+1 347 223 5128

+44 20 3744 5675

Our professional consultants are ready to guide you

Motivational stories from a former Royal Air Force pilot


Mandy Hickson

travels from UK

Former Royal Air Force pilot, entrepreneur, and motivational speaker draws on her experiences in inspiring keynotes.

Request fees and availability

5 out of 5 stars

Mandy was in a word "Fantastic" - everything we had hoped. Very engaging and entertaining. I personally really enjoyed her talk and the opening slide show of "welcome to my office" was breathtaking!

Kate, Raytheon UK - December 2020 See all references
Non-binding request for Mandy Hickson

Send a simple request. You’ll get a quick reply with fees and availability

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
About icon

About Mandy

Lecture icon


References icon


Interviews icon


Request fees and availability
A former Royal Air Force pilot and trained Human Factors facilitator, our keynote speaker Mandy Hickson has a remarkable insight into decision making under pressure, calculated risk taking, and the critical role of humans in advanced systems. Her keynotes are both professional and personal, making her an exceptionally inspiring speaker.

Keynote speaker Mandy Hickson has flown multimillion pound jets for the United Kingdom Royal Air Force. The only female pilot on her Front Line Tornado Squadron, she has operated in extremely hostile environments, including Iraq’s “No Fly” zone during the Iraq War. Along with her unit, she carried the last weaponry and was ready to drop ordnance upon orders.

Mandy Hickson’s route to the skies was intense and tumultuous; at age 17, she received a Royal Air Force flying scholarship, already winning acrobatics competitions during her time as a student. Although an expert in practice, Mandy Hickson failed her mandatory computer based tests, but by sheer determination and with reference to her excellent skills in the skies, she convinced the Royal Air Force to accept her as a test case.

With unyielding determination, our speaker Mandy Hickson has overcome great hurdles in her career. These experiences led her to co-found Inspiring Women for Work, an organization that helps women rebuild the confidence that they need to return to work and realize their full potential after a career break.

In her keynotes, Mandy Hickson draws on her experiences with working in a team of elite fighter jet pilots. It is one of her main points that the same values apply within any environment; the importance of maintaining a calm demeanor under pressure, as well as leading from the front in order to achieve the best results from one’s team.

A trained Human Factors facilitator, the adamant speaker Mandy Hickson is an expert on interactions among humans, and she understands in great detail the role of human beings in complicated systems. She applies this expertise, as well as her personal experience calculating risk and making important decisions under pressure, to businesses, demonstrating a remarkable understanding of humans and organizations alike.

See keynotes with Mandy Hickson

    Speaker Mandy Hickson Keynote Topics

    • Overcoming Adversity
    • Peak Performance in Business
    • Teamwork
    • Leadership Under Pressure
    • Decision Making
    • Safety and Risk Culture
    • Error Management


She was an excellent presenter: humorous and engaging, with a fascinating real-life and high altitude story to tell to students of all ages. The queue of students who stayed behind at the end to speak to Mandy was testament to the overwhelmingly positive response to her talk.

Val Burnett

Taunton School

Mandy is a fantastic public speaker. She is both inspirational and extremely well prepared. Her ability to relate her own experience working under extreme pressure and in highly performing teams to everyday situations is most impressive. She tops it all with a wonderful sense of humour and great modesty. Listening to her talking about the many challenges that she has successfully overcome should be compulsory for all girls!

Miriam Gonzalez, Partner Dechert LLP

International Law Firm

Mandy was absolute brilliant, I would highly recommend Mandy for any event We hung on ever word and still wanted more after two & half hours. I personally came out on a massive high.

Sarah Pasco, Sales & Marketing Director

Taylor Wimpey

I have worked with Mandy on a number of occasions and can thoroughly recommend her as an excellent speaker and presenter. All the clients that we have put Mandy in front of have rated her highly in terms of meeting their expectations, often commenting on her enthusiasm and professionalism. On a personal note it is wonderful working with a speaker who has such a great sense of humour and a 'can do' attitude - such a pleasure.

Alice Bufton

Consultant at Harvey Thorneycroft

Mandy spoke recently at an all Wales HFMA event, taking the last slot at a full days conference. Not an ideal time to talk. The motivational presentation was excellent, absorbing, amusing and refreshing. It was measured to suit delegates and Mandy had done her homework on the audience.

Chris Tidwell

Head of CIPFA Wales

I would wholeheartedly recommend Mandy as an amazing, motivational and deeply inspiring speaker. Mandy’s true ability was to capture the essence of team working, resilience and the importance of leadership within a context of energy, enthusiasm, commitment and humour. This was not only by using her own experiences, which in themselves were exceptional but she had also researched our organisation and weaved our own Trust values and mission statement into her presentation. Mandy’s messages cross any and all boundaries and I would suggest apply in any setting. It was a real pleasure for us to spend time with her.

Alison Moon, Chief Nurse

University Hospitals Bristol NHS foundation Trust

As Dechert LLP London Managing Partner elect, I wanted to thank you personally for delivering a truly inspiring presentation at our London Office Briefing earlier this week. You managed to keep an audience of mainly lawyers hanging expectantly on your every word. Not an easy feat with a profession programmed to be cynical.Despite the enormous differences between your experiences and our daily lives, your messages resonated with everyone in the room.

Jason Butwick, Managing Partner elect

Dechert LLP

Having listened to many speeches in the past, your unique story into another world stood out in many ways. Talking to an audience full of risk takers and recounting the mission into Iraq and the pressures you and your team were under was incredible. That takes risk taking to another level! The decisions you made under such intense pressure, yet the need to focus on the teams end goal, not the individual was inspirational. Your delivery was thoroughly professional and very entertaining. Thank you!

Andrew Megson, Managing Director

UK Insurance company

We had a sales conference with a newly acquired company where we had 2 sales teams meeting for the first time. The focus was on teamwork, leadership and communication. Mandy’s after dinner speech successfully covered these points in a way that showed her experiences in a war zone required all these skills yet she made it relevant to the sales team before her. She re-emphasised the messages that we were trying to get across succinctly and with humour. I would not hesitate to use her again.

Brian Mulholland, Sales and Marketing Director

Tradebe, Hazardous Waste Management

We hired Mandy as the keynote motivational speaker for our first annual dinner and she has set the bar at a challenging height for future events. She expanded on the briefing brilliantly and her mixture of anecdotal humour and encouragement to positively change was lapped up by our audience.

James Talman

Chairman SPRA

Mandy has great presence and a wonderful presentation style that is both inspiring and endearing. She engaged wonderfully with the audience facilitating them as well as giving them insight and new knowledge of her specialist field. She was very able to make the connection between her experience and the audience and her interactive session and case study was very well received. The audience were inspired and impressed with Mandy and I know from the client feedback that she was a great talking point that will enable the messages of the day to stay alive longer.

Lesley Roberts

LR Consultancy

Mandy – many thanks! You gave an excellent boost, and tailored the presentation to make it very relevant for us.

Ken Lynes

Managing Partner Fixfast

I would like to thank you for your Motivational Keynote session at our annual conference at the ICC in Birmingham. Being the first session of the day after a Gala Dinner is not the easiest session to deliver, however, I was confident you would attract a large audience and was proved right. You delivered an excellent session with many of our delegates choosing you as their favorite speaker of the whole three day event.

Craig Dale, Chief Executive

SAP User Group

Many thanks for your wonderful talk at our Annual Federation Meeting last Wednesday. Feedback from the members indicates that many of them thought that you were one of the best speakers the Federation has ever had. You were informative, interesting, amusing and definitely inspiring.

Jeryl Stone

Chairman Warwickshire Federation

Mandy, I was very impressed with the way you had linked your presentation completely with our ‘Above and beyond’ campaign which made the whole thing so worthwhile – it proved you did a good amount of background work to make it all fit together – a very big thanks for this!

Mike Napthine

Marketing manager

Interview with Mandy Hickson

What is the main message that you hope your audiences take away from your presentations?
The key message of teamwork runs throughout all my sessions. Trust is the one aspect that allows teams to grow but, if eroded, can so easily break them down. I give excellent examples of teams going the extra mile, supporting and empowering each other to enable all within the team to be successful.

Who or what inspires you most?
My Mum has always been the most incredible role model, she always led her two daughters to believe that anything was possible with hard work, sheer determination and not giving up when there appear to be insurmountable obstacles in your pathway.

What do you gain personally from being a public speaker?
I find my role to be incredibly rewarding, to be able to make grown men cry and school children laugh out loud! The best times are when I receive an email from someone after my presentation, telling me how I have made them really think about where they are and to aim high in the future.

What unique experiences have you had as a result of your profession as a Royal Air Force Pilot?
There are too many to share…you will have to book me to join you and you will be able to hear a few of them!!

What are your 3 best tips for leading effectively under pressure?

  • To remain calm.
  • To force yourself to look at the bigger picture, stepping back, so you do not overly focus your attention on the wrong details or minutia.
  • To make a decision after looking at all the facts and be happy to be held accountable for your actions after the event.

What was your inspiration for founding Inspiring Women for Work?
I felt that when I returned to work after my maternity leave, that I was a different person and I held doubts as to whether I could still operate as effectively as I had before. I felt that my confidence had been eroded. I believed that if I had the opportunity to discuss my feelings, regain my confidence and realise that of course I had changed, but perhaps I had gained more skills, I was actually a better and more rounded person, I would have felt much easier in the transition back to work.

See keynotes with Mandy Hickson
Non-binding request for Mandy Hickson

Send a simple request. You’ll get a quick reply with fees and availability

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Mandy Hickson
Mandy Hickson

5 out of 5 stars

Mandy was in a word "Fantastic" - everything we had hoped. Very engaging and entertaining. I personally really enjoyed her talk and the opening slide show of "welcome to my office" was breathtaking!

Kate, Raytheon UK - December 2020 See all references

Keynote topics with Mandy Hickson