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Living Life with Purpose

Ayo Sokale

travels from UK

Civil engineer, BBC Presenter, Former Deputy Mayor of Reading, Sustainability Speaker, Motivational Speaker, STEM Speaker and Neurodiversity Speaker.

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About Ayo

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BBC Presenter, Civil Engineer and a leading keynote speaker in her field - Ayo Sokale  possesses an array of talents and expertise, working at the cutting edge of the scientific, environmental and media landscape.

Reasons to book Ayo Sokale

  • She is a STEM ambassador and mentor, encouraging others to take up careers in Civil Engineering.
  • Ayo works as TV expert on STEM issues – documentaries for the likes of the Smithsonian, National Geographic, Discovery Channel, Yesterday TV and Channel 5 – and counts Shell, Heineken, Blue Yonder, the NHS and Thames Water are among the leading clients she has worked with as a keynote speaker.

Ayo is a Chartered Civil Engineer and Project Team Manager for the Environment Agency in Eastern England and is a popular Keynote Speaker on the environment and sustainability. She was previously a project manager and BIM lead, pushing for innovative, efficient and sustainable delivery of flood and coastal risk management schemes. Ayo was a Graduate Civil Engineer on the Environment Agency’s training scheme where she undertook internal and external placements which enabled her to sign off her ICE training agreement in 2.5 years and achieve CEng in 3 years. A former Deputy Mayor of Reading, she campaigned tirelessly on sustainability issues in the area.

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 and is a popular Diversity and Inclusion Speaker, particularly during black History Month.

In recent years, Ayo has felt more able to talk about being on the autism spectrum. She has a diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome and is an empathetic and inspirational keynote speaker on neurodiversity, mental health challenges and how to overcome them. She is writing her first book in the field of self development to support these endeavours.

Ayo loves the performing arts, fitness, has a passion for  supporting great causes and has raised funds for a number of charities, using her platform as a beauty queen and finalist for Miss Galaxy England, Miss Earth and Miss Great Britain.

See keynotes with Ayo Sokale
Keynote topics by Ayo Sokale


We have heard it all before, we are facing a climate change challenge. An existential crisis.

What does it mean for modern day professionals? How do we all go about contextualising this and as a result taking suitable actions. Ayo talks about the sustainability triad – The environment, Social and the Economy & the UNSDG’s goal role in outlining the breadth of the challenge.

The importance of Biodiversity, Single use plastic reduction.
The role of the individual, businesses, and government.
As well, as environmental and climate injustice – the undue spread of consequence on certain communities with case-studies from the UK and US.

Ayo’s sustainability talks can also include the following lens:

  • Sustainability and the economy (Do our current economic practice make the cut?)
  • Sustainability and human psychology – growth and expansion (Natural desire to expand and grow – in natural conflict with the need to consume less etc)
  • Sustainability and class (The undue impact of natural consequence & policy on lower class – UK centric)
  • Sustainability and the future (Children, Malthusian Theory)
  • Sustainability and mental health (Rise in Nihilism and fear for the future)
  • Sustainability and technology (Case studies from the Built environment)
  • Sustainability and Innovation – what is innovation (research, implement technology, learning from failure, collaboration and sharing knowledge)
  • Climate change –The case for change – Adaption and Mitigation
Keynote topics by Ayo Sokale

Women In tech/Construction and STEM

There has been a historical fight for equality.

Today in the modern world the fight has drifted to the fight for equal representation of women in tech, construction, and wider STEM. Ayo talks about the value of this. Values such as: women in the room where the build environment and the technology that impact all our lives are designed and implemented.

She also paints another picture and discusses the careers currently predominate carried out by women and question the way these careers are perceived and valued. And explore the very important ways these industries also positively influence the world. Ayo used this to challenge this new form of bias and the way its manifest in this arena.

Ayo talks about myths and folklore and the representation of feminine and masculine energies and the way it’s being rewritten over time to paint a new picture that limits both ways of being and the need to understand these embedded cultural ideas and the impact this has on our behaviours and expectations of people (bias).

Ayo likes to talk about the natural diversity in the world around us taking lesson from Gary Ferguson – 8 master lessons of nature – where the diversity in wildflower has a critical role in the ecosystem and can be extrapolated to see it impact in our wider lives.

Keynote topics by Ayo Sokale


What does Diversity truly mean? What does Diversity Utopia look like? Commonly we think of diversity as diverse peoples in a space. But is that truly diverse?

The evolutionary case for in group vs Out group mentality.

How does diversity and assimilation come together?
How does diversity work in our current hierarchical structure, which values some people as less than? – Is diversity in all levels of society possible?
This is a discursive style talk, there are no answers. Just the posing of questions to support the audience in achieving ultimately a DIVERSE understanding.

Value the Difference
The world needs diversity of thought.
As a black autistic woman in STEM, Ayo was often advised to be XYZ. Because XYZ was valued more and viewed more favourable. That is not diversity, that is external difference and internal assimilation. That is not inclusion, that is a form of exclusion.

The world needs to create spaces for everyone to show up authentically knowing they will receive respect at work and their value will be seen even if their approach and style is different. So, how do you go about that? What are the current barriers? Etc These are questions Ayo explores in her talk.

Keynote topics by Ayo Sokale

Neurodiversity Talks

What is neurodiversity? It is estimated that 30-40% of the world is neurodiverse.

So, why is the conversation just getting started? Furthermore, are we having the right conversations?
Ayo chats through famous neurodiverse people to bring the message home that there are so many people that are unknown to us, that are neurodiverse. She talks about her neurodiversity and journey to sharing.

Ayo talk about what the various kinds of neurodiversity mean for the individual – strengths and potential support needs.

She advises how we can all provide space, places and be the people that allow neurodiverse individual to be themselves and to thrive?
She raises the alarm and speak on the importance of caution in our neurodiversity narrative talking about the value of neurodiversity but also Inherent worth as a counter to purely economic narrative of the value neurodiverse people bring to business. Ayo talks about this through the lens of Alan Turing’s difficult life and incredible contributions.

She shares tips and tricks for both Neurodiverse people and non-neurodiverse so all people can do their part in this journey to inclusion.

Keynote topics by Ayo Sokale

Social commentary Talks

So, you are different and a little disruptive?

Some many of us feel different and a little disruptive in the spaces, places we find ourselves. In this informative talk, Ayo uses personal and researched case-studies to explore the idea of being different, the genetic and evolutionary reason we pay attention to our difference and how this can cause dis-ease. She makes a case for and against ditching our evolutionary desire to be a part of a tribe outlining the research and illuminating the embedded cultural stories. Ultimately, taking you on the journey to determine your values, understanding your needs and make a decision that works for you.

How to think?

  • Beep – Beep – Urgent Response Required
  • Beep – Beep – Political constraint identified.
  • Beep – Beep – Conflicting stakeholders needs Identified.

Does this sound like your daily radar? Picking up the valid constraints in the world around you yet wanting to achieve tangible, long-lasting useful change.

In this short and catchy talk, Ayo discusses this situation – a situation that commonly faces leaders, politicians, social change maker, thought leaders and anyone working to impact the world.

She takes reflection from her political career, leadership roles and the research and map out a talk on how you truly change the world. First, she starts with YOU – understand the reality you perceive, Then the science of problem definition and the need to truly understand the positive change you want to elicit. She will discuss identity and problem solving and the common issue of attachment to the identity of solving the problem, to the extent that you don’t want change.

Ayo will talk using the GROW model to help you identify the goal, the reality, the options, and the will to change. And finally using the Kotter 8 steps to change Model to help you make the change.

She will embed her stories to bring the topic to life and share her 5-lessons learnt in making positive change in the world – Anti De-humanisation, The value of thinking in Grey, the value of positive assumptions, Understanding systems and RADICAL self-accountability.

Keynote topics by Ayo Sokale

Coaching talks

Mapping your career

Ayo takes a holistic approach to development and career, and she shares that in this highly personal talk. She shares her lesson on leveraging growth across the various facets of our lives and cross pollinating to accelerate growth. She found this brought more sugar to her life and she shares how you can have more sugar in your life.

Ayo talks about the How you can hack your potential and take the scary actions required. But maybe more importantly she talks about the Why – finding the why, the pyschological benefits of the why and creating your personal life framework based on this.

The power of telling a better story
How do you describe yourself?
You tell a story, right?
Stories are fundamental – they are how we see the world; we perceive ourselves and the way forward. Telling a compelling story leads to a compelling life. A hero’s life even?

Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s journey model explains how each hero got on a journey leaving their current life behind to answer the call to adventure. Ayo talks through a simplified hero journey and help the audience to see their life as an adventure, increasing their resilience and excitement about life.

Carl Jung says ‘I am not what happens to me, I am what I choose to become
Ultimately, self-awareness of who you are, the emotions you feel and then utilising storytelling that helps you weave a new meaning to your experiences is what helps you, become your very own hero.

Watch Ayo Sokale in action!

Ayo Sokale Presenter Showreel 2021

Watch Ayo Sokale in action!

Ayo Sokale Civil engineer, BBC Presenter, Deputy Mayor of Reading, BBC Bitesize Science Presenter

Watch Ayo Sokale in action!

Ayo Sokale - Breaking into a Male-Dominated Industry | Exclusive Interview

Watch Ayo Sokale in action!

Ayo Sokale hosting the Environment Agency Awards in Birmingham

See keynotes with Ayo Sokale


The session with Ayo was fantastic. I have to say she was phenomenal, really inspiring, we had great feedback!

Rachel Collins,

Colt Technology Services

Ayo was fantastic and the session went down really well. Please extend my thanks to her for such a well presented and well-rounded session, not only touching on race but also neurodiversity a topic we have also presented on earlier in the year.

Monty Onanuga

Senior Risk Manager at ClearBank

I would like to take the opportunity to thank you for your invaluable contribution to our very first virtual IEMA members’ conference for environment and sustainability professionals. We were all so deeply inspired and empowered by what you shared with us, particularly in the area of tackling the sustainability challenge as professionals and for your ongoing commitment to a more sustainable future. We have already received so much positive feedback from our members around how beneficial and motivational they found the day and how brilliant our speakers were. This event would not have been possible without you.

Sarah Mukherjee MBE


Ayo was an excellent speaker for DVERSTY's Intentional Engineering series, we were humbled to have her. She represented her experiences as a Chartered Civil Engineer and Councillor extremely well. Delivering her presentation so eloquently, Ayo gave our guests an insight into the DNA of Civil Engineering. We'd like to thank Ayo for encouraging everybody to use their voice to challenge injustices seen in their environment.

Joanna Tomlin

Co-Founder & Development Director- DVERSTY

Very interesting - such a positive force of nature…People often say that change happens because people "stand on the shoulders of giants". Today, I think we've all just met a giant!

NHS Network members

Ayo, I just wanted to say thank you very much for the talk today. Your energy and passion was incredible and you brought some very valuable insights and practical tips, for which we are very grateful. I truly don’t know where you find the time to do it all, but the talk and what you are achieving was a real inspiration both for me personally and I know for the 120+ people listening in.

Paul Cuff

Chief Executive Officer, XPS

The event was hugely successful and Ayo was truly inspirational! Could you please convey our thanks and appreciation to Ayo for a very engaging talk – feedback has been very positive.


Thank you so much for coming to our certificate presentation evening. It was an absolute pleasure to meet you and your words to our departing students hit exactly the right note in terms of inspiration and motivation.

Langtree School
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Keynote topics with Ayo Sokale