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Matt Lindley

Airline and ex RAF Royal Squadron Pilot

Matt Lindley is a commercial airline and an ex-RAF pilot and has flown missions in the Sierra Leone, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. In 2000, he was asked to serve on The Royal Squadron, flying Her Majesty The Queen, other members of the Royal Family and Government officials worldwide and one of the first openly gay pilots in the RAF. 

Matt dreamt of joining the RAF and becoming a pilot since childhood but his dreams were almost shattered when a ban was implemented that made it illegal for gay personnel to join the forces. He kept his sexuality hidden for fear of being fired which resulted in years of low self-esteem and feelings of isolation as he endured hearing “banter” in the form of homophobic jokes and remarks by his colleagues. These negative emotions built up inside of Matt over time and eventually became so strong that he failed the Top Gun examination, meaning he was unable to fly fighter jets, something he had been working towards throughout his career.  Fortunately, things changed and Matt describes how the RAF adapted its culture from one of hostility towards gay personnel to acceptance and support. 

Matt shares his experience to highlight how inclusive leadership positively impacts culture which, in turn can transform the wellbeing of employees and the productivity of an organisation. Matt addresses the harmful ‘banter culture’ within a workplace and the role allyship can have on mental health, productivity and contribution. 

– Inclusion & Impact on performance

– Leadership & Teamwork

– Being the Real You at work

– LGBT+ in the workplace

– Risk Management 

– Allyship  

– Stress: Wellbeing & Performance at work 

​​“It was an incredible experience. It was the first time I've participated in an event like this in corporate surroundings and I have a feeling it is a beautiful start of a new journey for Smith & Nephew. I feel like Matt opened a door for us to make a real change and I couldn't thank him and you more for agreeing to talk to us. Thank you!” - Smith & Nephew

“The live event yesterday was fantastic. Matt was so engaging, he had a great storytelling style. It felt like a real watershed moment for the company.” - Glanbia