I’ve recently returned to the office on a part-time basis (hurrah!) and after over a year sat at home, I had the joy of reminiscing in-person with a colleague about our years here at JLA, how the speaker landscape has shifted, and what the future looks like (quite a lot to contemplate for one afternoon!). One thing we both agreed on was the improvement in the sheer range and diversity of speakers there is now a demand for, and whilst there is much work still to be done, to put it mildly, there are so many more fantastic female keynote speaker options out there covering every subject and field imaginable. Here are just a handful of my current personal favourites.
Vanessa’s CV is incredible and she’s smashed several glass ceilings over the course of her publishing career. Now the first female Publishing Director at British Vogue, she’s a brilliant keynote speaker on leadership, brand strategy and social purpose, and how to reframe challenges as opportunity. I’m in awe of her and can’t wait to see what she’ll do next.
Sam came recommended to us by another high-profile keynote speaker and as soon as you meet her, it’s clear she’s a rising star. As the interviews producer on Newsnight Sam negotiated incredible and sometimes seemingly impossible one-to-ones with headline-grabbing names (including a certain member of the Royal Family). How could you not want to know more? A versatile figure for all types of event, Sam is just as at home hosting awards and facilitating conferences as she is a keynote speaker on topics like communication, trust and crisis management.
A keynote speaker on ESG is one of our most-requested at the moment, and it can be difficult to get to grips with. What is ESG and why is it important? Are CSR and ESG the same thing? How do you integrate ESG into your wider business strategy? The brilliant Marga can answer all of these questions, and explains why doing business sustainably is not only important for the planet, but now a key factor in investment and financial performance.
Disability practitioner and activist Shani is an eloquent voice campaigning for greater equality and inclusion of underrepresented communities. As a social entrepreneur and specialist in workplace adjustment and D&I programming, Shani is a keynote speaker who not only inspires, but actually shows you both why and how businesses can truly implement meaningful change (both big strategy and smaller day-to-day) and the urgent case for making workplaces far more diverse and accessible. The statistics, case studies and personal experiences she shares are eye-opening to say the least.
Eni’s one of our most-booked speakers of the last year. As a successful former footballer she’s a terrific keynote speaker on the evergreens of teamwork and leadership, but her background as an entertainment lawyer and her well-documented challenge of the FA also make her a compelling and authoritative voice on standing up for what is right, and speaking out against discrimination and injustice.
Oft-mentioned in these features, Christine has fast become a collective favourite of the JLA team. With a large helping of dry humour, Christine confronts received wisdom on working patterns and practices, and the post-Covid challenges facing men and women, young and old alike. Refreshingly no-nonsense, I can’t think of anyone more relevant for any audience in the current times of upheaval and WFH. Her weekly vlog is the first thing I look for when I open my laptop on a Friday morning.