Hello! I’m John Simonett – a former schoolmaster and sportsman – now a professional corporate speaker and presenter.
Born in the West Indies to Scottish parents on the tropical island paradise of Trinidad, John had a glorious upbringing running around the sugar cane plantations where his father worked. A rude awakening came at the age of 10 when he was put in a kilt and sent to boarding school in Aberdeenshire – in the depths of a Scottish winter!
This was followed by secondary school in Edinburgh, where his aptitude for rugby bore fruit and he was selected to captain the Scotland Under 19 team. This led to a rare distinction – that of being one of very few people to have captained a Scotland rugby team to a victory over England! (17-0!)
Following school he did the then equivalent of a “gap year” – teaching for 2 years with VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas) in a mission school in Botswana, on the edge of the Kalahari Desert. On returning to UK he trained as a teacher in Cheltenham, followed by obtaining a B.Ed from Bristol University (with First Class honours), majoring in Psychology.
During his teaching career he played Premiership Rugby for Gloucester and was a member of the team that won the John Player Cup against the Leicester Tigers at Twickenham. He also played for Gloucestershire and the Anglo Scots, and was a regular member of the Scottish Squad towards the end of his playing days.
He left teaching to become a professional speaker and presenter, and is now firmly established as one of the most original and entertaining speakers on the after-dinner and conference “circuit”.
He has appeared at many corporate events, both in the U.K. and abroad, with clients including major multinational corporations, many of whom have used his services on a number of occasions. He has also appeared on television, both on BBC and ITV. He is a member of the CIPD, an Honorary Fellow of the UK Professional Speaking Association (and former Membership Chair), and a Gold Star Member of the Inner Magic Circle.
If you’d like a laugh at what the passage of time can do to a man – check out his profile on the Gloucester Rugby website! Yes that “wild man of Borneo” with the 70’s hair and moustache really “was” him! See: Gloucester Rugby Heritage
There are also audio clips from an interview with the Heritage team about his time at Gloucester RFC here.
John still tries to keep the memory of his rugby days alive by playing “touch” rugby every week – though sadly all that’s left of his ability are memories! (and those of his 70’s hair!)
Office: +44 1453 828568
Mobile: +44 7774 675222