In each issue, we introduce you to one of our mentors by telling you about their experience and giving you their answers to 3 questions, to include their own ‘top time-saving tip’.

John May

John May

John is currently the Secretary General of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award; Chair of Trustees of Oxfordshire Scouts; National Trustee of Marine Society & Sea Cadets; Advisory Board member, University of Surrey Business School and Visiting Lecturer at Oxford Brookes University. Previously, John was Chief Executive of Young Enterprise and Career Academies UK; Director of Community Campaigning at Business in the Community, a former headteacher and youth worker. John’s previous non-executive roles include Vice Chair of the World Organization of the Scout Movement; National Board member of UNICEF UK, and Founding board member of Teach First.


1. What do you feel is your greatest achievement?
I’ve been fortunate to work with some amazing people over the course of my career – and different teams have achieved a whole host of things. I’ve been involved in turning round under-performing schools; helped to increase child immunisation in rural Uganda; supported the launch of “Teach First” in the United Kingdom; been part of the set up of a number of education charities; volunteered on five World Scout Jamborees, each giving more than 30,000 teenagers some terrific experiences. But my greatest achievement was probably helping 11 year old Christopher learn to read in my first year of teaching, more than 30 years ago.

2. What do you like to do outside of work?
You know what they say, “if you can find something to do that you love and get paid for it”, you need never work again. That’s certainly true of my life. But in addition to working with and for young people, I love to run, sing, ski, go to the theatre (particularly the Oxford Playhouse) and cook for friends. At the moment, I’m learning to swim front-crawl, having only been able to do breast-stroke since I was five.

3. As a busy person what’s your ‘top time-saving tip’ ?

Worry only about the things that you can actually change. And then get rid of that worry by setting about effecting those changes.