11 Paralympic Gold Medals, 6 times winner of London Wheelchair Marathon
Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson is Britain’s greatest Paralympic athlete. She competed in five Paralympic Games, winning 11 Gold Medals, and is acknowledged as one of the most gifted and courageous sportswomen of her generation. In addition to her outstanding Paralympic achievements, she won the London Wheelchair Marathon a total of six times between 1992 and 2002.
Retirement has not slowed her down and Tanni has gone on to play a prominent role in public life. In 2005 she was made ‘Dame’ Tanni Grey-Thompson DBE for her services to sport, while in 2010 she was elevated to the House of Lords as a crossbench peer. With a particular focus on sport, disability, health, welfare and youth development she has made significant contributions to debates on welfare reform, assisted dying and sports governance. Amongst other positions she is a Non-Executive Director of the BBC, Chair of ukactive, is Chancellor of Northumbria University and President of the National Council of Voluntary Organisations. She also acts as an ambassador for UNICEF, the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and the sport for social change movement Beyond Sport.
During London 2012 Tanni was a key part of the BBC’s on screen team, presenting on both the Olympics and Paralympics. In the process she became the first Paralympian to commentate on Olympic sport, making the point that the emotions and experiences of elite sportspeople are universal across the board.
Tanni is the ultimate cross over between high performance sport and the high powered world of business and politics. She understands the parallels and has invaluable lessons from her varied career, be it perseverance, team work, adapting to change or breaking down barriers. A very strong communicator, she is brilliant at motivating and inspiring an audience, whether that is a small gathering of CEOs or a large room of employees.
In everything that Tanni does her lively personality and down to earth humour shines through. Only she could divulge behind the scenes stories from the Olympics and give an insight into the somewhat archaic goings on at the House of Lords! A fantastic speaker and a true inspiration.
First British Women to ski to the Magnetic North Pole
Sue Stockdale is an inspirational speaker, whose achievements in business and adventure have inspired 1000s of leaders worldwide to step out of their comfort zone and achieve extraordinary results.
Using dramatic images, and thought-provoking anecdotes, Sue encourages people to not just think….but do. Using a unique combination of knowledge and experience gained from elite sport, polar adventure and business Sue brings an incredibly informative, intelligent and professional delivery.
In 1995, Sue saw an advertisement in a newspaper titled “Wanted – novice arctic explorers to ski to the Magnetic North Pole”. As an elite athlete who had represented Scotland, Sue knew she might be fit enough, but had no experience of cross-country skiing or arctic temperatures. She sent off for details and when the brochure arrived stating “are you man enough for the Ultimate Challenge?” she became determined to win her place on the team.
Following months of assessments and gruelling tests, she was eventually chosen from over 500 applicants, and after raising £15,000 she achieved her place on the expedition. During the 30-day expedition, Sue was continually tested both physically and mentally and became the first British woman to ski to the Magnetic North Pole. After this success, Sue took part in expeditions to the Geographical North Pole, Antarctica and Greenland. She was recognised as a Pioneer of the Nation in 2005 by HM The Queen.
Sue now is in demand as a keynote speaker, executive coach and leadership specialist. Sue’s own career background is in Corporate Training and Development spending 12 years in this field with British Gas, she has worked with many Fortune 500 and FTSE 250 companies and has also spent 12 months working for the UN in a war zone. Sue has spoken at leading business schools on motivation, leadership and change.
Sue has an MBA in Entrepreneurship and MSc in Quality Management and is an accredited coach. Sue is also author of Secrets of Successful Women Entrepreneurs, The Growth Story, Kickstart your Motivation, and co-author of Cope with Change at Work, The Personality Workbook, Motivating People and most recently published in 2015, Risk: All that Matters.
Former International England Rugby Captain
CEO and Founder of Inspiring Women
Catherine retired from International rugby in 2011 following a very successful career. Following her first cap in 2004 Catherine went on to win 63 caps for England, score 18 times for her country and captain the team for over 3 years. Catherine took part in 8 Six Nations Competitions winning 6 of 8 and captained her team to 3 championship titles. Catherine also led her country to a European cup title, 2 Nations Cup tournament victories and led England to the World Cup final held on home soil in England in 2010. England lost narrowly to New Zealand 13 points to 10 however the home World Cup shot Women’s Rugby in to the limelight and their media presence escalated. As captain, Catherine was at the forefront of this and thrived as a leader throughout this time.
Catherine has undertaken a number of different media engagements including studio pundit and commentary work with a number of media channels including Sky Sports and the BBC; most recently she commentated on the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup with ITV which attracted record breaking viewer figures. Catherine has written published articles for the Independent on Sunday and the Sunday Times and has written regular columns for the popular weekly Rugby Paper.
Catherine is Patron of the charity Tag Rugby Trust; a charity that she has been involved with since 2007 which works across a number of developing countries with the aim to “Build futures through rugby”. She feels passionately about helping to develop communities around the world using rugby as tool. Most recently Catherine and TRT are building their Female Inspiration through Rugby or FITR programme.
Catherine’s story demonstrates clearly her steps towards success and highlights her focus and determination to improve and reach higher levels throughout her sporting career and beyond. Catherine grew as a leader throughout her time as Captain and offers some great insights into developing captaincy and leadership skills in a team setting. Her experiences of managing retirement from sport and taking the step to develop a new business as well as dealing with perceived failures adds a very real and honest focus to her delivery.
2010 Winter Olympic Games Gold Medallist – Skeleton bob
BBC Sports Personality of the Year nominee 2010
Amy Williams returned from Vancouver a National heroine after claiming Team GB’s only gold medal of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in skeleton bobsleigh at her debut Winter Olympic Games. In winning gold, she became Britain’s first solo Winter Olympics champion in 30 years and the first female individual Gold Medallist for 58 years.
Having proved her deft touch on the notoriously fast Whistler track in the previous year’s World Cup, Amy dominated the Vancouver event – leading from start to finish. Blessed with an exceptionally fast start, a legacy from her days as a 400m runner, and fearless determination, Amy and Arthur (her sled) set two track records to finish more than 0.5 seconds ahead of her closest competitor.
Amy retired from the sport in Spring 2012 but her contribution to British Skeleton was rewarded in May 2013 as she was announced as the first ever Vice President of the sport, a role which will enable her to pass on her expertise to the next generation of Winter Olympians.
Not one to rest on her laurels, in 2013 Amy immersed herself in the world of Rally driving and was co-driver for Sky Sports News F1 analyst Tony Jardine during the season, making three finishes in a row to qualify for her international co-driving license. In November 2013 together achieving the ultimate goal and competing in the International Wales GB. Tony and Amy put in an impressive performance coming 1st in their class and 26th overall.
Amy’s journey to success has touched people from all walks of life and she’s been in huge demand from a diverse range of audiences. Following appearances on television productions such as ITV1’s ’71 Degrees North’ and Discovery’s ‘Alone in the Wild’ Amy joined the presenting team on BBC’s Ski Sunday. Appearances on The One Show, Countryfile, Blue Peter and Question of Sport amongst others demonstrate her popularity and versatility. Amy was part of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics BBC presenting team and was co-presenter on the hugely popular weekly Gadget Show until recently when she made the decision to devote more of her time to her most recent job as a new mum!
Youngest person to stand at both ‘Tops of the World’
Bonita Norris is one of the UK’s leading adventurers. She has spoken at hundreds of events and has been touted on numerous occasions as the most inspiring speaker event organisers have ever come across.
Aged 20, Bonita, who had never climbed a mountain before, announced to family and friends she was going to one day climb Mount Everest. Fast forward three years, aged 23, Bonita Norris became the youngest person to have stood at both ‘tops of the world’, the summit of Mt Everest (2010) and the geographic North Pole (2011) having ignored such comments as ‘people like us don’t climb Everest’.
In 2012 Bonita became just the third British woman to climb Mt Lhotse – the world’s 4th highest peak but considered technically more difficult than Everest and to this day Bonita continues to push herself to the limit both mentally and physically. In 2016 she attempted to become the first woman to summit K2 falling narrowly short after the mountain threw everything at her to stop her in her tracks; her next challenge was simply to return to the UK safe and well.
Bonita charts her rise from novice climber to standing on the top of Mt Everest in just two years. She takes her audience on a journey, from the moment she makes her decision, to the toils of raising sponsorship and the intense training required for a Himalayan expedition. Accompanied by stunning photographs she tells her up close and personal anecdotes of what it’s actually like to climb the world’s highest mountain.
Bonita’s story is about taking on a big risk, of commitment, and of a personal struggle. Her aim is to make every audience member reflect upon their own life goals and the challenges they face, and equip them with the techniques she used to through her toughest moments. Bonita tells of the lessons she learnt as an ordinary girl taking on an extraordinary and overwhelming challenge. Her message of marginal gains, not giving in, and always keeping our minds open to new opportunities and challenges is as relevant to a graduate audience as it is the board of directors.
Paralympic Gold Medallist
Karen has the philosophy that to have the most impact in life we should challenge our constraints, adopt a positive mind-set and support each other to be the best we can be.
Somewhat an expert in overcoming challenges, Karen finds much of her inspiration through outdoor adventure. She was a keen runner and mountaineer before becoming paralysed in a rock-climbing accident but has since pursued alternative ways to access the outdoors – canoeing, sit-skiing and hand-cycling. She has hand-cycled in various corners of the world, including Central Asia and the Himalaya, the Karakoram and the length of the Japanese archipelago. Karen has co-organised expeditions sea kayaking along the coastlines of British Columbia and Alaska, skiing across the Greenland icecap, climbing the kilometre-high vertical rock-face of El Capitan, and kayaking through the fjords of Patagonia. She has cycled 1,240km through the Patagonian wilderness and across Himalayan terrain; Karen is an adventurer through and through.
As a coach and facilitator, author and speaker, Karen works regularly with young people, schools, businesses and other organisations particularly on the subject of challenge and change. She is currently a full-time athlete with the British Paracycling Team, won a silver medal in the London 2012 Paralympics, she was World Paratriathlon Champion in 2012, a silver medallist in 2013 and Paralympic Gold medallist in Rio 2016.
“What is life if it isn’t an adventure? I’m constantly amazed by what can be achieved if we set our heart and mind to it. It’s all about finding belief, confidence, motivation and commitment. There are no limits.”
‘Karen’s captivating story shines a bright light on the meaning of challenge, and on the limitless capabilities of the human spirit.’ – Sir Ranulph Fiennes, polar explorer
Olympic Gold and Bronze medal winner and captain
Capped a record 375 times for her country
Kate is one of the most experienced and respected hockey players in the world and the most capped female hockey player in her country’s history. She was captain of GB women’s hockey team for 13 years which culminated in the inspirational and emotional 2016 Olympic Gold Medal victory. Kate has also competed in 3 previous Olympic games, 3 World Cup’s and 3 Commonwealth games as well as European and Championship tournaments.
Kate has won the prestigious UK Hockey writers Player of the Year award on three separate occasions in 2003, 2007 and 2012 demonstrating a consistently high performing career. Kate has captained both England and Great Britain since 2003 after making her international debut in 1999 along the way amassing over 370 International Caps. Kate truly is one of the world’s sporting greats.
Kate has built up a wealth of leadership qualities over the last 15 years and offers valuable insights to the business world drawing from personal experiences and understanding of team and individual motivation, the importance of communicating effectively, self-awareness, recognising the bigger picture and setting goals.
Kate provides examples of significant moments in her career where she has had to dig deep and establish renewed motivation and determination to succeed such as Great Britain’s failure to reach the Athens Olympic Games. On a personal level Kate also shares her battle that resulted from a broken jaw injury received in the 1st game of the 2012 London Olympics to come back and lead her team to winning their Bronze Olympic medal.
Now retired Kate is enjoying club hockey in The Netherlands whilst also devoting more time to coaching and encouraging the development of the grassroots game whilst also applying the leadership and performance lessons of a career in elite sport to the wider world via public speaking. Kate also performs a number of ambassador duties as well as sitting on the British and European Olympic Athlete’s Commission.
Kate highlights the difference between high performing and underperforming teams, stressing the importance of recognising varying team dynamics, individual personalities, ongoing development, respect and support but also the ability to remain an individual within a team environment.
Performing and leading at the top of her sport for over 10 years Kate’s story will inspire every level of your workforce whilst also re-focussing individual and team goals. Kate is now an experienced speaker and whilst listening to her talk her inspirational leadership shines through.
Diversity and Inclusion expert
Whilst Claire is an elite athlete, she is passionate that the journey is about finding your passion, facing challenges and achieving a dream, and her story is therefore equally transferable to any aspiration.
As a young person, Claire describes herself as unremarkable, with an interest in sport but not excelling in the sports offered at school. At 14, she found a sport that she loved in Rugby Union and began to thrive both on and off the pitch.
Claire trained as a forensic psychologist, completing her undergraduate degree at Liverpool John Moores University and her masters degree in Criminology from Cambridge University. She was one of the first females to become a Prison Governor, running a male resettlement unit for life sentence prisoners.
In 2008 she had an accident that left her with an incomplete spinal cord injury, losing feeling and movement in one leg and other neural functions which forced her to revisit both her sporting and career direction. She changed her professional career, becoming Head of Corporate Responsibility for the Financial Regulator, FSA./span>
In 2009 she was asked to a Paralympic talent ID camp, where she tried sitting volleyball for the first time ever. She was nurtured and was selected to take part in the World Championships in 2010, which was the beginning of her GB career. With over 50 caps for GB, She went on to Captain the ParalympicsGB Sitting Volleyball Team in London 2012, putting her success down to the role models and support she has experienced. In 2015 Claire wanted a new challenge and switched sports to athletics and competed at the 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships in shot and javelin. After qualifying to represent GB athletics at the Rio 2016 Paralympics Claire had to make the heart-breaking call and withdraw from the team due to injury.
Following the experience of London2012, she took her passion of the power of sport to change lives to a new level, leaving the financial sector to take up a role as Assistant Director in the charity Youth Sport Trust. She was awarded ‘Hero of the Year’ at the 2013 European Diversity Awards for her continued efforts to break down barriers and make sport more inclusive and relevant for all young people.
More recently after a spell working at KPMG when Claire successfully spearheaded the company’s progression from 156th to 10th in Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index Claire has become the new chief executive of Diversity Role Models. Claire offers incredible insight in to changing goals and aspirations as well as delivering shared messages from sport and the corporate world.
Olympic and World Champion Rower
Olympic and World Champion Rower Annie’s international career spanned 8 years and saw her pick up two World Champion gold medals, 4 World Cup series wins, an Olympic silver medal and a plethora of other World champion and series final finishes.
Annie will take you on her own rowing roller coaster of life and making notable mention of her Beijing Olympic Silver medal, describing what it is like to see Gold taken away from your grasp during the last seconds of a race and how a moment like that is overcome.
Annie focuses clearly and concisely on the areas where elite sport interacts with business and the techniques that can apply to both. From team work and maximizing the potential of those around you, to goal setting, change management, and delivering under pressure. Annie has a unique perspective on what makes teams tick and how to achieve consistent and resilient success: learn her strategies that have been tried and tested in elite sport to apply to your own high performing team.
Training for and competing at two Olympic Games within a highly pressurised sporting environment, Annie will certainly add value to any business event. Since retiring from international sport following the London 2012 Olympics Annie is able to look back and provide a unique view on this grueling life with insight and humour. She is able to shed new light on the oft-asked question of any elite athlete; “why on earth do you do it?”
Annie is now a regular contributor to BBC and other publications writing articles on her own rowing and elite sport as well as writing on and providing expert opinion on leadership.
In Annie’s own words ” I love the challenge of communicating what it is about sport that makes it so human, so emotional, so visceral…”. Annie is an accomplished speaker with a fantastic ability to deliver sports message effectively to the business world.
Former Army Major
Kate is a Leadership Consultant and Keynote Speaker. Drawing on her extensive experience in leadership and communications from her time in the military, as well as key lessons she has learned from dealing with a life-changing injury, Kate applies her drive and enthusiasm for personal development to help people and organisations release their potential.
Katie joined the Army in 2002 leaving only in 2015 to set up her own leadership development consultancy. After a year conducting officer training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, she was commissioned into the Royal Artillery. At the age of 25, Kate was posted straight from training to a tour of duty in Iraq where she was responsible for 40 soldiers, many of whom were older and more experienced than her. From this, Kate learned the important of knowing your people, trusting yourself and being able to adapt quickly to new situations.
Further deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan posed key challenges, including: working in the fast-paced environment of front-line operations; reporting to multiple hierarchies and being the only female amongst 120 men. These experiences have given Kate valuable skills in reacting to change, providing solutions under pressure and managing challenging relationships to ensure operational effectiveness is maintained and individual contribution is valued.
Her tour of Afghanistan in 2008 came to an abrupt end when a Warrior armoured vehicle that she was commanding in Afghanistan ran over a 50kg Taliban bomb. The injuries sustained resulted in her electing to have her leg amputated below the knee. After a gruelling 16 months of rehabilitation she returned to work and gained promotion. Following revision surgery in 2012 Kate decided she needed a goal to re-focus her rehab and so she joined an expedition team and trekked to the South Pole in 2013 supporting the charity Walking with the Wounded.
Determined always to seek out the positives, Kate believes that the challenges we face in life offer the best opportunities for progress. Combining her military background with her experience of dealing with adversity, Kate applies the same mentality to elicit the true potential from others.
Kate now runs her own leadership and coaching consultancy alongside her public speaking work.
“You can do anything”
Lou Micklewright is quite simply an amazingly positive and inspirational individual however these words would not always have been used to describe Lou. Now a full time Project Manager and part time fledgling adventurer Lou’s journey has not been straightforward but navigated by Lou with a formidable inner strength of character that emerged following a period of adversity.
Lou’s message is a simple one; that ‘you can do anything’. In 2011 Lou found herself in prison, her life stripped to its bare bones with no job, no home and a reduced circle of friends and support waiting for her; Lou really had hit rock bottom. Now a successful Project Manager in the Construction industry, recently headhunted to a new role, Lou describes her life before and after her time spent in prison, the very personal reasons behind her decision making whilst delivering her truly inspiring message. Lou’s experience has been life changing not just in circumstance but emotionally too and her personal description of this journey is fascinating.
In 2016 Lou completed the challenge, that she set herself, of running 180 miles from coast to coast across the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors in just one week. Lou completed these 7 marathons in just 7 days with grit and an incredible determination that she has been forced to rebuild following her incredibly tough personal challenges before, during and after her time spent in prison. With a highly supportive partner and parents Lou constantly strives to continue to push forward along her life journey every day.
In addition to her 7in7 challenge Lou has also taken on a White-Collar Boxing event, has run the London Marathon and has completed the 3 peaks challenge all for charity. In 2017 Lou completed an Olympic Distance Triathlon over a tough uphill and off-road course but as a weak swimmer Lou’s toughest challenge came first in the water. Always pushing herself Lou also regularly competes in ‘Crossfit’ putting herself up against some of the fittest females in the UK. The challenge of managing a daily work and training regime, to set and meet new goals is one that Lou relishes.
Lou has no Olympic Gold Medal to show, she has now international cap or flag posted at the top of Everest however her story is no less inspirational. It is a story of grit, determination, incredible honesty and of bouncing back following adversity; it will leave any audience feeling truly inspired to keep moving forward towards their own goals however far away they may seem. In Lou’s words: ‘You can do anything’.
World Record Breaking Pacific Ocean rowing crew.
The all-female rowing team Coxless Crew made history with their incredible nine-month journey across the Pacific Ocean.
When the team finally reached Marlin Marina in Cairns, North Queensland, in January 2016, they had spent 257 days at sea in their pink 29ft boat Doris. The six-strong crew completed the 8,600-nautical mile journey to set two new world records: the first all-female crew and the first fours boat to row the Pacific from America to Australia.
Since leaving San Francisco in April 2015, Coxless Crew had experienced the most remarkable journey – a feat of physical and mental endurance that continues to amaze and inspire. Each crew member rowed for 12 hours every day in two-hour shifts, sleeping for just 90 minutes at a time.
All six team members have joined Inspiring Women to share their extraordinary experience and shed light on the leadership skills, fortitude and unbreakable team spirit that saw them through this incredible journey. Members of the crew are available to speak individually or as a group depending upon availability and budget.
Team lead Laura Penhaul is a lead physiotherapist for Paralympic athletes. Before the row, Laura ran the Paris and London marathons, competed in Barcelona and Geneva triathlons, and gained her first age group win at Marlow triathlon. She also rock climbed and ice climbed while living in Chamonix. Her hobbies include skiing and scuba diving. Laura was inspired to take part in the row by her work in Paralympic sport – having worked with people who had faced and overcome life changing situations, she became passionate about supporting everyone, of all abilities, to achieve their potential.
Laura rowed the entire distance from America to Australia.
Team member Emma Mitchell started rowing at the age of 16 and has rowed for England at the Home International Regatta, for Cambridge in the boat race and for Marlow Rowing Club and City of Bristol Rowing Club in national and international regattas. Emma has completed the Mont Blanc Marathon, the Pembrokeshire Coast Challenge, and the Berlin Marathon twice in two days.
After completing her PhD Emma swapped academia for adventure and went on a four-month expedition leader training course in the jungles of Belize and has since led school groups and charity treks to developing world countries.
Emma, who rowed the entire distance from America to Australia, took part in the challenge to prove that you can achieve anything that you set your mind to and to support women overcoming adversity.
Natalia Cohen is a travel professional who has lead adventure tours in over 15 countries, walked the Inca Trail 10 times, completed the Camino de Santiago, undertaken a Pacific crossing by sailboat monitoring plastic pollution and was the only woman among 30 local men in a team managing a remote safari eco-lodge in Tanzania.
She has led an unusual and fascinating life that highlights her deep understanding of the importance of team dynamics, a positive mind-set and the ability to live the moment.
Natalia rowed all the way from America to Australia. She wanted to explore the strength of the human spirit, and the mind to gain valuable insights to empower others to face their own challenges.
Team member Isabel Burnham is a solicitor who joined the crew for the first leg of the challenge. Isabel has always had a passion for the outdoors and for sport and as a student she rowed for Cambridge University. As a keen trail runner, trekker, mountaineer and skier, she spends as much time as she can in the mountains. She has completed a wide variety of races and challenge events including adventure races, trail marathon, ultramarathons and The Italian Jog – an eight-person continuous running relay from London to Rome.
Isabel wanted to push herself beyond her comfort zone and discover what can be achieved by a strong, committed team.
Lizanne Van Vuuren
An osteopath in her everyday life, team member Lizanne Van Vuuren joined the second leg of the row.
She earned her first record at the age of 10 when she became the Under 14 High Jump Record Holder, going on to complete numerous half-marathons, Argus cycle tours and triathlons, including the Half Ironman.
Lizanne’s fascination with endurance prompted her to row the Pacific, to find out more about the influence our minds have on our physical ability.
Meg Dyos ran the London Marathon and The Great North Run at the age of 18. During her university days she was expedition leader for a team that climbed Kilimanjaro and took part in a charity trek to Machu Picchu. She went on to travel extensively in South and South-East Asia before studying English Literature at the University of Westminster.
It was Meg’s love of adventure that prompted her to row the third leg of the challenge, along with a desire to support worthy charities, help to empower women, push her limits and venture into the unknown. Before rowing the third leg from Samoa to Cairns, Meg had never picked up an oar and had never stepped foot in a rowing boat.
England Rugby World Cup Winner
First female to commentate on men’s international rugby
Maggie Alphonsi is the face of international women’s rugby and arguably one of the most well-known names in women’s team sports across the globe.
Before announcing her international retirement in 2014, she represented her country an impressive 74 times, scored 28 tries, and helped England win a record breaking seven consecutive Six Nations crowns. She was also a crucial member of the team that won the 2014 Rugby World Cup for the first time in 20 years and was part of the team that was crowned the BBC’s Sports Personality Team of the Year.
Through her England rugby career she has become a household rugby name but also a media professional, commentating on live rugby matches for SKY Sports and the BBC, as well as featuring on a number of national media platforms, including outlets as diverse as the Sunday Times, Stella Magazine, the Sun and BBC’s Children in Need (Gareth Malone’s All Star Choir).
In 2015 she was part of ITV’s men’s Rugby World Cup broadcast line-up which made her the first ever former female player to commentate on men’s international rugby and in 2017 was a regular in the studio for ITV’s extensive coverage of the Women’s World Cup. She has been continuing to blaze a trail in the media world presenting features on popular programmes such as BBC’s The One Show and appearing on daytime television including ITV’s Good Morning Britain. Maggie also has a regular opinion piece with the Telegraph newspaper and is often called upon by the wider media to provide expert analysis and comment.
From South East London, Maggie has taken her education as seriously as her rugby obtaining a MSc in Sports & Exercise at Roehampton University, a BSc in the same subjects at De Montfort University and a BTEC National Diploma in Leisure Studies at Hertford Regional College. Additionally, she has been awarded an Honorary Doctor of Arts from the University of Bedfordshire.
Maggie can talk with great experience on topics ranging from understanding and coping with pressure to the psychology or winning, working within a male dominated and challenging perceptions. Maggie will inspire, motivate, challenge and inform any audience regardless of background.
Multiple Gold Medal winning Paralympian and 10 time World Champion
Hannah Cockroft’s profile rocketed after her awe-inspiring performances at the London 2012 Paralympics. This continued to rise after she backed this up with some incredible consistency at Rio 2016 where she defended her 100 and 200 metre events but also added a 400 metre victory taking her total Gold medal haul to five. She is now, without doubt, one of Team GB’s most high-profile athletes.
Hannah has been competing in wheelchair racing since she was invited to a Paralympics development day aged 15 after she showed promise in basketball and discuss. Hannah is now World Record holder across 5 different track distances at the T34 100, 200, 400, 800 and 1500 metres. She has a phenomenal ten World Championship Gold Medals to her name along with her five Olympic Gold medals. Hannah was awarded the MBE in 2013 for services to Athletics.
Hannah has shown formidable fighting spirit all of her life; after complications immediately after birth left her with deformity to her legs and feet and weakened hips. From a young age Hannah was already developing a determination to prove others wrong and was the first disabled student to attend both of her mainstream schools, coming out with top marks at both. For those who knew Hannah at the time it was evident that nothing was going to hold her back.
Hannah is without a doubt a role model and an inspiration to so many, young and old. Her enthusiasm, positivity and bubbly personality is infectious and whilst her life story is one of hard work and incredible grit and determination she will leave any audience knowing that if they dream they can achieve.
Hannah’s ambition is to be unbeatable, something that she already achieves on a daily basis.
A three-time Olympian, 11 time UK Champion and the current British record holder for javelin, Goldie can justifiably be described as one of Britain’s greats. Recently retired following 20 years of international athletics, Goldie now runs a successful property investment business.
Goldie’s career was by no means a smooth one; dogged with injury at the most crucial of times, being told twice by surgeons that she would never throw again, undergoing no less than eight operations she was forced to dig deep and muster every ounce of determination and resilience to remain at the top of her sport.
In 2008 at the Beijing Olympics Goldie superbly broke the British record but agonisingly missed a place on the podium by just 38 cm; nine years later however Goldie may finally grasp the coveted Olympic medal following a positive doping test to the Silver medallist.
Prior to the 2012 London Olympics Goldie was on top form having beaten all of her closest rivals in the run up to the games. She again broke her own British record at the London Diamond League with an opening throw of 66.17m. This performance beat all of her Olympic rivals by over two metres with only three weeks to go to the 2012 Games but elation turned to immense agony as an elbow injury, sustained during that competition, destroyed her chances of reaching the 2012 Olympic final.
Goldie once again fought back from injury and in 2014 was rewarded for her efforts when she captained the British Athletics team to the most successful European Championship in their history in 2014.
Still a hugely respected servant of her sport Goldie has recently been re-elected by her Team GB peers to serve a second term on the British Olympic Association’s Athlete Commission.
Goldie is a fantastic speaker delivering talks on winning attitudes, resilience, confidence, dealing with set-back along with delivering key leadership messages. Goldie can talk first hand on the subject of sharing key messages from sport to business and will be a great asset to a conference or any internal employee or external client event.
“Goldie is bright, articulate, has a great story to tell and is very funny. The audience were clearly inspired by her story and were able to take the messages about confidence, determination and attitude and apply that to their own professional and personal lives. The was made possible by the way Goldie cleverly related her key messages to our business environment. Enabling that transition made her talk relevant and real to everyone in the room. There is business values in a good motivational speaker like Goldie and I wouldn’t hesitate to use her again” (Holly Marshall – Head Business Lead Major Global Events, O2)
With over 60 international caps under her belt, including a bronze medal from the hugely successful 2015 Football World Cup, professional footballer Laura Bassett is a key figure for England’s Lionesses.
The 34-year-old’s international career has seen Laura compete in two World Cups and three European Championships, including securing a silver medal in the 2009 Euros. The defender is currently integral to the England Lionesses World Cup qualifying campaign.
Domestically, she has been one of the FA’s Women’s Super League’s most revered players. Skipper at Notts County Ladies FC until their administrative collapse in April 2017, she has also played for Arsenal, Chelsea, Leeds and in 2012 helped Birmingham City win the FA Cup, and finish second in the WSL and in the Continental Cup. She also enjoyed similar success in 2009 with Arsenal winning the FA Cup and the Premier League. She has now become the third England International to ply her club trade abroad and in September 2017 joined Australian W-League club Canberra united.
Laura, who grew up in a football fanatical family, played for England Under 19s through to the Under 21s before making her senior England debut in 2003. She then became one of the first female players to be awarded a professional contract in 2009.
Away from the pitch, Laura is an excellent speaker, and is well qualified to share her experiences. Whether it’s alking about leadership as captain of her Super League team, or overcoming adversity when she had to mentally bounce back from scoring an own goal in the Football World Cup semi-finals, or being a prominent figure in the challenging world of a male dominated sport, she has a story you want to hear.
Laura’s speaking topics include: leadership, understanding pressure, the psychology of winning, transferring skills, pressure management, working in a male environment and challenging perceptions.
The most successful British Female Gymnast in the history of the sport.
Elizabeth ‘Beth’ Tweddle is a former British artistic gymnast and is the most successful British Female Gymnast in the history of the sport. Her impressive achievements include being an Olympic Bronze Medallist, a triple World Champion, a six-time European Champion, a Commonwealth Champion and seven-times consecutive National Champion.
Her medal haul started at the 2002 Commonwealth Games where she collected Gold and two Silvers. Over the next decade Beth won over 20 more Gold medals, competing all over the World in major Championships. Having achieved her lifelong dream of winning an Olympic medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games, Beth thought it would be perfect timing to retire from competitive gymnastics. Beth’s phenomenal achievement in the sport saw her nominated for Sports Personality of the Year Award twice, finishing 3rd in 2006. She was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2010 New Year Honours for her unequivocal dedication, commitment and success in gymnastics.
Beth, a three time Olympian, is almost as successful outside the gym as she is in it. In 2007, Beth found time to graduate from Liverpool John Moores University with 2:1 in Sports Science and subsequently was accepted to study Physiotherapy at the University of Liverpool. Although Beth retired from Gymnastics she couldn’t part from the sport, as she became the Director of Total Gymnastics, a company that delivers recreational gymnastics to thousands of children. Beth has also set up a series of #trainwithBeth camps across the UK, engaging thousands of children in bespoke, elite gymnastics experiences.
Beth is also involved in sporting governance, holding positions with the FIG as the Global Athlete representative and Team GB and British Gymnastics. Beth has also been appointed as a Director of Switch the Play, an organisation that delivers a pathway for professional athletes with a careers and training after sport.
Beth’s profile allowed her to take on a variety of media and sporting work. In 2013, Beth won the eighth series of Dancing on Ice and has also participated in many other TV reality shows. Beth also commentates regularly for the BBC and Sky Sports, as well as making numerous media appearances on both TV & Radio.
Since starting gymnastics at the age of seven, Beth has helped to reinvent British gymnastics and her achievements place her in the ‘greatest of all time’ category within her sport. Her variety of talents and life experience make her a highly regarded motivational speaker, approachable to inspiring school children, whilst being able to motivate the employees of blue chip companies.
British Sailing’s “Golden Girl”
Olympic and Paralympic British Sailor; Paralympic Gold Medallist
At London 2012 Helena Lucas made history by becoming the first ever female winner of the male dominated Paralympic class and Britain’s first ever Paralympic sailing gold medallist.
After being born with no thumbs and limited extension in her arms Helena’s parents were advised by medical staff that she would probably struggle to complete even the simplest of tasks; Helena has ever since been proving them wrong and says herself that there is nothing she can’t do apart from give the thumbs up sign!
Helena has been involved with both Olympic and Paralympic campaigns only moving across from the Olympic 470 class where she had competed since 1997 in 2004. Helena made her Paralympic games debut in 2008 where she gained the motivation required to spur her on to the Gold medal spot in 2012.
Prior to Beijing in 2006 Helena was thrust back in to the Olympic world once more when asked by double Olympic Gold medallist Shirley Robertson to stand in as helm for her Yngling crew for the Pre-Olympic Test event in China. With only 3 days of practice together Helena and her crew went on to win the Silver medal. She continued to finish on the podium at various events leading up to the Beijing Paralympic and was a strong medal contender however results did not go her way and she finished a disappointing 7th overall.
Helena believes her experience and disappointment in Beijing is what helped her to become Britain’s sailing Golden girl when she made history with her victory at London 2012. Helena went on to campaign to defend her Gold medal at Rio 2016 and was in fact in Gold Medal position going in to the last race however a plastic bag got caught in her rudder and cost her the Gold Medal. She still held on for the Bronze and by doing so because Britain’s most successful Paralympic sailor.
In 2013 Helen was awarded the ME for her services to sailing, received Honorary doctorate degrees from Bournemouth, Winchester and Southampton Solent and has been nominated for World Sailing “sailor of the year” twice. Helena’s fun, bubbly, charming personality combined with her inspirational stories and determination to win gold make her a highly engaging and captivating speaker for any audience.
Construction Industry Entrepreneur
International 15’s, 7’s and touch rugby player
Philippa has always had a love of all sport, any sport, but by her own admission she never thought she would become an international athlete. From a young age her eyes were firmly set instead on developing her business career.
With both parents self-employed, entrepreneurialism was in her blood; her father ran a successful building company at which Philippa loved to help out. She realised a gap in the market for a building company that could supply an all-female work force and in 2007 launched her own company ‘Female Building and Interiors’.
Philippa’s business career did not stop at the building site as she went on to a TV career with Channel 4 on The Renovation Game and become one of the first female builders on national TV.
Alongside developing a successful company Phillipa’s love of rugby also grew and through years of hard work, juggling her own company commitments and her TV career she went on to be internationally capped for Wales at Rugby Union, Rugby 7’s and Touch Rugby.
Philippa won her first Rugby Union 15-a-side cap in 2006, she went on to play in seven Six Nations tournaments, European championships and the 2014 World Cup. Her first 7’s international cap came in 2007 and still in the squad she is now one of the highest capped Welsh women’s 7’s players. Philippa and the team are now preparing for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. Her touch rugby career is equally impressive; after winning her first cap in 2004 she has since represented Wales Women in two World Cups, 4 European championships and six Home Nations. In 2014 she was awarded Home Nations most valuable player and now captains the Walsh over 27’s squad.
On their own Philippa’s sporting career and business career are equally impressive but the fact that both have been built concurrently makes her achievements truly inspiring. Philippa brings unique value as a public speaker offering first-hand experience and lessons learnt as an elite sportswoman, as a successful entrepreneur and from working in a largely male dominated environment.
Record breaking Clipper Round the World Yacht Race Skipper
Vicky Ellis is an inspiring leader. As a professional skipper in the 2013/14 Clipper Round the World yacht race, Vicky led a team of 63 amateur sailors in the world’s longest yacht race. Battling terrifying storms and challenges she developed and coached her international crew, rising from the bottom of the twelve-strong fleet to the top over the 11-month race.
Vicky is one of only a handful of women in history to have skippered a team in such a race. She made the record books when she became the first female skipper to lead her team to victory on a leg of the race. Getting to the top in this sport demands not only great determination and courage but also great vision and leadership. Vicky truly understands how to get the best out of people and how to build strong and high performing teams, capable of taking on the most remote and wild oceans on this planet.
Vicky is a brilliant choice for clients looking to engage and create impact with both their established and future leaders. Her work in leadership consultancy keeps her finger on the pulse with emerging leadership trends and women in leadership topics.
On the speaking stage, her fascinating stories, lessons and footage of leadership in the toughest of conditions have inspired individuals, organisations and businesses worldwide. Vicky’s unique and tailored talks are the highlight of professional gatherings, networking events and conferences. She has a fantastic ability to bring lessons to life, inspire and challenge thinking; take a memorable look at leadership whilst providing inspiration to the audience to motivate themselves for success.
Vicky is a natural leader and confident presenter, she pays great attention to each client’s needs. You will find her intelligent, professional and a pleasure to work with.