Speaker & Facilitator

Alison is an experienced and versatile speaker, facilitator and adviser. To inquire or book her for a speaking, chairing, facilitating or advisory engagement, please use the Contact Me form.


With her focus on environmental and social well-being, Alison facilitates workshops for organisational teams and community groups using the practices of Active Hope.

These sessions open up profound conversations about people’s concerns for the planet and their dreams for a better future, helping them to voice their feelings and to shift from anxiety, or overwhelm, or powerlessness into positive action.

They can be tailored to the goals of the group or team, whether these are building resilience and well-being, having better conversations across differences, or brainstorming collective environmental and social action. For example, she led a workshop for one organisation’s international staff titled ‘Leadership for People and Planet’, and a session for a corporate DEI leadership team on ‘Wellbeing, Resilience and Hope’.

Alison is a trained facilitator in this approach, developed by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone, which helps us to find our best response to the struggles and changes in our lives, in our organisations, and in the world.

Among many other engagements as a facilitator, Alison chaired two expert panels on diversity in Shanghai and London for ACCA, the global body for professional accountants, and the Economic and Social Research Council, and wrote the introductory and concluding reports. She has also co-facilitated Collective Leadership two- and three-day programme retreats run by PresenceAtWork.


Alison has spoken widely on topics related to leadership, inclusion and diversity, and the changing world of work. She and INdivisible co-author Rebekah Steele have between them addressed around 40 events internationally on the topic of inclusive organisations, from in-person and online conferences and ‘fireside chats’ to internal corporate DEI events. See INdivisible speaking events.

Alison has also spoken about the future of work, and about gender balance as a business priority, at a wide range of global and national organisations, including the International Women’s Forum, BBVA, the International Monetary Fund, PwC, Unilever and Sodexo.


Alison’s advisory roles have included:

  • Chair of the Executive Board of Bayes Business School’s Global Women’s Leadership Programme (2019-2022), and member of the Board (2017-2022)
  • Board Director of International Women’s Forum UK (2016-2020), and Vice Chair (2019-2020)
  • Director of The Conference Board’s European Council for Diversity & Inclusion in Business, a peer network of senior D&I executives from multinational companies (2007-2016). Also programme director and facilitator of TCB’s European Academy for Diversity, Inclusion & Culture Change
  • Adviser to Tomorrow’s Company on research project ‘Tomorrow’s Global Leaders: How to ensure women reach the top’ (2009-14)
  • Member of external advisory panel for O2 on sustainability (2012-14)
  • Member of advisory group for Equal Opportunities Commission’s investigation into the Transformation of Work (2007)


‘One does not often witness a fully engaged room full of lawyers, accountants, and property services professionals listening without distraction. Thanks to Alison, I witnessed such an impact at the recent annual RBS gathering of our professional services clients. The feedback has been uniformly excellent.
Alison’s core principles as represented in Future Work have a broad reach across all organisations trying to evolve their strategies in the modern workplace. Her thinking and rationale is compelling and relevant.
I also like Alison’s professionalism and empathy in tailoring her content to a particular audience. She is a strong and empathetic listener, not at all assumptive or intellectually adrift, and has a strong and collaborative personal style that allows her to really connect with her audience.
She also has an authoritative and thoughtful style of delivery and articulation of the challenges and solutions, driven by her own in depth subject matter expertise and experience. I would certainly choose to work with Alison again.’
Mike Littlewood, Managing Director, and Head of Professional Services, RBS

‘We were privileged to welcome Alison to lead one of the events of the Dive In Festival. Alison guided attendees through “adapting to the new world of work” with a natural confidence; it was clear that the audience was engaged from start to finish.  Alison has a wealth of knowledge on how organisations are trying to engage with the concept of agile working, and therefore can address specific challenges businesses need to overcome. We would all certainly welcome Alison back in the future.’
Marianne Skinner and Sean Skea, Dive In Event Organisers

‘Alison Maitland participated as a keynote speaker at our Advance event on the topic “The future of work”. From the very first sentences, she captured the audience with her concrete, humorous and factual reasoning. She showed a deep understanding not only of organisations and how they evolve, but also of people and how they behave and what their needs are in the workplace. She connected these insights to people’s everyday life as well as to business performance.
It was an eye-opening speech that disclosed new horizons not only for Advance as a Swiss-based Association of Companies but also for each company member. I will use the learning in my company as well.’
Simona Scarpaleggia, CEO IKEA AG, Switzerland



‘A very powerful and positive session on Active Hope and wellbeing’ Corporate leadership team

‘The people in my small group were incredibly grateful for the opportunity your workshop created and amazed that they were able to go so deep into conversation with strangers, and so quickly. A beautifully held safe space!’ Participant at co-facilitated Active Hope workshop

‘I found a sense of belonging in Alison’s [Active Hope] workshop, with the like-minded people who showed up, and because of the framework she led us through. Sharing my fears, and hearing those of others, created a community of compassion, and a relief from feelings of isolation and hopelessness. I left with a clear and simple action I can do.’ Participant in sustainability workshop

‘The feedback has been uniformly excellent … Alison has a strong and collaborative personal style that allows her to really connect with her audience’ Mike Littlewood, Managing Director, and Head of Professional Services, RBS

‘Alison has a wealth of knowledge on how organisations are trying to engage with the concept of agile working’ Marianne Skinner and Sean Skea, Dive In Event Organisers

‘Alison is a passionate speaker about modern, inclusive leadership, and an astute facilitator of senior executives’ Andrew Tank, NED, former Executive Director, The Conference Board Europe

‘She captured the audience with her concrete, humorous and factual reasoning’ Simona Scarpaleggia, CEO IKEA AG, Switzerland