The Official Best Keynote Speakers For Your Employee Resource Groups Ranked by Popularity
One of the most crucial factors of a successful business is having comprehensive diversity and inclusion policies implemented. With organisations now expected to build both diverse and inclusive teams, a great way to create a diverse and inclusive workplace is through the integration of effective employee resource groups. Aligning corporate and employee expectations, employee resource groups aim to make workplaces as inclusive as possible – with 90% of Fortune 500 companies having already adopted employee resource groups. But the question is, what is an employee resource group?
What is an Employee Resource Group?
An employee resource group is a voluntary-led group of employees, whose main priority is to foster an inclusive and diverse workplace. Such employee resource groups work to pioneer diversity and inclusion initiatives in the organisations at which they work, making them a great place for people from all walks of life.
Employee resource groups are often formed by people who share the same characteristics – such as their gender identity, religion or ethnicity. These like-minded people all share a similar interest, to achieve diversity and equality in an inclusive workplace, and in an employee resource group, such people are able to show their true colours and bring their whole selves to the workplace. Employee resource groups have inclusivity at their heart, meaning that allies can also be invited to an employee resource group that share the same passions and goals.
Employee resource groups have existed in the workplace for the past 40 years, and have been referred to as affinity groups, employee networks or diversity councils in the past. One of the first companies to introduce an employee resource group was Xerox, called the National Black Employee Caucus, created in 1970 due to racial tension.
Why Should I Hire a Speaker For My Employee Resource Group?
A fantastic way of making the goals of an employee resource group heard is by hiring a powerful and passionate speaker. Vocalising issues that face people of the ERG, a speaker will ensure that CEOs and senior management pay attention to the crucial issues discussed in these pivotal resource groups.
Here at The Diversity & Inclusion Speakers Agency, we are fortunate to work with the very best diversity and inclusion speakers – all who have decorated careers in DEI roles or are passionate advocates for equality through lived experiences.
Having orchestrated countless successful events throughout 2022 and into 2023, we conducted a survey with the guests of over 500 events to determine who the official best keynote speakers for your employee resource group are – see them ranked by their popularity below!
The Official Best Keynote Speakers for Your Employee Resource Group
- Dame Inga Beale
- Geffrye Parsons
- Michelle King
- Asif Sadiq
- Jake & Hannah Graf
- Kelly Grainger
- Pauline Miller
- Patrick Vernon
- Laila El-Metoui
- Yasmin Benoit
Inga Beale – 9.9/10
Dame Inga Beale has dedicated her career to the battle for diversity, inclusion and equality, having solidified her reputation as an inspiring businesswoman in her role as the first female CEO of Lloyds of London. Making history as the first female CEO in 328 years of operation, Inga ensured that her reputation lived up to expectations, committing her service at Lloyd’s of London to ensuring that the company was as diverse and inclusive as can be. Inga set and achieved stretching DEI goals, such as increasing female leadership to 37% and launching the Pride@Lloyds LGBT+ employee support group.
Appointed DBE for the commitments made throughout her career, Inga was also the first openly bisexual person to be named at no.1 on the OUTstanding & FT Leading LGBT Executive Power List. Widely regarded as one of the most preeminent authorities on inclusion in the workplace, hire Dame Inga Beale to help your employee resource group achieve its missions.
Official Feedback for Dame Inga Beale:
“I just wanted to reach out and say a huge thank you to Dame Inga. What a truly inspiring session and the perfect way to launch the Karcher Women’s Network. My inbox is already flooded with comments from people on how much Inga has taught them. I know that session will stick with me forever” – Aimee, Head of Learning & Development, Karcher
Geffrye Parsons – 9.7/10
The Founder and CEO of The Inclusion Imperative, Geffrye Parsons is driven by the power of inclusion. Having worked a successful 35-year career in financial services, Geffrye was formerly the Managing Director for the Macquarie Group – a time during which he was also the Chair of the LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Group at Macquarie. His commitment to diversity and inclusion at Macquarie helped them to secure the No. 1 place on the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index 2022, along with recognition of the Business Equality Award at the PinkNews Awards. Geffrye’s commitments to diversity and inclusion have also seen him awarded the LGBT+ Inspirational Leader Award from the British LGBT Awards and named on The Guardian’s Pride Power List 2022.
Named on the annual list of the Top 100 LGBTQ+ Executives on three occasions, Geffrye is a revolutionary business leader who has diversity, equity and inclusion at the heart of his agenda. Having already chaired an employer resource group, hire Geffrye Parsons today to increase the effectiveness of your employer resource group with his expertise.
Official Feedback for Geffrye Parsons:
“The visibility which Geff put LGBTQ+ equality on the agenda in the otherwise conservative and often difficult to change world of banking is inspiring. In the process, Geff is changing the banking industry and the city as a whole. The impact of Geff’s visibility and actions is not just for a day or a month, but will be felt for years to come. In my experience, a lot of people find it easy to pay lip service – Geff is one of the very few who takes action.” – Krishna, Corporate Lawyer & Stonewall Role Model of the Year 2018
Michelle King – 9.9/10
Described by Billie Jean King as a ‘visionary leader changing the inclusion landscape’, Michelle King is a decorated DEI professional who was formerly the Director of Inclusion for Netflix. Now the Founding and Managing Director of Equality Forward, Michelle is on a mission to tackle inequality through her expertise in ‘fixing’ workplace cultures. With a decorated history working as an HR Consultant for PwC and a Senior Manager of Development for Diversity and Employee Engagement for UN Women, Michelle is also an eminent figure in the battle for gender equality – having authored the book The Fix: How to Overcome the Invisible Barriers That are Holding Women Back at Work.
An Advisory Board Member of Girl Up for the United Nations Foundation, Michelle has been highly rewarded for her commitment to diversity – such as when she claimed the 2019 Inspiring Innovator Award from Women Tech Founders. Also named a LinkedIn 2020 Top Voice for Equality, Michelle is a seasoned speaker who has used her preeminent voice on equality to deliver the TEDx talk It’s Not You, It’s Your Workplace. When looking to make the voice of your employee research group heard, hire Michelle King today!
Official Feedback for Michelle King:
“Insightful and thoroughly engaging, Michelle King provides practical solutions for bringing about tangible and lasting change, as well as an impassioned argument for equity that moves beyond the current discourse on women in the workplace.” – Dr Nina, UN Women Global Champion for Innovation
Asif Sadiq – 9.8/10
The former Head of the Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Unit for the City of London Police and Global Head of Diversity, Inclusion and Social Impact for Adidas, Asif Sadiq has worked a fruitful career in the sector of diversity and inclusion. An expert in implementing successful DEI strategies, Asif also has former experience working as the Head of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging for the Telegraph Media Group and as the Senior Vice President and Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion International for Warner Bros. Discovery. Today, Asif is the Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer for Warner Bros. Discovery, a role in which he passionately ensures that Warner Bros.’s powerful portfolio of entertainment is as diverse and inclusive as possible.
Recognised as one of the Top 50 Trailblazers in Gender Equality by WeAreTheCity and as one of the Top 10 Muslim Influencers in Media and Entertainment by EqualityX, Asif is highly commended for his expertise in building synergies between internal and external D&I initiatives. Ensuring that DEI is embedded at the heart of organisations, hire Asif Sadiq to emphasise the mission of employee resource groups on everything from racial equality to LGBT+ acceptance.
Official Feedback for Asif Sadiq:
“A huge thank you, Asif. The session was everything we hoped it would be – your content prompted some really great questions which I hope is indicative of colleagues on the call reflecting on their own practice. I have already had several colleagues reach out to be directly to say how inspiring they found the event. Thank you for arranging the presentation by Asif Sadiq. The Army Inspectorate is conducting a review into the training and education of behaviours, so listening to Asif was really useful.” – Maria, Leadership Consultant, Leadership & Engagement Team, Ministry of Defence
Jake & Hannah Graf – 9.5/10
Jake and Hannah Graf are widely regarded as two of the most inspirational LGBT+ advocates, who have continually made headlines for their inspirational achievements as an LGBT+ couple and made waves in their respective industries. Hannah was formerly an Officer in the British Army, and was one of the highest-ranked transgender soldiers in the force. Jake is an accomplished actor, director and writer, who is widely recognised for his roles in The Danish Girl, Butterfly and Colette – commended for his passion to change perceptions of the LGBT+ community through film. Such influential members of the LGBT+ community, Jake and Hannah have also claimed a spot on the Independent’s Pride Power List and The Guardian LGBT Power List. Driven to redefine perceptions of transgender people, Jake and Hannah are now highly popular choices as keynote speakers, focussing on how they have overcome adversity in their lives and supported other members of the LGBT+ community.
With such an influence on the LGBT+ community, Jake and Hannah have been recognised as ‘The UK’s Most Influential LGBT Power Couple’ by The Guardian. Having also been awarded a British LGBT Award and a Cosmopolitan Ultimate Women Award, Jake and Hannah are the perfect choice when looking to hire a speaker to empower the members of your employee resource group – sharing their lived experiences as prominent figures of the LGBT+ community.
Official Feedback for Jake & Hannah Graf:
“Jake and Hannah were absolutely phenomenal – the feedback we have received is truly outstanding. They were so genuine, authentic and inspirational.” – Jane, Respiratory Representative, GSK
Kelly Grainger – 9.3/10
A preeminent advocate for the awareness and acceptance of Autism and neurodivergence, Kelly Grainger is a passionate speaker who shares his lived experience of being diagnosed with Autism at 44. Currently the Co-Founder of Perfectly Autistic, Kelly has also forged a highly successful 23-year career working for established companies such as Merlin Entertainments, PepsiCo and News International. A vocal advocate for increased neurodivergent support in the workplace, Kelly has been approached by MIND to work on their Mental Health at Work programme and has been featured by the National Autistic Society, The Telegraph, The Huffington Post, The Daily Mail and The Disability Review Magazine.
Now highly sought after as a passionate keynote speaker on Autism awareness, Kelly has formerly spoken at the 2020 Autism Show and for the United Nations Global Compact Network. Advocating the significance of business being more accepting of neurodiversity in the workplace, Kelly is the perfect speaker to hire for an employee resource group centred around neurodiversity, empowering other neurodivergent people to share their stories and educating businesses on how they can be more inclusive of neurodiversity.
Official Feedback for Kelly Grainger:
“Kelly delivered a really fantastic session yesterday! His talk was super engaging, clear and really insightful. We’ve had lots of great feedback come through already and the Teams chat was alive with discussion so it was fantastic to see that so many people found the conversation insightful and thought-provoking. The session was exactly what we were looking to achieve in terms of helping people to think openly about how we shift our customer experiences to make them more accessible and inclusive. So really big thank you to Kelly!” – BP
Pauline Miller – 9.6/10
The Chief Equity Officer of Dentsu International, Pauline Miller has enjoyed a successful career in the human resources sector and has fostered a reputation as a passionate change agent. Leading the way for diversification in the workplace, Pauline is best known for being the former Head of Talent, Development and Inclusion for Lloyd’s of London – transforming the age-old organisation’s HR department, through the execution of Lloyd’s Cultural Programme. As a DEI enthusiast, Pauline is passionate about advocating for people from all walks of life – from campaigns for racial equality to advocacy for women’s rights. As an empowering female role model, Pauline has also been an Advisory Board Member of the United Nations Foundation Girl Up.
As a revolutionary advocate for diversity and equality, Pauline is also revered for leading ‘Dive In’, an annual three-day festival within the insurance industry that empowers DEI. A seasoned speaker, Pauline has formerly spoken at the Hallam Conferences on the ethnic pay gap and for the LGBT insurance network, Link. Hire Pauline Miller today, to help catalyse change with your employee resource group.
Official Feedback for Pauline Miller:
“Firstly, the session today went extremely well and has been very well received by RGA associates across the region. Thank you for your help in arranging us to have Pauline. I really enjoyed hearing her story and her insights and I know that this sentiment is shared based on the feedback received so far.” – Karen, HR Manager Italy & Spain, RGA International Reinsurance Company
Patrick Vernon – 9.2/10
Widely considered one of the most preeminent campaigners on racial equality and discrimination, Patrick Vernon is the driving force behind action and compensation for the Windrush Generation. As a passionate advocate for racial equality, Patrick has formerly been the first Director of Black Thrive, the Chair of the Westminster Race Equality Partner and the Race Equalities Advisor to the Shadow Equalities Ministerial Team, ensuring that people from minority ethnic backgrounds achieved the same rights and treatment as everyone else. As a passionate Windrush advocate, Patrick has worked tirelessly to expose the Windrush scandal – encouraging 180,000 people to campaign for the amnesty of Windrush children and creating the Windrush Justice Fund.
Also the Founder of 100 Great Black Britons and Editor of the Black History Month Magazine, Patrick Vernon is one of the foremost racial equality speakers available to hire. Appointed OBE and Pioneer of the Nation for Cultural History by HRH Queen Elizabeth II, hire Patrick Vernon today as an authoritative speaker and powerful advocate to back the mission of your employee resource group.
Official Feedback for Patrick Vernon:
“I have been stopped multiple times by attendees after the event, every single one of them wanted to let me know how much they enjoyed the Black History Month talk with Patrick. Everyone I spoke to found him fascinating with so many interesting topics to talk about. Thanks to Patrick for joining us and speaking on so many important issues, it was a privilege to listen to him. 100% of attendees rated the session as 8/10 or higher.” – BMW Group UK
Laila El-Metoui – 8.9/10
A celebrated equity educator, Laila El-Metoui is a provider of comprehensive DEI training and workshops on culture and belonging – renowned as the Founder and CEO of Pride in Education and Educating OUT Racism. Also the Founder and Co-Chair of UK Queer Arabs, Founder and Chair of Proud London Councils, Laila has dedicated her career to tackling micro-aggressions and discrimination that continue to be prevalent within society. With additional experience as the Director of Adult Learning for LGBT History Month, Laila is highly commended for her commitments to diversity and inclusion, having most recently been nominated for the Rainbow Honours for UK Queer Arabs.
Named the Lesbian Role Model of the Year 2020 by Stonewall and on the Pride Power List 2021, Laila continues to mark her name in the history books as a vocal advocate for inclusion and the LGBT+ community. Having previously been the Co-Chair of the LGBT+ Staff Forum for the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, Laila has previous experience as a member of employee resource groups – making her the perfect speaker to help empower employee resource groups across the country.
Official Feedback for Laila El-Metoui:
“We just finished a really fantastic session with Laila. Just wanted to feedback that we’ve had extremely positive comments from everyone at the company. Lots of eye-opening statistics and perspectives were shared and Laila led the conversation brilliantly. Thanks again for connecting us and we’d love to have Laila back in the future for another session.” – Proxymity
Yasmin Benoit – 8.8/10
A prominent asexual activist, Yasmin Benoit has enjoyed a successful career as a model, working tirelessly to diversify the modelling pool and increase diverse representation. As one of the UK’s most prominent Black models, Yasmin has used her platform to empower people who identify as asexual or aromantic, also advocating for the social and legal rights of people who identify that way. The creator of #ThisIsWhatAsexualLooksLike, Yasmin is passionate to promote that asexuality has no set identity, and people who identify that way can look or dress however they please. In addition to creating this movement, Yasmin has also presented the BBC Sounds series Me and My Asexuality and has been a Board Member of the Asexual Visibility and Education Network.
Awarded the Attitude Pride Award 2021 and named on the Visible100 and Attitude 101 Influential Figures lists, Yasmin is now highly sought after as a speaker to dispel misconceptions surrounding minority groups. A seasoned speaker, Yasmin has previously delivered the TEDx talk Asexuals Need Media Representation and has formerly spoken at Prague Pride 2020 and the LGBT Stem Conference. Having been a member of LGBT+ networks, hire Yasmin Benoit today to benefit from her experience when leveraging workplace change as an employee resource group.
Official Feedback for Yasmin Benoit:
“Yasmin, thank you so much for joining us today! We truly appreciate your time and the opportunity to hear from you. I heard from multiple attendees that they really enjoyed your talk and found it helpful and insightful. We’re excited to share it with more employees via the recording and keep the conversation going here at Uber. On behalf of the Pride at Uber resource group, happy Pride Month, and also thank you for the important work you do and the changes you’ve made and advocated for the LGBTQIA+ community. It was such an honour to get to hear from you today.” – Uber
Hire a Speaker for Your Employee Resource Group Today!
If you are interested in hiring a passionate speaker to support your employee resource group, don’t hesitate in contacting one of The Diversity and Inclusion Speakers Agency’s dedicated booking agents today! Get in touch by calling a booking agent on 0203 9816 297 or by completing our online contact form. Make a difference in the diversity and inclusion of your workplace by encouraging employee resource groups.