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Keynote Speeches

Speaking Engagements with John Amaechi OBE

Thought-leader, change-agent, rock star, John is witty and wise…provocative and purposeful…informed and inspiring.


John gives unique speeches based on the needs of your organisation or event, drawing on his own experiences to craft a message that will resonate to a wide range of individuals and groups. In his public speaking engagements, John can impress on his audiences that we can all be remarkable agents for positive change, whether on a family, community, educational, corporate or governmental levels.


Format Options

We offer three speech formats:

  • Dynamic – John will create a bespoke speech for your event or organisation
  • Interactive – John’s speech will include questions to the audience asked using our real-time, anonymous online platform
  • Interactive with insight report – We will summarise the data gathered during an interactive speech and provide you with a post-speech report that includes the presentation slides

Example Topics

Previous speeches by John have covered the below subjects.


Authentic Leadership: Learning to Lead from your Core

There are countless personalities out there in politics, business and the media who we are encouraged to look towards for our own immutable leadership skills.  However, it is almost never the right move for each of us to change our very core to become the caricature of our favourite business guru, flamboyant entrepreneur or gritty TV chef. John talks about how to establish an authentic baseline from which to build a leadership profile that will be congruent for ourselves and powerful for those we lead and manage. John understands it’s important to become a person worthy of following by transforming personal skills, experience and the will to lead into a coherent leadership and management style. Instead of instructing his audience to ape others, he explains how each of us can maximise our own qualities to become our most effective personal leader.

Business Ethics: Being a Full-Time Person of Principle

In a society wrought with obfuscation and corruption from the media to the seats of corporate and political power across the world, every single person will face an ethical dilemma at some point in their lives. The question becomes – what will you do when you get there? In this profoundly inspiring presentation, John discusses the often unspoken benefits of systematising concepts of right and wrong when tackling both the the day-to-day work-place challenges, and the complexities of large-scale corporate quandaries. Drawing on instances from his own dynamic life story and the contemporary research on modern ethics, John explores how making principled decisions in business and in life can actually yield a constellation of tangible, positive outcomes.

A World of Competition: Using Sports to Teach Business

Looking to sports can’t provide all the answers for business, and sometimes people who try to extrapolate best practices fail; not only through a hackneyed understanding of sports, but also the use of generic platitudes. Sometimes because of the daily chaos in the sports world, it’s easy to doubt that sports can actually teach us anything at all. However, the pursuit of excellence in any sport can teach us lessons in almost every area of life—not least of which are strategies and techniques conducive to personal and organisational success in a competitive and, at times, tumultuous business climate. As an experienced athlete and as a director for the London 2012 games, John uses his range of experiences to highlight the similarities between the challenges of being a high performing leader as an athlete and leading in today’s business environment. The techniques that helped John overcome adversity can translate into a toolbox for all who aspire and prepare for success in high-performing business life.

More Chance of Being Hit by a Meteor: What to do When Your Dreams Defy Probability

John decided he would leave England and go to the US only weeks after first picking up a basketball. When he finally had the courage to express his goals, his physics teacher pulled him aside and showed him a calculation that (rightly) stated the probability of playing in the NBA was less than the likelihood of being hit by a meteor. Rather than revise his goals, John refined his plan to make it both visionary and pragmatic, so he could achieve the impossible. For those interested in learning how to beat the odds, create their own plans for the future and rise above adversity to achieve their own ‘impossible dreams,’ John’s own remarkable story is a blueprint in terms of the process required to defy convention and achieve your own definition of success.

Organisational Harmony

Peak-performance is achieved by embracing and harnessing the power of diversity in your community, organisation or school. Beyond simple box ticking and compliance, it is functional diversity that reaps rewards when it comes to recruitment, retention, engagement and overall performance.

Consequential Conversations

Joh covers how to communicate authentically in multiple scenarios along with the benefits of open, emotionally literate communication.  How words are used as ‘poison’ – and how you can become the antidote, whether in your workplace, school or community.

Sport for Development

John discusses practical insights from his own sports and community centre serving 3000 young people per week, to his crucial role with the 2012 Games in London. John has unique insights into how we can use sport to produce elite performers and as a development tool. Creating projects that truly reach out to the participants and their communities to deliver measurable outcomes must the goal. Why elite, community and sport-for-development projects are rich in promise.

Achieving the Impossible Dream

Chronicling a tumultuous childhood and an extraordinary journey from 17-year old “fat, geeky, British kid” to NBA ‘starter’ in six short years, and then another transformation from athlete to a career as a psychologist in professional services and educational environments, John will highlight the processes and mindset adjustments that create the chance to beat the odds and achieve your own impossible dream.

Inspiring Intrinsic Motivation: Creating and Sustaining the ‘Self-Starter’ Drive

We are each faced with the challenge of inspiring ourselves and those around us, whether they be family members, students or potential business relationships we wish to excite and engage. Research tells us that the ‘carrot and stick’ methodology has serious limitations, including most seriously, discouraging the development of intrinsic motivation itself – that resilient, personal drive that propels us forward from within. John explains some of the contemporary science around developing and augmenting intrinsic motivation through anecdotes from his own life and some of the business leaders he has worked with in the past. He describes how our interpersonal, organisational and policy decisions interact to engage and motivate or alternatively inhibit and de-incentivise your family, corporation, school or community.

I interviewed John Amaechi for The Nation magazine and found him to be the most engaging, politically incisive person to come out of the world of sports in years. I sat down with an ex-basketball player, and by the time the interview was over I felt like I had been sitting with a statesman. Someone who in the years ahead has the capacity to lead women and men toward a more just future. He is an ex-athlete who I believe has the capacity to make a far more indelible mark on the history now that his playing days are complete.

Dave Zirin -Author and Journalist

When you glimpse John Amaechi, one may imagine a man who has it all. Rather, John truly earned his success by overcoming many self-doubts, setbacks and obstacles made by others. He is inspirational not by claiming to be a hero or a role model, but by being brazenly truthful. His values are universal: love of family, contributions of his time and attention to young people, as well as his gifts as a teacher and writer.

Bob Witeck -CEO, Witeck Combs Communications

John is a truly inspirational speaker, but he also has a very special quality that provokes much deeper reflection. He created questions in my mind that have remained there and challenged me almost every day since.

Christine Mansfield -Penny Ferguson Limited

John Amaechi is literally stunning. He will make you think about who you are, what you do and believe! Don’t expect to be entertained, expect to get real. More thought-provoking than any speaker we have worked with to date!

Gordon Mackenzie – Marketing & Sales Director, Performance First Ltd

The broad issue of diversity in the workplace is not often brought to the attention of public policy professionals in the European technology sector. They spend their days trying to persuade European politicians and legislators to take decisions that make Europe a more vibrant market for their companies’ products and services, to fuel business growth. This group of highly-qualified, highly-charged senior executives didn’t quite know what hit them when John Amaechi challenged them to stop and think about their own role in changing behaviour, in enabling a richer, more socially, racially, sexually diverse population to contribute to the success of a company.

Mark MacGann -Chief Executive Officer, Head of Public Affairs, EMEA Weber Shandwick

I’ve seen John Amaechi bring audiences to their feet in Chicago, London, Brussels and Stockholm.

Thought-leader, change-agent, rock star, John is witty and wise…provocative and purposeful…informed and inspiring.

His views on sports and society, business and community, race, gender and so much more, combined with his world-class presentation skills,  deliver unduplicated levels of audience engagement, conversation and buzz.

Lesa UkmanCo-Founder, IEG

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