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Diversity and Disability Specialist, Clinical Social Worker


Karni Liddell is a former world record holder, Paralympic swimmer, speaker, TV presenter, “Mama” and clinical social worker. Karni was born with a neuro-muscular wasting disease and her parents were told that their first-born child wouldn’t walk, crawl or live past her teenage years.

Achievements: Karni broke her first World Record at the age of 14 and she went on to win Paralympic medals at every Paralympics she competed at and she regards being captain of the Number 1 team at the Sydney 2000 Games her greatest sporting achievement.

Karni has risen over $1million dollars throughout her career for the various disability charities she supports.

Current Work:
Karni is currently the QLD Manager for the Public Service Commission whereby her role is to increase employment of People with a disability across the Public sector and the community to 8%. Karni was the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Ambassador and officially opened the NDIA head office in Geelong, she is a member of the Qld Premier’s Domestic and Family Violence Council and is a Domestic and Family Violence specialist and trainer (Karni delivers the Lifeline DV-alert Working with Women with Disabilities and the Griffith University Mate Bystander workshop). She is a presenter for Channel 7 ‘The Weekender’ and was a talkback radio presenter. She is the Ambassador for Kids Help Line, Muscular Dystrophy QLD and Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association. Karni was the Patron of the International Day of People with a Disability and was awarded the Pride of Australia medal. Karni was just awarded the Bond University Alumni Community Achievement Award (2021); she has also won the Qld Teacher and Trainer of the year (2015) and was awarded the Alumni of the Year award for the faculty of health at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). Karni holds a Clinical Masters in Social Work (QUT) and a double Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Bond University.

Karni is an Internationally acclaimed and sought after keynote speaker and has just done a TED speech, which has been watched by thousands of people around the world and was the only TED speaker on the day to receive a standing ovation.

I have seen Karni Liddell speak 3 times now and it just gets better every time. I last used her to present to all my staff at our half yearly conference and she was again thought provoking and inspiring. Her session ran over by 1 hour as there were so many questions my staff wanted to ask her. Karni makes everyone who listens to her realise that the small things they are sweating on are really not important in the big picture. She clearly inspires people just by passing on her story. How can people not be inspired to greater things after discovering the adversity she defeated. A great reality check for all my people. Flight Centre

Please accept our most sincere thanks for your presentation at our 2007 Business Forum on the Gold Coast. As a major supplier to the hairdressing industry we have produced many great conventions and forums and this has to be rated as one of the best. The delegates have expressed their gratitude and I know that as a result of their attendance and participation they will all be on track to increase effectiveness and grow their businesses. Karni, your presentation generated great comments and was extremely well received by our delegates. Your professionalism and warmth coupled with your obvious passion for life and sport was the perfect way to conclude our session. All of our delegates were moved and motivated by your enthusiasm and never give in attitude. You were inspirational. Once again thank you for a job well done. I know that all of our delegates will remember their time in Queensland and your participation has guaranteed a greater business future for them.

Schwarzkopf Professional / Indola

Karni Liddell has just concluded her speaking engagement at the ENERGEX Strategy & Finance Division meeting this afternoon. On behalf of everyone at ENERGEX that attended, we would like to give a heartfelt thanks to Karni for an absolutely inspirational and fantastic session. It is a credit to her that there was total rapt silence when she was speaking. Some of the comments that have been made to me are along the lines: She is certainly the best speaker we have had in a long while Incredibly inspirational Very entertaining Uplifting and motivational Wow! Once again, please pass on our appreciation to Karni for sharing her story with us today. I would have no hesitation in recommending Karni as a speaker.


Karni was warm, inviting and had us crying and laughing at the same time! We have received wonderful feedback from her presentation. Karni was fantastic, and I have already sent Saxton's details to other faculties at UQ who would like her to attend their events!

University of Queensland

Just to let you know that Karni was absolutely awesome this morning. How inspirational is she? Wow! She was there way before time, looked fantastic and mingled with the guests. I received comments after the function stating that Karni was 'the best speaker we have ever had at these breakfasts', that 'she is so witty and inspirational', 'truly inspired me to go out today and find something to do that people that know me would think that I could not do', and that she 'is so effective at making light of her situation but still getting a very powerful message across, that we cannot control everything so don't try to.' She truly is a professional and inspiring person. Thanks for allowing us to have time with her. I know where to look next time I need a motivational speaker, you will be hearing from me in the future.

Australian Management Institute

Karni was a terrific speaker, she had a good feel for the room and spoke to her audience about a heavy subject with just the right balance of outrage, passion and humour!

Queensland Blue Light Association Incorporated

Karni engaged well with the audience. She spoke openly about her challenges and was very personable.

St Peters Lutheran College
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