Meet the Pride…

Gian Power

Gian Power previously worked at Deutsche Bank and PwC and witnessed first-hand some of the Diversity & Inclusion issues that need to be tackled in the corporate world. Importantly he saw the need to create a more emotionally engaged work place.

Recognising that everyone has a story, he wanted to encourage others to share and saw the power of storytelling.
In 2015 aged 23, an unexpected family tragedy left Gian leading a murder investigation across two continents. 2016 turned into a year of media interviews, police investigations and endless meetings with government bodies.

When returning back to work, Gian saw the power of being able to share his emotions and being his full self at work. His experiences and inner resilience sparked his passion for creating change. Gian is the founder of TLC Lions, a collective of ordinary people with extraordinary stories. In these powerful, personal and emotive sessions, the Lions (speakers) share stories from the heart that build empathy and understanding in the audience.

Now supporting some of the largest companies globally, Gian is disrupting the traditional speaking scene and revolutionising the way we feel about our emotions in the workplace and beyond. Gian talks about how his own journey to building more emotional leaders in the workplace as well as general wellbeing, how to prevent a breakdown and focus on your own mental health.

Matt

Matt Lindley is an airline and ex RAF Royal Squadron Pilot. He shares his story of being one of the first openly gay pilots in the armed forces, a story of self-motivation, determination and drive which led to his dream of joining the RAF fulfilled.

Matt graduated with a degree in commerce from the University of Birmingham. In 1995 he was selected to be a pilot in the Royal Air Force. Matt was one of the first openly gay pilots in the RAF, with his childhood dream of joining almost being crushed by the ban on gay personnel joining the forces. He describes how the RAF adapted its culture from one of hostility towards gay personnel to acceptance and support, using his experience to highlight the benefits of transformational inclusive leadership and positive cultural change to the well-being of employees and the productivity of an organisation.

During his military career, he flew many aircraft including the Hawk fighter jet. In 2000 he was selected to fly Her Majesty The Queen, members of the Royal Family and Government worldwide, serving on The Royal Squadron. Whilst serving, he became a qualified flying instructor and VIP qualified Captain. He flew missions in the Sierra Leone, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. In 2007 Matt left the Service to become a commercial airline pilot and flies the Boeing 747 to worldwide destinations.

As well as sharing his own experience and a passion to help create sustainable change from an LGBT standpoint, Matt recently diversified into other risk-based sectors, using the aviation model and lessons learnt through fatal crashes to explain why employees generally make mistakes/human error in the workplace. Topics include inclusive leadership, just culture versus blame culture, stress in the workplace, fatigue, empowering employees to speak up, assertiveness skills among others.

Samantha

Samantha Nelson is Vice President, Risk Engineer in the Global Energy Practice of Marsh (MMC), Global Co-Chair of [email protected] and also an Executive director of Trans*formation UK, a community group which undertake activities to end discrimination and promote the welfare of Trans* and non-binary people.

Prior to working for MMC she worked in the Offshore Oil & Gas Industry, to Offshore Installation Manager (OIM) level, for over 20 years during which time she transitioned.

By openly and honestly sharing the story of her extraordinary journey, transitioning in the male-dominated workplace of oil rigs, Samantha serves as a role to the diversity community and helps people better understand the power of diversity.

Her influence has gone beyond MMC and indeed the UK, as she is passionate about human rights and inclusion of all aspects of diversity no matter where in the world she travels with work. Her visibility and unquestionable passion for engagement is constantly displayed during her client-facing engineering survey work undertaken globally. As part of her day job Samantha visits offices and offshore oil platforms around the world, in places such as South America, Africa, India, Middle East and the Far East, including countries where LGBT rights are limited and visibility is low.

She is extremely professional, proactive and motivated and is passionate about creating an environment where all people are valued for their diversity, authenticity and journey. Her Diversity and Inclusion achievements are testament to her commitment to engage, educate, empower by bring together diverse communities and allies.

Kiko

Kiko Matthews, teacher come adventurer and entrepreneur overcame her second pituitary tumour and disease in August 2017.

In 2009, she could barely walk up the stairs unaided and nearly died of the same tumour and disease. In March 2018 broke the world record becoming the fastest woman to row solo and unsupported across the Atlantic - 6 months after brain surgery and only 16 months after learning to row.

Kiko talks of where and how she developed her resilience and how to build it yourself - she's also developed her very own 'Kikonomics'. A sense of humour and honesty, Kiko can hold an audience of 5 year olds through to company executives, sharing her personal and professional stories of resilience, how she coped as well as some hidden stories that couldn't be written. Don’t forget to ask where her name comes from!

Mary

Aged 24, Mary found herself on the side of Tower Bridge in London, with her baby in her arms, ready to jump. It was bizarrely one of the darkest but most peaceful moments in her life. Mary’s story is about the incredible events that lead up to that point and the determined way she set about turning her life around. Motivated by her experiences and life lessons, and passionate about helping young people have the best start in life, Mary decided to coach and help others.

Born into a traditional Ghanaian family, Mary was fostered at just 3 weeks old by a white British family. Being from the BAME community, Mary shares the struggles and contrasts of the two communities and the impact it’s had on her and her work today. Touching upon her background, Mary shares first hand experience of her culturally diverse upbringing, then relating it back to organisations today.

For over 20 years, Mary has coached and worked with individuals, entrepreneurs, social enterprises, CEOs and thousands of young people. In a prison, in schools, in boardrooms, from international organisations to a group of Year 7 girls, Mary has an extraordinary ability to connect, see what is needed and communicate it with ease.

As a TLC Lion, Mary brings to life conscious leadership, Women in Leadership, resilience, ‘knowing yourself’, ethos, purpose and values. An inspiring TEDx speaker, published author, coach, moving storyteller, and ‘Real Conversations’ facilitator, Mary’s story is a powerful one.

Described by Princess Badiya of Jordan as “a very inspiring lady,” Mary’s infectious laugh, down to earth way of working and ability to playfully transform any challenging situation into a triumph, is what makes her so powerful, a true force of nature.

Pam

Pam Warren, entrepreneur, financial services expert and survivor of the UK’s worst train crash in history. Pam shares her extraordinary story of courage, battling against horrific injury and reinventing herself while campaigning for rail safety and a shift in corporate attitudes.

Now, as a TLC Lion, Pam brings her unique experiences to bear on solving issues as diverse as innovation in the workplace; future-proofing leaders; employee motivation; productivity; work-life balance; big picture thinking and positive working practices.

With humour and insight, Pam will inspire you to feel you can overcome any obstacle, be it work or personal. She is the epitome of resilience and fortitude; with a focus on practical strategies to conquer procrastination, break down barriers to success and triumph over tricky situations.

Having worked with huge corporations and small businesses alike, Pam can adapt her talks to meet a variety of needs. Pam brings a positive attitude to all her talks and is a master at helping companies see the bigger picture whilst not missing the important details.

Attendees at her talks are challenged to think, leaving enthused and motivated to put her ideas into practice.

Dr Kamel Hothi OBE

Kamel came to Britain in the 60’s for a better life only to encounter racism and hardship with several families horded in single properties. Resilience, hard work and honour became the backbone of her upbringing. Denied access to further education and lack of cultural understanding she soon faced challenges both in the workplace and home.

After decades of hard work Kamel found her calling in supporting others struggling to do the same. In 1999 she became one of the founding members of the Ethnic Minority and Women’s network. This intrapreneur drive pushed her on to develop the Asian Strategy, cultural training initiatives, new communication campaigns and products.

She went on to lead the banks award winning 250th anniversary campaign, developed various Responsible business programmes and Charity partnerships with Alzheimer’s Soc, BBC Children In Need and Mental Health UK; raising a record breaking £20m over 6 years. Her determination to change the shape of corporate values and interaction between colleagues and communities resulted in the development of a new skills volunteering strategy attracting collaboration of universities and Cabinet Office.

Now after 38 years in Banking she sits on several boards as Advisor / Trustee including the Queens Commonwealth Trust whilst still balancing the demands of a traditional Indian extended family with 4 generation living in one household.

Her passion to improve cultural cohesion and diversity in the workplace has been recognised by several awards including an Honorary Doctorate, inclusion in the 2017 FT 100 BAME list and an OBE.

Anusha Nirmalanthan

Anusha has worked in the tech industry for over 10 years between the UK and San Francisco and is Head of Growth Data & AI at Just Eat and the former Head of Product at eBay.

As an asian woman in the world of tech, Anusha has faced her own challenges and now supports others who are following in her footsteps. She has a Computer Science degree from Queens’ College, Cambridge University where she joined as one of only three females on her course.

What people don’t see is the invisible illness that Anusha battles with on a daily basis and will live with forever. Anusha has a chronic pain condition throughout her body called Fibromyalgia.

Being afraid of how others would react and what it could mean for her career, Anusha shares her story of living with an illness that nobody else can see and how she finally found the courage to share what she was really going through.

Anusha shares the importance of why we have to support others who are facing illnesses in the workplace, what we can do as leaders to create a culture that encourages people to talk about illness and disability and her practical tips around the subject.

Jonny Benjamin MBE

Jonny Benjamin MBE and Neil Laybourn give talks and present on the topic of mental health to groups and organisations all around the UK and internationally.

The pair are award-winning mental health campaigners – their journey together began in 2008 when Neil talked Jonny out of taking his own life by jumping from the edge of Waterloo Bridge in London. Jonny had just been diagnosed with schizophrenia and depression and was extremely unwell.

Neil’s interaction saved his life but the two were soon separated when the police intervened and took Jonny away to be sectioned. 6 years later, in 2014, Jonny launched a campaign on Twitter to find and thank the man who had stopped him taking his own life – #FindMike – it became a global news campaign that reached over 300 million people around the world and was successful in reuniting the 2 strangers within a matter of weeks from the campaign being launched.

What followed was an emotional meeting and the beginning of a journey where both men united to campaign around the issues of both mental health and suicide, which is now the biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK.

The story of their journey was made into a TV documentary, The Stranger on the Bridge, which aired on Channel 4 in 2015 and had a meaningful impact on millions of viewers.

The documentary has won a number of awards and is currently being aired internationally.

After a private meeting with Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge in March 2016, the pair were invited by the Royal Foundation to represent the ‘Heads Together’ charity in running for the 2017 London Marathon.

Cathy

Cathy was adopted at an early age, her natural parents were too young to bring her up, so her biological mother was banished from her home in Scotland to a convent in Leeds until Cathy was born, as it was shameful in the 1970’s to bring a child up out of wedlock. After her birth Cathy was put into Catholic Care orphanage until she was chosen by her adoptive parents, who took her to Durham.

She was raised in Lanchester, Durham until she left home to study photography at eighteen for four years and to escape an abusive relationship, she then moved to London to pursue her photographic career as a Forensic Photographer in 1992, of which she worked until 1998.

Soon after moving South she began Kickboxing as a hobby and to give her internal strength and confidence that she lacked after being in an abusive relationship, only to be so good that after just three months her trainer suggested that she entered her first competition. She was hooked immediately and proved to be a natural and was undefeated in twenty five fights, winning two British Titles.

Cathy wanted to have a deeper understanding of the way her body moved and worked to make her a better athlete, so studied for a Diploma in Sports Massage therapy and gained a YMCA Personal Trainer qualification whilst working full time as a Forensic Photographer.

After six years competing in Kick Boxing, Cathy was approached by a Professional Boxing Promoter and she applied to the British Boxing Board of Control for her Professional Boxers License, they accepted as they recognised her talent and she became only the second woman in the UK to hold a Professional Boxing license. She loved the sport’s fierce competition and its tough training, and was determined to be the best, so she gave up her job with the Metropolitan Police and became a personal trainer at The Third Space Gym (www.thethirdspace.com) so that she could dedicate more time to her training.

Within a year she won the European Flyweight Title, and after ten years and twenty one Professional fights, she became the first ever British female to win a Professional English Title in sporting history and became ranked number three in the World within the Flyweight division. She conquered intense sexism whilst trying to be the best in the World and she says her biggest fight was outside the ring trying to get into the ring but it gave her even more determination to follow her dream.

Manisha Tailor MBE

Manisha grew up with her twin brother and the love of football. At the age of 18 her twin was diagnosed with schizophrenia as a result of long term torment and bullying - she became a young carer with the blink of an eye. 20 years on, he requires 1:1 care and has not communicated verbally for almost 15 years. This became her driving force to wanting to create change.

Qualifying as a primary school headteacher in 2011, she gave up her full-time role to become a company director of Swaggarlicious, that uses football and education to help those with mental health integrate within our society through football. Her advocacy for addressing mental health has transpired into schools through 'Child in Mind' which helps children generate discussion around our feelings, coping strategies and resilience. Ensuring there is a level playing field for women and girls, those from ethnic minority groups as well as those struggling with their mental health is at the heart of her mission.

With TLC Manisha wants to help generate discussion around mental health, empower others to help eradicate taboo and become change makers.

Geoff

Geoff is a Senior Advisor to the Global PR firm Buson-Marsteller and its Purpose Practice. He also consults to organizations in the area of mental health. He is a sought after speaker, speaking on topics such as “the Bipolar world of business – profit and purpose”; “Mental Wellbeing – a competitive advantage”, with the aim of inspiring and provoking organisations to put purpose and wellbeing at the centre of everything they do.

His vision is to “see purposeful companies with purposeful individuals commonplace one day” for the overall benefit of society. He speaks and consults at events and to organisations around the world, including Australasia; Europe; North America; and South Africa; Middle East.

Geoff is a very active campaigner for breaking the stigma associated with Mental Health in the Corporate world and has participated in a number of BBC programmes, as well as writing articles for the Huffington Post, FT and HR related journals. He is also a trustee of the Charity Family Links; the Global Campaign It’s a Penalty- combatting the exploitation of young children around the world.; and an advisor to a Global Mental Health Campaign.

Geoff previously convened a meeting with David Cameron and CEOs from FTSE 100 Companies to address their role and agree actions to break stigma in the corporate world and has provided support to the Royal Foundation (Prince William, Harry and Kate) in their mental health campaigns.

He is married with two girls and loves the outdoors, a passionate cyclist and swimmer and has completed a number of ultra cycling events both on and off road.

Lis

Lis was a finalist in the Professional Speaking Association ‘Speaker Factor’ competition in 2017, in which she spoke about having overcome a major traumatic event she experienced as a teenager.

Brought up in an emotionally abusive home environment, when just 13 years old Lis was involved in a tragic accident at school in which she accidentally killed a friend in a school sports day event.

She couldn’t understand why this had happened. Not having help to process it all she struggled to overcome tremendous feelings of guilt and shame resulting in being on a path of self destruction for many years.

In her twenties her life was spiralling out of control; taking drugs, sabotaging work success and with ever increasingly destructive relationships she was heading for a crash…

And that’s exactly what happened. One night whilst out with friends she crashed into a black taxi that was coming the wrong way out of a one way street.

Then out of the blue on a sales training course she had a lightbulb moment that changed the course of her life forever.

An extended trip overseas saw her changing the way she viewed herself, The Accident and life itself. She saw meaning and purpose in what had happened and became determined to share with other people the incredible insights that helped her to turn her own life around.

She has now helped thousands of people to live life with integrity and purpose.

Lis is passionate about changing the stigma around mental health and wellbeing, especially in the workplace. She delivers mental health awareness and workplace wellbeing trainings for private and public sector organisations.

She speaks in the areas of mental health and wellbeing, self-esteem, overcoming adversity, resilience and courage.

Jacqui

Jacqui joined the Civil Service in July 2009 after a long term career working her way up the career ladder in the private sector. It was a decision that Jacqui has not looked back on as she was able to combine her role as a
respected transgender rights activist and directly working in the area of transgender equality at the heart of government.

Jacqui has held several roles in the D & I Arena but her current role is as the Diversity and Inclusion Lead at the Department of International Trade.

Her dedication both within government has been recognised nationally after she was ‘Highly Commended’ in class at the 2015 Excellence in Diversity Awards, recognised as the 44th most influential LGBTI person in the UK on the 2015 Independent on Sunday - Rainbow List and winning the Diversity Champion Award at the exclusive 2016 British LGBT Awards.

Jacqui continues to thrive in the LGBT space and was recognised on the Pride Power list in 2016 she was No26 and in 2017 she was No22. Also in 2017 Jacqui was shortlisted for an Inspirational Role Model Award at the DIVA LBT Awards and Lifetime Achievement Award at the National Diversity Awards.

George

From Rags to Riches; It might not look like it but George has spent time working in finance which he describes as Rags and has pursued a career in the outdoors (riches).

As a multi world record breaking explorer, George has spent almost 10% of his life on adventures in some of the worlds most remote corners.

Having walked the longest unsupported polar journey at the age of 19, George has been delivering talks to all types of audiences (school, conference, corporate etc.) about risk, failure, setting goals as well as the more entertaining after dinner circuit.

Danny

Danny was born in the UK to parents of Irish and Pakistani decent.

He has been an Actor for over a decade and has starred in a number of TV shows including Eastenders, DCI Banks, Primeval, Vera and Citizen Khan.

When he was 13 years old his mother had a terrible car crash and was forced to terminate her pregnancy 8 months in. This sent her into deep depression and after a number of failed suicide attempts she was eventually sectioned and Danny was sent to live with his Grandma.

Through this very tumultuous period, Danny managed to keep his head down, complete his studies and eventually win a place at one of the top Drama Schools in the country. He was subsequently nominated for an Olivier Award for his first theatre production when out of Drama School.

Years later, after a series of unfortunate events, Danny himself was diagnosed with depression. This began his curiosity into the subject and his desire to turn his family’s experience into something positive that can help and enable others.

He is a passionate about Mental Health and removing the stigma attached to it. Danny talks openly about his own experiences, shares his lessons and hopes to open conversation about mental health in and out of the workplace.

Paul

Paul grew up in the cornfields of Illinois, in a small town about 70 miles outside Chicago. His father was an immigrant doctor who came over from Estonia after World War 2.

His father was a pretty incredible guy and was Paul’s hero but he also suffered from a disease they knew a lot less about then; alcoholism and drug addiction. Paul grew up in a pretty crazy household because he never knew what his father was going to be like when he came home.

That disease finally killed him when Paul was just about to go into his second year of university. He came home and his father had gone into a coma and suffered a heart attack. His doctor told Paul that he would be a vegetable for the rest of his life so Paul decided to make that difficult decision and take him off life support. He was basically dead in 10 minutes.

Paul had to find a job because his mother didn’t want to send him back to university. Paul eventually found himself working as a trader on New York’s Wall Street.

“I promised I would never turn out like my father but promises are hard to keep. It was the 1980s, I was young, I was trading other people’s money, it was one big party. When you’re young you can do that but I abused the privilege. Many of my friends were able to stop but I just wanted to keep going.”

In 9 years Paul over-reached anything his father had done in terms of addiction. He’d lost his job, he’d lost his money, he sold his watches, all his personal possessions. He was on that edge.

Paul is now looking at 29 years of being clean and sober today, which is miraculous for a guy who loves danger and adrenaline.

Paul moved to Estonia with only $400 in his pocket and later started a real estate agency called Oberhaus, which came to be the largest pan-central-eastern-european real estate company with some 350 brokers in six different countries. At the height they had over 800 people working for them. Paul sold up for EUR200m, getting out of the last business just a week before the 2008 financial crisis.

In 2011 Paul moved to London and invested in Vital Ingredient, a healthy food chain. It had four stores at the time, by the time he exited it had 19. In the last 12 months, he’s written two books and working on turning around a hotel in Oxfordshire

Paul now joins TLC to empower and inspire our community and company employees, sharing his many adventures but also discussing how he coped in the times of challenge.