John Bird MBE


Born into poverty and raised in social care John Bird MBE has made a miraculous transition from someone in need to a leader of social change. Known as the force behind the Big Issue John Bird MBE is a moving motivational speaker whose personal experiences give his social and political agenda a depth and colour that is lacking in the majority of after dinner speakers.

Before becoming a successful publisher, writer and motivational speaker Bird’s resume included spells spent as a thief and prison inmate. Bird’s determination and ambition to change his circumstances is only surpassed by his compassion and desire to help others change theirs. The Big Issue, Bird’s vehicle of change, is now the most successful street magazine in the world and allows homeless people across the globe make money in an honest and dignified fashion.

In his capacity as a motivational and after dinner speaker John Bird MBE focuses on aspects of leadership and potential, asserting that: “Bad leaders can ruin whole organisations, and even nations, while great leaders inspire those around them to feel better and do better.”

Bird works tirelessly to ensure that everyone, from those within the business world to those less fortunate, struggling and suffering at the boundaries of society, takes leadership of themselves, accepting responsibility for their actions and choices and refusing to be held back by circumstances of birth or fate.

At a time when Corporate Social Responsibility is preoccupying business leaders and consumers alike, John Bird MBE offers an authoritative, fresh approach, and some original perspectives on the interaction of business and society. His diverse experience, combined with his exuberant personality, erudition and often trenchant views make him a compelling motivational speaker.

The themes of his work stretch beyond those of the homeless and poverty stricken and often include ideas and lessons that would be of use to leaders and individuals in any walk of life. His work as an after dinner speaker is rousing and moving, yet, thanks to his personal insights and wonderful personality, they also remain hugely entertaining.

John Bird MBE has spoken at the United Nations in New York, Nairobi and Istanbul, Downing Street and Buckingham Palace; he was awarded the UN Scroll of Honour and the 2005/6 Beacon Prize for Creative Giving in recognition of his contribution to social change and a socially conscious community. Bird was given an honorary Doctorate in Business by the University of Plymouth and gained the highest British honour when, in 1995, he was presented with an MBE by her Majesty the Queen.

John Bird MBE remains an active voice in the realm of social change, often commenting on political policies and appearing at high profile fundraising and awareness events, as a motivational speaker he often lectures at corporate events and conferences on topics of leadership, personal development and business leadership.

To book John Bird MBE as the motivational speaker for your corporate event, function or conference, simply contact the Champions Speakers agency by emailing or by calling a booking agent directly on 0207 1010 553.

When at corporate events, John is known to cover the following topics:

  • Leadership & Potential
  • Business Management
  • Publishing & Writing
  • After Dinner Speaking

“Johns presentation was inspiring in as much as he was honest, real and absolutely believable.  The audience listened intently and the way he presented kept their attention.  The content really made you think and was totally relevant to the “Challenging Perception” theme of the conference.” – Amanda Bailey, Just Lincolnshire