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Anj Handa

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Anj Handa is the Founder of Inspiring Women Changemakers, an inclusive community of changemakers who stand for fairness and safety for women. 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 Positive Action Award, Anj was recently recognised in Forbes as one of the ‘10 Diversity & Inclusion Trailblazers You Need to Get Familiar With’.

Anj is recognised as an authority on Good Governance and Inclusive Leadership. She places a focus on people dynamics: effective communication, impact, and navigating change. As a professional lobbyist of almost 20 years with in-depth knowledge of UK equality and employment policies and international best practice, she has a wealth of experience social change practices to share.

She believes that her authority to speak on diversity within leadership must be reflected by her own example. A Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts, Commerce and Manufactures, Anj is an independent Governor of Leeds Arts University and Chair of the Board of Freedom Studios – as such, she belongs to only 1% of black and brown women holding such Governance roles in the UK.

In her talks, Anj draws on her own experiences when speaking about diversity, equity, and inclusion in leadership, covering little-explored themes such as psychological safety, emotional correctness, and healthy boundaries.

She teaches the personal and professional lessons gained throughout her career and her experience of leading a high-profile legal and media campaign to inspire others to make a change in themselves, their workplaces and communities, and the wider world.

Her talks focus on three key areas and can be tailored to your objectives. These are:

  • Radical Self-Care for Changemakers
  • Navigating the Labyrinth: Shattering the Myth of the Glass Ceiling
  • Why you’re not harnessing diverse talent – and what to do about it

Multilingual, she also brings inter-cultural expertise, having have worked both in and with global teams and on diplomatic assignments, advising organisations on how to attract and retain diverse talent and develop highly effective, globally savvy leaders. Her clients include Sky Business, Innovate UK, the NHS, Leeds Beckett University, Restless Development, and The Chartered Management Institute.

Additionally, Anj’s global changemaking 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.

SPEAKING TOPICS

Her talks focus on three key areas and can be tailored to your audiences

  • Navigating the Labyrinth: Shattering the Myth of the Glass Ceiling
  • Radical Self-Care for Changemakers
  • Why you’re not harnessing diverse talent – and what to do about it

Keynotes

Navigating the Labryinth – Shattering the Myth of the Glass Ceiling

  • Anj’s journey and her ‘why’
  • Building your support network inside and outside work
  • Learning the ‘rules of the game’: Gender equality in the workplace and why gender pay gaps and other barriers to progression occur
  • Introducing the labyrinth – an explanation as to why the labyrinth is a better metaphor than the outdated notion of the glass ceiling
  • The masks we wear at work – why ‘covering’ holds us back and when we have imposter syndrome – or something else

Anj was an absolute superstar, with a VERY short turnaround time Anj delivered a fantastic and tailored keynote at our International Women’s Day event. I’d highly recommend Anj and her approach to the glass ceiling. It was thought-provoking and really did fit the #choosetochallenge theme this year. Thanks for all your hard work and collaboration.
Testimonial (March 2021) Olivia Ogbomo, Senior Project Manager at Innovate UK 

Self Care for Changemakers

  • The Power of Storytelling – Anj’s Story
  • Putting your own oxygen mask on first – why self care is essential, not a ‘nice to have’ if you are to show up as your most effective and engaged
  • The impact of change on our physical and mental wellbeing – introducing the concept of a double change curve using the pandemic as context
  • Build your resilience toolkit – tools and techniques to help you navigate change (e.g. Eisenhower Matrix)

Anj joined our Global Directors meeting to share her story around self care and how it is an essential – not just a ‘nice to have.’ Anj inspired our colleagues from around the world and her tone and pitch were spot on. There were so many useful takeaways for all of us. Thanks so much Anj -you are a true inspiration and we are really excited to connect with you in the future!
Testimonial (March 2021): Christina Lewis, Head of People at Restless Development

Why you’re not harnessing diverse talent – and what to do about it

  • Why any diversity initiative must be led from the top
  • Intersectionality and the importance of understanding multiple characteristics
  • Why making your products and services accessible benefits all
  • The importance of inclusive language – are people deselecting themselves because of your communications?
  • Allyship v employee networks

We 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.
Testimonial (January 2020) Terry King OBE, Soroptimists International, Leeds

Anj offers valuable thoughts and input based on her own experience. For example, Anj has good knowledge of how to create spaces inclusive for people with disabilities, seen and unseen, which can be helpful in considering access issues. Anj did her own prior research on the themes and issues of the event to familiarise herself further with the contributors and their work. Anj showed passion for the themes from her own personal experience and used that in her chairing to create a starting point for broader audience dialogue.
Testimonial (July 2019) Dr Shona Hunter, WhiteSpaces Initiative

Social Action for Young Changemakers (Tailored to youth programmes)

Anj was amazing when she spoke for one our Youth for Europe series, a large scale KA3 European youth project funded by the Erasmus plus programme and the European Commission. The project has brought together over 200 young people together from 6 different countries with European policy makers and inspiring people to create European policies to present to the EU on 3 main topics; education, media and the environment… Anj was very open to the project and really wanted to connect with and inspire the young participants. We kept in communication before the talk and she was professional, organised and nothing was too much for her. When it came to the talk Anj was great, she prepared an interesting topic that fit with the aims of the project that generated lots of discussion… From an organisational viewpoint it was great to have a speaker who really knew how to engage with the young people and from all the feedback everyone really enjoyed it and took lots of new ideas and inspiring thoughts away with them. We wouldn’t hesitate to work with Anj again in the future and we would recommend her work to everyone.
Testimonial (May 2020): Ben Holland, Youth Development Manager at Momentum

CONFERENCE FACILITATION

Anj is a skilled conference host and moderator. Conferences that she has recently curated and moderated include Disorienting Race, Carnegie School of Education and the annual employee conference for domestic abuse charity, IDAS.

WEBINARS

Anj has spoken at virtual events as well as devising online programmes and writing articles. These have included “Civic Responsibility” –what young people can do individually and collectively to make change and ‘Navigating Change’ – how to be resilient and manage your responses to change, and how to plan and prepare for a new way of working, with a takeaway tool based on the Change Curve.

Topics

Communication
Coronavirus Recovery
Diversity & Inclusion
Influencer
Women in Business

Testimonials

We have worked with Matthew for many years and will continue to do so. His knowledge of the Speaker Market and ability to interpret our clients requirements is quite exceptional.

He is incredibly thorough in his approach and always goes that extra mile to ensure everything is exactly as required.

I am always happy working with Matthew, he has great credibility, he is very diverse in his ability to make things happen.

Matthew Fisher and I have worked together for many number of years. I have always found Matt to be honest, good natured and willing to work hard always carefully selecting the best appearances to suit my personality and lifestyle. The work Matthew has delivered for me over the years has varied from schools, colleges, attending film premiers, guest speaking  to name a few all of which I have lots of memories and thoroughly enjoyed.