Igniting Inspiration Summer Event – Speakers

Igniting Summer Speakers

Our annual Igniting Inspiration awards are still some months away. We loved the buzz of last year’s event so much that we can’t wait until November to gather passionate people like you together for an afternoon of joy and creative thought.

We want to celebrate how far the changemakers in our circle have come, so we’ve invited a few of them to share their progress in a range of ways – through lyrics, bite-sized talks and a panel discussion at #IgnitingSummer.

Summer is all about fun, sun and BBQs so we’ve asked the Midnight Bell to put on an amazing spread for us, against a backdrop of summer tunes.

So bring your curious, creative inner child to our Igniting Inspiration Summer BBQ to connect, share, eat – and to learn how you, too, can become part of our Igniting Inspiration awards in November.

Click here to book your ticket!

Our Speakers

Anj Handa FRSA

Anj Handa FRSA

IWC Founder, Lobbyist, Speaker & Writer

Described by i-news as ’a bloody brilliant woman‘, Anj has worked since 2003 to change the life chances of some of society’s most vulnerable people by influencing Government policy through innovative practice.

She launched Inspiring Women Changemakers in 2016 as a result of her experiences of leading a global changemaking campaign. Her Change.org petition attracted 128,000 supporters and the attention of the media, MPs and other personalities, including Richard Branson.

Anj is passionate about getting voices heard and encourages those around her to speak up: for themselves, for others and for social issues.

She‘s one of Grant Thornton’s 100 Faces of a Vibrant Economy 2018 and AFSA Positive Action Award winner 2017. She’s currently a finalist in the upcoming English Asian Business Awards in the Business Woman of the Year category.

Anj has most recently been featured in Generation Share, a visual storybook which showcases the work of 200 changemakers from around the world.

Dorothy Hodgkinson FRSA

Dorothy Hodgkinson FRSA

Independent Advocate & Consultancy Owner

Dorothy was a stay at home mum for many years, supporting her then husband’s aspiring academic career.

When he left her, she knew she had to ‘start again’ and carve out some sort of career for herself whilst still looking after her children (two in 6th form and one in primary school). She was also primary carer for her mum who had complex medical conditions, including dementia.

Dorothy went to college, then to university, graduating at 50 with 1st class Honours in Counselling Studies. It was here that she discovered the profession of independent advocacy and found her passion had a name!

Drawing on all her experiences - personal, voluntary and paid - Dorothy established her coaching, mentoring and training business, Finding Perspectives. She’s now in the process of registering Advocacy Perspectives CIC.

Her aim is to build a community-based team of peer advocates who can speak up for issues that are dear to them, both individually and in groups, benefiting from supervision to help them balance their own emotional and psychological responses.

Dr Jean Laight FRSA

Dr Jean Laight FRSA

Writer, Educationalist, Campaigner & Activist

Jean was an active trade unionist for many years, specifically NUT (now NEU) and UCU, she has attended rallies and demonstrations against such initiatives as high stakes testing and cuts to education budgets.

Working in the education sector, first as a teacher in primary schools and Early Years settings, Jean subsequently became a Senior Lecturer in Initial Teacher Education at Leeds Beckett University.

She is an active researcher, and her latest book ‘Exploring narratives of women teacher trade union activists’, published by Brill, is due to be released in the next few months.

Jean became a Founding Member of the Women’s Equality Party in 2015 and stood as a candidate in the local elections in Harrogate in 2018, gaining 10.6% of the votes. She continues to be an active member of her branch.

As well as writing academically, Jean writes novels under the name of Imogen Sparke. Her novels can be accessed as e-books on Amazon. She is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Lucy Ndlovu

Lucy Ndlovu

Postgrad Student & Diversity Consultancy Owner

Lucy is currently a Postgraduate student at Leeds Beckett University pursuing an MA in Public Relations (PR) and Strategic Communication. She was born in Kenya and moved to the UK 23 years ago.

Her personal diverse cultural experiences have fuelled her passion to address inequalities experienced by ethnic minority women in the UK labour market.

In 2018, Lucy founded Progressive Talent consultancy, which aims to challenge the status quo and level the playing field by using on-going research to help organisations attract, develop retain and promote ethnic women into leadership positions.

Lucy felt compelled to act following years of ‘intelligent ‘conversations and discussions with progressive ethnic minority women, some of whom held senior positions and had felt that their potential was not being fulfilled at work for one reason or another.

The heart of Progressive Talent is to educate, inform and collaborate with organisations that are willing to tap into the myriad of valuable talents, strengths and skills of these individuals.

Lucy is also the Chair of the newly founded Wakefield BME forum business group and a school governor. At the core of it all, her greatest achievement is being a mum to her two boys.

Miranda Arieh

Miranda Arieh

Musician & Mental Health Advocate

Miranda Arieh was the winner of our 2017 Igniting Inspiration Social Impact Star Award for her work around mental health awareness.

The daughter of a classically trained pianist and Iranian New Yorker, she was also the loudest singer at school assembly.

Jumping out of her bedroom window to freedom at 14, little did Miranda know that this first descent would wind her up in the adolescent psychiatric unit at Highroyds Hospital Leeds; where she first picked up a guitar with only one string.

This crisis propelled her into writing and then onto forming fledgling female punk rock bands. From 2015-2017, she set off behind the wheel of a crippled camper van to perform hundreds of shows across the UK and USA.

Whilst on tour, she crafted the material that would make up her debut album Ferine, which launches on 19th June.

The album release was facilitated by her successful Kickstarter campaign earlier this year. Miranda exceeded her £5000 target by 10%. If we’re lucky, we’ll get to hear one of her tracks!

Shaun Connell

Shaun Connell

Marketer, Photographer, Educator & Influencer

Shaun is a sales and marketing professional with twenty years experience within the IT, education and finance sectors. He currently works for the Business Enterprise Fund, a Bradford-based, responsible finance provider to SMEs in the North of England.

To date, Shaun has spent his time managing marketing campaigns, project managing events and, writing compelling copy for print, web and radio.

His best moments are spent listening to, and retelling, client success stories especially those that speak to personal triumph in the face of adversity.

Shaun is an accomplished and published photographer known for ‘photographing significant segments from life’. His emotive, mono photography is influenced by Sir Don McCullin, Gordon Parks and the 12" mono TV that dominated his childhood years.

He is passionate about people and their stories. Shaun actively helps new and upcoming photographers to find their own voice to tell their own stories.

His mantra is: "Shoot who you love, what you love, and where you love!"

Suman Kaur

Suman Kaur

Acclaimed Artist, Activist & Museum Community Champion

Leeds lass Suman grew up in Leeds. In her earlier career, she worked within the rehabilitating amputees and those with other conditions effecting their mobility.

Her artistic ability was recognised as a youngster and she continued working on her talent as a hobby but eventually left the career in Prosthetics to work toward her dreams of being an artist.

With the encouragement of her best friend, Suman entered and won The BBC Big Painting Challenge in 2017.

She is still working towards her artistic dreams and recently contributed to the Stories for South Asian Supergirls book by Raj Kaur Khaira.

She’s passionate about inclusion, diversity and stereotypes and what that means for communities. These passions and her multiple skills contribute to her role within the Museum sector in a community engagement role.

Join Inspiring Women Changemakers

Inspiring Women Changemakers is a dynamic women-led movement for positive social change. Our members want to make the world a fairer place, for themselves, at work, and in communities.

IWC was born from a desire to connect people from all over the world who will help each other with their personal missions.

We develop courageous changemakers by giving them the platform, the contacts, the skills and the support to speak up about the issues that matter to them.

You can join the movement, whatever your gender. Individuals and small businesses with under 20 employees can become members of our community by making an annual pledge of just £35!

Click here to learn about membership!