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John May, Chief Executive of Cats Protection, on the Power of Volunteering

Join us as we sit down with John May, Chief Executive of Cats Protection, one of the largest animal welfare organizations in the UK.

Our conversation focuses on the power of volunteering and its evolution in today's world. Whether you're a people person or prefer the company of animals, whether you have a lot of time or just a little, there's likely a volunteering role out there for you.

Drawing on his extensive experience as the former Secretary General of the Duke of Edinburgh's International Award Foundation, John shares his insights into how volunteering can transform lives and improve our world.

Don't miss this inspiring episode where we learn about the incredible work of Cats Protection and how anyone can make a difference through volunteering.

About John May OBE DL

John May is the Chief Executive of Cats Protection; a campaigner, storyteller, writer, broadcaster, teacher, urban cyclist, occasional long-distance runner, habitual chocolate cake eater and mischief-maker who has spent his career supporting and leading voluntary, educational and charitable organisations in the United Kingdom and around the world.

He works with the 1,000 staff and 10,000 volunteers of Cats Protection, along with businesses, government and local communities, to create a world where every cat is treated with kindness and an understanding of its needs.

He speaks and writes on leadership and volunteering, drawing on his wide experience. Trained first as an actor and then as a teacher, John has worked in a variety of situations, ranging from schools in suburban England to refugee camps in Uganda.

He became a Headteacher at 28, going on to develop a reputation for regenerating underperforming schools. John has since been the national Education Director of Business in the Community, founding Chief Executive of Career Ready , Chief Executive of Young Enterprise and global Secretary General of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award.

John is a former non-executive director of UNICEF, helped to found ‘Teach First’ in the UK, and is a past Vice Chairman of the World Organization of the Scout Movement. He is a trustee of the Marine Society and Sea Cadets and a Leadership Fellow at St George’s House, Windsor Castle. John is a Deputy Lieutenant for Oxfordshire.

John is a Stonewall Ambassador, part of a growing group helping Stonewall continue their vital work for acceptance without exception for all lesbian, gay, bi and trans people in the UK and abroad.

In 2008, John received The Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion in recognition of his long-standing dedication to enterprise education. In 2009, he received the Freedom of the City of London. In 2020, he was awarded an OBE . In 2021 The University of Bolton made him an Honorary Doctor of Social Science.

John’s Who’s Who entry lists his spare time activities as Scouting, long-distance running, hill-walking, theatre, good food, and attempting, usually unsuccessfully, to visit the gym regularly. He lives with his partner and their cat, Blenheim, in rural Oxfordshire.


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