Chris Holmes speaker

Chris Holmes Keynote Speaker

  • Britain’s most successful Paralympic swimmer
  • London 2012 Director of Paralympic Integration
  • Sought-after motivational speaker

Chris Holmes's Biography

Chris Holmes, Lord Holmes of Richmond MBE is a member of the House or Lords and is a former Paralympian Swimmer.He was Director of Paralympic Integration for the London games in 2012

His core policy focus is on digital technology for the public good, with a particular interest in technologies such as AI and Blockchain, and areas of application such as: FinTech, GovTech, RegTch, Assistive Tech and EdTech. Other key policy areas are social mobility, employment, education, skills and culture, media and sports.

Using his political skills and strategic know-how, he famously delivered the most successful Paralympics ever. It was the same determination that had earlier helped him become one of the most successful Paralympic swimmers of all time. In the pool Chris won nine gold medals, achieving a record six gold medals at a single Paralympics. At those same Games, as team captain, Chris led the British team to top spot on the medal board for the first time. He won a string of World and European titles, broke 35 world records and was awarded an MBE for services to British sport at the incredibly young age of 20.

In his inspirational talks, Chris describes the setbacks and the hard work as well as the victories. He talks about what it was like to go blind overnight at the age of 14. He explains how he never lost his ambition and determination to succeed and ultimately achieved dreams formed before losing his sight; to attend Cambridge University and represent his country in sport. He explains, also, how he beat the competition by facing down everything in training, embracing change and maintaining focus. A leading motivational speaker, Chris understands how to create the conditions for success. He now applies a similar approach in his leadership role, encouraging others to fulfil their own potential.

Chris has an unusual depth and breadth of experience. After retiring from competitive swimming he worked as a journalist before qualifying and working as a commercial lawyer for a leading international City practice. He was also appointed as non-Executive Director to the Disability Rights Commission and UK Sport and was an Ambassador for the successful London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic bid.

In 2013 the Prime Minister invited Chris to join his team in the House of Lords becoming Lord Holmes of Richmond. Chris brings his wide-ranging experience to bear in this role and actively relishes this new political position. His experiences navigating the ancient corridors of power with guide dog Lottie offer numerous insightful and entertaining anecdotes. He has been a member of Select Committees on Democracy and Digital Technologies, Intergenerational Fairness, Artificial Intelligence, Digital Skills, Social Mobility and Financial Exclusion and has published reports on Distributed Ledger Technologies and Reducing Friction in International Trade.

Chris is non-Executive Director for the Equality and Human Rights Commission, where he works to improve the equality and human rights legislative framework in the UK and globally alongside the UN.

Chris is Deputy Chair of Channel 4 and advises the Government on Diversity and Inclusion through his work with the Cabinet Office, most recently publishing a report on recruiting for Public Appointments. A previous role as non-Executive Director for the Equality and Human Rights Commission, involved working alongside the UN to to improve the equality and human rights legislative framework in the UK.

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Chris Holmes's Speaking Topics

  • ESG: Existential, Seismic and Global

Chris speaks about sustainable finance, fintech, and social issues (disability, diversity, inclusion). As Deputy Chair of Channel 4 he is also well placed to discuss current topics and trends within corporate governance.

  • Being the leader of my own life

A personal and moving story about a young boy from the Midlands who never expected to become the first person to enter the House of Lords with a guide dog!

  • Vulnerability as standard

A compelling illustration of the essential role of vulnerability and trust in effective teamwork.

  • Thinking differently, delivering decisively: Decisions as an inclusive process

How to build an inclusive culture is always a top speech topic but these titles are an example of the way in which Chris works closely with clients to personalise his presentations and ensure they are just right for each organisation.

  • Working with the ‘co-bots'

What does an ‘AI’ future mean for humans? Chris sat on the Lords Select Committee on AI and is an expert on DLT/blockchain and various emerging technologies.

  • Making hybrid working work for everyone

Covid accelerated trends we couldn’t have imagined just three years ago but how do we ensure hybrid working provides personalised employee experiences and increased productivity and better business outcomes.

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Videos of Chris Holmes

TEDxWhitehallWomen: Seeing isn't Believing
TEDxWhitehallWomen: Seeing isn't Believing
On Vancouver 2010 and London 2012
On Vancouver 2010 and London 2012

Articles, Media & Podcasts

Comments & Testimonials

"Chris was engaging, charismatic, funny and had our audience hooked with his amazing and powerful personal story. But his real skill as a speaker was to weave into his own narrative the important themes in our business and to make his story engaging to the 30+ different cultures and nationalities in our audience."
Kimberly Clark

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