Chris Holmes MBE – Lord Holmes of Richmond is Britain’s most successful Paralympic swimmer ever.
He won 9 gold medals (6 at a single game), many World and European titles and broke 35 World Records.
Despite losing his eyesight overnight at 14 years old, Chris gained straight A’s at A-level and a place at Cambridge University to read politics.
At University, Chris won 6 gold medals at the Barcelona Games in 1992, a feat never equalled by any Briton.
He competed in Atlanta in 1996 and Sydney in 2000, winning three gold medals.
In 2013, Chris entered the House of Lords as Lord Holmes of Richmond. He focused his time on employment, education and skills, media and sports, and digital opportunity.
Chris is a member of the influential House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee.
He has been a member of the House of Lords Select Committees on Digital Skills, Social Mobility and Financial Exclusion.
Chris is also a Diversity Adviser to the civil service and Deputy Chair at Channel 4.
Chris was Director of Paralympic Integration at the London 2012 Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG).
Between 2013 and 2017, Chris was a non-executive director at the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
Chris Holmes has worked as a professional lawyer, freelance journalist and broadcaster at sporting events.
Lord Chris Holmes MBE – Motivational Speaking:
Chris’ presentation takes his audience on the journey from a childhood dream to sporting success. From loss of sight overnight at age 14 to gold medallist and World record holder at age 20.
His story focuses on goal setting, personal leadership, performance, building and maintaining a team, and, crucially, being able to react, refocus and rebuild to adapt to often traumatic change.
Within three months of losing his sight, Chris was back in the pool training alongside his fully sighted club mates. Only a year later, he was competing at the junior European Championships in Moscow, where, upon his admission, he was thoroughly beaten.
Returning from Moscow, Chris refocused his goals and, leading from within, built a team around him to attempt to achieve a unique feat five years later at the Barcelona Games.
Chris’ story continually reinforces the importance of constant scrutiny and re-evaluation of oneself, personal and team goals and the need for decisive, often complex, decisions to be taken and committed to.
His story demonstrates that though the goals can be committed at the outset, the subsequent journey is seldom straightforward. How we react to those forks in the road makes all the difference.
Chris’ presentation concludes with a challenge to his audience: to look inside themselves, to understand what is possible to achieve, how this will involve individual leadership, playing several parts in different teams and ultimately reaching their personal and shared potential.
Chris’ use of humour is infectious, drawing his audience into the story and enabling them to think the unthinkable, face down their fears and grasp the opportunities.
Areas of expertise:
As a Paralympic sports speaker, Chris’ story is about striving for excellence as individuals and as a team. Through his sports and business experiences, he can fundamentally understand what it takes to motivate, commit to a path, and deliver.
Chris’ career demonstrates the need to understand the need for continuous evaluation and cultural change, often against a majority committed to the status quo.
He demonstrates that change is essential if an organisation does not fall off the pace or fail to hit its targets. It is the most positive force that any individual or organisation can embrace.
- Inspiration and Motivation
- Leadership and Team Dynamics
- Diversity and Inclusion
- Goal Setting
- The Importance of the Journey
- Change Leadership, Management and Dynamics
- Addressing Adversity as Individuals and as Teams
- Disability Issues
- Relentless Positive Approach
Popular talk titles include:
- Being the Leader of My Own Life – Chris’ personal and moving life story.
- Vulnerability as Standard – A compelling illustration of the essential role of vulnerability and trust in effective teamwork.
- Decisions as an Inclusive Process or Thinking Differently, Delivering Decisively – How to build an inclusive culture.
- Working with the ‘Co-Bots’ – What does an ‘AI’ future mean for humans?
- Making Hybrid Working Work for Everyone – Covid accelerated trends we couldn’t have imagined just three years ago. How do we ensure hybrid working provides personalised employee experiences, increased productivity, and better business outcomes?
Other emerging technologies such as blockchain (and applications such as open banking and open finance) remain an important policy area for Chris. He was integral to the passing of the groundbreaking Electronic Trade Documents Bill, which holds the potential for mainstream blockchain adoption thanks to the legal adjustment to permit ‘reliable systems’ for the possession of trade documents.
He has previously co-authored House of Lords Select Committee Reports on Democracy and Digital Technologies , Artificial Intelligence , and Digital Skills  and, under his own auspices, published an influential report encouraging government testing of blockchain solutions for policy delivery, DLT for Public Good: leadership, collaboration and innovation  He is also an adviser to several tech and fintech companies.
Again, under his auspices, he has published influential reports on accessibility in the public realm and support for disabled students, as well as Lords reports on Financial Exclusion , Social Mobility  and, for the Cabinet Office, The Lord Holmes Review on opening up public appointments to disabled people. He continues to advise the government on diversity and inclusion.