Stef Reid is a British Paralympic long jumper. She is a world champion (2017), a 4 time Paralympian, a triple Paralympic medallist (2008, 2012, 2016) and a five-time world record holder. Stef has an honours degree in biochemistry, and away from the track Stef works as a keynote speaker, broadcaster, executive coach, actor, and fashion model. Stef was the first amputee to walk the London Fashion Week catwalk! She competed in the Tokyo 2021 Paralympics and took part in the British reality show Dancing on Ice 2022, making it to the quarter finals and showing the world you can learn to skate with an artificial foot!
Stef Reid was born in New Zealand to a Scottish father and English mother, grew up in Toronto, and moved to Dallas, Texas with her Canadian husband all before settling back in the UK in 2010. Stef’s talent and passion for sport were spotted early, and at 12 she was already dreaming of playing rugby on the world stage. But at 15, Stef was involved in a boating accident and suffered severe propeller lacerations. Her life was saved but her right foot was damaged beyond repair and amputated.
Stef’s focus shifted from her sports to her studies, and she graduated as valedictorian earning a full academic scholarship to Queen’s University in Canada to study biochemistry. While at Queen’s, Stef joined the university athletics team just to see how fast she could still run. Upon graduation, Stef put her plans of medical school on hold and decided to give her childhood dream of being a professional athlete one last chance! After a glittering 18 year Paralympic career, Stef announced her retirement from elite sport in June 2022 and is enjoying her new adventure!
Diversity has never been about ticking a box. High performance systems and businesses know that the key to success lies in the quality and originality of their ideas. They also know that the best ideas come from a room full of diverse thinkers with diverse experiences. People with disabilities are naturally good at this. The world wasn’t made for us so we learned to see and think differently because we had to.
But you don’t need to have a disability to be good at this. We can all learn to move beyond our biases and assumptions. We can all learn to unleash the power of our unique perspective, and develop a culture that encourages challenging questions and original thinking.
If you are content with your current circumstances, then this is not the talk for you! But if you want to keep improving, then you have to keep adapting. The world never stops changing, so neither can you. It takes courage to experiment and it takes courage try something new.
Failure is not the opposite of success. The opposite of success is doing the same thing over and over. Failure teaches us how to succeed in the moments when failure is not an option. Adapting can be exhausting and frustrating…or it can be the adventure of a lifetime!
This is a practical talk about what it takes to find your inner grit. Life is hard. We have all experienced challenges in the workplace and in our personal lives. Becoming an amputee after a freak boating accident showed me that life does not always go to plan. We can’t always choose our circumstances, but we can always choose our response.
Eighteen years in the world of elite sport has taught me that motivation and resilience are key to high performance in all areas of your life. Especially if you want sustained high performance. Anyone can get lucky once. This is a talk about consistently maximizing the potential.
High performing bodies are not just for athletes. High performing bodies are necessary for anyone with an idea or a goal. Our bodies matter because they are the means by which we bring our ideas to life. Our mental health matters because big goals take time, and we need to protect our capacity to ride out the bumps.
Our bodies are amazing, but they come with parameters, and we need to understand those parameters to maximize our potential. Several user manuals already exist. It’s not a lack of knowledge we struggle with but consistency of habit. This is a talk that inspires you to action because you believe your potential is worth the investment.
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“Stef Reid is phenomenal!!! Such powerful stories, so much energy and so engaging. People are hanging off her every word! Thank you for making the time for today’s panel and to help shape Barclays’ journey towards inclusivity and accessibility – [you were] amazing and made my job as a moderator so easy! Really hope we can keep the conversation going offline and any opportunity I can have to partner [with you] on this mission, please count me in.”
Taskeen Hamidullah-Bahl, Head of Wholesale Onboarding & Group FCO, Barclays
“We were delighted to have Stef as our keynote speaker at the ScreenSkills Training Forum. She completely understood the, brief and was happy to liaise and tailor her speech so that everything linked back and was relevant to our themes of embracing change positively, adapting skillsets and enjoying training for something new. After also having the opportunity to ask Stef their own questions, our audience were left feeling very inspired by her story and responses on how to move forward when life changes.”
Emma Turner, Head of Film CPD and Future Skills
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