Michael McGrath

Polar Adventurer, Motivational Speaker, Charity CEO

Michael firmly believes “It’s not what you own but what you’ve done that matters – experience is a powerful social currency.”

Michael is a motivational speaker, a record-breaking polar adventurer and founder of award-winning family charity the Muscle Help Foundation (MHF). In 2004 Michael became the first disabled person to lead expeditions to the North and South Poles. These expeditions helped establish MHF which delivers life-changing experiences in the UK called ‘Muscle Dreams’ designed to help fulfil potential, give purpose and restore hope, for children and young adults with muscular dystrophy. The goal is to deliver 657: one for every muscle in the human body.

From interviewing movie icon Al Pacino or learning bushcraft skills with Ray Mears, the impact of these shared interventions was academically validated by the University of Hertfordshire.

An early adopter in leveraging social media to share MHF’s impact, Michael has secured funding from a variety of sources including the Big Lottery Fund to support several projects including its Inspiring Hearts, Engaging Minds (IHEM) programme that gave a voice to young vulnerable adults in exploring the world of work and its Ambassador Community Network. Lifelong Patrons of MHF include Sir Kenneth Branagh and Lorraine Kelly.

Michael was a Paralympic Torchbearer in 2012. In July 2019 he was appointed to represent the Crown as a Deputy Lieutenant (DL) in Hertfordshire, a voluntary role. He holds an Honorary Doctorate of Arts from the University of Hertfordshire in recognition of his motivational and inspirational work for persons with a disability.

Michael’s 2018 ‘Power of the Polar Hug’ TEDx talk continues to reach new audiences. A sought-after speaker, he connects with audiences emotionally and intellectually, and is engaged by public and private sector organisations in the UK and overseas.

“It’s not what you own but what you’ve done that matters – experience is a powerful social currency.”