You don’t meet John McInroy, you experience him… McInroy is a tornado of good humour, passion and drive.” Larry Claasen, Financial Mail (SA)
Born in South Africa, spent most of his childhood in England before returning to complete his schooling in Cape Town.
He played hockey for South Africa. He was awarded the “Ideas for the Future” scholarship by the University College of Dublin’s Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, in recognition of his dream to connect people all over the world by wearing red socks.
He has a BCom from the University of Cape Town and an MBA from University College Dublin in Ireland. He attended the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, as an MBA exchange student.
While living in Dublin, the red socks (known as the shoOops!) came to life in 2007 when a very close friend staying with him decided to return to work in SA. Inspired by a pact made between South African World War 2 soldiers after being captured at the Battle of Tobruk, that anybody making it back would wear red socks to remember each other, they have worn red socks on Fridays ever since.
Red Sock Fridays have since grown into a global phenomenon, with the socks being worn in more than 70 countries in the world – spanning all 7 continents. More importantly is what they represent and how they bring together and impact the lives of many people.
In 2010, the story of Phil ‘Unogwaja’ Masterton-Smith made its way to John and Unogwaja was born. It began as a 1650 km bike ride in 10 days across South Africa from Cape Town to Pietermaritzburg followed by the Comrades Marathon on day 11.
Today, the cycle journey continues and people from all over the world represent Unogwaja and its mission to support primary education as a means to empower South African people, and address the significant inequalities the majority of our country still contend with.
In 2015, John completed the Unogwaja journey on foot to illustrate that there are many ways people can become a part of the moment and call it their own.
Like Unogwaja, John inspires others to be the best they can be. And while he may be an outstanding speaker, John prefers to be judged on his actions.