Liz Johnson is one of the UK’s most well-known Paralympic swimmers, winning an impressive 13 medals at various events over her career.
Since retiring in 2016, Liz has become a popular contributor to sporting broadcasting on Channel 4 and the BBC and a familiar face on entertainment shows, including Celebrity Masterchef (2016) and The Last Leg (2021).
She is the Managing Director and Client Ambassador of The Ability People, a specialist employment company which aims to encourage employment for those with disabilities.
She is also a popular motivational and sports speaker, offering an insight into her competitive past, her broadcasting experience and her disability, aiming to inspire the next generation of sporting stars.
When speaking, Liz’s warm personality and charisma shine through. She demystifies disability, drawing from her own experiences both within sport and business.
Contact Great British Speakers today to book Paralympic swimmer and workplace disability & inclusivity expert Liz Johnson for your next event.
Born with cerebral palsy, Liz Johnson was encouraged by doctors at age 3 to take up swimming to help strengthen her muscles. Just 10 years later, she was competing at a national level, making the British team shortly after.
Over the next decade, Liz would go on to win a bronze at the 2001 IPC European Championships, a silver in 2009 and gold in 2011, a silver medal at the 2004 Paralympic games, gold at the 2008 games (which she dedicated to her mother who passed away during the games), and bronze in 2012, three golds at the 2006 IPC World Championships, a gold and two bronze in 2009 and a bronze in 2010. Sadly, after a hernia operation interfered with her training schedule, she announced her retirement from competitive swimming in 2016.
Since 2015, Liz has been a member of the board of Disability Sports Wales, a leading organisation promoting disability physical activity and sports in the country.
Building upon her business management degree, Liz co-founded The Ability People in 2018 after learning that the UK disability employment gap is 30%. The Ability People is the UK’s first disability-led recruitment business, with a focus on placing talented able-bodied and disabled jobseekers into the right jobs. Her work with the company has been utilised by companies from The AA to HSBC and Heathrow Airport.
Thanks to her work with The Ability People, she was named one of the BBC’s 100 Women in 2018.
Liz is now a much sought-after and popular speaker, specialising in sport and disability. She shares her personal journey of disability, gives advice on overcoming internal and external challenges, and how to achieve success in your chosen field. Her honest account aims to destigmatise disability, especially where sport is concerned:
“Companies recognise the need for change, but often they don’t know how to make it happen in a sustainable, lasting way. Society’s overall attitude towards disability and lack of knowledge means that even with the best intentions, many businesses don’t know how to start down the road towards authentic inclusivity. And when working for real, long lasting change, it’s vital that you speak to those who truly know what needs to be done.”
– Disability and inclusivity in the workplace
– Overcoming Adversity
– Maintaining Peak Performance
Her motivational speaking delivery is exceptionally unique, whether she’s addressing an audience large or small, as she owns the stage and captivates the crowd with her story.
She opened our session very well with her inspirational story.
Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland