Biography for John Amaechi OBE

John Amaechi has a portfolio career as an organisational consultant and high-performance executive coach. He is a New York Times best-selling author and social entrepreneur working in both the US and Europe. His organisational work is mostly with medium to large institutions, helping them to assess, manage, recruit, retain, engage and maximise the performance of their human capital ( He works with high-profile individuals and businesses as a high-performance-coach and mentor dealing with various challenges including improving interpersonal communications, leadership, personal and team motivation as well as helping to set out the pathway for his clients to become their very best.

MBEJohn has been recognised by the British Government and the Queen for his services to Sport and also his ongoing involvement in charitable work over the last two decades. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in June, 2011 as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

John is a sought after speaker inspiring, informing and charming audiences with his candour and wealth of international experience in sport, business and life. He is an accomplished communicator, with experience addressing a diverse cross-section of clients, including an impressive list of ‘blue chip’ corporations, international trusts and world-class educational institutions, throughout Europe and the United States.

Playing DaysJohn’s journey to becoming an elite-athlete almost defies belief: at the age of 17, when he first picked up a basketball, John was considered ‘too late to the game’ and ‘not athletic enough’ to have any chance of success in domestic sport, much less overseas. Six short years later he became a ‘starter’ in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Twelve years from first picking up a basketball, John became the first and only Briton to have his jersey hung in the U.S. Basketball Hall of Fame. Even in ‘retirement,’ John lead the England squad to bronze (its first and only ever medal finish) in the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.

Since retirement from sport, John pursued a PhD in psychology and has written white papers for the UK government as well as creating an organisational diagnostic tool that allows institutions to better understand, manage and improve their personnel, climate and culture.

Throughout 2011/12, John was seconded to the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) working group on Community Cohesion and Social Return on Investment. He was instrumental in writing chapters addressing the shortfalls in the training of senior staff and coaches as well as the design of programming to better achieve the desired social targets.

In the UK, John works with his own charity in Manchester, with over 2000 young people per week in attendance, helping to harness the power of young people through this holistic sporting centre for urban communities. John consulted with researchers at top Universities to create a programme steeped in the fundamentals of social-emotional training to provide an environment where young people who are coached in life as much as sport.

In 2007, John wrote his New York Times bestselling book “Man in the Middle,” chronicling his life and work and providing distinct lessons to anyone ever told that they weren’t capable of doing great things. The most important theme John hoped to illustrate through his personal story of struggle and triumph, was that “...despite what we are often told, the most unlikely of people, in the most improbable of circumstances can become extraordinary.”

Five LiveJohn was a key figure for the London 2012 Olympic Games effort, first as an Ambassador for the bid team and then as a director for the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) Board, that sets strategy for procurement, recruitment and standards for every employee, supplier and volunteer for the 2012 Olympic games effort.

John is a social affairs and sports pundit for the BBC, Sky, CNN and ESPN as well as a presenter on a range of radio and television programmes, including ITV’s “Britain on the Move” series and Channel 5’s weekly “Sport on Five”. In 2009 he starred in a prime-time BBC 2 programme called “The Speaker” that looked to find Britain’s best young speaker as well as inspiring youth across the UK to embrace the power of their voice. He was contracted to be part of the BBC’s key broadcast talent for the London 2012 games.

John currently has five core charities: He is the vice-president of the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS), an Ambassador for the National Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), the National Literacy Trust (NLT), Gingerbread (supporting lone parents in the UK) and a global Ambassador for Amnesty International.

In 2008 John started as a sporting ambassador for Amnesty International and went to the 2008 Beijing Olympics to shed light on the Chinese ‘Olympic promises’ and continuing human rights abuses in China, reporting his discoveries and daily interactions in his Beijing Legacy Blog. By the end of 2008, John took a global Ambassadorial role covering the entire spectrum of human rights and is still the only Amnesty International Ambassador to be allowed into China.

John is qualified in the use and interpretation of various personality inventories and other psychometric testing platforms. He is a fifteen year veteran of the American Psychological Association (APA) and a member of the British Psychological Society (BPS), it’s Division of Occupational Psychology and the BPS Psychometric Testing Group. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Applied Centre for Emotional Literacy, Learning and Research in the United Kingdom.

For your information, John’s professional affiliations include:

  • European Mentoring and Coaching Council
  • American Psychological Association
  • British Psychological Society (BPS)
  • BPS Division of Occupational Psychology
  • BPS Psychological Testing Centre
  • Centre for Social Justice
  • Applied Centre for Emotional Literacy, Learning and Research

What they say:

David Stern, Commissioner of the National Basketball Association, said: “John Amaechi is an inspiration to millions, and a great ambassador for his country. As a consummate professional during his playing days and through his continued community service, John truly represents the ideals of the NBA.”

Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty International UK, said: “Amnesty International has worked with John Amaechi for a number of years, across a variety of areas of work. We have enjoyed his support,contribution and enthusiasm in a range of human rights campaigning. John is always willing to speak out for human rights, and has generously used his profile to highlight injustices, such as China’s restrictions on freedom and to the dire state of human rights. Most recently John was one of our judges at our prestigious media awards, which recognise excellence in human rights reporting.”

“John works closely with Amnesty on LGBT rights, and often acts as a spokesperson on these issues. He is dedicated to ensuring that the world of sport operates within a human rights ethos, and to promoting a greater understanding of human rights in all sports.”

“John Amaechi is renowned as a sportsman, yet he is also a successful and devoted campaigner who continues to be a thoughtful advocate of the rights of others.”