Fearless, charismatic, funny and hugely inspirational Mike Stevenson is a must see and must hear speaker who puts the exhilaration into Business and Public Services and creates a surge of energy and optimism whenever he takes to the stage.

Born in Edinburgh in June 1950 to a Lebanese mother and Scots/Irish father. Moved to Lahore in Pakistan at the age of 3 where my dad taught at a local College. Returned to Edinburgh 3 years later – a journey I describe as from ‘Technicolour to Monochrome.’ Two years on and another move – this time to Kirkcaldy and a start at St Marie’s Primary school where, I attracted the violent attentions of a male teacher. Crippled by fear and increasing bouts of asthma, I moved to another Primary School where I scraped the Eleven Plus. Kirkcaldy High School next and an educational experience I hated. At 15 I was expelled. My obsession had become music and I sang in a local band – coming alive on stage and shrinking into the shadows at school. After expulsion, came two retail jobs.

Sleeping Rough

A year later, I moved south, initially to stay with my aunt and then, with a job, to a Bed and Breakfast. Two jobs and two sackings later I was thrown out of my digs - with nowhere to go. With my parent’s marriage dissembling, a return home was no option and I found myself sleeping on London’s streets. Survival was everything and amphetamines, ubiquitous on the streets, became an easy way to stave off sleep and hunger. In 1968, came an opportune move to Dublin and a career as a busker. Playing by day and enjoying the fruits of Dublin bars at night, I earned a reputation as a performer and raconteur. The sudden and mystifying attention of Ireland’s Special Branch forced me out of Dublin. Jobs followed in a biscuit factory and a terminal hospital for the elderly – both in Edinburgh.

A return to London in 1971, with a bed in a hostel in Chelsea and a determination to work and earn - packing suits, bottling wine, washing dishes and labouring on building sites followed. “Why not apply to Newbattle Abbey College? Asked my dad. I did and I was accepted for a year’s residential study. It was a turning point. Armed with two highers and a confidence boost I got into community work and spent much of the 70’s working in Leith – creating a housing association and pioneering approaches to community education. In 1980/81 I completed an SHND Communication Studies course at Napier College – earning a distinction and a period experience in BBC Radio Scotland.



Later Life

In 1984, I became a founding member of Heatwise Glasgow, which later morphed into the Wise Group. For more than 9 years I headed the organisation’s marketing effort. In 1993, I moved back to Edinburgh and with business partner Gary Kidd, set up Design Links marketing and design agency. Within a few years we turn over in excess of a £1 million and win a host of awards. In 2006 , I bought Gary out – winning within two years, SBC’s Small Company of the Year and a host of UK accolades for our community investments. The recession of 2008 hits us badly and I set up Thinktastic as an antidote to the doom and gloom. Now seven years later, I have built a UK wide reputation as an inspirational speaker, trainer and creative consultant.

Mike
Mike Walking in the City

Testimonials

“This man changes lives.”
Sandra Brown, author, campaigner and playwright

“Easily the best of the conference – so uplifting.”
Oliver M, Kings College London

“A fantastic communicator who, unlike other motivational speakers, is a natural at getting close to people and making you feel there's no distance between you and the ideas he champions.”
Robin Burley MBE, Eskhill & Co.

“Entertaining and inspirational .. We challenged Mike this year to MC the Scottish Continuity annual conference … kept the audience both motivated and enthused. This is the second time we engaged Mike's services, and won't be the last."
George Berrich, Chair, Business Contuinity

“Excellent and inspiring.”
Alex Paterson, CEO, Highlands and Islands Enterprise

“Been talking about ‘amazing you’ in Yorkshire – you are inspiring by proxy.”
Nina Fedenczuk, Consultant, Working Together

“You won them over with your excitement, passion, enthusiasm and humour, and then went for the jugular and challenged them all to sit up and take stock.”
Christine Murphy, Business in the Community

"Ever been in a room where Mike has the podium, you can literally feel the surge of adrenaline life those around you."
Colin Gilchrist, Owner Digital Face, Ltd.

“Left all of us feeling inspired, uplifted, challenged and entertained!"
Julia Mulloy, Chief Executive SBHA

"Compelling and original"
George Wilson, Head of HR, National Trust

“Never had so many positive responses …bloody marvelous."
Michael Hughes, Employee Benefit Consultants

“Truly inspirational… totally amazed at how he managed to engage with and motivate our staff... Still on a total buzz!"
Laura McMahon, CAB