LGBTQ+ History Month Icons
Celebrated in February in the UK, LGBTQ+ History Month is an important reminder of not only the positive input of community members to our society, but also of the stigma and prejudice that the community suffered which was enforced by government legislation. Shockingly, it has only been in this century that we have seen real changes in legislation that have allowed LGBTQ+ visibility to shine, and permitted the real and sustainable shift in attitudes that will ultimately lead to a truly inclusive society.
Below are some of the most iconic members of the British LGBTQ+ community, who are making a huge difference to society’s attitudes, and paving the way for future generations;
Tom Daley OBE
Olympic Gold medal winning diver, Tom announced his sexuality on his YouTube channel when he confirmed that he was in a relationship with his now-husband. The incredibly brave move came when Tom was already a household name, and not long after the London 2012 Olympics that had all eyes on our competing sports stars. He has since become hugely outspoken about LGBTQ+ rights, in particular the moral implications of countries where same-sex relationships are criminalised, hosting high-profile international sporting competitions. He took part in a BBC documentary, Illegal to Be Me, in which he spoke with athletes in countries where it is illegal to be homosexual, and realised the true depth of the impact such laws have on the lives of the LGBTQ+ community. His husband was also a key figure in legalising same-sex marriages in the USA.
Dame Kelly Holmes
Retired British middle-distance runner and Olympic Gold medallist, Kelly started training in athletics at the age of 12 and aged 18 joined the British Army. She competed in various athletics and judo competitions for the Army, winning an 800m, 3,000m and relay race in one day and frequently besting male colleagues. She eventually became a full-time athlete, competing and winning in major competitions around the world, until she retired in 2005. During her athletics career, Kelly struggled with depression, something which she has since been very open about. In 2022, Kelly came out as gay, a fact she had been aware of but had suppressed during her army career as at the time it was illegal to be gay in the military, and during her athletics career she feared retribution from colleagues if her sexuality was known as she knew of no other openly gay athletes at the time. Her coming out has shone a light on the historical and generational homophobia that can prevent older people from coming out.
Former international rugby player and British & Irish Lions captain, Gareth was the first professional rugby player to come out as gay. He has since counselled many other players through their own sexuality and announcements and helped implement procedures for professional clubs to support LGBTQ+ players and staff. In 2019, Gareth took another huge leap and announced his status as HIV positive. He has been hugely instrumental in bringing this illness to the fore and increasing awareness and understanding of it- particularly in light of modern advances in medicine that make the disease largely ineffectual. Both of these announcements made huge inroads for the LGBTQ+ community in increasing their acceptance in different communities and has made Gareth a truly inspirational icon.
When known as Frank Maloney, Kellie was a boxing promoter and manager to some of the sport’s biggest names, most notably Lennox Lewis during his tenure as Undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the World. It wasn’t until 2014 that Kellie announced that she was undergoing gender reassignment after years of supressing her authentic self, whilst working in a hyper-macho environment. As the first openly transgender public figure, Kellie is now very outspoken and honest about her journey to and through transitioning, and hopes to help increase understanding and awareness of trans issues.
Nicola Adams OBE
Former professional boxer, Nicola made headlines as the first woman to win a Gold medal for boxing at the Olympics when it was introduced at the London 2012 games. She then became the first woman to be a double Olympic Boxing Champion when she won gold again at the Rio 2016 Olympics. At this point Nicola held the Olympic, Commonwealth and European titles, as well the World, European and European Union titles simultaneously. She retired in 2019, with an undefeated record and the WBO flyweight title. To add to her impressive record and the reason she is such an icon of the LGBTQ+ community, is that her 2012 Olympic title made her the first openly gay person to win an Olympic Gold medal, and in 2020, Nicola competed on Strictly Come Dancing in the first same-sex couple in the show’s history. In July 2022, Nicola welcomed a son with her wife, Ella Baig.
Keywords: Keynote Speaker, LGBTQ+ Speaker, LGBTQ+ History Month, Diversity & Inclusion
Top Speakers for International Women’s Day 2023
The 8th March, also celebrated as International Women’s Day, falls this year on a Wednesday, meaning we can expect a full week of talks, workshops and networking events in businesses across the nation, designed to bring everyone together to celebrate and appreciate our differences. The theme for 2023’s event is #EmbraceEquity, encouraging society to embrace gender equity, described by UNESCO as fairness of treatment according to respective needs. This means taking time to understand the issues that affect people of different genders, and also how one thing may impact them all differently- whether this is a change in workplace policy, or different preferences for workplace benefits.
Below are our top speakers for opening up conversations about #EmbraceEquity
Skipper of the first all-female crew to sail in the Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race, Tracy and her team endured derision and contempt from fellow sailors and the media alike. Despite the negative peer opinion and at one point a damaged hull, the team won two legs of the race and came in second overall- the best British result in over a decade! The team’s endeavours won them huge media attention and public praise, and Tracy was the first woman to ever receive the Yachtsman of the Year Award.
Author of bestseller Invisible Women, her ground breaking book brought to light many of the ways society has unwittingly stacked the deck against women, by assuming the male experience is the default. By investigating the way that women participate in society and its infrastructure, various nations have saved millions of pounds in resources by adopting a more gender- balanced design that eases the additional burdens placed on many women.
Only the second woman to fly the Tornado G4 on the front line, Mandy fought hard to achieve her ambition of being an RAF pilot. Despite her excellent record as a student pilot, Mandy twice failed the computer aptitude test which prevented her from then taking the test again. With the support of her mentor, Mandy looked into pass rates, which heavily favoured male participants and led her to believe an unseen bias was in action. Taking her findings to RAF leadership, a further investigation confirmed there was a bias favouring male participants and the tests were swiftly altered, allowing women a fair shot at entering the force.
Deborah Frances White
Comedian and host of The Guilty Feminist podcast, Deborah, along with various guests, discusses her own conflicts on being a feminist that still struggles to shake the norms and expectations society has set out for women. She explores the insecurities and micro aggressions that make the female experience so wildly different from the male, and how this can impact the day to day lives of half the population. Deborah also regularly gives seminars on diversity and inclusion to corporates and is well respected as a commentator on such issues.
After a horse-riding accident left her wheelchair bound, Claire was on a long road to recovery both physically and mentally. Formerly a successful chiropractor and competitive rider, she lost everything she felt defined who she was, and had to redefine herself and her life. Despite the challenges, Claire is now in a very good place, with one of the most positive outlooks on life and full of the wisdoms she has learned on the way. Having to cope with all the additional hidden challenges faced by wheelchair users, she has also become hugely aware of the hidden issues that can affect people of different backgrounds.
Keywords: Keynote Speaker, International Women’s Day, Women Speaker, Diversity Speaker, Gender Equality
Cost of Living hits Christmas
Surveys from multiple sources indicate that the majority of people are looking to cut back on their Christmas spending this year in order to cope with the cost of living, while many others are looking spread the cost by starting to shop earlier.
Personal finance gurus are working double time, helping people manage their money effectively and relieving some of the stress and guilt that can occur as a side effect of having to make ends meet across a season renowned for its excess. Their tips and guidance can give people the tools to make it through the festive season on a budget, whilst still giving them the leisure to enjoy themselves.
If you are looking to give your workforce some useful advice on how not to get overwhelmed this Christmas, the below experts are perfect for a talk or Q&A session;
TV presenter, radio host, journalist, business owner and comedian, Jasmine is the personal finance expert putting ‘funny’ into ‘money’. She has presented on money and finance for shows such as the BBC’s Inside Out and Homes Under the Hammer, as well as Spend, Spend, Spend and First Time Buyers. She has reported for Sky News, Thames News and The Money Channel, as well as featuring as a money expert on GMB, BBC Breakfast News, Sky News and Channel 5 News.
Jasmine also comments weekly on money and finance on LBC and Talk Radio, as well being a columnist for Moneywise and Platinum magazines, and authoring 38 books. Her website, Money Magpie, is also an extensive resource for personal finance that covers advice for students through to parents, and help with everything from investing money to managing current resources.
Influencer and YouTube sensation, Patricia was one of the first black British women to hit the 1M subscribers benchmark on YouTube, an achievement she built up gradually and organically over the course of several years. Hugely popular for her content on fashion, beauty and lifestyle, delivered in her bubbly and relatable style, Patricia has a solid background in finance with Merrill Lynch, and founded The Break, a website and resource for personal finance aimed at women, and hoping to target some of the financial issues that can affect them specifically. It’s a topic Patricia is intimately familiar with, having been raised by her mother- on benefits and working two jobs to support the family alone, a background Patricia credits with giving her the drive to succeed.
Rick is a broadcaster specialising in personal finance, who regularly presents on the subject on Times Radio, BBC Business and Spotify. He has written hundreds of articles for the BBC on money and finance, and regularly comments on mortgages, savings, economy and policy. Rick is also the main presenter of one of YouTube’s fastest growing sports channels in Europe, The Running Channel, with over 700,000 subscribers.
Claer is the consumer editor for Financial Times, writing the weekly Serious Money column. She also hosts FT’s Money Clinic podcast, helping listeners with their real-life money problems, and the Business Clinic video series. She is a trustee of the Financial Times Financial Literacy and Inclusion Campaign, aiming to promote better education in everyday finance for young people and those at an economic disadvantage. She has also recently authored a book titled What They Don’t Teach You About Money, aiming to help people understand the principles of personal finance on their way to financial independence.
Growing up Jason’s family were always on a tight budget and his mid-20’s found him in deep debt. He managed to learn the skills to gain control of his finances, and now as a qualified financial advisor and Chartered Fellow of the Personal Finance Society, he aims to help others develop these skills as well. He is well versed in the psychological and behavioural aspects of personal finance, and provides advice through tools and resources on his website, as well as through financial wellbeing provider Salary Finance.
Jason is a published author, Financial Times columnist and host of the Real Money Stories podcast. He is also a keen investor in financial tech start-ups, particularly welcoming innovations from those of underrepresented backgrounds in the field.
Keywords: Keynote Speaker, Personal Finance, Cost of Living, Christmas, Virtual Speaking
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;
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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;
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
We know and work with the top influencers who could fit your brand in these areas:
• Celebrity/influencer PR Campaigns
• Celebrity/influencer social campaigns
• Celebrity/influencer endorsements
• Celebrity/influencer brand ambassador
• Corporate Speaking
• Virtual/Live events and hosting
• Broadcast days