Michael McGrath is an inspirational speaker on resilience, leadership, disability awareness and diversity and inclusion
At just 18yrs, Michael was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy (MD), a degenerative muscle wasting disease. Nineteen years later, Michael made history by becoming the first disabled person to lead expeditions to both the North (April 2002) and the South Poles (Jan 2004).
Michael’s adopted life credo ‘Quant Je Puis’, meaning ‘As Much As I Can’, provides the fuel for a rare speaker who takes enormous pride in listening and interpreting client requirements, enabling bespoke presentations to be carefully crafted. Often as a keynote speaker, Michael’s story is laced with powerful learning’s and anecdotes drawn through the lens of his life, a journey of discovery and acceptance in not only facing his own adversities but also sharing compelling lessons and insights from his polar achievements.
Michael McGrath has worked with many private and public sector organisations that include HMRC, CME Group, Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team, Shell, Catalyst Housing, Barclays and the NHS where he has delivered over 20 keynotes for different Foundation Trusts across the UK on leadership, change and resilience. Michael is versatile, charismatic and inspiring – his greatest power is his emotional and intellectual force in connecting with audiences, moving people to a place of action.
In 2003, Michael founded The Muscle Help Foundation (MHF), a multi award-winning national family-centred charity delivering transformational experiences in the UK called Muscle Dreams for children and young people (8-28yrs) with muscular dystrophy. The goal is to deliver 657 unforgettable interventions, that’s one for every muscle in the human body! Affectionately known as the Chief Muscle Warrior, MHF’s work is Michael’s mission and life purpose.
Despite altitude sickness, the unforgettable “Babe, I’m here!” phone call from the South Pole in 2004 to his wife in Hertfordshire will forever remain a high point! A proud Oxford Brookes alumnus, Michael planted the university’s flag at 90⁰ South (Antarctica) with other sponsors that included DHL, Hilton Hotels and Virgin. His first ever public speaking address was at BAFTA in London having safely returned back to the UK from the South Pole.
He was recognised by the Queen in 2004 for his ‘contribution to national life’ and he was included in the Christmas Day broadcast to the nation by Her Majesty reinforcing diversity as a strength. His polar accomplishments provide a unique ‘can-do’ platform for businesses to leverage, in helping to for example reinforce key messages, provide a platform to launch a new D&I initiative, boost employee morale or reaffirm organisational values.
Nominated by Sainsbury’s national campaign, Michael McGrath was selected as a London 2012 Paralympic Torchbearer, carrying the flame upright in his ‘chariot’ on one of its final legs to the Olympic Stadium. He has been included on the Power 100 list as one of Britain’s most influential people with a disability for the past 4 years. Within the UK-wide charity sector, he also received the respected Inspiring Communicator 2016 CharityComms National Award. September 2018 saw Michael receive an Honorary Doctor of Arts degree from the University of Hertfordshire in recognition of his motivational and inspirational work for persons with a disability. In July 2019, Michael was appointed to represent the Crown as a Deputy Lieutenant (DL), a voluntary role, in the county of Hertfordshire.
Since COVID-19, Michael McGrath has been delivering virtual engagements and along with lessons learned from the pandemic, insights into how Michael adapted are underpinned by his ‘RISK’ formula for moving forwards where R = Resilience, I = Inspiration, S = Survival and K = Kindness. Michael uses change as a powerful force not only for organisational survival but also as a key behaviour and driver for businesses. He openly shares his story, experiences and wider life learning’s with a blend of humility, intellect and humour
His speaking topics include –
- Human Capacity for Resilience
- Leadership and the Attribute of Optimism
- The Ability to Manager Uncertainty and Adapt
- Embrace Change, be a change champion
- Risk Aversion V Risk Loving
- Failing and Fearing Failure
- Overcoming Adversity
- Influencing Mindsets
- Disability Awareness
- Diversity and Inclusion
“Michael talks with the eloquence and conviction of someone who really believes, and has the experience to back it up, a life built around true purpose: he gives shape and inspiration to how to live with meaning”
— Founder, Humanising Healthcare
“Michael delivered a fantastic and uplifting virtual presentation to our global organisation (Feb 2022), which directly contributed to the successful foundation of our new Diversability Employee Resource Group (ERG). He tailored his content to our firm’s background and objectives, and he was extremely well received by our employees around the world. Every company would benefit from hearing from Michael. I would have no hesitation in recommending his services as a powerful speaker that engages hearts and minds”
— Managing Director, CME Group
“Michael McGrath is a phenomenon. He shares lessons in leadership, lessons in handling change and lessons in life, introducing audiences to the possibility of thinking and acting differently”
— Sir Kenneth Branagh, British Actor, Producer, Director and Screenwriter