Diversity and Inclusion Speaker Leslie Maxie at the Women in Retail Summit giving a speech.
Pictured: Leslie Maxie, giving her speech on Diversity and Inclusion at the Women in Retail Summit

Empowering Change: The Top 9 Diversity and Inclusion Speakers of 2024

Introduction: Understanding the Importance of Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and inclusion are essential components of any successful organization. They promote a culture of respect, understanding, and acceptance, which leads to increased productivity, creativity, and innovation. However, achieving diversity and inclusion is not always easy, and it requires a concerted effort from everyone involved. This is where diversity and inclusion speakers come in.

Diversity and inclusion speakers are experts in their field who use their knowledge and experience to inspire change. They are powerful communicators who can engage and motivate audiences to take action. They can help organizations understand the importance of diversity and inclusion and provide practical strategies for achieving it.

The Power of Diversity and Inclusion Speakers in Driving Change

Diversity and inclusion speakers have the power to drive change in organizations. They can help organizations understand the importance of diversity and inclusion and provide practical strategies for achieving it. They can also inspire individuals to take action and make a difference in their workplace and community.

One of the key benefits of diversity and inclusion speakers is that they can help organizations create a culture of respect and acceptance. So, by promoting diversity and inclusion, organizations can create an environment where everyone feels valued and respected. This can lead to increased productivity, creativity, and innovation, as well as improved employee morale and retention.

Another benefit of diversity and inclusion speakers is that they can help organizations attract and retain top talent. In today’s competitive job market, employees are looking for organizations that value diversity and inclusion. By promoting diversity and inclusion, organizations can attract a diverse pool of candidates and create a workplace where everyone feels valued and respected.

Key Characteristics of Effective Diversity and Inclusion Speakers

Effective diversity and inclusion speakers have several key characteristics. They are knowledgeable about the subject matter, passionate about their work, and able to connect with their audience. They are also skilled communicators who can deliver their message in a clear and compelling way.

Knowledgeable: Effective diversity and inclusion speakers have a deep understanding of the subject matter. They have studied the latest research and trends in diversity and inclusion and can provide practical strategies for achieving it.

Passionate: Effective diversity and inclusion speakers are passionate about their work. They believe in the importance of diversity and inclusion and are committed to making a difference in their workplace and community.

Connect with their audience: Effective diversity and inclusion speakers are able to connect with their audience. They understand the challenges that organizations face when it comes to diversity and inclusion and can provide practical solutions that resonate with their audience.

Skilled communicators: Effective diversity and inclusion speakers are skilled communicators. They can deliver their message clearly and compellingly, using stories, examples, and data to illustrate their points.

The Top 9 Diversity and Inclusion Speakers of 2024

Ak Ikwuakor

  • Google Master Faculty Trainer
  • Executive Coach and Keynote Speaker
  • Expert in Sales, Public Speaking, and Holistic Healing

AK Ikwuakor, affectionately known as Coach AK, is a world-renowned executive trainer and keynote speaker. He has worked with industry leaders such as Google and Fortune 100 companies, delivering transformative speeches on topics ranging from motivation to holistic healing to business coaching.

As a Google Master Faculty Trainer, AK Ikwuakor is an expert in sales, public speaking, and self-awareness. He has traveled to over thirty countries working with corporations, students, coaches, athletes, victims affected by terrorism, and CEOs. His philosophy centers around motivation and self-awareness as essential facets of personal growth.

AK Ikwuakor’s keynote speeches leave a lasting impression on audiences of all backgrounds. His presentations challenge individuals to challenge what they know and who they think they are in order to become the best version of themselves. With his extensive experience and expertise, AK Ikwuakor is a true leader in the field of executive coaching and keynote speaking.

Robert Paylor

  • Motivational Speaker
  • Quadriplegic Survivor
  • Overcoming Adversity

Robert Paylor is a motivational speaker who shares his story of overcoming quadriplegia to inspire others to access their full potential and conquer their challenges, no matter how daunting they may seem.

At the 2017 Collegiate Rugby National Championship, Robert broke his neck during a rough play. Doctors told Robert he would never walk or move his hands again. But he didn’t accept that reality and courageously willed himself to walk again, against all odds.

Featured in Sports Illustrated, Robert walked across the stage at his graduation ceremony from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, one of the first goals he had set for himself.

Today, Robert is a sought-after keynote speaker for corporate and private events. His message of perseverance and determination resonates with audiences of all ages and backgrounds.

Contact the Mollie Plotkin Group today to inquire about Robert Paylor’s fees and availability for your next event.

Marcus Allen

  • First African American CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence (BBBSI)
  • Charismatic and passionate public servant, devoted to helping those less fortunate
  • Experienced keynote speaker and panel expert on various topics

Marcus Allen is a visionary leader with over 20 years of experience as a nonprofit executive. In 2013, he became the first African American CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence (BBBSI), the largest one-to-one mentoring program in Pennsylvania and the third largest in the country. His work has garnered prestigious awards, including the Philadelphia Business Journal’s Most Admired CEO.

As Co-Chair of BBBSI’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion Committee and a member of its National Leadership Council, Marcus is devoted to helping those less fortunate. He believes that kids just need someone they can talk to and partner with as they navigate through the challenges of growing up.

Marcus is also an experienced keynote speaker and panel expert on various topics. He has appeared on CNN, Oprah Winfrey, and various local and national news shows. He has been invited to speak at Fortune 500 companies such as Bank of America and Deloitte.

Audiences leave Marcus’s experiential talks entertained and inspired by his charismatic and passionate approach to public service.

Yvonne Cagle

  • NASA Astronaut and Retired U.S. Airforce Colonel
  • Expert in Global Mapping, Sustainable Energies, Green Initiatives, and Disaster Preparedness
  • Keynote Speaker and Motivational Speaker

Yvonne Cagle is a retired U.S. Airforce Colonel, NASA astronaut, and expert in global mapping, sustainable energies, green initiatives, and disaster preparedness. 

Dr. Cagle began her career with NASA as a medical doctor in their Occupational Health Clinic. During that time, she designed protocols for NASA remote duty operations during her time there. In 1996, NASA selected her for two years of astronaut training and evaluation. 

Before joining NASA, Dr. Cagle was an Air Force medical officer in the United Kingdom. She attended the School of Aerospace Medicine at Brooks Air Force Base, Texas, where she became a certified flight surgeon. 

Dr. Cagle’s mission is to preserve NASA space legacy data for its scientific and historic importance. She is also the catalyst for NASA’s initiatives in global mapping, sustainable energies, green initiatives, and disaster preparedness. 

Today, Yvonne Cagle is a keynote speaker and motivational speaker available to be booked for corporate and private events. Her expertise in space exploration and sustainability make her an ideal speaker for technology conferences and environmental expos. Contact the Mollie Plotkin Group today to inquire about Yvonne Cagle’s fees.

Kevin Reilly

  • Inspirational Keynote Speaker
  • Author
  • Former NFL Linebacker for the Philadelphia Eagles
  • Forequarter Amputee

Kevin Reilly is a motivational speaker, author, and former NFL linebacker for the Philadelphia Eagles. He is also the oldest known surviving desmoid tumor patient in the world. Despite losing his left arm, left shoulder, and top four left ribs due to life-saving surgery, Kevin refused to let the disease define his life. With over 30 years of experience as a corporate executive and a career in the NFL, Kevin has a unique ability to inspire audiences in both their personal and professional lives.

Kevin Reilly shares his remarkable story of how faith, family, and fortitude kept him in the game. He is available to be booked for corporate and private events as a keynote speaker. Contact the Mollie Plotkin Group today to inquire about Kevin Reilly’s fees.

Kevin Reilly hosts Behind The Lines, giving audiences an inside look at the obstacles athletes face on and off the field. Also, Behind The Lines has featured Vince Papale, Mike Quick, and U.S. Olympian Johnny Quinn.

Stream Behind The Lines on your Roku device or instantly from RVN Television.

Kevin is also a column contributor for Jersey Man Magazine, often writing about his life, the lessons he’s learned, and the challenges he’s faced.

Leslie Maxie

  • Olympian, Sports Journalist, and Entrepreneur
  • Founder of Maxie Media Group
  • International Keynote Speaker

Leslie Maxie is an accomplished sportscaster, record-holding Olympic athlete, and highly in-demand international keynote speaker. Her passion for journalism and athletics began at a young age when she interviewed the legendary athlete Jesse Owens at just 9 years old. Leslie carried this passion into college where she became a record-holding track & field athlete and Olympian. Her motto has always been excellence is not an accident.

Leslie’s Olympic mindset has allowed her to thrive in the hypercompetitive world of sports journalism at ESPN, Fox Sports, and NBC. She is also a self-made entrepreneur and founder of Maxie Media Group, providing PR consulting to influential clients. Leslie’s leadership skills have made her an inspirational female role model and a sought-after speaker for corporate and private events.

Leslie Maxie has cultivated success in front of the camera, behind the camera, as well as in sports and entertainment boardrooms around the world. Her international keynote speeches inspire audiences to adapt her Olympic mindset to keep up with the highest levels of business competition.

Grace Killelea

  • Women’s Leadership Building and Diversity and Inclusion Expert
  • World-class Executive Coach, Human Resource Management Consultant, and Keynote Speaker
  • Author of The Confidence Effect

Grace Killelea is a world-class executive coach and human resource management consultant who has dedicated her life to empowering and connecting women in the workforce. After retiring as Senior Vice President of Talent with Comcast, Killelea became a champion for women and was a major figure behind Comcast’s diversity and inclusion efforts, leading the training and development of over 3,000 directors every year of her tenure. Furthermore, she specializes in women’s leadership building and human resource management consulting.

Killelea is the author of The Confidence Effect, a collection of practical advice for professional women. Additionally, her ideas have been well-received by audiences at ESPN’s Women’s Leadership Conference, The Pennsylvania WILD Conference, and the WithIT Conference. As a keynote speaker, Killelea’s speeches are disruptive and transformative. Therefore, her proven success in the professional speaking industry makes her an asset to any organization.

Meb Keflezighi

  • U.S. Olympic Medalist
  • Boston Marathon Winner
  • Brand Ambassador

Meb Keflezighi is an internationally recognized Eritrean-born American long-distance runner and brand ambassador. 

Keflezighi made history in 2014 by becoming the first American man to win the Boston Marathon since 1983, catapulting him into American popular culture. 

However, his athletic achievements go beyond this historic win. Keflezighi won the silver medal in the 2004 Olympic games for marathon running, following an exceptional collegiate career at UCLA where he earned many All-American awards and accolades.

Keflezighi’s professional athletic career embodies the heart of the American Dream. He arrived in the U.S. as one of ten other children and his family refugees from Eritrea, becoming a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1998. In 2017, he was recognized as an Outstanding American by Choice by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Today, Keflezighi is sponsored by leading organizations such as Sketchers, Sony, Oakley, Inc., and New York Athletic Club. He is a top motivational speaker for young athletes and professionals at sports conferences and expos. 

Carey Lohrenz

  • First Female F-14 Tomcat Fighter Pilot in the U.S. Navy
  • Motivational Speaker and Business Consultant
  • Best-selling Author

Carey Lohrenz is a former U.S. Navy fighter pilot and best-selling author of “Fearless Leadership: High-Performance Lessons from the Flight Deck” and “Span of Control: What to do When You Are Under Pressure, Overwhelmed and Ready to Get What You Really Want”. As the first female F-14 Tomcat Fighter Pilot in the U.S. Navy, Carey knows what it takes to work in fast-moving, dynamic environments where inconsistent execution can generate catastrophic results.

Today, Carey is a highly sought-after motivational speaker and business consultant who shares her fascinating experiences operating in one of the world’s most challenging environments – an aircraft carrier. Her ability to connect with an audience and one-on-one, coupled with her knowledge and experience in leading high-performing, diverse teams, has made her a top leadership speaker for organizations looking to reduce errors, overcome obstacles, and win under pressure.

Hiring Top Diversity and Inclusion Speakers

At the Mollie Plotkin Group, we represent top diversity and inclusion speakers who specialize in every aspect of creating a more inclusive workplace. So, if you’re looking to inspire your team and promote diversity and inclusion in your organization, contact us today. We’ll work with you to plan your next event, conference, or retreat.

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