Jillian Haslam


No one achieves success without paying a price. The real story is always what came before. When you see Jillian Haslam on stage speaking, read her books, or give to her charitable work, what you’re seeing is a testimony to resilience, to never quitting, and to passionately pursuing a better world, even for those in greatest need. But what you don’t see is how she got there. Born in Calcutta to parents with British ancestry in post-colonial India, Jillian faced a bruising childhood of extreme poverty, malnutrition & disease. She lived through the deaths of four siblings and some appalling instances of racist abuse.

Her rise from the depths of despair and misery to wealth and international celebrity status is an inspirational story of vindication. Today, she travels the world speaking to businesses, universities, and anyone else who wants to be inspired to keep moving forward. In these challenging times, Jillian’s brand of relentless determination is needed more than ever. Her book Indian.English. A Memoir tells the story of her dark childhood growing up in extreme poverty and fear, yet drawing strength from parents who gave everything for their children, and from the timely generosity and kindness of strangers.

It walks you through her ascension in the Indian and British corporate banking sector and how she later became the motivational speaker, author, and philanthropist you see today. The book’s greatest strength comes from the lessons Jillian learned during her hardest times that still shape her life and drive her ambitions to this day.

These moments are poignant, visceral, and universal to the human condition. The book is an international bestseller that has received rave reviews in Indian and International press with her being dubbed the Real Slumdog Millionaire. As a speaker, Jillian can motivate and inspire almost any audience, from corporate organisations to social institutions, from the wealthy to the underprivileged in Europe and India.

Her clients include some of the top organisations and institutions in the world, such as Bank of America, McDonald’s, King’s College London, Barclays, Cambridge University, Heriot Watt University, TEDx and many others. A popular media guest, Jillian has been featured on Channel 5, the BBC, The Independent, The Pioneer, The Times, The Telegraph, The Metro, Gulf News and many other major media.

To book Jillian Haslam as the keynote speaker for your corporate event, function or conference, simply contact the Champions Speakers agency by emailing agent@championsukplc.com or by calling a booking agent directly on 0207 1010 553.

Jillian has been honoured with a growing list of awards. A few of the biggest include:

  • First runner-up for The Asian Woman of the Year in the Social and Humanitarian category in recognition of her business achievements and charitable contributions, 2012
  • True Legend Award for her exceptional contribution to humanitarian causes, from The Telegraph, April 2015
  • Star Recognition Award in London for Lifting Lives and delivering numerous speeches across the UK’s educational institutes, July 2015
  • Nominated by the public for ITV’s 2015 Inspirational Woman of the Year award
  • Excellence in Humanitarianism Award for her work in India, December 2016

The Slumdog Millionaire: “From Homeless Hunger to helping hundreds: Lost four siblings to malnutrition and poverty; spent nine months homeless living on the streets under staircases; Found a home in the slums of Calcutta; Was teased and groped by slum boys; Saved the life of a fifth sibling; mothered two little ones form the age of 8; Was terrorized by being locked in a dark bathroom of flying cockroaches. This fair blonde British girl who grew up in the mean streets of Calcutta said “I’m going to fight” and so she did against all odds to prove to be the True Slumdog Millionaire” – The Telegraph

“Life lessons in Loreto school: “A date with the Slumdog Star – it isn’t every day that a nobody becomes a somebody and that too someone not froma remote city but form lanes and alleys in the city of Calcutta. The millionaire motivator speaker and author spoke to children on the importance of gratitude, respect, associations, attitude, manners and excuses. The principal summed up the enthusiasm among the students “It was truly a date with a star.” – The Telegraph (Metro)

“The Horror & the Hope: “Hats off to a fighter: Dozens of letters flowed into the newspaper. Heartbreaking statements like “Jillian’s inspirational story should be included in textbooks as a lesson for children.”; I cried in pain and then cried in relief. I have never seen, heard or imagined such poverty and misery. I salute you Jillian; Jillian is an institution. Her life is full of lessons. She is an icon; Jillian has made India proud, a worthy example “ – The Telegraph

“Our Leading Lights: “I engage with most of my more sympathetic subjects when I write about them but Jillian Haslam’s story moved me to tears from the moment I started working on her for my Leading Lights column in the Asian Voice weekly newspaper. If I didn’t feel Indian it would be a disgrace Jillian says. I have never been affected so much by writing a column.”Rani Singh, BBC Broadcaster, Forbes India, and Author: Sonia Gandhi: An Extraordinary Life, An Indian Destiny, Foreword by Mikhail Gorbachev.” – Rani Singh, BBC Broadcaster

“A shocking read. Jillian suffered an excruciating childhood but her determination of a better life helped her rise above the horrific circumstances and made her a successful businesswoman. A truly inspirational story.” – Channel 5

“Female Gifted & Asian – Record Breaker: “Jillian Haslam was crowned the first runner up for the 2012 Asian Woman of the Year in the social and humanitarian category. A more heartbreaking story is hard to come by and yet her success is truly amazing.”The Independent Banker on Charity mission: “A bond that moves you to love the country even when you have been humiliated in the worst manner and a bond that lays no blame but replaces everything with forgiveness and respect, more so for a majority of the people including the poorest of the poor who saved our lives, and in some cases put their lives on the line in order to save ours. While some people hurt us for no reason, so many others helped us survive and gave us the hope to go on,” said Jillian.” – The Times

“Coming back to give: “A childhood of extreme poverty in India has spurred author Jillian Haslam to reach out to underprivileged children. There are two kinds of people in the world – those who break under adversity and those who take it as a challenge and rise above it. Jillian Haslam belongs to the second category” – The Hindu

“A country girl at heart: We quiz the Indian.English. girl whether she considers herself English or Indian. She says emphatically, though I have no control over my ancestry or genes, I am a hundred percent Indian” – Society magazine

Hunger for Life: – “knowing starvation, she and her sister would dig in drains for schoolmates tiff leftovers). She knows the value of giving food to a poor kid and wants nothing more but to help people better their lives.” – The Pioneer

“Indian. English., Jillian Haslam’s unforgettable memoir, makes Slumdog Millionaire look like the fantasy it is!” – Manuel Freedman, Filmmaker, & Author. MFM, Los Angeles, CA, USA