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Our Top International Women’s Day Speakers

Said to have dated back to a women’s voting rights protest in New York in 1908, International Women’s Day has become a universal celebration of women’s political and social achievements. Taking place in the UK on the 8th March 2024, it is fast approaching. With this in mind, we’ve taken a look at some of the most influential and empowering females of our generation.

Benny Lawrence
7 Feb 2024
Awareness Days

From sporting legends to businesswomen and history-makers, these women are experts in advocating female success and motivation. In a world previously dominated by male power, and with some industries still being heavily balanced that way, these are the women who broke through the archaic trends and drove equality. With many being the first to achieve the heights in their field, they now focus on supporting younger women in their development and journeys to future success.

Maki Mandela

Maki Mandela

Looking for someone close to the heart of one of the biggest equality movements in history? As the daughter of one of the world’s most famous equality activists, Nelson Mandela, Maki Mandela has continued to follow in her father’s footsteps.

Inspired by her father, Maki has become an extremely successful businesswoman, with a great passion for equality and female empowerment. She has held directorships at major companies around the world, including Nestle SA and the Development Bank of South Africa and Spoornet. Additionally, she has written a number of academic papers on women in South Africa and worked closely with Nozala, an organisation that champions women in business and uses funds to uplift women across the nation. In 2017, she became the director of the newly founded House of Mandela family foundation. This raises awareness and funds for women’s empowerment, amongst other African community issues.

With a drive for equality and empowerment in her blood, Maki is one of the most respected and supported female activists. For increasing diversity in corporate, sporting, or other sectors, her understanding of the importance of inclusion is second-to-none.

Jo Salter MBE

Jo Salter MBE

Seeking a brave, determined, and motivated woman? Look no further than Britain’s first-ever female fighter pilot, Jo Salter. With an extensive military career, and as the first woman to operate a Tornado ground attack aircraft, she has no fear of making change and demonstrating ability.

Jo joined the Royal Air Force aged 18 wanting to be an engineering officer, however soon after the government allowed women to fly as pilots, her attention diverted. Being awarded her wings at the first available chance, and later being declared ‘combat ready’ she progressed to be heavily involved in a number of overseas operations and military missions. These included the protection of ‘no-fly zones’ over Iraq. Since leaving the military, Jo has become one of the most sought-after female speakers on the circuit, specialising in high performance, teamwork, and motivation.

Not allowing her gender to restrict her passion, she is a role model to women wanting to progress in traditionally male-dominated environments. Having made history, she understands the struggles women face and discusses the pressures she experienced and overcame as a result.

Dame Inga Beale

Dame Inga Beale

Striving to break the corporate glass ceiling to success? Dame Inga Beale is the first-ever both female and openly bisexual person to hold the position of CEO of Lloyd’s of London. She ended a 328-year male reign of the role and is perfect for championing female success in business.

Inga has obtained leadership roles at several high-profile organisations in Europe and has received widespread recognition for her successes. An example of this is being named number one in the OUTstanding & FT Leading LGBT executive power list. Whilst CEO at Lloyd’s of London, she dramatically modernised the business. She introduced a supper club for female executives and Pride@Lloyds which supported the LGBT+ members of the workforce.

Being successful in business and actively driving change in the ways in which women fit into the corporate world, Inga sets an excellent precedent for women. Her demonstration of female power and perseverance is aspired to by many.

Dame Kelly Holmes

Dame Kelly Holmes

If your goal is to motivate women in the sporting world, Dame Kelly Holmes is an iconic example of the heights that can be achieved. Star of the 2004 Olympics, winning gold in both the 800m and 1500m, she is regarded as one of Britain’s greatest-ever sportswomen.

Before her sporting career, Kelly was a sergeant in the British military. She is often recognised for this and can discuss her experiences in both the Women’s Royal Army Corps and other military organisations. Following her hugely successful athletics career, Kelly has taken on roles such as President of Commonwealth Games England and continues to support the next generation of athletes. In 2022, Kelly opened up publicly about her sexuality and often focuses on mental health talks and the struggles she has faced over the years.

Having experienced life in the traditionally male-dominant environments of both the military and the sporting world, Kelly relates to and discusses the struggles faced by many women. She speaks on how she rose above the archaic standpoints and achieved such success.

Kellie Maloney

Kellie Maloney

Looking for someone who understands the feeling of being in a minority and not fitting the stereotypical industry norms? Kellie Maloney is an English boxing promoter, TV personality and one of the most highly-rated transgender diversity speakers on the circuit.

Following her decision that she was too small for the ring, Kellie turned to box promotion. She promoted a number of boxers to various British, European and Commonwealth titles. Arguably her greatest success was promoting Lennox Lewis and guiding him to the title of heavyweight champion of the world. Kellie has also starred on the likes of Celebrity Masterchef and a documentary about her life and transition, Knockout Blonde.

Having bravely opened up about her transition journey in August 2014, she is no stranger to the attention that being in a minority draws. Able to relate this to all walks of life, she can discuss how she overcame the attention and associated backlash of being different.

Karen Carney

Karen Carney

If you’re looking to motivate young women in the world of sports, Karen Carney is the speaker for you. One of the greatest English footballers in the history of the women’s game, Karen played a staggering 114 times for England.

With a medal haul that includes three league titles, five FA Cups, and the UEFA Women’s Cup, Karen’s talent is undisputed. She played at seven major tournaments for England and represented Team GB at the Olympics in 2012. Since retiring from the professional sport, Karen has become well-known for her expert punditry on both men’s and women’s football on Sky Sports, BBC Sport, and Amazon Prime. She is one of the most successful female footballers and makes an excellent advocate for women in the sport.

Karen grew up loving the game in a time when it was still perceived as a man’s sport. In her speaking, she can discuss the difficulties this posed, as well as her more recent experience of online sexist abuse, and how she overcame these negativities.

Dani Grieveson

Dani Grieveson

Looking to boost female empowerment within your business? Dani Grieveson is an expert. From working behind the scenes on BBC’s Top Gear to founding a business consultancy, Lift This Life, helping some of the biggest businesses on the planet thrive, her success has been remarkable.

Dani created Lift This Life to stimulate confidence within the workforce and increase performance. She has helped a variety of industries, including legal, medical, financial, automotive, and military, and has worked with the likes of Coca-Cola, Rolls-Royce, and the Olympics. Dani was a guest on a panel of Women in the Automotive Industry, which encouraged more women into the industry. Additionally, she was a guest speaker for Estee Lauder’s Global March Conference and lectured on leadership for the military at Cranfield University.

Having delivered TedX talks, she is not only a successful businesswoman but also an expert in delivering talks. Her portrayal of her progressive journey is an inspiration to women looking to succeed in the world of business.

Bianca Miller-Cole

Bianca Miller-Cole

Empowering women in style, Bianca Miller-Cole is an award-winning entrepreneur, popular TV personality and highly inspirational business speaker. She launched the nude hosiery brand, Bianca Miller London, following being a runner-up on BBC’s The Apprentice in 2014.

Bianca has won a whole host of awards, including being named as one of Forbes 30 under 30 best entrepreneurs; added to the Empower list; and awarded a Power Profile, making her one of the most influential people on LinkedIn. She has also founded the Be Group, a specialist provider of personal branding, image consultancy and employability skills, with her key services. Bianca works as a business mentor for the Self Made Mastermind & Mentoring community; has published two best-selling books; and has starred on Channel 4’s Save Well, Spend Better, offering financial tips to the public.

As a successful businesswoman and having provided inspirational talks for the likes of HSBC, Google and BT, her expertise comes highly recommended. After narrowly missing out on first place on The Apprentice, she discusses how her determination and positive mindset led her to success.

Jo Fairley

Jo Fairley

One of the best female business speakers on the circuit, Jo Fairley went from becoming the UK’s youngest-ever magazine editor to launching a brand now worth over £100M. Founder of Green & Black’s Chocolate, she knows what it takes to build a business from the ground to great success.

Having left school at age 16 with just a handful of O levels to her name, Jo’s achievements certainly went against all odds. Refusing to let this hold her back, her hard work and determination saw her become the youngest-ever magazine editor, aged 23.

Following the success of Green and Blacks Chocolate, she also became an established author, writing columns for a number of best-sellers over the years. Jo is additionally a regular contributor to some of the UK’s most prestigious publications, including The Daily Mail’s YOU magazine and The Daily Telegraph.
Having launched Green & Blacks Chocolate in the heart of a recession, Jo knows what it takes for a business to succeed during a crisis. She is one of the most highly rated business speakers, having spoken to audiences globally, ranging from FTSE 100 companies to some of the best universities in the world.

Ayo Sokale

Ayo Sokale

If you’re seeking one of the most prolific keynote speakers in the fields of engineering, sustainability, diversity, and science, Ayo Sokale is the woman for you. With expertise lying in civil engineering, sustainability, physics, and design, her knowledge is second to none.

Her name translates to ‘joy’ which is the perfect way to describe her as she radiates positive energy and maintains enthusiasm in all of her speaking work, motivating audiences worldwide. She ignited a passion for the generation who grew up following her on BBC Reel and BBC Bitesize, as she made her knowledge more accessible to younger people. Currently a Chartered Civil Engineer and Project Manager, she is a TV expert on STEM and creates documentaries for the likes of Smithsonian, National Geographic, Discovery Channel, Yesterday TV, and Channel 5.

A popular industry speaker, she worked with leading clients such as Shell, Heineken, the NHS and Blue Yonder. With an ability to make complex topics both understandable and fun, she makes a perfect role model for younger generations.

Gina Buckney

Gina Buckney

Gina Buckney is the Founder and Corporate Transformation Expert at YOUR PEOPLE POWER. This is a company which looks at how businesses can help improve the mental wellbeing of employees, and as a result, increase productivity.

Gina is a highly acclaimed 2x TEDx Global speaker and empowered female leader who is passionate about organisation change and cultural transformation. She has delivered talks to leading global corporations, including Microsoft, Amazon, The British Army and HSBC Gina’s technique for transformational change in businesses incorporates the importance of meditation and mindfulness.

Having worked in large corporate companies for two decades, and experiencing burnout, she uses practical application and has designed self-development guided journals to help individuals remain on their ‘A-game,’ with much-tracked success. It therefore comes as no surprise that Gina is one of our most popular International Women’s Day speakers.

Mandy Hickson

Mandy Hickson

Mandy Hickson is a former RAF fast-jet pilot and was the second woman to fly the Tornado GR4 on the front line.

Mandy obtained over thirty years of experience within aviation, and during this time, completed three tours of duty and 45 missions over Iraq. She recently launched a bestselling book, ‘An Officer, Not a Gentleman’, which delves into her inspirational journey to become a pioneering female fighter pilot. Since leaving the RAF, Mandy has continued her support for the services in the Volunteer Reserve (VR); flying on the Air Experience Flight; and sharing her experience and enjoyment of flying to Air Cadets.

Mandy now works as a coach, mentor and facilitator, often inspiring others by covering the core areas of human performance factors, decision-making, communication and leadership. This makes her an exceedingly popular motivational and International Women’s Day speaker.

Pauline Miller

Pauline Miller

Pauline Miller is the current Chief Equity Officer of Dentsu. She is an experienced speaker, and senior leader and business psychologist across Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and Leadership and Learning.

Pauline builds inclusive and high performing environments that create meaningful impact for colleagues, clients, communities, and external stakeholders. She worked for a number of years in the talent development sector for Lloyds of London and spent two decades in the banking sector. It was here that she experienced racism and discrimination which resulted in her motivation to speak out against workplace discrimination. Pauline now dedicates time to several local and national organisations and is at the forefront of diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Being able to use personal experience, she provides highly inspiring and engaging talks on diversity, inclusion, equality, and leadership in the workplace. This makes her a very popular choice for any International Women’s Day event.

Mary Earps MBE

Mary Earps
BURTON UPON TRENT, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 14: Mary Earps of England reacts during a training session at St George’s Park on February 14, 2023 in Burton upon Trent, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Mary Earps is the current England goalkeeper for the women’s team. She has made history with her game-changing saves, which have often led to victories such as the team winning the Euros in 2022.

At the age of 29, Mary had played as a professional footballer for almost 15 years and made over 150 appearances in the top leagues of England and Germany. In 2019, she was named in the FIFA women’s World Cup squad, where England achieved fourth place. After this, Mary was selected as the first-choice goalkeeper for England’s UEFA women’s Euro 2022 team, where the team won the trophy in front of a sold-out Wembley crowd. Her performance made her named as the goalkeeper of the tournament, and the team received the ‘Inspiration Awards’ at the 2022 Pride Awards. Mary was part of the England Women’s team that reached the 2023 World Cup Final in Australia and famously saved a penalty. She capped off a successful 2023 being awarded with The BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year at a star-packed ceremony.

Mary is one of our most popular International Women’s Day speakers. She is perfect for understanding the current pressures faced by female players, and what it takes to achieve great success. So, if you’re looking to inject passion and a driven mindset into a team, Mary is a perfect role model.

At Evolve, we have a whole host of inspirational female speakers, who are experts in inspiring and motivating audiences worldwide. Whether you’re looking to break the corporate glass ceiling, make history in the world of sport, or progress through military ranks, we have access to some great speakers to help drive your success. To book one of our speakers or for more suggestions, get in touch with our friendly team of agents today.


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