“Wendy is one of the most eloquent passionate and genuine speakers that you will come across. Speaking from her heart, she sparks the fire in others. She has the ability to lift the spirit of those who hear her and have them want to fulfil their potential. What a gift! I feel very fortunate that Wendy spends some of her time with on the ‘Be the best you can be’ school’s project”.
Dr David Hemery CBE, Olympic gold medalist, Co-author and Co-director of the project.
Wendy Smith attended a prestigious and highly sensitive ceremony held in recognition of the outstanding achievements made by vulnerable young people in the capacity of a special guest. In the presence of other dignitaries she presented herself as a model of professionalism yet inspiration through her personable demeanour and motivating words. She demonstrated flexibility in her communication, motivation through her emotive expressions and encouragement in her empathy. In my experience, Wendy is someone who has an innate understanding of the different challenges that vulnerable young people and adults are faced with in the course of their personal and professional life and provides them with the reassurance throughout her own experiences that there is always a way forward.
“A great speaker and even better individual – I would definitely be looking to bring Wendy back again and will highly recommend her to anyone”.
Kashif Nawaz, LAC Awards Organiser
Tim Mclachlan, Former Director of 21st Century Legacy – ‘I first met Wendy when I was the Director of 21st Century Legacy, a charity that inspires, engages and empowers young people to pursue and fulfil their dreams, as an educational legacy inspired by London 2012.
Working in Primary, Secondary and Special Schools across the UK, the charity delivers the Be the best you can be! Programme which raises aspirations and increases self confidence. Wendy was recruited as a Special Speaker – an inspirational role model who could engage with the young people and help them recognise their potential. The charity developed a team of speakers across the UK and Wendy quickly became one of our most valued and effective ambassadors. Her life story of grit, determination, participation and achievement is both inspiring and humbling. At every presentation in a School, Wendy received remarkable feedback on how well she inspired and connected with the young people, whatever their age or background In particular, Wendy was especially effective with those who had troubled backgrounds or lifestyles – including those in Special Schools.
As well as being a speaker, I chose Wendy to represent the charity in making presentations to Head Teachers at their conferences and regional meetings. This is a demanding role given the current heightened political and financial pressures upon Head Teachers. Wendy quickly became the most reliable and effective spokesperson for 21CL at these meetings and I am thrilled that she has committed so much time to help us in expanding the awareness and take-up of the program. This work reached a high point when we selected Wendy to represent all of the Special Speakers as a VIP Speaker, to speak alongside Lord Sebastian Coe, Lord Stanley Fink and Dr David Hemery CBE at London City Hall, at the unveiling of 21st Century Legacy’s partnership with The Mayor’s Fund for London in July 2013. With compliments from Lord Coe, Lord Fink and many of the great and good in the audience, I echo and amplify their praise for Wendy and commend her.
St. Francis’ College invited Wendy to speak at an event we were holding for International Women’s Day with the aim to inspire our students to achieve and then in turn inspire the next generation. We were also promoting the awareness of the charity Women for Women International and their #sheinspiresme campaign. She certainly delivered a speech that was incredibly inspiring and also captivated the whole audience, both young and old. It was amazing to hear how Wendy, herself has overcome the effects of her accident and other barriers life has thrown her way. She is a true inspiration and living proof of what can be achieved by believing in yourself and through this having the determination to achieve.
Mrs V Robeson, International Marketing, St Francis College, London.
Wendy was great. Her speech was impactful and inspiring, and the students were very engaged throughout it’s entirety. We will definitely be recommending her to any partners who require a speaker.
Iain Killoughery, Operations Manager, Academy of Sport, London South Bank University.
Wendy Smith left us all feeling very inspired after her visit last Wednesday. Pupils and staff related to her straight away. I think the fact that she is from Essex made everyone feel like she was the same as them.
Wendy’s delivery was excellent, bearing in mind she was speaking to a hall full of children ranging in age from 3 to 11, not to mention the adults who were also hanging on to her every word. I don’t know how she did it but she kept everyone’s attention, even the 3 year olds who were intrigued and listening just as attentively as everyone else in the room. Wendy cleverly rephrased her points in order for everyone to understand her and get the most out of her talk.
Wendy’s key messages were: it’s good to have options so your life is not limited; it’s ok to do different jobs in your life.
These messages were very relevant to our pupils. We have pupils who don’t have any aspirations, let alone just one plan for their futures. We have pupils who cannot think beyond today. We also have pupils who aspire to be doctors, singers, archaeologists etc., but they have no idea that they have to work hard to make those aspirations, reality. Staff have been equally inspired and we are looking forward to creating a Dream Wall in the staffroom as well as in classrooms. I am very pleased that staff came to listen to Wendy talk.
Marios Solomonides, Head of School, Freshwaters Primary Academy.