Keynote Speakers

We were delighted to welcome our wonderful keynote speakers and huge thanks to all of them and our event sponsors for supporting us to create an exciting and varied programme for the 2021 conference.

Image is a head a shoulders photo of Paul smiling at the camera

Paul Evans
CEO, Leadership through Sport 

Paul Evans joined Leadership Through Sport & Business in April 2020 as Chief Executive. Previously he was Managing Director at the award-winning Street League and CEO of the national education charity, UFA (University of the First Age). Paul has a professional background in youth and education services, sport for development, mental health, homelessness and employability provision. He cites the golden thread throughout his career as social mobility and inclusion, supporting the most disadvantaged groups to achieve real and lasting change in their lives. Paul is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and full member of the Chartered Management Institute. He is also a Trustee at learning disability charity, REACH.

“Loved his concept and very much aligns with our organisation”

Image is a photo of Nikki with the arms folded smiling at the camera

Dr Nikki Kanani,
GP and Medical Director for Primary Care for NHS England and NHS Improvement 

Dr Nikki Kanani is a GP in south-east London and is currently Medical Director for Primary Care for NHS England and NHS Improvement. Prior to joining NHS England as Deputy Medical Director of Primary Care, she was Chief Clinical Officer of NHS Bexley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

Nikki has held a range of positions within healthcare to support the development of innovative models of care, highly engaged clinical, patient and public leadership and is passionate about supporting primary care, improving service provision and population wellbeing.

She is a member of The King’s Fund General Advisory Council and holds a MSc in health care commissioning. With her sister she co-founded STEMMsisters, a social enterprise supporting young people to study science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine. She has two young children.

“Very interesting points discussed and good mentions of the biggest and best rainbows. So much positivity.”

Image is a photo of Lucy smiling at the camera

Lucy Caldicott

Lucy is a campaigner and activist working to address issues of inequality, injustice and exclusion. Lucy has worked in leadership roles at a range of charities over the last twenty five years, most recently as Chief Executive of UpRising, a charity which offers a range of leadership and employability programmes to talented young people from diverse and under-represented backgrounds.

“Great topic and I agreed with the challenges that were given to the sector. Lived experience has so much value and we can do more to make it meaningful.”

She now runs ChangeOut, a consultancy set up to address issues of diversity, inclusion, and culture change in the social justice sector and beyond.

Since May 2018, Lucy has been a Councillor representing Stockwell ward in the London Borough of Lambeth and has recently joined the Cabinet as joint lead on Health and Adult Social Care. Between 2019-2021 she chaired the Children’s Services Scrutiny Committee. She ran as Labour’s candidate in Dudley South in the 2019 General Election.

We are extremely grateful to Thomas Pocklington Trust for their generous support, enabling us to welcome Lucy to Visionary’s Annual Conference 2021.

A headshot. Amy is a blonde white plus size woman wearing glasses. She is half smiling at the camera and wears a navy dress

Dr. Amy Kavanagh,
Disability Activist and Campaigner 

Dr Amy Kavanagh is a disability activist and campaigner. She uses social media to share her lived experience navigating the world as a blind Londoner alongside Guide Dog Ava. Amy’s activism work includes #JustAskDontGrab a viral campaign which encourages people to ask for consent before offering assistance. She is also currently the Landlady of The Staying Inn, an online inclusive community for disabled people. Amy is committed to celebrating disability, mobility aids and encouraging others to learn about the social model of disability.
We are very extremely grateful to Blind Veterans UK for supporting the Visionary Annual Conference 2021, creating the opportunity for us to welcome Dr Amy Kavanagh to this year’s event.

“Amy was amazing and I could have listened to her lots more. Very positive, calm and informative in the way she spoke and topics she covered”

Image is a photo of Lord Low, half smiling at the camera
Lord Colin Low, CBE

Lord Colin Low, CBE

As ever, we are honoured that our President, Lord Colin Low, joined us at this year’s Annual Conference to start the event in traditional Visionary style with his wonderful opening speech!

Colin has been President of Visionary since 2010. Colin is also Vice President of RNIB, and former President of the European Blind Union (EBU) and the International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment (ICEVI).

Colin taught Law and Criminology at Leeds University before becoming Director of the Greater London Council’s Disability Resource Team. He then carried out research into theories of disability as Senior Research Fellow at City University and was appointed to the House of Lords in 2006.

He was a member of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (1994-2007); the Disability Rights Task Force (1997-1999); and the Disability Rights Commission (2000-2002); and chaired the Low Commission on the future of advice and legal support on social welfare law.

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