Our 2019 Speakers with Ideas Worth Spreading

Andy Hall


I’m Andy Hall, born and raised in the town I love, Oldham. I’m on a mission to improve peoples lives; this was the reason I delivered my TEDx in June of this year about “Can we fix our own Mental Health” which was one the most liberating experiences.

I’ve been transfixed by the TED platform for many years, this has been my go-to resource for inspiration. So when asked to curate the speaker Line-up for TEDx Oldham I had no hesitation.

By day I’m the Mentoring Relationship Specialist at the GC Business Growth Hub and have been honoured to be awarded numerous mentoring awards locally and nationally. I’m also an Ambassador for my favourite charities Action Oldham and AndysManClub. 

Personally; I’m a family man, dog owner, hate labels, enjoy being a mentor, a sucker for challenges, love to run and yes, I do way too much.

Marzia Babakarkhail


Marzia has over eight years of legal experience, as a qualified lawyer, as Justice of the Civil and Trading Court and as a Supreme Court Judge in Afghanistan, specialising in violations of women’s rights. She has extensive involvement in UN funded programmes; has been director of various Afghan NGOs such as Afghanistan Commission for Human Rights, Afghan NGO Coordination Bureau and the Afghan Women’s Social and Cultural Organisation. She has founded, funded, implemented and managed numerous projects and programmes throughout central and northern Afghanistan and Pakistan that have encompassed emergency relief, agriculture, health, women’s education, women’s participation in parliamentary elections and politics, children’s rights and education, vocational training, housing construction, poverty alleviation and economic empowerment. 

Marzia is now based in the UK after having fled the Taliban and gaining British citizenship. She is currently studying and continues to be actively involved in campaigning, lobbying, mentoring, raising awareness to promote rights and freedoms for gender equality and for greater women and youth participation in political and social affairs at local and community level. Marzia is involved at grassroots level with organisations concerned with housing issues, social cohesion and refugees. 

Rubbi Bhogal-Wood


‘You are in control of social media, not the other way round’ is the deep rooted belief of Rubbi Bhogal-Wood.

As a social media coach, Rubbi works with small business owners to help empower them to use social media to grow their companies.

She also works closely with secondary schools helping young people to understand why and how creating a better balance in the way social media plays a role in their lives can improve their mental wellbeing.

As an active member of the Oldham Business community she’s been asked to speak at many events including International Women’s Day and the Annie Kenney Fundraiser, an initiative led by local Oldham MP Jim McMahan.

Prior to starting her business, Wild and Form Digital, Rubbi worked in the advertising industry for 18 years in both on-and offline global companies.

Henry C Blanchard


Henry C. Blanchard left a boring corporate job at Deloitte to create an adventure sports business, set up a charity in rural Uganda, and travel the world. He now shows others how to do the same. 

Working with Oxford University Business School, Enterprise Nation, Escape the City, TEDx, Funzing and others, putting on talks, events and workshops to help people get the most out of their work and life.

A social entrepreneur, he’s raised more than £2million for good causes across the world, and his work has been featured by the BBC, The Guardian, Red Bull, London Evening Standard, The Telegraph and more.

Sean Brown


A strong believer of “creating your own luck”, Sean travelled to Monaco to secure a dream job onboard a £300 million pound Superyacht, teaching many of the world’s richest and roster of A-list celebrities to SCUBA Dive.

On the outside, life at sea seemed glamorous and endearing, while Sean grew more and more frustrated with his lack of contribution to the real world. This forced a return to the UK, where he spent time teaching himself to code. 

Fast forward to today, in partnership with celebrated tech-entrepreneur, Lawrence Jones MBE. Sean is the Founder and CEO of Mercarto, which provides an eCommerce marketplace engine for public use and global corporations.



At the age of 16 a very dyslexic Doddz was successfully running his own graphic design business securing a range of clients including James Corden before moving to Stoke-On-Trent in 2016 to attend University. Over the next three years he became an anonymous street artist promoting inspiring local stories which gained international media attention who coined the term ‘positive vandalism’.

In his final year at University he created the no.1 tourist attraction in Stoke-On-Trent entitled Trail & Error, an art trail made up of street art pieces, three sold out exhibitions and a documentary about his double life. His work over those three years was later credited for bringing pride back to the city and inspiring Stoke-On-Trent to bid for City of Culture.

Since then Doddz has travelled all over the world, always creating, always learning and now resides in Manchester were he continues to push out his message of positivity through his art and paints custom jackets for the likes of Childish Gambino, Raheem Sterling, Big Narstie, Charlie Sloth, Bugzy Malone, Demi Stokes, Lady Leshurr and The Fat Jewish to name a few.

Lisa Marie Gee


Oldham photographer and mum of two Lisa Marie Gee wants to spread the idea that mental illness can ultimately be a positive experience. Lisa  credits her mental breakdown in 2003 with changng the course of her life and putting her on the paths to motherhood and self-employment.

She started a portrait project, Open Shutters, born of her own lived experience of depression and anxiety,  to tell the stories of people who have found strength and direction from their mental health journey. For some it has led to new and unexpected career opportunities, for others it has made them better able to understand the struggles of others, and a number have spoken about the drive and motivation they have found. The project led to a two month exhibtion at Gallery Oldham in 2018.

None of the subjects of the portraits, including Lisa herself, would describe themselves as ‘cured’, but they have all found a way of living with their condition without letting it direct or restrict their lives or their personal growth and development.

Hayley Lever


We were designed to move. But our modern world is designed to keep us still: in our cars, at our desks, on our sofas and glued to our phones.

Inactivity is killing us. And in the meantime, it’s making us sick and unhappy. Our reliance on the car is choking us and our communities and contributing to climate change .

The good news is that all of this is within our power to change.

In this talk, Hayley will explain how we need to redesign places, systems and culture, to enable active lives. She will show how small things can make a big difference, and how changing the conversation can enable social change.

Hayley is obsessed with the question of how to enable healthy, happy, successful lives through human movement and connection. She has spent the past 25 years learning about this, in her work, community and everyday life. She will inspire us to join her, and start an active soles revolution.

Hayley is the Strategic Lead for Greater Manchester Moving; a whole system approach, with people and organisations working together to grow a social movement for active lives.

Heather Price


“Heather Price is a 15 year old student who is a member of her school’s council, rainbow flag committee, and peer mentor team. She is currently working on establishing an eco schools group by request of the Headteacher.

Heather was elected to represent Oldham’s youth on both her local youth council and as a Deputy Member of Youth Parliament. In these roles, she has campaigned to give young people a voice and to address mental health issues, surveyed young people on knife crime, partaken in Greater Manchester’s Green Summit, and visited Poland as part of the ‘Listen to the Earth’ project.

She is extremely passionate about environmental issues and hence has attended the climate change school strikes. Heather believes that the only way to solve the Climate Crisis is to tackle capitalism. In her TEDx debut, she will present and discuss this view in the hopes of sparking a change.”

Raam Shanker

technology/ design

Raam made the journey to the UK from India as a student in 2005. His experiences of growing up in India, managing to study subjects like Maths, Physics and Engineering, arriving in the UK to an entirely different culture, and learning to fly a plane made him realise that most things in the world are complex. 

He will be sharing his experiences of living in a complex world.

Joanne Taylor

health & wellbeing

Living with secondary incurable breast cancer, Jo is a Patient advocate, campaigner, speaker, blogger and uses her voice to impact to make change for others.  

Her ABCD Retreats and website support patients at a crucial time in their lives and a huge advocate of keeping fit and healthy living with and beyond cancer.

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