After being diagnosed with muscle wasting disease Muscular Dystrophy aged just 18 in 1984, Michael McGrath made history 20 years later by becoming the first disabled person in the world to lead expeditions to the north and south poles; by any standards, an extraordinary example of determination, courage and singular achievement.
Michael’s remarkable life story is one of consistently overcoming incredible odds. The journey gave rise to a new life plan, inspiring Michael to embark on a career as an internationally recognised motivational business speaker. He has built an enviable list of clients, providing carefully tailored speeches for organisations including Virgin, PwC, Shell and the NHS.
He is first and foremost a father to his daughter and husband to his wife, also his business partner. At the age of 12, Michael wanted to be a professional golfer. At 14, he was invited to play at Junior Wimbledon. At 15, he dreamt of becoming the General Manager of the Savoy Hotel in London. At 16, he was a keen rugby player at Stonyhurst College (a flanker by trade!), an independent Catholic boarding school founded in 1593 (guided by Jesuit principles), whose motto "Quant Je Puis" (As Much As I Can) is central to McGrath's own Reach Beyond ethos and Can-Do spirit. At 18, he was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy, a muscle wasting disease that remains the single biggest genetic killer of children on the planet – in that moment, Michael McGrath's life instantly changed forever.
Michael McGrath is in demand as an inspiring motivational business speaker. He travels the world, provoking, stimulating and inspiring change whilst championing his 3M formula for success (based around the brain being a muscle, the body's ability to move and the mind needing to be fuelled by motivation) for both private and public sector organisations.
Managing his own business, Michael has influenced and changed the mind-sets of thousands through speaker engagement and bespoke masterclass activity, giving clients a robust opportunity to creatively leverage key business objectives. Today, his greatest power is his emotional force to not only inspire action but help organisations motivate their people.
In January 2004, Michael returned from Antarctica, having successfully led his team to the South Pole. In doing so, he made history by becoming the only disabled person in the world to have reached both North and South Poles – he reached the North Pole in April 2002. Leadership, trust, a strong sense of self-belief, teamwork and absolute confidence were critical success factors. Michael McGrath received global support and endorsements from business entrepreneurs such as Sir Richard Branson, actors, media presenters, sports personalities and adventurers such as Kenneth Branagh, Lorraine Kelly of GMTV, Michael Palin, Chris Bonington, Jon Snow of Channel 4 News as well as many Equality and Diversity champions including the Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs at the European Commission in Brussels, where he has also spoken.
In the words of Alexandra Shackleton, one of his expedition Patrons, Michael continually demonstrates, like her grandfather Sir Ernest Shackleton, the qualities of optimism, courage, imagination and patience – his polar achievements are extraordinary triumphs of physical and mental endurance, and should serve as a reminder to us all that, in Michael's own words, 'our limits are often far beyond where we may assume them to be'.