Miriam Akhtar MAPP is one of the foremost speakers on positive psychology with the added benefit of having a professional background in the broadcast media. She is a thought leader and one of 100 global experts invited to contribute to the World Book of Happiness, presented to 200 world leaders. Miriam has a reputation as a highly-engaging speaker, drawing on a lifetime of ‘accidentally inspiring people’. Keynote speeches include the G200 Youth Summit in Garmisch-Partenkirchen to an audience of international parliamentarians and future leaders.
Topics: Positive psychology, happiness, wellbeing, wellbeing at work, resilience, mental health, positivity, post-traumatic growth, post-pandemic growth, confidence, imposter syndrome and travel wellbeing.
Miriam started her working life at the BBC and has since become a contributor to BBC television and radio. She’s been a guest on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, Sunday and Off the Page. TV appearances include BBC News, ITV News and CTV News and she featured as an expert in BBC2’s The Secret Life of the Airport and as a judge on Dave’s Comedians Giving Lectures.
“Miriam Akhtar is a powerful speaker with a professional and engaging approach. She is equally at ease in front of a large audience or broadcasting live in a studio. Miriam’s knowledge about and enthusiasm for her subject makes her a positive and inspirational speaker who gets straight to the heart of the matter. Her warm and friendly manner combined with a pleasing broadcasting voice mean she is often invited to contribute to BBC national and local radio programmes, who wish to draw on her expertise. Miriam’s background in the broadcast media has given her an insight into effective presentation and storytelling skills that educate, interest and entertain an audience.” Jenny Walmsley, Editor, BBC Radio.
Miriam has spoken at conferences and events around the world and online. Early highlights include the University of Bristol’s Happiness Lectures and joining Nic Marks (below), creator of the Happy Planet Index and Prof Mark Williams (left), who developed Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) at the University of Oxford for the launch of Students for Happiness.
“I saw Miriam speak for the first time at the University of Bristol Happiness Lectures. Feeling such a connection and so inspired, I have seen her speak several times since! Weaving a potent mix of experience, research and stories with humour and passion for her subject, you cannot help but absorb every morsel! Her message is one of such importance for all human beings, that I frequently point my friends, colleagues and clients in her direction.” Jen Gash, Creativity Coach.
“Miriam Akhtar has a wonderful presenting manner that conveys professionalism whilst sharing her knowledge of psychology in an easy-to-understand style, yet she also retains a very personal touch that engages the audience fully. At a recent event, she worked exceptionally well with our client, and our journalists all left commenting on her expertise and the interesting content of the event. Her thought- provoking presentation also gave all attendees a personal ‘take-away’ to work on for themselves. We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Miriam.” Michelle Redmond, Director, www.minxpr.com
“I was looking for a speaker for a popular business networking group that I host and wanted a speaker and a topic that would engage everyone in the room – how to be happy at work. Miriam prepared a terrific talk which was insightful, practical and entertaining. I have had many people thank me for finding such an interesting and engaging speaker.” Greg Cooper, LinkedIn Coach & Trainer
“Thank you Miriam for an inspirational and uplifting keynote speech. You really helped us to consider how Positive Psychology strategies can be used to enhance the wellbeing of staff and pupils. I am excited to see how schools implement what they have learnt in the coming school year.” Dr Rob Kempson, conference on mental health in schools.
“Miriam’s talk on ‘Positive Emotions at Work’ was both inspiring and engaging. She shared practical tips backed up by theory and helped staff to practice their happiness habits through a mixture of discussion and group activities. Miriam was easy to listen to and created a relaxed atmosphere in which the group felt comfortable and able to ask questions and get involved.” Katie Knight, Comic Relief.
“I would highly recommend Miriam to any organisation that is looking to inject some wellbeing into their culture. We had Miriam deliver an INSET session with our staff and it was very well received. What is great about Miriam is not just her knowledge and expertise, but also her enthusiasm and authenticity which suggests that she lives by the same principles that she is extolling to the group. Her presentation is both engaging and interactive; even the most ardent cynics will come away with something of value.” Ben Sandford-Smith, Solihull School
Miriam brings her expertise to wellbeing campaigns as a consultant and ambassador.
“Miriam is one of the finest ambassadors’, speakers and broadcasters we have had the privilege to work with. From the moment we began to talk through the campaign brief we knew Miriam was going to deliver some fantastic insight and add depth and authority to our content. With radio days, live broadcasts alongside print copy and comments Miriam has delivered excellent insight as well as being a natural interviewee. It’s been a pleasure to work with her and we hope to work together again in the future”. The Bright Consultancy, part of McCann Erickson
“Miriam recently worked with us on our campaign to share the joy of organic food in a series of radio interviews about what makes people happy today. Warm, engaging and a natural storyteller, Miriam brought a wealth of expertise and passion to the campaign and was a true partner in delivering the activity.” Aileen Nicol, Campaign Director, Organic UK
“Miriam is a skilful brand ambassador and a real pleasure to work with. Expertly combining best-in-field knowledge and experience of positive psychology, with an experienced editorial nous and strong knowledge of how the communications industry works – she hits key campaign messaging and delivers genuine help for consumers. I am definitely looking forward to working with Miriam again in the future.” Laura Dodgson, Account Exec, Edelman PR
“Golley Slater worked with Miriam as part of a launch when we tapped into her insight and expertise as a Happiness Expert. Miriam was an absolute pleasure to work with, responding to requests quickly and professionally. As part of the campaign, Miriam participated in a series of radio interviews, relaying key messages clearly as part of a natural dialogue. We look forward to working with Miriam again.” Helen Smith, Senior Account Executive
2022 Speaking Engagements
- Beat the Blues with The Little Book of Happiness, The Joy Club, January 2022.
- Beyond Blue Monday: The Habits of Happiness, Museum of Happiness, January 2022.
- Playing Human conference, keynote speech, London, June 2022.
Previous Speaking Engagements
- Live Well: The Positive Psychology of Happiness, Hurlingham Club, London, September 2021 “Miriam spoke as part of a series of lifestyle talks, and I can certainly say that her talk created the most amount of enthusiasm and buzz in the room. She was both engaging and insightful and I received many comments on how much the attendees enjoyed and took on board everything she spoke about. It is always great to hear from someone who truly believes and follows the principles they are speaking about.” Cesca Lowery, Head of Member Events, Hurlingham Club.
- Emotional Resilience: Keynote, Grenke conference, October 2021 “Miriam is one of those speakers you just love to listen to. Her contribution to our global employee Wellbeing Week was not only characterized by exciting knowledge from the field of positive psychology, but was through her pleasant and calming manner itself a Wellbeing experience that we have enjoyed very much. Thank you for this opportunity!” GRENKE AG
- The Future of Happiness, Speakers in Partnership, London, July 2021 “We recently had the pleasure of working with Miriam on our future outlook series, where her thoughts on the future of happiness and positive psychology were a welcome addition to our final event. She participated in a lively and engaging conversation, providing key takeaways for our audience along with some excellent insights, and a value-added Q&A.” Sophie Salome, Senior Manager, Speakers in Partnership
- The Happiness Advantage, The Wirral, July 2021
- Confidence and the Imposter Syndrome, MotoNovo Finance, June 2021.
- The Silver Lining in Adversity, Resilience to Post-traumatic Growth, Carpmaels & Ransford, May 2021
- Positive Psychology in the Pandemic, MotoNovo Finance, February 2021 “It was absolutely fantastic, Miriam. The best webinar we’ve ever organised. Thank you so much, everyone was really appreciative and wrote on the chat how brilliant they thought it was.” Laura Olcelli, Training Manager.
- Positive Coping and Post-traumatic Growth, Penny Brohn Cancer Care, February 2021
- Positive Psychology in a Time of Pandemic, January 2021.
- The Positive in the Pandemic; Bounce Back from the Past to Create a Better Future. Keynote speech, Dolby Talks, October 2020. “Miriam was speaking at the first virtual Dolby Talks conference. Her professionalism and positive attitude inspired the audience. Miriam shared some strategies on how to manage stress and how to keep positive in the Pandemic. Even though we experienced some technical problems, Miriam did a fantastic job! Working with Miriam has been an absolute pleasure. I highly recommend her as a speaker”. Lukasz Bratek, Senior Director, Dolby Poland
- Post Traumatic Growth after a Cancer Diagnosis, Penny Brohn Cancer Care, July 2020.
- Positive Psychology for the Corona Crisis, Association for Coaching, May 2020.
- Cultivating Happiness in a Crisis, Museum of Happiness, April 2020.
- Happiness at Work online summit, Nov 2019.
- More than Medicine, Penny Brohn national conference, Bristol, Nov 2019
- Positive Psychology Coaching, Positive Psychology in Practice, Utrecht, Oct 2019
- Happy at Work, LinkedIn Local, Social Media Week, Bristol, June 2019
- Reasons to Embrace Travel for a Happy and Healthy Holiday,
- London, May 2019
- Camping in the Forest, Radio day, London, April 2019
- How to Travelproof your Mind, Business Travel Show, London Olympia, Feb 2019
- The Power of Positivity, Viacom, London, January 2019
- Happiness and Health, A Vogel, London, January 2019
- The Low Patient, Bristol, November 2018
- What does Positive Psychology have to offer Lifestyle Medicine, London, September 2018.
- Making a Habit out of Happiness, Healthspan, London, July 2018.
- The Positivity Panel, Ryvita with Cancer Research UK, London, March, June 2018
- Positive Psychology for Overcoming Depression, University of Kent, March 2018
- Happiness Habits, Hadlow College, Kent, March 2018
- Positive Psychology In Practice, 26th April, Danubius Hotel, London. Keynote speech.
- What is Post-traumatic Growth, book launch, London, June 2017
- Second Wave Positive Psychology in Practice, University of Lisbon, May 2017
- The Power of Positivity, business conference, Athens, May 2017
- The Growth Mindset, BBC, March 2017
- Sustainable Well-being, Stella McCartney, March 2017
- Resilience – Personal Resourcing, Nationwide, December 2016
- Stressing the Positive, Imperial Healthcare, December 2016
- The Pursuit of Happiness, National Women’s Register conference, October 2016
- Positive Leadership, Slovenian Chamber of Commerce, Ljubljana, September 2016
- Keynote speech, the Positive Psychology Marathon, Ljubljana, September 2016.
- Perceiving Happiness, G200 Youth Summit, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, April 2016.
- Resilience, Penny Brohn Cancer Care, Somerset, February 2016
- Think, Tedx event, University of Stirling, April 2016.
- Blue Monday, Bristol, January 2016.
- Positive Psychology in Leadership, McCormick emerging talent event, Oxford, December 2015.
- Positive Leadership: Resilience & Relationships, Pope, Wainwright & Wykes, London, October 2015.
- What I have gained with age? Sunday Telegraph/Dove event. Invited speaker alongside Dame Jenni Murray. London. August 2015.
- Positive Education. How to Create Happy, Effective Learners. Keynote speech at education conference in Wales, July 2015.
- Making a Habit of Happiness. Public lecture, University of Lisbon, May 2015.
- What Does it Mean to be Happy? Launch of Students for Happiness, University of Oxford, alongside Prof Mark Williams & Nic Marks, May 2015.
- The 2nd Annual Happiness Lectures Online on Love & Purpose, March 2015.
- Sustainable Happiness, The Better Lives Series, British Psychological Society & London College of Fashion, January 2015.
- How to Coach Strengths, Bristol & Bath Coaching Network, September 2014
- Positive Psychology, Science of Strengths & Well-being, Solihull School, August 2014.
- Positive Psychology for Overcoming Depression: A Bibliotherapy Intervention, ENPP conference, Amsterdam, July 2014
- Positive Psychology for Overcoming Depression: A workshop at the ENPP conference, Amsterdam, July 2014
- Positive Emotions at Work, Comic Relief, June 2014
- The Happiness Lectures on Sustainable Happiness, May 2014
- Positive Relationships, University of Lisbon, March 2014
- Positive Psychology for Overcoming Depression, MSc Sports Psychology, Brunel University, Jan 2014
- Strengths-based Working with Young People, Cardiff Against Bullying conference, Nov 2013
- Positive Psychology for Resilience, Keynote speech, Legal Ombudsman, Nov 2013
- Happiness Habits, School for Social Entrepreneurs, Bristol, Oct 2013
- The How of Happiness, Hawkwood College, Stroud, Oct 2013
- Positive Psychology for Overcoming Depression, University of Lisbon, June 2013
- Positive psychology for Overcoming Depression, keynote speech, ENPP conference, University of Brno, Czech Republic, May 2013.
- Positive Emotions, ENPP conference at the University of Brno, Czech Republic, May 2013.
- Positive Psychology Interventions in Practice, University of East London, May 2013. Also 2009-12.
- The Positive Psychology of Bookwriting, Alternatives, London, May 2013
- Positive Psychology for Overcoming Depression, Alternatives, London, January 2013
- Positive Psychology for Mental Health, Bristol Mind AGM, Nov 2012
- Interrogate Happiness festival alongside Prof Richard Layard (Action for Happiness) & Sue Baker (Time for Change). Oct 2012
- Positive Psychology Coaching, Bristol & Bath Coaching Network, May 2012
- Positive Psychology at Work, 02, Apr 2012
- Positive Psychology for Overcoming Depression, Penny Brohn Cancer Care, April 2012
- The Science of Happiness, Women’s Institute, Bleadon, Jan 2012
- Positive Psychology Interventions, University of the West of England, 2011, 2012.
- The Science of Happiness, University of Bath, 2011.
- Positive Psychology for Depression, Keynote speech, The Bristol Happiness Lectures, May 2010.
Below are some videos of previous events. Please contact Miriam.