we produce; from ditching the tumble dryer to only boiling the water that we need in the kettle, both big and little changes add up to saving bot CO2 and money.

Consider your transport

Cars are an essential tool in everyday life, but one advantage of rising fuel prices is that it has forced many people to reconsider how frequently they use their vehicle. Many are now opting to walk or cycle wherever possible, and have increased their use of public transport, reducing carbon footprints by up to 900kg of CO2 per year. Electric vehicle are also becoming cheaper and more mainstream, and the infrastructure to support them is improving rapidly. Although the electricity used to power electric cars still frequently comes from burning fossil fuels, they produce significantly less gas emissions than other fuel types, and in the future could be powered solely by renewable sources.

Speak up

Consumers are voting with their wallets and more and more brands are getting the message and making a real effort to provide climate conscious options. There is however a long way still to go. Letting businesses and local leaders know that we support bold changes is one of the fastest and most effective ways to make a difference. Talking to others, sharing hints and tips, or asking for help, are all great ways to get involved and help others do their bit too.

And don’t forget the office! We spend half our day at work, so speaking to management and implementing changes in the workplace can have a huge impact on our carbon footprint. At Fresh Partners, we work with a wide range of keynote speakers who are experts in their field in sustainability and can help generate awareness and excitement about implementing planet-saving initiatives. Get in touch here to enquire and help inspire change!

Keywords: Sustainability Speakers, Climate Change, COP27

08/09/2022

Top speakers for World Mental Health Day

Every year, the 10th October marks World Mental Health day, when we reflect on the impact of mental health on society and what we can do to ensure the mental wellbeing of our selves, friends and colleagues.

A great place to start is by raising awareness, and a great way to do this is to hire a speaker who can open up the conversation by discussing their own experiences with mental health, as well as best practices for mental health and wellbeing.

Below are a few of our favourite speakers, available to book for World Mental Health Day;

Claire Lomas

Chiropractor and keen horse rider, Claire had a disastrous accident whilst competing at Osberton Horse Trials that left her paralysed from the waist down. The road to recovery was a long one as she adjusted to life in a wheelchair, but her outlook on her new existence is infectiously positive and she shares valuable and applicable lessons she has learned along the way.

Claire has also experienced difficulties with mental health whilst supporting her husband, Dan, through his struggles with severe OCD. It has given her insight into the challenges facing the loved ones of those struggling with their mental health, and the best ways to offer support.

 

Ollie Ollerton

Former SAS soldier and member of the directing staff on the hugely popular SAS: Who Dares Wins, Ollie struggled to cope with his return to civilian life after leaving the armed forces. Resorting to alcohol and anti-anxiety medication to numb the emotions he had been taught to suppress, Ollie found himself in a place of deep depression. Eventually he sought help and managed to return to a positive state of mental wellbeing. He is now an advocate for opening up conversations about male mental health.

Roman Kemp

Roman has struggled with depression since he was 15 years old, managing this with a combination of anti-depressants and therapy. In early 2020, a close friend of his tragically died by suicide, and it brought to light for him many issues around male mental health. He is an advocate for opening up conversations about mental health in schools, discussing the issues on TV, radio and in a documentary title Our Silent Emergency.

Ruby Wax

American-British actress, comedian and talk show host, Ruby has suffered with depression for many years, ultimately resulting in her leaving the TV business abruptly and the height of her fame. She speaks openly and with humour about her struggles, and the coping mechanisms she has learned to manage her health, emphasizing that there is no quick fix, and mental health is as much about prevention as cure.

 

Gareth Thomas

Welsh rugby legend, Gareth was the first openly gay professional rugby player- a move that took tremendous courage. He has also been very open about his struggles with mental health, in part due to suppressing his sexuality for such a long period of time. In 2019 Gareth also announced that he had been diagnosed with HIV, a move that has since raised awareness of the illness and removed some of the stigma surrounding it. Gareth speaks about his struggles in an very honest way, humanising some very stigmatised topics and leading the conversation on being open and honest.

 

Frank Bruno

Former boxer Frank Bruno has long suffered with his mental health. Diagnosed with bi-polar disorder, he goes through periods of highs and lows but has largely managed to keep his condition under control. Lockdown and Covid-19 had a severe impact on his mental health and the coping mechanisms he put in place, and his harrowing but enlightening story pulls back the curtain on how essential support is for those struggling with their mental health.

 

Keywords: Keynote Speakers, Mental Health Speakers, Wellbeing Speakers, Talk About Mental Health

08/08/2022

Black History Month speakers you need to know about

October is an important month in the D&I calendar- it marks Black History Month, a time for us to focus on the contribution of ethnic minorities to our society. Often overlooked, it gives us a chance to celebrate the achievements of some of the marginalised communities that make up the population of the UK, and a great way to do this is with a keynote speaker.

Below is our top pick of Black History Month speakers, available to book for both virtual and in-person events;

Dr Olivette Otele

Olivette is a Professor of the History of Slavery at Bristol University. She is vice-president of the Royal Historical Society and Chair of Bristol’s Race Equality Commission. Olivette particularly looks at societies and identity, and how the two influence each other, attempting to get to the root causes of racism and discrimination.

David Olusoga

After moving to the UK from Nigeria as a child, David has experienced racism at its worst. After studying the history of slavery at university, he became a researcher for the BBC, before becoming a producer, and finally a presenter and author. He has covered a wide variety of topics within black history, and is an expert in military history, empire, race and slavery, bringing his talks on black history incredible depth and colour.

Sir Trevor McDonald

West Indies born, Trevor moved to London in the late 60’s to work as a radio producer, before beginning his iconic association with ITN. A hugely respected journalist and broadcaster, Trevor has had the privilege of interviewing such names as Nelson Mandela, and has spoken out on his own experiences of colonial Britain, as well as the importance of teaching Black History.

June Sarpong

TV executive and presenter, June is the Director of Creative Diversity for the BBC, ensuring fair representation across the BBC’s creative activities. Outside of the BBC, June is a passionate advocate for diversity across business and media, and has been very vocal on issues contributing to race inequality. She also the author of books Diversify and The Power of Privilege, exploring the barriers and solutions to a lack of diversity.

Sharon Warmington

An International Governance Practitioner and local school Governor, Sharon brings energy and insight to the topic of diversity. Her tributes to both modern-day and historic black history makers, as well as her experience on the importance of making uncomfortable discussions comfortable, make her talks both practical and insightful.

Shaun Wallace

Barrister and law lecturer, Shaun is known as a MasterMind champion and as the Chaser known as The Dark Destroyer on ITV’s The Chase. Shaun is a vocal advocate for diversity and inclusion, recording Racism: My Story for Channel 5, and also calling for black history to be taught in schools.

Keywords: Black History Month, Black History Month Speakers, Diversity Speakers, Keynote Speakers, BAME Speakers

11/07/2022

Top Commonwealth Games Speakers

At the end of this month, Birmingham will be set to welcome hordes of athletes from across the globe as they compete for gold and the coveted spot at the top of the medal table. The Commonwealth Games is coming to the Black Country, and in honour of England hosting the event, we have cherry picked our top Commonwealth athletes, available to book to speak at your event

Nicola Adams OBE

England’s most successful female boxer of all time, Nicola is an iconic sporting role model. After winning Olympic Gold in 2012, all eyes were on her as she became the first-ever women’s Commonwealth boxing champion in 2014. An incredible role model for women, people of colour and the LGBTQ+ community, Nicola was awarded an OBE in 2016 after defending her Olympic title, and ‘The Adams Effect’ is still seeing the growth and recognition of women’s boxing on the international stage.

 

Tracey Neville MBE

A former England Roses netball player, Tracey Neville took the role as the Roses head coach in 2015. Her controversial long-term plan for the squad resulted in some heavy loses early on in her term, but the 2018 Commonwealth Games saw all that change. In one of netball’s biggest ever upsets, the Roses beat long-time top dogs, the Australian Diamonds to take the Gold medal, and cementing Tracey as an icon of leadership.

 

Tom Daley

One of the UK’s most recognisable athletes and media stars, Tom has an impressive four Commonwealth Gold medals, as well as a silver. He is a huge inspiration on the LGBTQ+ scene as well, campaigning for restrictions on participating in international competition for nations that have anti-LGBTQ+ laws. 

 

Greg Rutherford MBE

The British record holder for both the indoor and outdoor long jump, he is only the fifth British athlete to have held Olympic, World, European and Commonwealth titles simultaneously. Greg’s first Commonwealth outing in 2006 saw him finish a modest 8th, however he followed up in 2010 and 2014 with silver and gold respectively. Off the track, Greg has made appearances on Celebrity Masterchef and Strictly Come Dancing

 

Rebecca Adlington OBE

England’s darling of the swimming pool, Rebecca is the only female swimmer to win Gold at the ‘Big Four’- the Olympics, the Commonwealth Games, the World Championships and European Championships. She has two Commonwealth Gold medals to her name, as well as two Bronze, and can be seen as part of the BBC punditry team. She has also been very open about her struggles with mental health, and encouraging people to seek help.

 

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