Igniting Inspiration Summer Event – 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

Anj Handa

IWC Founder, Lobbyist, Speaker & Writer

Described in a The Independent International Women‘s Day 2018 feature 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.

Ashley North

Ashley North

Musician, Film Director and Domestic Abuse Awareness Champion

Ashley North, also known as No Fixed Identity, explores identity through sound, visual art and raw human experience.

A proud mum of three, Ashley is a survivor of domestic abuse and now speaks out about the violence and resulting psychosis that she experienced to raise awareness and help others.

She’s recently been signed to record label Come Play with Me and, along with her mentor, Anj Handa, is soon to be featured in #GenerationShare, a visual storybook about global changemakers.

Elizabeth Wright

Elizabeth Wright

Paralympian, Character Education Expert, Author & Speaker

Elizabeth is a three-time Paralympic medalwinner.

Originally from Australia, she moved to the UK eight years ago and pursued a speaking career, focusing on schools.

She is now a Co-Founder of RWS (Resilience Wellbeing Success), a character education programme.

Liz is currently studying for a Masters in Character Education, which informs not just RWS, but also her own speaking and wider life experience.

She has a particular interest in children with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND).

Liz recently spoke about her own experiences of mainstream education at TEDx Norwich Ed, where she gave invaluable advice to teachers in relation to SEND children’s needs.

Ellie MacDonald

Ellie MacDonald

PR Agency Owner and Advocate of Mental Health Awareness

Ellie MacDonald is the Founder of PR Agency, MacComms, which she set up in 2015.

Ellie was named in the top four Business Women of the Year category at the Yorkshire Choice Awards, as well as a highly commended applicant of our 2017 Igniting Inspiration Awards.

At the heart of MacComms is a desire to create a successful business based on treating people right, as well as supporting local charities and community projects across Yorkshire. This includes supporting Simon on the Streets homelessness charity.

She also loves to give back to other up-and-coming entrepreneurs. Having recently graduated from NatWest’s Entrepreneurial Spark (now NatWest’s business accelerator) programme, Ellie was awarded Chiclet’s Choice by her peers, who recognised her willingness to collaborate and support other entrepreneurs.

Jane Keogh

Jane Keogh

Coach and Adventurer

Jane Keogh is a coach who formerly lived in the Lower Zambezi.

She worked with a team of local men, most of whom came from the surrounding rural villages. Most of them had basic primary education, but the majority had no access to secondary education. The main source of their employment is seasonal, at the safari lodges in and around the National Park.

Jane fell in love with Zambia and even after she left, she felt compelled to stay connected to this place. So she’s taken on the challenge of leading nine people (some of whom have never even been to Africa) on a canoeing expedition down the crocodile-populated River Zambezi.

The team are raising funds for secondary school education for orphans and disadvantaged children and raise awareness of wildlife conservation.

Karen Cruise

Karen Cruise

Transformer of Young People’s Lives

Karen is a qualified coach and a mum who shares her personal journey to help young people realise the potential and greatness they already possess.

She offers hope by showing them how her life changed for the better once she started to believe in herself and her capabilities; even going back to college at the age of 52 to take her GCSEs and passing them after being told at school that she wasn’t clever enough!

One of the most profound breakthroughs was with a 12 year old boy with an abusive father who had been self-harming and lsuicide. He had begun to express his emotions through poetry and trusted Karen to read them. Now, with the support of his school, he is working to publish a few of his poems.

Minoti Parikh

Minoti Parikh

International Master of Ceremonies and Former Sports TV Presenter

Minoti Parikh is a Master of Ceremonies with 1500 global events under her belt. She’s compered high-profile events for organisations including the Barbados Tourist Board, Hyundai and HP. She’s interviewed the likes of business tycoons, Laxmi Mittal and Ratan Tata and cricketer Sachin Tendulkar.

Prior to this, Minoti was a Sports TV Presenter in the male-dominated field of motor sports.That’s why she’s an integral part of the Inspiring Women Changemakers Associate team - who better to teach other women how to speak up?!

Minoti will once again bring her charismatic energy to our event as our MC for the afternoon.She is also a classically trained Indian dancer and will demonstrate a powerful pose to her our guests connect with their inner flame. It’s a great anchor to use when you need an internal boost.

Miranda Arieh

Miranda Arieh

Musician and Mental Health Advocate

Miranda Arieh is an acclaimed musician and winner of last year’s 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 influenced by Mozart, Meatloaf and NOFX.

Jumping yet again in 2015 but this time behind the wheel of a crippled camper van, Miranda set off playing hundreds of shows across the UK and USA over 2 years, crafting the material that would make up her debut album FERINE, released this year.

Paula Atherill

Paula Atherill

Tech Firm Owner and Conservationist

Paula is a tech company owner who is passionate about conservation and education. She’s also a valued member of Inspiring Women Changemakers.

She’s taking part in an expedition to Zambia this July to raise funds for disadvantaged children’s education, which will include animal conservation.

Paula has decided to dedicate her time to working on this cause. It is important to her because she wants to see all animals and people living peacefully together whilst also protecting the environment.

She says this education is essential because the local communities aren’t aware of how important these species are to the overall environment.

Pria Bhabra

Pria Bhabra

Migration Expert & Champion of Migrant Opportunities

Pria is a Local Authority Programme Officer and the winner of last year’s special Igniting Inspiration Award.

She leads pioneering work in promoting the integration and empowerment of migrant communities in Leeds, and has received international recognition.

Pria has been invited by EUROCITIES - a network which represents 130 cities across Europe - to present the Leeds model (MAP) in several European cities.

Her most memorable experience was in Milan, where Leeds won the Sharing Cities EUROCITIES award for the Migrant Access Project (MAP).

In April 2017, along with Roma Community Networker, Michaela Sarkozyova, she was invited to present MAP at a Roma Inclusion Task Force meeting held by the Social Affairs Forum in Lisbon.

Vicky Morrell

Vicky Morrell

Serving Prison Officer and Creator of Offender Rehabilitation Fundraising Programme

Vicky Morrell is a serving prison officer and the winner of last year’s Diversity-Driven Organisation Igniting Inspiration Award.

Her initiative, A Little Something Back, is a fundraising rehabilitation service for offenders. Soon to become a registered charity, it allows offenders the opportunity to give something back to someone less fortunate than themselves.

She has hosted a range of events, even taking an offender out into the community to fundraise.

To date, her initiative has raised in excess on £9,000 for 15 beneficiaries. These include: Leeds Children’s Charity, Help a Capital Child, Leeds Children’s Hospital, Cash for Kids , Pathways School and Make A Wish.

Join Inspiring Women Changemakers

Inspiring Women Changemakers is a dynamic movement of women leading transformational change – at work, in communities, and in the world. It was born from a desire to connect women with people from all over the world who can help them with their mission.

We develop courageous changemakers by encouraging women to speak up about issues that matter to them, to take responsibility, and to take action!

And we’ve launched a membership package for you: Individuals and micro businesses with under 5 employees can become members of our movement by making an annual pledge of just £35!

Click here to learn about membership!