Inspirational Female Keynote Speakers Empowering Change Today
As the new decade dawns, many are asking the question ‘what do we want to do and achieve in the next year and decade?’. We decided to explore these inspirational female keynote speakers to find out how they are empowering millions of people around the world.
Discover how they could motivate your audience in this new decade to create real change in your organisation.
You may remember, or perhaps have heard of that match that Billie Jean King played. Not the one where she became number 1 in the world, or the 39 Grand Slam wins or even winning singles titles at the inaugural WTA Tour Championship. I’m talking about the one that really kick-started the women’s movement. The
Regarded as one of the greatest women’s tennis players of all time, it was her continuous fight for gender equality and social justice that has cemented her spot in this list. With the mindset of “You can have a law, but it’s changing the hearts and minds to match up with that”, she decided at age 12 that she would spend her life advocating for these causes. Winning this tennis match was a key turning point, as women had the self-confidence and empowerment to start asking for raises, and men became the first generation of the women’s movement, something they might not have realised until they had their own daughters.
Founding the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative, the Women’s Sports Foundation and the Women’s Tennis Association, and was the co-founder of World TeamTennis, Billie Jean King has done an incredible service to the women’s movement and has been presented numerous awards for her passionate stance fighting for women’s rights.
Sometimes life present chances that you can either grab and run with, or run away from. There was one afternoon, while working as a hostess at hooters, where all the kitchen staff walked out. With the curiosity to find out if she could do it, amongst other reasons, Kat Cole jumped into the kitchen. Unbeknown to her, this meant she had worked every role in the Hooters restaurant and was sent to Australia to open a new chain in Sydney. By the age of 20, she had opened franchises in 3 continents aside from North America.
Kat provides valuable insights and perspectives that helped her climb the corporate ladder, eventually leading some of the world’s best-known food brands. She knows what it takes to create and lead successful teams, drive innovation and growth, lead with heart and sustain excellence. “The people in any situation who are closest to the action.. those people know what the right thing to do is long before the leaders knows.”
“If you’re scared to make a decision, if you’re overthinking something… talk to as many people as you can that are in a similar situation and you will get the courage to do the right thing for the right reason.”
An ardent campaigner for human rights, Jody became the tenth woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize after serving as the founding coordinator of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) until February 1998. “It is a sustainable peace in which a majority of people on this planet have access to enough resources to live dignified lives, where these people have enough access to education and healthcare so that they can live in freedom from want and freedom from fear.”
Jody brings audiences tough love to the dream of world peace. What needs to happen? Action. “What we need today is people getting up and taking action to reclaim the meaning of peace.” She deliver a realistic vision for world peace, and shares stories from some of the incredible women and men in the world who are standing up, together, in force, fighting for peace, fighting for democracy, fighting to make a change.
Jody’s overpowering message is action. It is not faith or hope that we need, instead it’s action. It’s action that is going to change the world.
What does success mean from a holistic point of view? This is one of the big questions Sophie Amoruso is exploring at her company Girlboss. Discussing what Girlboss is, Sophie defines it as “…a conversation about redefining success. We don’t claim to have the answers, I don’t know what your version of success is, it’s individual to everybody but it’s a conversation that we can have together and that we should have together to land on what that means for each of us.”
But Girlboss is a lot more then this. The Girlboss Foundation also awards financial grants of $15,000 to women in industries of design, fashion, music, and the arts, to help them build and grow their small businesses. Which to date has awarded over $120,000 to the next generation of female entrepreneurs.
Named by Forbes as “Fashion’s New Phenom” and featured on the cover of their June 2016 “Self Made Women” issue, Sophia has gone from one of the most prominent figures in retail to a cultural thought leader re-defining the model of success for the modern women. Sharing and addressing the challenges faced by women in society today and how they can seize the moment to achieve their goals, Sophia has a wealth of knowledge and fascinating stories to empower an audience.
“It’s the first time in history where women are defining what success means for ourselves collectively”.
In a world full of change and disruption, what is it that we can learn about creativity and success? Randi is the Founder and CEO of the media consulting firm Zuckerberg Media, and she has an idea or two on this topic. One of her key messages is to not be afraid of failure, but instead use it to reach success.
Putting this message into practise, Facebook started a program which allowed their staff to work overnight on a project, any project, that they wanted to work on and then got to present their idea to their colleagues. What this allowed was for every employee to feel like an entrepreneur, and no matter how weird and wacky their ideas were, it was a safe place for everyone to push the boundary. No not every idea was good, but there were some gems that were implemented.
What was the result of this? A multitude of successes that have all stemmed from this thinktank. Embrace the change that’s happening around the world, and find different ways to create success from it!
“I was approaching a part in the Ocean which was 2,000 miles away from the nearest town. The nearest land was Antarctica, and the nearest people would be those manning the European Space Station above me.” Dame Ellen MacArthur made yachting history in 2005, capturing the public’s attention as she battled against the elements and equipment failures during her gruelling 94-day voyage to become the fastest solo sailor to circumnavigate the globe.
Having become acutely aware of the finite nature of the resources on which our linear economy relies, Dame Ellen set up the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in 2010 to accelerate the transition to a circular economy. “If we could build an economy that would use things rather than use them up, we could build a future that really could work in the long term.”
Determined and passionate, Dame Ellen inspires audiences, sharing with them the idea of the circular economy and what the future could look like for today’s children.
What do you do when you job is to save the world, but you have absolutely no authority? This is the incredible task that Christiana Figueres took on when she became the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in July 2010.
“Impossible is not a fact, it’s an attitude. It’s only an attitude.” After the failed 2009 Climate talks in Copenhagen, Christiana made the decision to change her attitude in that a global agreement would only happen outside her lifetime, and instead she vowed to change her attitude, and help the world change its attitude on climate change.
Building toward that goal, she directed the successful Conferences of the Parties in Cancun 2010, Durban 2011, Doha 2012, Warsaw 2013, and Lima 2014, before culminating in the historical Paris Agreement of 2015. “On December 12 2015, in Paris, under the United Nations, 195 governments got together an unanimously decided to intentionally change the course of the global economy in order to protect the most vulnerable and improve the life’s of us all.“
2016 Fortune magazine listed her number seven of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders, the only female Latin American to be listed, and Time magazine included in the top 100 influential leaders of the world.
How do you save money by investing in things that make you consume less? Livia Firth is the Creative Director of sustainability consultancy Eco-Age and founder of the Green Carpet Challenge (GCC). As a pillar for change in the fashion industry, Livia highlights the recurring and pressing issues in the industry, stemmed from the supply chain and factory workers.
“It’s a sad fact that this industry remains more comfortable picking low-hanging fruit by focusing on token green initiatives then on dealing with human exploitation in the supply chain. If in your heart, like me, believe that this is not an acceptable position, I ask you to be more courageous.”
She is renowned for creating compelling frameworks and campaigns for environmental and social justice with global reach. “Nothing will ever change until the business of fast fashion stays as it is, and that is producing huge volumes of clothes in incredibly fast cycles, and very, very cheaply. [This is due to being continually] addicted to an even crazier cycle of consumption which is totally unsustainable...”
As a UN Leader of Change and has been recognised with the UN Fashion 4 Development Award and the Rainforest Alliance Award for Outstanding Achievement in Sustainability, Livia is a powerful communicator on progressive change, and will make you audience consider their fashion choices.
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