Not being able to speak until the age of 17 due to an extreme speech impediment, Jon's incredible cure has allowed him to become an expert in overcoming adversity, communication and business strategy. Being a leading business figure in the worlds of sport and entertainment, Jon is a master of pragmatism and agility. Confident and professional, his motivational story is an ideal addition to the corporate circuit.
Jon Smith believes that communication is the key to success. The entrepreneur, media commentator and business guru could not speak until the age of 17 due to a crippling speech impediment. Cured by a unique technique, Jon has valuable lessons to impart on adversity, communication, and business.
A senior business figure in the worlds of sport management and entertainment, Jon has survived failure and success, and is an authentic and pragmatic voice on pulling back from the brink of bankruptcy and adapting to different corporate cultures, as well as the importance of communication.
As a motivational speaker he’s outstanding. Lessons in how to conquer challenges and how to communicate in stressful situations resonate emphatically for businesses across every sector, and his ascent to a CEO of a London stock market company is impressive and inspirational.
Jon’s inspiration for his company First Artist was drawn from the US, where he became fascinated by the glamour of sports. He realised that the slick marketing, big sponsorships and ‘family fun’ of teams like the LA Raiders had a home in the UK. John began working on a project that would revolutionise the national game, and his first client was the England football squad, when he spotted that the relationship between players and the press could be exploited to the commercial advantage of both parties.
The agency was founded in 1986 with little more than a gut feeling and unwavering determination, and from its inception it has grown into a £multi million business, which still dominates the market. When Jon sold First Artist it employed over 300 staff on 2 continents and turned over in excess of £100,000,000.
Jon has worked with some of the biggest sports stars in the world including Diego Maradona and Lord Sebastian Coe. He managed the off-pitch activities of the England Football Team for 10 years, and created ‘Team England’ - the vehicle used by the Football Association and the England Football Team.
Jon was the first commercial representative of the England Cricket Team, managing their off-field activities for 6 years, creating the framework for management of the Test and County Cricket Board. He also managed the commercial affairs of the Welsh National Rugby Team.
Jon was the first promoter of all the North American sports in the UK (NBA, MLB, NFL and NHL) including the major early NFL games at Wembley, and he owned the London Monarchs (in the World Bowl winning season). He was the promoter of Mikhail Gorbachev’s UK Lecture Tour and a host of other major events in the UK and in the USA.
Successfully involved in the record and theatre business, John owned some of the largest theatre marketing companies in London and New York.
He has made guest appearances on BBC News, ITN News at Ten, Newsnight, Sky News, Bloomberg, ABC, NBC, CBS and various TV networks around the world, and has been featured in the Sunday Times: Life In A Day Of……
During London 2012 he presented The Forum on the SKY platform for Sports Tonight Live.
He is also a patron of the British Stammering Association.