John has been an outstanding S-G of the International Award Foundation, rebuilding its team and transforming the operating culture of the Award family around the world. He combines clear vision with determination and diplomacy, and is a passionate advocate of the Award’s work as a leader in shaping the non-formal education of young people.
Zambia International Church of Christ Minister & National Director at The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award-Zambia
November 3, 2017
John May is not just my Secretary General but an inspiration, role model, motivator, friend, teacher the list could go on. In my role with the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award, I have been afforded a front row seat to witness his out of the box leadership skills fueled by a passion to be excellent at all he does.
His high IQ is evident in how he processes different situations and balanced by an equally impressive EQ which is rare in many high performing individuals I have met. One day when it is noted in the history books about how John impacted young peoples lives for the better, I will smile with pride and tell those around me that I got the rare privilege to witness this extraordinary gentleman in action!
John is an inspiration, a strong leader and a world class expert in his field with a passion for non formal education and seeing the potential in young people. It has been a pleasure to have known and worked with John in a voluntary and professional capacity over a number of years. His ability to connect with people of all ages, from all walks of life makes him very special. A true gentlemen, he speaks from the heart and I always feel refreshed and re-invigorated after meeting him.
Chief Administrative Officer – City of Mount Pearl; community leader, volunteer, entrepreneur; former Deputy Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador
January 13, 2017
John May is a passionate, experienced, visionary leader. He has dedicated his career to helping others and making our world better. His work has positively impacted millions of young people around the world. It has been an honour to work with John.
John is a great organizer, who keeps focus; yet is open to new inputs and ideas. He is sensitive to different cultures and keeps everyone happy while the ball is rolling..
John has taken over my previous role at Secretary General of the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation and I have kept in touch with him. He has assimilated the vastly complex international and internal dynamics of this high profile charity with great speed and sensitivity. Clearly a good leader he has quickly developed an effective strategic way forward and is carrying the many varied parts of the charity forward with him. I have no hesitation in endorsing his excellent work so far.
Michael Pizzarello BEM MA FICWCI MRICS MCMI
Chartered Surveyor at Technical Services Department Government of Gibraltar
November 29, 2012
During the time in which I have worked with John I have found that, not only is he a hard working and enthusiastic individual, he is also someone who is easy to work with. He is quick to understand the issues involved and then to help formulate responses, sometimes with little or no notice. Although possessing a great sense of humour he does not shy away from being serious and to the point when the occasion demands. He appears to be a great team leader as well as being a team player.
John has been at the helm of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation for the last year. This, at a time, when the Award is going through significant changes in the way that it relates to countries that operate the Award Programme around the world.
John, along with his team, is charting a new way of doing things internationally and is effective in his communication of the new model, called the One Award Alliance, to the Award Family. He has a vision but understands the steps that need to be taken to get there, taking into account the variability of contexts that the Award operates in.
We are in good hands!
John is an exceptional person. I never stop being surprised with his energy, vitality and determination with which he carries his massive responsibility. I am honoured to be associated with the Award Program and it gives me a great satisfaction to be able to work with John as its leader.
John was an inspiring colleague and leader. In 1995, Scouting and Guiding together took more young people to an overseas event than ever before (World Scout Jamboree). Working with him for 2 years in the run-up was an exceptional experience for me – although Guiding sent fewer girls, I felt equally valued and included in all the planning. Balancing the needs of the young people and leaders was achieved with great finesse and the event was a huge success for all the UK particpants.
Having worked with John on various charitable causes I cannot speak highly enough of the work he does.
Excellent leader and clear thinker, combined with a passion to get things done.
John has a fantastic sense of humour and was such a great person to work for! He is a great leader, communicator and networker and I learned a lot from him. His passion, enthusiasm and commitment to his work with young people is really inspiring and first rate. He is incredibly generous both with his experience and knowledge and always has time for people.
John has been great at developing cross sectoral relationships between business, public and voluntary sectors. This understanding of balancing the needs and aspirations of all partners is one of the reason he has been so successful in developing campaigns and organisations – such as BITC’s Education Campaign and the UK Career Academy.
CEO JA Europe & Global Head of Regional Growth and Development at JA Worldwide
March 7, 2010
John is adept with people–able to understand issues quickly and apply his highly positive attitude towards solving them. His leadership style is collaborative and open but he is also very clear about what needs to happen and why. A creative and entrepreneurial person, he brings new and refreshing ideas to the table.
Teacher, Blogger and Author of “How to Lose a Referendum: the Definitive Story of Why Britain voted for Brexit”. Winner 2018 PSA Outstanding Teaching of Politics in Schools.
March 6, 2010
John is committed to making a difference for young people and he lives this as well as talks this. Moreover, my experience is that an organisation he runs will be highly professional, hard-working, and demand the same quality from their customers and partners as they will provide themselves. I moved into teaching to provide opportunities for pupils they wouldn’t have had otherwise. Because of John, it has not been a wasted move
John is a great person to work with. As an CEO of Young Enterprise Netherlands, it is nice to be his colleague. He is inspiring, knows non-profit management and campaigning. John communicates well with all different kinds of people. He is a true connector and makes people smile a lot! He knows the difference between being serious and acting seriously. I am convinced that John’s “out of the box” style of thinking will help bring our Young Enterprise movement on a even higher level!
Joel Blake OBE
Business Growth Strategist. Helping companies to grow through diversity, tech & entrepreneurship. Keynote Speaker & NED
March 3, 2010
I have always found John to be a person of passion and inspiration in the area of maximising potential. He is friendly, a strong communicator yet has a steely determination for achieving what is right for the development of others.
He has a partnership approach to his work and i was happy to utilise my own skills and expertise to help him achieve his vision for the work we were involved in and would be more than happy to do so again. I wholeheartedly recommend John to any individual or business!
John joined Young Enterprise just over six months ago, during that time he has achieved a lot in a relatively short time. His leadership style has unified 12 disparate parts of the national structure and his strategic vision has driven a modified strategic vision and mission that will ensure that YE is fit for purpose for the future. An impressive leader with whom I am delighted to work beside.
John has a great grasp of the current challenges in education in the UK and articulates these well and persuasively.
John is great to work with. His sense of humour and engaging personality should not mask the fact that he is fundamantally a high achiever who has the confidence to tackle big challenges.
Research, analysis and briefing on current policy and practice in the field of education and training
March 3, 2010
John is helpful, enthusiastic, energetic, open-minded and a good strategic thinker. I would certainly always value his advice.
Head of Media Relations and Internal Communications at the Scout Association
March 3, 2010
I have worked with John over a number of years on a variety of projects that require tact, diplomacy, cooperative working and just good old fashioned passion. John is engaging, positive and has a great desire to get things done.
He has the ability to challenge the status quo in a positive and constructive manner. John is sensitive to differing cultures and customs and values those who offer left field solutions to established challenges
I enjoy working with him and am sure others will have the same experience..
Author ‘In the Land of Honourable Men – A Musical Odyssey into the Heart of West Africa’ http://amzn.to/1c7INNG
March 2, 2010
John is a former senior colleague with unimpeachable integrity. He is a first rate communicator at all levels and is capable of clear strategic thinking on complex issues, which he then translates into effective action.
I have seen him operate at the highest levels and more than hold his own. I would recommend him without reservation.
John is quite simply an inspiration. He and his team at Career Academies have been responsible for improving the life chances of a vast number of young people who might otherwise have missed out on the chance to build a career for themselves. He is affable, committed and always positive and enthused about his role which makes working with him a very rewarding partnership. I’m sure he will add a great deal in his new role at Young Enterprise.
John is an outstanding individual who must take the lion’s share of responsibility for the fantastic development of Career Academies UK. He possesses unparalleled, front-line knowledge of the challenges facing today’s secondary students. I value him both as a friend and a colleague and I am so relieved that he has chosen to move to another organisation with which my firm enjoys a partnership – I would have been very sorry to end my working relationship with him!
John is an adept strategic thinker, leader and people manager. His engaging and conscientious work ethic is exemplary. He is a credit to the Career Academy organisation.
A thorough and exacting professional who is a great communicator and personable, valued colleague.
Jacqueline Collier Jespersen, BSc, MA, MBA
Helping Businesses Build Valuable Brands
February 14, 2008
John is an outstanding personality, full of energy, enthusiasm and wit, who sets extremely high standards and always delivers on his promises. His passion for lifelong learning and long experience of working with people from diverse cultures and backgrounds make him a skilled and sensitive coach and manager. John is a natural and visionary leader who inspires others and helps them achieve their full potential.