John O'Brien originally served ten years as a British Army infantry officer in various theatres around the World where operational circumstances shaped his approach to leading activities and inspiring others. He subsequently spent twenty years building on that experience and creating a highly regarded reputation in idea innovation, corporate social responsibility, social enterprise activity, sustainability campaigning, private philanthropy advice and mass mobilisation.
His life experiences have shaped a deep commitment to civic society, supporting those most vulnerable in the world and the vulnerability of the world itself. His discreet, often behind the scenes interventions and his personal attributes have made him a trusted advisor and confident of various high net-worth, public and royal figures, major corporates and public and charitable sector institutions. He has significant reputation for tackling challenging projects and doing so with innovative, entrepreneurial thinking, which has assured outstanding results for clients and causes.
He spent a decade at Business in the Community (BITC) culminating as The Prince of Wales's personal programme director and also held responsibility for their worldwide programmes. On leaving in 2000, John was asked by the Prince to continue to act as a personal representative and advisor on several key interests. These include the UK youth agenda, Pakistan flood Recovery, the Princes global community development work, support to UK manufacturing, ex-service welfare issues and most recently conservation interests in Transylvania and a global urban planning agenda.
In his time he has worked with over half the UK FTSE100, launched corporate initiatives in Canada, India, Pakistan and the Middle East, created a international leadership programme in 17 countries and personally founded the largest mobilisation of volunteering in the U.K for sixty years which engaged over 2 million participants.
John now co-leads Destria Partners, a UK based but globally operating innovation and ideas agency focussing on “activating ideas for good”. He and his colleagues collaborate on purposeful projects to support a better informed, more prosperous, and sustainable world. Destria achieves this by creating and activating both its own innovative projects and through idea and strategy development, implementation and related communication activity for clients. This provision has been applied successfully on product development, social enterprise activities, CSR and sustainability initiatives in the UK, Africa Middle and Far East. Destria also supports charities and NGOs on capacity building, resilience and sustainability planning, mass mobilisation campaigns and cross sector partnerships.
In John's private life he is patron and trustee of several charitable initiatives, served five years as a Magistrate specialising in youth justice and divides his time between his office in London and Shropshire, where he lives with his wife a University lecturer and their thirteen-year-old daughter.
“As former director of the Prince of Wales programmes and special representative on a variety of youth and social impact initiatives, I can say that both HRH and I were immensely impressed with MPCT when we visited. I subsequently was delighted to be asked to become a Patron and have since had further insights into the work. MPCT is a highly focused and efficient organisation which has had an extraordinary impact on many young people’s lives. In so doing it creates a cadre of engaged and inspired young people capable of taking a full role in society and public service life”.