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John Peters is a highly accomplished and versatile international public speaker. Many will remember him from the 1991 Gulf War when, as a prisoner of war, the enduring, iconic image of his battered and bruised face was paraded on television by Saddam Hussein's brutal regime. His ordeal was one of seven weeks of physical and psychological torture. Since that defining moment, John has used his experience to inspire and motivate audiences from around the world, earning him a reputation for being one of the best there is.
What's more, having run a business consultancy focused on helping senior executives with leadership, strategy and change, he is superb at appreciating business challenges to translate and tailor his story to your organisation's needs. Far from being a doom and gloom merchant, his innate sense of timing and humour equips him with the dynamism to capture the spirit of any event.
John's expertise lies in providing tailored speeches focusing on change, dealing with uncertainty, high performance, leadership, inspiration, motivation and resilience.
John is consistently in demand for keynotes, conferences, after-dinner speeches and luncheons. His clients include every kind of organisation from FTSE Global 100 firms and the public sector to charities and local primary schools. He has vast experience of speaking to diverse and international audiences including those in America, Australia, Hong Kong, Kuwait, Russia, France, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Portugal, Spain and the Republic of Ireland. Of note, he was the sole reader representing the British Armed Forces at the National Gulf Memorial Service, in front of Her Majesty, The Queen, presented the Sir James Martin Lecture at the Royal Aeronautical Society in the presence of Prince Philip, and has followed Mr Nelson Mandela on stage in South Africa for which he gained a standing ovation!
John’s story is rooted in the 1991 Gulf War, during which time he was an RAF pilot of the Tornado GR1 Bomber on XV Tornado Strike/Attack Squadron. On 2nd August 1990, Iraq invaded the oil rich sovereign state of Kuwait and by 17th January 1991 the UN's call for a full withdrawal by Iraqi forces had not been met, launching Operation Desert Storm with XV Squadron placed firmly at the vanguard of the initial assault. Whilst carrying out a dangerous, low-level, daylight raid on Al Rumaylah South West airbase, John's Tornado was hit by a Surface to Air Missile or SAM for short, forcing him and his Navigator, John Nichol, to eject over enemy territory. Shortly after safely parachuting to the ground, the two men were captured by Saddam Hussein's forces. What ensued was seven weeks of physical and psychological brutality and torture. He was subject to incessant beatings with baseball bats, mock executions and starvation. John's severe mistreatment was thrust into the living room of every household across the globe as that now iconic image of his bruised and battered face was paraded on Iraqi state television. John, however, emerged from his experience a stronger, more resilient and more confident individual. And whilst one would not ever welcome such an ordeal, he realises that it was probably the making of him. It is this attitude that has made John so sought after as a speaker.
Upon his release on 4th March 1991, John resumed his flying career. In 2000, he retired from the RAF as a Squadron Leader to set up his own management consultancy firm, focusing on helping senior teams and Boards, principally of blue-chip organisations, by providing business critical development, consulting and coaching - through a leadership lens. Concurrently, he was appointed a Board member and Chair of the Association of MBAs. He has held roles as the Director of Performance for the Executive MBA at Aston Business School and is a Fellow at both Kingston and Henley Business School, and a Governor of the Royal Grammar School Worcester. He is Patron to the charities KidsOut and The Battle of Worcester Society, and is Honorary President of Throckmorton Airshow and a Worcester Ambassador. John has written two best-selling books including Tornado Down; a documentary of the same name was awarded Independent Documentary of the Year and nominated for a BAFTA Award. He is currently writing a new book on leadership in uncertainty.
Client Comments for John Peters
- The response to your talk has been outstanding. The delegates were deeply moved by your experiences and they have been left with a lasting impression of your bravery and determination. Were it not for your own contribution, we could not have delivered such a successful day - none of us will ever forget the story you had to tell and we all feel immensely privileged to have met you.
The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS)
- John was amazing, the audience loved him and he certainly took our conference to the next level.
Partners Life Limited
- It was one of the most extraordinary talks I've been to, and has given me lots to think about... I know everyone else in the audience found it just as interesting and spellbinding.
British Red Cross
- Anyone who has had the privilege of listening to you speak cannot be anything other than impressed by your attitude to life and your determination, courage and integrity. Yours is a gripping and extremely moving story. Everyone to whom I have spoken since your presentation has unreservedly said that it was excellent. Your reflections on the dual concepts of failure and trust have certainly provided me with plenty of food for thought.
West Mercia Police
- John Peters - what an inspiration! What I found most powerful was his totally down to earth and dignified approach towards life threatening experiences.
- John was great. Probably the most powerful story the audience has ever heard. Quite controversial, but we wanted to stir up the audience and get them really talking and thinking about the messages he delivered in his presentation.
- One minute I wanted to cry my eyes out and the next minute you had me laughing out loud... the feedback has been incredible. Twitter has gone mad. Thought provoking, empowering and inspirational are just a few of the words people have used to describe yesterday's event.
Centre for Leadership Performance
- I am left with a lasting impression of John Peters, who will remain in my memory as one of the most incredible and emotional speakers that I have ever experienced and had the honour of hearing.
Walker User Group
- There was no one in the room that wasn't one minute moved to tears, the next gasping or laughing. I know I was riveted throughout your presentation. You have a great sense of humour as well as real humility. It was a truly a memorable experience reach for us at the event.
- I have never seen the officer cadets so obviously captivated before: it is a feat in itself to keep them awake, but to maintain their interest is almost unheard of! It is only the second time that I've ever heard the cadets give such a prolonged ovation to a speaker at Sandhurst.
Royal Military Academy Sandhurst
- I have seen some speakers in my time, but you are the first to provide a presentation that was truly overwhelming. You came across as one of us, a real person and the way you delivered your amazing story and experiences touched the whole audience, as the content was relevant to every single person. It was powerful stuff and I felt very privileged to have even been there.
The Newspaper Society
- The audience was absolutely captivated by him and absorbed every single word that he delivered. John truly is a hero in every sense of the word and the feedback that we have received from our guests is off the scale!
Gordon Poole Agency Ltd
- Hearing your story helped to realign things in which I had, quite frankly, been overly worrying about. On top of that, what a fantastic delivery. I can't remember the last time I have heard someone speak so captivatingly for well over an hour. A true inspiration.
- Your presentation was one of the most moving and poignant I have ever heard.
Institute of Directors (IOD)
- John Peter is an absolutely fantastic speaker. So genuine and engaging. Refreshingly easy to work with and very keen to engage with the delegates and attend social functions.
- Change Management
- Dealing with Uncertainty
- High Performance Individuals and Teams
- Inspirational / Motivational
- The Art and Science of Leading
"Always a pleasure to work with the Saxton's team. I think the service is outstanding."
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