Matt Lindley

One of the First Openly Gay Pilots in the RAF, Founder of Propel Performance Limited & Delivered the TED talk 'Fear: Fight or Flight'

  • Boeing 777 Airline Pilot for British Airways
  • Former Specialised VIP Flying Captain Responsible for Flying the Royal Family
  • 12 Years of Service in the RAF
  • Worked with high-profile clients such as The New York Times, The Home Office, and Mars Pet Care

When Matt Lindley is booked for events, they are known to discuss the following speaking topics:

Management Lessons from the Flight Deck
The Benefits of Corporate Diversity & Inclusion
Leadership and Behaviour
Conflict Management
Stress Fatigue and Human Performance
Communication and Assertiveness
Decision-Making Under Stress

Matt Lindley’s journey as a keynote speaker on diversity and inclusion is as groundbreaking as it is inspirational. As one of the first openly gay pilots in the Royal Air Force (RAF), at a time when such a revelation was a punishable offence, Matt’s resilience and determination not only allowed him to pursue his dream of flying but also contributed to a significant cultural shift within one of the UK’s largest and most esteemed institutions. His unique experiences, including flying the royal family and providing transformative leadership training, have solidified his position as a dynamic and impactful speaker, guaranteed to leave a profound impression on all audiences.

In 1995, when Matt was selected to join the RAF, he was presented with a daunting choice: to chase his childhood ambition or to embrace his true identity. The RAF’s then-stance against bisexual pilots didn’t deter him; instead, it fueled his passion for change. Throughout his storied career, Matt remained a beacon of self-assurance and a catalyst for change, witnessing firsthand the RAF’s evolution from an environment of blatant discrimination to one of acceptance and camaraderie. Beyond his pivotal role in this transformation, Matt earned respect and recognition for his exceptional aviation skills, particularly as a VIP Flying Captain entrusted with the transportation of the Royal Family and the UK Prime Minister.

Upon leaving the service in 2007, Matt’s journey took a new flight path, one that merged his expertise in aviation with his passion for enhancing workplace performance and inclusivity. As a Commercial Airline Pilot and the Director of Propel Performance, founded in 2013, he fused his in-depth understanding of error management from his aviation career and his role as a human factors consultant in healthcare. This unique intersection of experiences enriched his keynote speeches, adding a layer of practical insight into human error, risk management, and leadership development, beyond the compelling narrative of his journey toward inclusivity and diversity.

Matt Lindley’s presentations and consultancy through Propel Performance are characterised by a rich tapestry of personal stories, psychological insights, and diverse industry experiences, including those from the aviation and healthcare sectors. He skillfully intertwines interactive exercises, real-life case studies, and practical advice, all aimed at revolutionising workplace paradigms. High-profile clients, including The New York Times, The Home Office, and Mars Pet Care, have reaped the benefits of his enlightening talks, further evidenced by his acclaimed TED talk ‘Fear: Fight or Flight’. In every engagement, Matt showcases the universal human propensity for error, highlighting the imperative for systemic change in attitudes towards diversity, inclusion, and comprehensive leadership.

Official Testimonials

Matt Lindley is regularly booked to engage audiences at events, read their latest feedback below:

“I cannot recommend Matt highly enough. He talked to the Close Brothers community about his journey and it resonated incredibly well with all colleagues, not just those from the LQBQT community. His candour and honesty really connected with people, and the ties with wider mental wellness and resilience were incredibly topical given the current pandemic. His humour shone through and it was one of the best received external speakers we have had to date. A thorough recommendation…”

Martyn, Atkinson Group, Chief Operating Officer

“Matt is a very engaging speaker who really knows his stuff – he uses diverse case studies across sectors to illustrate his points expertly well. I left the training as if I had really learnt something”

“I was fortunate enough to listen to Matt speak at a recent LGBT diversity and inclusion event. Matt shared his own journey as a gay man growing up and achieving his dream to be a pilot which took him the macho world of the RAF and how throughout this time he kept his sexuality bottled. He was able to thread into this the impact that sustained stress and stressful events can have on your performance and if left unchecked the catastrophic outcomes that can result. He sincerely described how having to hide one’s sexuality is a significant source of sustained stress in one’s life providing a compelling reason why being inclusive is so essential to avoid this unnecessary situation. It also served as a reminder that each and everyone one of us faces stress and stressful situations everyday whether it be about being LGBT, a difficult family situations, illness the list goes on and reminded me how embracing diversity and being supportive of each other is beneficial to our overall well-being.”

Brad, Royal Bank of Canada

To enquire about Matt Lindley for your event or corporate function, simply contact us via or call a booking agent on 0203 9816 297.