Anj Handa is the Founder of Inspiring Women Changemakers, a dynamic movement of changemakers who speak up for women’s rights.
Named as one of Grant Thornton’s 100 Faces of a Vibrant Economy in 2018, described by i-news as ‘a bloody brilliant woman’ and winner of the AFSA 2017 Positive Action Award, Anj has 20 years’ experience in the field of Social Impact and Inclusion. She was recently recognised in Forbes as one of the 10 Diversity & Inclusion Trailblazers You Need to Get Familiar With.
It was in 2014 that Anj’s life changed when she was introduced to asylum-seeker Afusat Saliu and her two daughters. Anj led a high-profile campaign on their claim for asylum based on the risk of Female Genital Mutilation to the little girls in Nigeria, pulling together a top legal team and launching a Change.org petition which gathered 126,500 signatures.
The campaign attracted attention from the global media, MPs and business leaders such as Sir Richard Branson. Unfortunately, the family was deported, so she the mobilised her supporters through the campaign platform to fundraise, securing accommodation and schooling for the girls for a full year.
Anj learned that by gathering professional, motivated people together, it’s possible to make an impact on the lives of others on a massive scale which led her to create Inspiring Women Changemakers. She now teaches organisations as well as campaigners how to use social media effectively to target and mobilise large audiences.
Her global change-making work has been featured in Generation Share by Benita Matofska and Sophie Sheinwald, a visual storybook featuring 200 global changemakers, the largest ever collection of changemaker stories. Her work on Female Genital Mutilation and asylum also been included in Eradicating FGM in the UK by Guardian writer Hillary Burrage, and Refugee Tales by Comma Press.
Yorkshire-based businesswomen Anj has been a professional lobbyist of over 15 years and has a wealth of experience in social impact and inclusion.
Her talks focus on three key areas and can be tailored to audiences
- Navigating the Labyrinth: Shattering the Myth of the Glass Ceiling
- How to Win Supporters and Influence People in a World of Digital Noise (based on my global campaigning experience)
- Social Impact & Inclusion
Anj has also hosted conferences and events, acting as a facilitator and interviewing guests on stage for organisations such as Leeds Beckett University. She is also the organiser of her own annual awards event, Igniting Inspiration.
Anj is an expert in the Equality Act and Public Sector Equality Duties. She has advised hundreds of organisations large and small in the creating of workplace programmes to recruit a diverse range of talent and develop effective, globally-savvy leaders.
Anj is multilingual, speaking five languages and has studied and worked in Germany for several years as well as in international teams. Anj is widely-traveled and brings her inter-cultural expertise to bear in international settings.
For example, in 2018 she was engaged to speak at the Halcyon Group two-day Global EA and PA conference in Paris led by the 2017 Mother Theresa International Award winner, Jillian Haslam. The audience comprised of senior-level Executive Assistants from global organisations such as Deutsche Bank, Unilever, and Hitachi from countries ranging from France to Italy and China.
Recent talks include the opening keynote at the Chartered Management Institute IWD18 conference, the closing plenary at the Institute of Fundraising Yorkshire conference, the Charity Retail Association Annual Conference and moderator for Disorienting Race, Carnegie School of Education.
Anj Handa is a committed, generous and inspiring person to work with. I would recommend her to anyone looking for a contributor to work around promoting positive social change. Anj’s commitment and dedication to the task of Chair was really impressive. As well as showing kindness and care Anj brings her own experience and skills in Chairing and running her own events. This means that Anj also offers valuable thoughts and input based on her own experience.
— Dr. Shona Hunter, Reader in the Carnegie School of Education Leeds Beckett University, Founder and Lead for WhiteSpaces
We were delighted to have Anj speak and her presentation went down a storm! She was articulate, funny, emotive and thought-provoking - not easy to do in the time we gave her! I would highly recommend Anj to speak at your event. I have nothing but praise for her approach and her style.
— Garry Hibberd – Cyberfort
“Anj was our closing speaker at the 2019 Institute of Fundraising Yorkshire Conference. She was wam, funny, and likeable and brought a wealth of experience to share with our fundraising delegates. We were delighted to include her in our speaker line up and hugely grateful for her contribution”
— Kate Carroll – Chair of Yorkshire Committee at Institute of Fundraising
My group had an hour of Anj’s time and the level of insight during that period was amazing. She posed great questions to make us think and that we need to answer before we can move forward.
She also demonstrated that you can make fabulous things happen through your networks and collaboration with organisations that share your passion. I would happily work with Anj again and recommend her to others.
— Terry King OBE, Soroptimists International, Leeds