Rikki Arundel is a professional speaker, coach and diversity expert. The founder of the UK Professional Speaking Association, her career as an international sales and technology speaker ended abruptly when she changed gender in 2002. Facing considerable discrimination, she was compelled to completely change her career.
She enrolled at the University of Hull where she completed an MSc in Gender Research. While there, she began researching LGBT History and led a successful 2 year political campaign to make the NUS more transgender inclusive. She also began speaking regularly at universities around the UK. On leaving university, Rikki became very active in the equalities agenda in Hull, Yorkshire and Nationally, contributing to the development of the Equalities Act.
In 2007, Rikki established a social enterprise, GenderShift, providing support for trans people and training and consultancy on equalities, particularly transgender awareness. She worked extensively across the public and voluntary sectors including many colleges and universities.
Gendershift closed in 2012 due largely to the austerity programme, and since then Rikki has continued to focus on delivering keynote presentations and workshops on Gender issues including two TEDx talks. Since 2015, a sharp increase in trans and non-binary media attention occurred as a result of a number of celebrities changing gender. This high profile has led to a significant increase young transgender people seeking support, and schools taking a more positive approach to LGBT+ support. As a result, Rikki has found herself in increasing demand as a speaker at schools, colleges and universities.
Drawing on her own experiences and those of the people she has supported, Rikki helps audiences to better understand the difficulties and life choices faced by transgender and non-binary people. Her presentations are highly engaging and humorous, and she has extensive experience working with all ages from 11 upwards.
"Rikki worked with our school as part of a PHSE day. She presented a fantastically insightful talk to our whole school, delivered staff training and offered her time to front a drop-in session for anyone with questions about LGBT+. She was engaging, enthusiastic and open which led to her making a real impression on our staff and students. Furthermore, she was willing to design her day around our needs and tailor her talk to our focus for the day which was bullying. After our PHSE day... students commented ‘...I loved the gender talk, as it was really engaging and informing. Please, could we have more like it’, ‘...Rikki seemed very nice and she was really interesting’ and ‘...the best part of the whole day was listening to Rikki’"
"Rikki gave a superb talk to our boys. She started off by telling them her own story, and then expanded into a discussion of important trans issues of which they ought to be aware. Following the talk, the boys are now much more mindful of the trans community, in their awareness and consideration of others. Throughout her one hour talk, the boys were thoroughly engaged, and continue to speak of Rikki as one of our very best visiting speakers. I could not recommend her more highly."
"I just wanted to say thank you so much for your presentation on Monday – it was great with the right balance of hard messages and humour. I have had fantastic feedback from staff on it... I will certainly be telling my contacts about you."
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