“From council-house via corporate to comic”
Toni Kent is a professional speaker, compere, comedian and writer who has the rare combination of 20+ years IT industry experience and the ability to entertain audiences with honest, humorous insights into what it takes to achieve social mobility. Born into a working-class family in Basingstoke, Toni, her parents and three siblings lived on a large council estate where redundancy and right-to-buy had a significant impact on the lives of the people who lived there.
When Toni was 14, her father died and the family became reliant on benefits. In the four years that followed, she scraped her GCSEs and was a birthing partner to her mother, twice. Living in an environment described by social services as “chaotic and neglectful”, Toni decided she wanted a different life than what was predicted for her.
Today, thanks to a second chance at education, positive role models and establishing a career in a well-paid industry, Toni finds herself in what could be described as a “middle-class bubble” and it’s not always comfortable. Using her writer’s eye and comic timing, she brings to life the opportunities that exist for organisations in actively hiring and promoting people from low socio-economic backgrounds and makes others feel safe to tell their story.“ A speaker who manages to lift the audience and change perspectives” – Helen Freestone, Manager, UK SI Partners, Amazon Web Services