Top Ten Motivational & Inspirational Speakers

Top performers in their own fields and brilliant communicators, the best motivational speakers possess the magnetism and star quality to lift and inspire an audience, ensuring that by the time the event has finished, everyone who has been listening feels energised and excited. The audience may be CEOs, employees, young people or just interested spectators – whatever their background and experience, the successful motivational speaker will stimulate them emotionally and intellectually, providing insights, solutions and, sometimes, a whole new way of thinking.

Here is a top ten motivational and inspirational speakers at Riva Media. They’re very different individuals, but all are first class communicators who know how to lift an audience.

Bear Grylls explorer and keynote speaker

At the age of 23, Bear Grylls became the youngest Briton to climb Mount Everest, even though he had broken his back in a parachute jump just two years earlier. Bear spent three years as a soldier in the British Special Forces, as part of 21 SAS Regiment, refining the survival skills that have become his calling card as an international television star, featuring in seven seasons of the Discovery Channel’s Emmy Award-nominated Man vs. Wild TV series, which became one of the most-watched shows on the planet.

Bear has hosted more extreme adventure shows across more global networks than anyone else, including five seasons of the global hit TV show Running Wild with Bear Grylls. President Obama, Julia Roberts, Roger Federer, Will Ferrell, Channing Tatum, and Kate Winslet are among the celebrities who have joined him on some epic adventures. He also hosts the Emmy Award-nominated interactive Netflix show You Vs Wild as well as Emmy Award-nominated National Geographic landmark series Hostile Planet.

Bear has become one of the most world’s most popular inspirational and motivational speakers, with talks and presentations that are challenging and entertaining, provoking and energising audiences. His specialist topics include leadership, teamwork, resilience and the art of survival, encompassing both the outdoors and the indoors challenges we all face in hour daily lives. As an after-dinner motivational speaker, he has stories and anecdotes that will amaze and entertain.

Nicola Adams was one of the impressive British sports personalities to emerge into the national and international spotlight from the crucible of the London 2012 Olympics and it’s little wonder she is much in demand as a motivational and inspirational speaker as well as sports speaker. As an openly Lesbian boxing champion she has become one of the voices of her generation, a standard bearer for the LGBT community. In 2012 the Independent named her the most influential LGBT person in Britain. Her inclusion in the annual Powerlist recognised her as among the most influential people of African/African-Caribbean descent in the UK. Diversity and inclusion are among her specialist topics as a keynote speaker. Nicola Adams’s career is a long list of “firsts”. The first female to win an Olympic boxing title in 2012. The first female double Olympic boxing champion after retaining her flyweight crown at the Rio Games of 2016. The first avowedly gay Olympic boxing champion. She collected the whole set of amateur titles available to her: winning Olympic, European and Commonwealth Games, plus World, European and EU championships.

This Leeds-born athlete with the ready smile has charm aplenty to captivate your event, but rest assured, she will also tell it like it is, with a powerful message as a keynote and motivational speaker for any audience.

Nicola Adams sports speaker and boxing champion
Dame Ellen MacArthur keynote sports and environment speaker

Ellen MacArthur, the solo yachtswoman who revelled in facing down the worst that the globe’s mightiest oceans could throw at her, would be a compelling presence at your event. Her life experience makes her a superb keynote speaker, motivational speaker and inspirational speaker. Few are as privileged as she to have experienced first-hand the power of the elements at their rawest – and those who do, have wisdom and insight to share. From the start Dame Ellen’s determination to sail the world’s biggest oceans and conquer the globe’s most dangerous maritime challenges was the story of one single person’s indomitable motivation. It led her to claim, in 2005, the record for the fastest time sailing non-stop round the world, a voyage of 27,354 nautical miles lasting 71 days, 14 hours, 18 minutes and 33 seconds, during which she only ever slept for 20 minutes at a time. After announcing her retirement from competitive sailing in 2009, Dame Ellen brought her knowledge and understanding of the world’s needs to focus on the use of resources and energy in the global economy. Her charity, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, promotes what’s called a “circular economy” where a regenerative re-use of resources replaces the old throwaway culture of waste. As a motivational speaker, a keynote speaker or an environmental, sustainability and circular economy speaker, Dame Ellen will bring a fresh and challenging perspective to your event.

Kathryn Parsons is the Co-CEO of Decoded – a major player in the UK technology world, but the backdrop to her story is inspirational. Kathryn founded Decoded using a credit card and has built the business into a global enterprise, teaching code, data and cyber skills to over half a million people in 85+ cities worldwide.  For a motivational talk aimed at inspiring colleagues’ entrepreneurial instincts, Kathryn’s story and speaking skills are first class. Kathryn is also passionate about education successfully campaigning for coding to be mandatory on the UK National  Curriculum. In her motivational talks, Kathryn teaches how to embrace lifelong learning, by giving ourselves permission to learn and grow.

Kathryn Parsons Keynote Speaker and technology speaker

I recently received a request for a speaker who embodies “beyond impossible”. Dr Karen Darke MBE immediately sprang to mind. At the age of 21, Karen was paralysed from the chest down in an accident, while sea cliff climbing, but has since turned adversity into triumph, winning Paralympic gold for hand-cycling in Rio 2016.  It was the 79th medal for Britain, and 79 being the elemental number for Gold led to Karen creating Quest 79 a project that has seen Karen cycling 7 continents in 9 iconic rides, raising £79K for Spinal Injuries. She is also a Guinness World Record holder for landspeed by armpower and has skied across icecaps, kayaked at extreme latitudes of the planet, and hand-cycled across the world’s biggest mountain ranges and alongside some of the longest rivers.

Karen is able to share the secret to her resilience and mental fortitude, working as a motivational and inspirational speaker, helping audiences to “find inner gold”. She has carried out extensive studies of what goes on “inside” and her speeches and talks are based on these unique explorations of mind, resilience and performance, showing how the power of the mind and language can make a positive impact on your emotions; improving presence, performance and wellbeing. Karen encourages people to view life as an adventure and embrace opportunities to learn and grow. Polar explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes says “Karen’s captivating story shines a bright light on the meaning of challenge and on the limitless capabilities of the human spirit.”

Karen Darke motivational speaker and sportswoman
Jessica Ennis-Hill athlete keynote and motivational speaker

If one person became the shining icon of British sport at the time of the London 2012 Olympics, that person was Jessica Ennis-Hill. Her achievements inspired a nation, her personality put her at its heart. She was truly Britain’s golden girl and the perfect booking if you’re looking for an inspirational, motivational speaker. Her heptathlon gold medal was the crowning glory of what became known as Britain’s Super Saturday at those games, but for Jessica Ennis-Hill it was the summit of a life of dedication, ambition, focus and, sometimes, heartbreak. With typical grit and motivation she came through, and now boasts Olympic Gold, three World Titles and a European title among her long list of sporting honours.

But there’s more to this extraordinary achiever. Married to her spouse Andy Hill in 2013, she’s the mother of two children, a son and a daughter – winning her third world title in 2015 on her comeback from her first pregnancy, with a brilliant silver medal at the Rio Games a year later, after which she announced her retirement.

As a sports speaker, a motivational speaker, or keynote speaker, Jessica Ennis-Hill’s example sets the standard.



Having led twenty two major expeditions to remote parts of the world, including both Poles, Sir Ranulph Fiennes is currently the only man alive to have travelled around the Earth’s vertical circumpolar surface. He was also the first explorer to entirely cross the Antarctic continent unsupported. He is a gifted story teller, both entertaining and inspirational – and is in huge demand as a motivational speaker to businesses across the globe. Sir Ranulph has been described by the Guinness Book of Records as “The World’s Greatest Living Explorer“.

The Daily Telegraph listed him as ‘One of the world’s top ten speakers’. He is indeed a truly accomplished motivational speaker, presenter and entertaining after dinner speaker and can present with or without his impressive footage. Goggle gave this verdict on his speech to them: “You now have around 3000 avid Google fans who have been raving about your talk ever since you took to the stage”

Sir Ranulph Fiennes explorer and keynote speaker
Ayo Sokale, keynote speaker, civil engineer

BBC Presenter Ayo Sokale possesses an array of talents and expertise, placing her at the cutting edge of the evolving scientific, media and environmental landscape and her charisma, energy and inspirational back story make her the perfect motivational speaker. Ayo is a Chartered Civil Engineer, Project Manager and Building Information lead for the Environment Agency in Eastern England and is a popular Sustainability Speaker and Environment Speaker. Ayo was selected as one of Professor Lord Robert Mair’s Future Leaders for his year as President of the ICE. She is one of the ICE’s Water Superheroes aptly named Eco Warrior (previously Angel) and is an excellent Motivational Speaker and Inspirational Speaker, particularly when it comes to inspiring young people to pursue STEM subjects.

Ayo is a STEM ambassador and mentor, encouraging others to take up careers in Civil Engineering. She was also nominated for the Top 50 Women in Engineering under 35 initiative run by The Telegraph in partnership with The Women’s Engineering Society. She is one of our most popular Diversity and Inclusion Speakers.

Luke Tyburski is a specialist motivational speaker, with a track record backed by glowing testimonials from a series of delighted clients. Luke has known adversity, battling depression, binge eating, and suicidal tendencies to conquer some of the world’s most extreme ultra-endurance challenges. He has run through the Sahara desert, down Mt Everest, across a tropical forest in China and has undertaken mountainous double Ironman triathlons, multiple 150 mile ultra-marathons and 250 mile non-stop bike rides.

Charismatic and an inspirational speaker, Luke is a performance coach working with business leaders and providing workshops and talks to motivate and inspire staff.

Jason King from EtchRock gave this testimonial: “A first-class presentation delivered by a world-class public speaker. Luke Tyburski kept our guests spellbound with his adventure stories.”

Luke Tyburski motivational speaker
Michael Johnson athlete and keynote speaker motivational speaker


As a runner, Michael Johnson’s fluid grace was a joy to watch. As a speaker – keynote speaker, event host, motivational speaker – his life story commands attention. Unusually, both the 200 metres and 400 metres sprints were his favoured events — and his record as a world class athlete at the top of both disciplines, remains one of the great careers in all sport. Johnson is the only male to win gold at both distances in the same Olympics (Atlanta 1996). He’s the only male athlete to defend the 400 metre Olympic title successfully (Sydney, 2000). At 400 metres, he went seven years unbeaten from 1993. In all he is the winner of four Olympic golds and eight world championship titles. After his stellar, record-breaking track career, he turned his attention to broadcasting where he soon won a reputation for his sparkling, incisive and straight-talking presence in the studio at athletics events. Life had one more battle in store for Michael Johnson. Fit and healthy he may have been but in September 2018 he suffered a stroke. He was taken to hospital just in time. Then, summoning what he himself called his “Olympic Mindset” he set about managing his own recovery, determined that the condition should not leave its terrible mark on his ability to lead a full normal life. Eight gruelling months later, he declared himself “100 percent recovered”. Now he works tirelessly to help promote awareness of stroke. His personal qualities, and his life story, make him the perfect keynote and motivational speaker to boost your event.

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