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Matt Lindley

Matt Lindley

speaker location icon London, U.K.

Former Royal Air Force pilot

One of the first openly gay pilots in the Armed Forces

Expert on positive culture change and transformational leadership

Airline and former Royal Air Force pilot Matt Lindley talks candidly about being one of the first openly gay pilots in the Armed Forces. Listen to his journey of having a childhood dream to fly, almost destroyed by a ban on gay serving personnel in the Forces. Matt describes how he consciously suppressed his sexuality and joined an organisation knowing that being ‘out’ would have resulted in a possible prison sentence. His story is one of self-motivation and resilience which led to a dream being fulfilled. Matt Lindley describes how the RAF adapted its culture from one of open hostility towards gay personnel, to acceptance and support. He also speaks frankly about mental resilience and its impact on employee performance.

But this is not just another ‘coming out story’. Instead, Matt uses his experience, to highlight the benefits of positive culture change and transformational leadership to the wellbeing of employees. This ultimately affects the productivity of any organisation.

Whilst flying on the Royal Squadron and in the airline industry, Matt has developed a deep understanding of human error in high stress environments.  He has developed life saving training to Doctors and healthcare professionals through out the NHS – applying lessons learn from aviation to avoid patient harm.  In 2017 he was the subject matter expert on BBC Radio 4 / World Service programme ‘from the cockpit to the operating theatre’.

Matt uses psychology, case studies and interactive training to explain why people make mistakes at work and suggested small changes to everyday practices to mitigate this risk.  Areas covered include human cognition, stress performance and decision making, leadership styles, mental resilience.

Over the past 2 years he has applied the same Human Factors principles to deliver culture change in a wide variety of industries including the legal sector, the Home Office and the Environment Agency.

Matt currently is involved in transformational culture change at the UK Border Force.


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