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Will I Get a Word in? My Dream Dinner Party Guest List

As MD of Speakers Corner, former Chairman of the European Association of Speaker Bureaus and Co-Chair of the 2017 IASB (International Association of Speaker Bureaus), I am so lucky that my job and passion are one and the same. I have always aspired to ensure our clients secure the best speaker, presenter or host for their events or conferences.

I was recently asked if I could invite anyone to a dinner party, who would it be and why. My head spinning a million miles an hour questioned if I’d invite my favourite artists, or maybe some of the most inspirational people I could think of, what about actors, politicians, do I invite some family members too, perhaps a mixture? But what if the different personalities clash and the whole event is a disaster? How do you choose only a few?

Without further ado, I present to you my Dream Dinner Party Guest List;

Gilbert Scott Heron 

Gil was an American soul and jazz poet, musician and author. Most famously known for his work as a spoken word performer in the 1970s & 80s with content concerning social and political issues and is considered to be the first rapper/MC ever. He is a true musical poet and someone who inspired and open my eyes to socio political issues.

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Oprah Winfery

Needing little introduction, Oprah is best known for her talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show and has been ranked the greatest black philanthropist in America’s history. What she has achieved and the impact she has had on so many different people is beyond comprehension. She also elevated the interview and the art of conversation and bought it to all of our attention.

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Muhammad Yunus

Muhammad is an economist, civil society leader and social entrepreneur in Bangladesh who founded the Grameen Bank and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. His work to pioneer banking for those in the lower bracket of social and economic status to help them develop and be entrepreneurs was both ahead of its time and also a massive step to showing entrepreneurship and business acumen should not be dependent on social status.

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Barack Obama 

Obama. 44th President of the United States. The most admired man in America for an incredible 11 consecutive years. Need I say more?

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Hyeonseo Lee

Best known for her book, The Girls with Seven Names, Hyeonseo in a North Korean defector whose story is one of courage, determination and persistence. An incredible speaker, a true inspiration. North Korea is a true mystery – what a great guest both for what she has done but also for the stories of what North Korea is actually like.

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Nando Parrado 

Nando tells the tale of the Uruguayan rugby team, whose plane crashed into the Andes. Nando's life changing and heart rendering story imparts some inspirational lessons on leadership, motivation and teamwork. If you want an adventurer round the table, someone who has done incredible things, this is the guy who was part of the team that inspired the film Alive – they ate each other to survive – I’ve got to chat to him.

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Michael Lewis 

Michael is a financial journalist and non-fiction. His journalistic work on so many areas from Moneyball to Liar’s Poker, The Big Short to the Blind Side and so many others, has stripped back the inner workings of places which were previously undecipherable and made it accessible to everyone – the stories he must be able to tell means he would be a fascinating guest at the table

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Francois Pienaar 

Francois is a retired South African rugby union player for the Springboks, winning 29 international caps as captain. He is regarded as one of the most successful South African captains. When Mandala wore his South African shirt at the rugby world cup in 1995, it was a seminal moment for a country and a defining moment for the power of sport.

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John Amaechi OBE 

John is an organisational psychologist, Chartered Scientist, best-selling New York Times author and CEO of Amaechi Performance Systems. Prior to founding his firm, John spent several years as a professional athlete, becoming the first Brit to play in the National Basketball Association. The guy is amazing and just want to pick his brains for hours.

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Misha Glenny 

Misha Glenny is an expert on global organised crime and cyber security. Misha has written a string of books on areas such as The Dark Market and How Hackers are the new Mafia, Misha exposes threats to businesses in light of ever-changing technology. He went undercover with drug lords in South America, he went undercover with Russian Mafia, do I need to go on?

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Usain Bolt

Like his name suggests, Usain is arguably the fastest sprinter alive. Bursting onto the scene in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and holds the world records in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay. I have heard from a top performance coach asking the question how much faster could Usain have run beyond his natural ability as he maybe wasn’t the most dedicated to training – I want to ask him that.

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Alexandria in an American politician for the Democratic party who drew national recognition when she defeated the ten-term Congressman to win the seat by 15 percentage points. A year earlier she became the youngest women every to serve in the United States Congress at age 29. What she is doing in the US at the moment, her principles, her background, her values – she is the future, she is the present, she could be the leader that we need in the times we are in.

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Akala

Social entrepreneur and MOBO award-winning hip-hop artist Akala engages young audiences worldwide as founder of The Hip-Hop Shakespeare Company through his unique fusion of rap, rock, electro-punk and fierce lyrical storytelling. One of the most intelligent, well spoken, fascinating people in the UK today, his thoughts and knowledge would mean I would come back a wiser and better person than I was at the begging of the evening.

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Now that I have completed this list, I don’t believe a standard dinner party would be long enough. I might have to ask them to our away day instead!

For further information or to book one of our speakers, call us on +44 (0)20 7607 7070 or email info@speakerscorner.co.uk.

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