The World’s Best EDI Keynote Speakers to Hire in 2024

Chris Tompkins Official Author Picture
Senior Keynote Speaker & Entertainment Manager
19 minutes to read
Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

It is believed that workforces and economies are most potent when diversity, equity, and inclusion are embraced fully. Equity, diversity, and inclusion extend to matters such as race, ethnicity, gender, and age and are arguably critical elements of business success in today’s world. As our world becomes more and more globalised, it has become increasingly important to understand what equity, diversity, and inclusion mean in practice.


What is EDI?

Diversity refers to who is represented in the workforce, equity refers to the just treatment of all those involved, and inclusion refers to how the workplace embraces all employees so that they can make meaningful contributions to the organisation.

Source: McKinsey

How can ensuring Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion benefit a workplace?

The pros of inculcating equity, diversity, and inclusion in a workplace are manifold. EDI is instrumental in growing team cohesion, facilitating collaboration, extracting the best from employees as a result of them feeling secure in their roles, and making employees feel like they are integral to the success of the organisation thus increasing retention, increasing employee satisfaction, and ultimately attracting the best talent to join the organisation.

Source: Forbes

What steps can I take to embed EDI into the workplace?

Here are some key steps you can implement to ensure that equity, diversity, and inclusion become your organisation’s strong suit:

  • Be mindful of building a diverse workforce by going beyond a homogenous group of talent
  • Ensure that holidays of every religion and culture are observed
  • Encourage Employee Resource Groups to be formed & develop a mandatory equity, diversity, and inclusion training programme
  • Hire a top EDI speaker to address your employees

Source: Globalization Partners & Qualtrics

The Top EDI Speakers to Hire:

Nicola Adams

Nicola Adams is famed as the first female to win an Olympic boxing medal, which she achieved during the 2012 London Olympics, and the first British boxer in 92 years to defend her title at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

In addition to this, at the time she was the only openly LGBTQ+ person to win such an accolade in boxing. In addition to being a leading athlete, having been appointed MBE in 2013 and OBE in 2017, Nicola is a strong advocate for LGBT+ matters. Named No.1 on The Independent’s 2012 Pink List, Nicola has used her prominence as a member of the LGBT+ community as a force for good, having starred in the first same-sex couple on Strictly Come Dancing in 2020. This speaks volumes about just how much Nicola believes in LGBT+ inclusion. Undoubtedly, Nicola makes for an excellent choice for a speaker on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.

Official Testimonial for Nicola Adams:

"I thought it was fabulous. She is truly remarkable and we were thrilled to have her." - Jonathan, Blackstone

Tanni Grey-Thompson

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson is the image for overcoming adversity and achieving greatness. A 16-time Paralympic medallist, comprising 11 golds, 4 silvers and 1 bronze medals, Tanni is a force to be reckoned with. She was diagnosed with Spina Bifida when she was 7 years old but refused to let that define her. Recipient of the Lifetime Achievement award at the 2019 BBC Sports Personality Awards, Tanni began wheel-chair racing when she was 13 years old.

Her first national appearance for Great Britain was in 1988 at the Seoul Paralympics. Nothing has stopped her since then and she has only grown her respectability with each new sporting event. An ambassador for disability sports, she was a Board Member for the London Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Vice President of the Women’s Sports Foundation, and is also a Life Peer of the House of Lords. Tanni Grey-Thompson is guaranteed to inspire every audience member when hired as a speaker for equity, diversity ad inclusion events.

Official Testimonial for Tanni Grey-Thompson:

“Tanni was great and her presentation very well received so overall a great result. Thank you to you and your team for helping make it happen.” - Matt, MoD

Sir Lenny Henry

Sir Lenny Henry is a British stand-up comedian and one of the most riveting performers in the country. Co-Founder of the Comic Relief charity that was set up in response to the famine in Ethiopia, Lenny has done some extraordinary charitable work. In recognition of this, he was appointed CBE title in 1999. A household name today, Lenny has worked in numerous shows, debuting in the 70’s sitcom The Fosters.

Author of “Who Am I, Again?”, Lenny has also appeared in several plays including as Othello for which he won the London Evening Standard Milton Shuman Award for Outstanding Newcomer. He has also gone on multiple sell-out tours of Australia, New Zealand, and the UK, as well as done shows like The Lenny Henry Show and Lenny Henry in Pieces. Having written radio plays, and been part of shows like Spyfall, and Doctor Who’s New Years. Lenny Henry is now using his prominence to raise awareness of the crucial importance of diversity and inclusion – making him the ideal EDI speaker for your next event.

Official Testimonial for Lenny Henry:

“The event was fantastic - thank you so, so much for helping us to make it happen. He struck the perfect chord of comedy, getting the message across and he attracted more people than we would usually get to attend these kind of events. We were delighted, so thank you and all of the team.” - Maria, Nomura

Katie Piper

Katie Piper is the Founder of the Katie Piper Foundation – an organisation that promotes support for victims and survivors of burns and scars. Katie was subject to a brutal acid attack in 2008, leaving her with facial burns and blind in one eye. A model at the time, having also been named Miss Winchester, Katie was made to question her future. Little did she know the heights she was destined to reach despite the adversities she faced.

After undergoing 40 operations, Katie released Channel 4’s Katie: My Beautiful Face, which won the Best Documentary award at the Broadcast Awards. She has also written books like “Beautiful”, “Things Get Better” and “Things I’d Tell My Child”, spreading the message that beauty lies within and that beauty standards set by society are arbitrary. Katie has worked with beauty giants like Pantene and L’Oreal on redefining the beauty standards we are made to abide by. Appointed OBE in 2022, Katie is the epitome of strength and grace, illuminating the way for women all around the world to nurture their self-love and face life’s many challenges. She is one of the best equity, diversity, and inclusion speakers we have on our roster!

Official Testimonial for Katie Piper:

"Katie was amazing yesterday, thank you! Her story is so inspiring and she came across as really humble and down to earth. Thank you for all of your help." - Vicky, Ernst & Young

Kelly Holmes

Kelly Holmes is an athletic marvel, having won two Olympic gold medals at the age of 34. Famed as the oldest woman to win the 800m and 1500m races in the 2004 Athens Olympics, Kelly has faced her fair share of adversity, struggling with debilitating injury, self-harm and depression. Coming out as gay in 2022 felt like a weight off her shoulders as she revealed a secret she kept hidden for 30 years, finally able to live her true self. Despite the adversities that came her way, Kelly flourished as an athlete, gathering medals as if they were souvenirs from her stints at World Championships, European Championships, and the Commonwealth Games.

Kelly’s other lifelong dream was to serve in the army, and she was able to achieve this through her service as an Honorary Colonel of the Royal Armoured Corps. She is the only person to have had the title of Honorary Colonel attached to a regular unit. In 1998, she received an MBE from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for her contributions to the British Army. Despite retiring from sports in 2005, Kelly Holmes is still one of the most celebrated athletes to exist. She is bound to inspire your audience when booked as a speaker at your next equity, diversity and inclusion event.

Official Testimonial for Kelly Holmes:

“That was a fantastic session with Kelly, we really enjoyed having her speak. Please do pass on our thanks and appreciation. So many questions and not enough time but people thoroughly enjoyed her and found her inspirational and motivational.” - Morven, Maples Group

Geffrye Parsons

Geffrye Parsons is one of the few people who can claim absolute dominance in making a workplace a safe, secure, and inclusive environment for the LGBTQ+ community. As Managing Director at the Macquarie Group, he helped the organisation rank number 1 in Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index – a testament to him making it the most LGBTQ+ friendly workplace in 2022.

Founder and CEO of The Inclusion Imperative, he is a revered equity, diversity and inclusion trainer and coach. In 2018, Geffrye won the Business Equality award at the PinkNews Awards and has been named in the Top 100 LGBTQ+ Executives Globally list for three consecutive years. Geffrye uses his platform to openly combat hate speech, conversion therapy and bullying. Named the LGBT+ Inspirational Leader at the British LGBT Awards in 2019, Geffrye is one of the most celebrated EDI speakers you can book for your next event.

Official Testimonial for Geffrye Parsons:

"Geff is one of the most high-energy and high-impact executives I have encountered in the area of LGBTQ+ diversity and inclusion. Geff is deeply committed to helping the LGBTQ+ community. I genuinely could not hope to encounter an LGBTQ+ executive who is doing more for our community." - Elliot, BCG

Jean Tomlin

Jean Tomlin is one of the foremost human resource and team management specialists who serves as the Founder and CEO of Chanzo currently. She is best known for her work as the Director of HR, Workforce, and Accreditation at the 2012 London Olympics, which also resulted in her being appointed OBE.

An industry leader in unifying workforces, increasing employee engagement and retention and diversity and inclusion, she has worked in some of the best-known organisations including Sainsbury’s, Marks and Spencer, BBC, and Ford Motor Company. Jean has the experience of mobilising the UK’s largest peace-time workforce, keeping 200,000 people in order, making her extremely valuable as a global business leader. Recipient of the CIPD’s Outstanding Contribution award, Jean Tomlin is a speaker you should book right away for your equity, diversity, and inclusion events.

Official Testimonial for Jean Tomlin:

"The audience was moved and inspired, Jean did a great job." - The Institute for Family Business (UK)

Sonita Alleyne

Sonita Alleyne is the Founder and CEO of The Yes Programme in addition to being the first Black, female Master of Jesus College. A leading name when it comes to educating people about the vitality of inclusion and representation, Sonita is a revered keynote speaker.

Co-Founder and former CEO of Somethin’ Else, she is the Chair of the Committee of Management at the British Board of Film Classification. Sonita has had ample experience working as a journalist and broadcaster for Greater London Radio, BBC Four and BBC Five. For her work in the field of broadcasting, she was awarded an OBE title as well as the Carlton Multicultural Achievement Award for TV and Radio. She has also been a Trustee at the BBC Trust, Governor for the University of the Arts London, and Chair of the Radio Skills Sector previously. Sonita has always placed due emphasis on promoting equity, diversity and inclusion in the workplace, making her one of the best EDI speakers you could book.

Kanya King

Kanya King is famed for her work in championing people belonging to the BAME community. An equity, diversity and inclusion proponent, she wants to ensure that people from diverse backgrounds are adequately represented and celebrated in the fields of music, arts and technology. This desire led to her spearheading the MOBO Awards, in her capacity as Founder and CEO of MOBO.

The MOBO Awards provide a platform for the talents of the black, Asian, mixed-race, and ethnic communities to be recognised – something that has not aways been the norm in mainstream media. They have gained traction and support from celebrities like Rihanna, Beyonce, and Stormzy and have also been aired on channels like Carlton TV, BBC, and ITV. Founder of Mobolise, Kanya is on a mission to increase diversity in workplaces. A riveting and experienced speaker, Kanya King is arguably the best speaker you could book for your equity, diversity, and inclusion event.

Official Testimonial for Kanya King:

"Kanya was our guest speaker at our recent early careers event, and was a great addition to the programme. She was extremely down to earth, very open to answering questions from the audience, and kept the attendees engaged throughout her entire presentation. We appreciate her willingness to share her career journey with our students and inspire the next generation." - Amelia, Kekst CNC

Elaine Sihera

Elaine Sihera is a popular equity, diversity, and inclusion speaker who Founded the British Diversity Awards and the Windrush Achievement Awards. Determined to promote culture harmony, diversity and inclusion, Elaine has contributed greatly as an EDI coach. She was honoured as a Doctor of The Open University, the first-ever black graduate from the institution.

A leading voice on promoting diversity and inclusion, Elaine has delivered a lecture on diversity at the House of Commons and was a keynote speaker at UNESCO’s Global Women’s Leadership Conference in Paris. She is also the only woman who has been awarded two National Training Awards by the UK’s Department of Trade and Industry at the same time. Author of “Managing the Diversity Maze” and “Essential Guide to Confidence”, Elaine Sihera is an excellent choice to book for your next equity, diversity, and inclusion event.

Official Speaking Topics for Elaine Sihera:

  • Equality/Diversity Concept & Implementation
  • Boosting Productivity & Management Development
  • People Motivation & Empowerment
  • Training Design & Development
  • Corporate Diversity & Effectiveness

Ellie Middleton

Ellie Middleton is the Founder of (un)masked and author of “Unmasked: The Ultimate Guide to ADHD, Autism and Neurodivergence”. Diagnosed with autism and ADHD at 24, Ellie claims life only got clearer from then. She had spent her entire existence thinking she was broken and a misfit only to realise, as she so creatively puts it, that she was a “Mac in a world where everyone is a Windows”.

With over 200,000 LinkedIn followers, Ellie is evidently a person that resonates with many. Her TEDx Talk “Why an Autism Diagnosis is an Invitation to Finally Be Yourself” talks about why her diagnosis demystified so much of her behaviour, making her accept herself and understand herself better than ever. Nominated as Positive Disability Role Model at the National Diversity awards, Ellie Middleton is one of the most inspiring and unique speakers you can book for your equity, diversity and inclusion event.

Emma Dabiri

Emma Dabiri is on a mission to educate the world on how small acts of microaggression like touching a black person’s hair can be considered discriminatory. Author of books “Don’t Touch My Hair”, “What White People Can Do Next”, “Twisted” and “Disobedient Bodies”, Emma is challenging the strongholds of racism that she and countless others have faced growing up.

A TV Presenter at BBC, Freelance Writer at Guardian News and Media and Host of Afrofuturism she uses her platforms to spread information about black culture and philosophy. An elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, Emma is a social historian with incredible knowledge on how employers and individuals can become more inclusive – a lesson that we can all stand to learn. When looking for a gifted, knowledgeable speaker on Black culture, diversity, equity, and inclusion, consider booking Emma Dabiri for your next EDI event.

Official Testimonial for Emma Dabiri:

“We were privileged to hear Emma as she joined us on a panel to mark Black History month. The feedback we got back from our colleagues was hugely positive. Emma was extremely articulate and knowledgeable. She shared her own experiences which made her contribution very personal.” - Lisa, PPB

Phyll Opoku-Gyimah

Phyll Opoku-Gyimah is Co-Founder and Executive Director of UK Black Pride – an organisation that aims to unite the Black LGBT community. A staunch LGBT rights activist, Phyll worked as a civil servant for 13 years and later as Head of Political Campaigns and Equality for the Public and Commercial Services Union.

Phyll made headlines for rejecting an MBE on account of her views on colonialism back in 2016 but has been the recipient of several other accolades over the years. Executive Director of Kaleidoscope Trust, a charity that wants LGBT+ people in the UK feel safe and secure worldwide, she was named one of the Top 100 Most Influential LGBT People on the Independent Rainbow List as well as one of the Top 100 Great Black Britons in 2020. Phyll can now be booked as an equity, diversity and inclusion speaker who exudes power and confidence. Book her for your next EDI event.

Official Testimonial for Phyll Opoku-Gyimah:

"Lady Phyll was fabulous. Truly eloquent... I loved Lady Phyll's wonderful engagement and heartfelt advice for all of us." - Daniel, The Walt Disney Company

Risha Grant

Risha Grant is determined to rid the world of societal “isms” like racism, sexism and classism. It is why she is the CEO of Risha Grant LLC – Oklahoma’s only full-service diversity and inclusion communications and consulting firm. She is a pioneer at offering equity, diversity and inclusion training that creates space for open and honest discussions on unconscious bias, authenticity and inclusive cultures.

Author of “Be Better Than Your BS: How Radical Acceptance Empowers Authenticity and Creates a Workplace Culture of Inclusion”, she constantly works with companies around the world to help them get rid of the BS in their corporate culture. She does so without placing blame, judgement or excessive guilt, making her clients more willing to reform their thoughts and behaviours. An industry leader in eliciting effective change in society one step at a time, Risha Grant is the right choice to speak at your next equity, diversity, and inclusion event.

Official Testimonial for Risha Grant:

"We just completed her session and it was the most well-received of our 3 keynotes, in my opinion. She knocked it out of the park. Or, to use a basketball reference, she was draining 3’s all speech long. She did a fabulous job. I truly appreciated her storytelling and transparency. It allowed our team members to connect with her." - Reginald, Signet Jewellers

Bernadette Thompson

Bernadette Thompson is a leading equity, diversity and inclusion specialist who currently serves as the Executive Director of Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion at the King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. Bernadette is an accomplished HR professional with the experience of working in the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Ministry of Justice UK, UK Home Office, and the HM Treasury.

Having been an Ambassador of Different Woman, where she advocates for an inclusive gender agenda and emboldens women of colour to raise their voices, Bernadette is leading with authenticity and trust. She understands the value of equity, diversity and inclusion and is doing the most she can to foster a sense of security in workplaces. For her efforts she was named Winner of the Workplace Hero category in the 2020 National Investing in Ethnicity Awards and Rising Star Champion in 2021. Appointed OBE for her services to Diversity and Inclusion in 2021, there are few speakers as accomplished as Bernadette Thompson to book for your EDI event.

Official Testimonial for Bernadette Thompson:

"Bernadette was brilliant! Her session was both entertaining and insightful, and I think the Headteachers took a lot from it." - Georgina, BDSIP

Makaziwe Mandela

Makaziwe Mandela is the CEO of House of Mandela – maintaining her father, Nobel Peace Prize winner, Nelson Mandela’s ideologies. Furthering the conversation on the need for liberty, respect for one’s neighbour and fight against discrimination and democracy, Makaziwe is a leading equity, diversity and inclusion advocate.

Currently a Consultant for Self-Empowerment International, Makaziwe also offers her support to Nozala, a female investment group that aims to fiscally empower women in South Africa. Her campaigning and work as a business advisor have led to some revolutionary changes in empowering marginalised groups. An expert on how to harness creativity and the potential of Africa, instil social justice and service leadership, she is one of the best equity, diversity, and inclusion speakers that you could book for your EDI event.

Official Speaking Topics for Makaziwe Mandela:

  • Social Justice & Conflict Resolution
  • Service Leadership
  • Female Empowerment
  • Creativity & the Potential of Africa
  • Collaboration versus Competition

Dr. Ranj Singh

Dr. Ranj Singh is best known for co-creating CBeebies’ “Get Well Soon” that was very popular amongst children largely because of his informative content. Doctor turned TV personality and author of “Food Fuel” and “Skelebones”, Ranj has been a resident doctor for This Morning and Save Money: Good Health. A Member of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health since 2007, Ranj has continued to flourish as a paediatric specialist.

Ranj, who was a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing in 2018, often contributes to online portals like NetDoctor and Attitude Magazine. Ranj came out as a member of the LGBT+ community when he was 30 and has since dedicated himself to speak openly on the importance of gay health and the health issues that his community faces. No topic has been off limits for Ranj throughout his career and he is known to have open and honest conversations about health and LGBTQ+ issues. Dr. Ranj Singh is now available to book as a speaker for equity, diversity and inclusion events.

Official Testimonial for Dr. Ranj Singh:

"Ranj but he was a brilliant recommendation, I knew he’d be good but he was absolutely perfect and it was such an inspiring and upbeat hour. Definite fave of the whole of our Pride Season, so thank you." - Charlotte, Telefónica

Munroe Bergdorf

Munroe Bergdorf is famed as the first transgender model in the UK for L’Oreal. A transgender model and activist, Munroe was inducted as a Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board Member for L’Oreal in 2020 and was also the LGBT advisor for the Labour Party in 2018. Author of “Transitional: One Way or Another, We All Transition”, she shares her own story, including her struggles with mental health, in hopes that other people feel comfortable sharing their own too.

A Guest Commentator on ITV’s Good Morning Britain and This Morning, she has won several accolades over the years including the Changemaker of the Year award at the Cosmopolitan Awards, Attitude’s Hero of the Year award and Gay Time’s Honour for the British Trailblazer Community. Her TEDx Talk “The Capitalisation of Diversity and Commercialisation of ‘Wokeness’” calls for brands to be more inclusive. Munroe is also a supporter of the UN Women UK’s #DrawALine campaign. Munroe Bergdorf is one of the finest speakers on imbibing more equity, diversity and inclusion in the world and is the perfect choice to book for your next EDI event.

Official Speaking Topics for Munroe Bergdorf: 

  • LGBTQ+ 
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Mental Health and Wellbeing
  • Empowerment
  • Race

Jake and Hannah Graf

Jake and Hannah Graf were named the Most Influential LGBTQ Couple on The Independent’s Pride Power List in 2018. Both identifying as transgender, their story is unique, and they are often referred to as the UK’s ‘Transgender Power Couple’. Individually they are incredibly successful in their careers, Jake being an actor, writer and director and Hannah being one of the highest-ranking transgender officers in the British Army.

Championing diversity and inclusion, gender equality, and positive representation of the LGBT community, the duo is often asked to speak at the Stonewall Workplace Conference, Pride in London Gala and for organisations like Citi Bank, Lloyds and Warner Brothers. They have also made several appearances, by themselves or together on shows like Good Morning Britain, Lorraine and ITV News. Hannah has been appointed MBE in 2019 for her efforts to raise awareness, and Jake has been listed on The Guardian’s LGBT Power List. The dynamic duo of Jake and Hannah Graf can now be booked to speak at your next EDI event, and they are sure to blow inspire and empower your audience.

Official Testimonial for Jake and Hannah Graf:

"Jake and Hannah were absolutely phenomenal - the feedback we have received is truly outstanding. They were so genuine, authentic and inspirational." - Jane, GSK

Steph McGovern

Steph McGovern has led an illustrious career as a financial journalist and notable BBC Breakfast business presenters. One of the openly gay British broadcasters, she is using her platform to raise awareness about diversity, inclusion and acceptance for all. Host of Channel 4’s Steph’s Packed Lunch, she received a blue plaque for the inclusivity and diversity that her show inspires.

An extremely successful journalist, Steph has interviewed several FTSE 100 Chief Executives and was also host of shows like Shop Well For Less, Make in Great Britain and Watchdog. Never letting nasty comments on her sexuality from trolls online get to her, Steph McGovern continues to be one of the most successful British broadcasters. She is known to address topics like inclusivity, LGBT+ issues and diversity, making her a great speaker to book for your next EDI event.

Official Testimonial for Steph McGovern:

"She was both professional and approachable and the audience loved her. Fantastic value and I would not hesitate to recommend her." - Chartered Institute of Building

Hire an Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Speaker Today!

Equity, diversity, and inclusion are three principles that organisations should uphold to support the different individuals in the organisation who belong to different races, ethnicities, religions, genders, sexual orientations, abilities, and ages. When you book an equity, diversity and inclusion speaker for your event, you are proving to your employees that you care for them. To hire an equity, diversity and inclusion speaker, contact us by filling in our online contact form or by contacting a dedicated booking agent at 0207 0787 876.

Chris Tompkins Official Author Picture
Senior Keynote Speaker & Entertainment Manager

Chris Tompkins is a prominent Senior Keynote Speaker & Entertainment Manager at The Motivational Speakers Agency. Having joined the team in October 2019 as an After Dinner Speakers Sales Executive, Chris has swiftly made his mark. His previous roles as a Sales and Service Representative at James Boylan Safety Ltd and an Account Manager at Flogas Britain provided a strong foundation for his current position.


In his time at The Motivational Speakers Agency, Chris has successfully booked speakers for prestigious clients such as GoCardless, the Ministry of Defence, the NHS and Boots. He has collaborated with notable speakers including Jamil Qureshi and Jason Fox, showcasing his ability to connect with top-tier talent. As the agency’s resident expert on diversity and inclusion speakers, Chris has established significant relationships with advocates for equality and social mobility globally. His expertise spans various aspects of diversity, equity and inclusion, from neurodiversity to racial equality.


Outside the office, Chris is equally dedicated. He coaches his son's under-8 football team and enjoys golf, football and quality time with his wife and children. At work, his passion for sports shines through as he also specialises in booking Olympic and Paralympic athletes, footballers, rugby speakers and more. Chris's multifaceted expertise and personal passions make him an invaluable asset to The Motivational Speakers Agency.


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