IPC CEO Peters discusses the power of the Paralympic Movement on new Podcast episode

Mike Peters, a two-time Paralympian and CEO of the organisation, said, “The sense of strength, vision and hope that persons with disabilities give society is instructive.” 16 Jun 2023
A man wearing a suit making a speech.
Peters, who joined the IPC in 2015, says disability needs to get closer to the centre of the diversity agenda alongside gender, racial, and sexual equity.
ⒸRalf Kuckuck/IPC

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) CEO Mike Peters has given a fascinating insight into how the IPC operates and its role in creating more inclusive societies.  

Speaking on The Discovery Pod, a podcast for leaders in the non-profit and social sector, Peters discusses the four key organisational areas that the organisation delivers on and its four-year Strategic Plan. 

Praising the team at the IPC, he explains how just 130 people do a lot with little, not least putting on the world’s third-largest sporting event, which is also the biggest global showcase of persons with disabilities. 

Peters, who twice competed in the Paralympic Games at CP Football for the United States, explores the importance of employing talented people and letting them take risks. He describes how he has tried to create a culture of playing for the badge on the front of the jersey, not the name on the back, since becoming CEO in 2019.

Peters explains that diversity is important to the organisation based in Bonn, Germany. At the IPC 20 per cent of employees have a disability, 50 per cent of the senior leadership team is female, and 80 per cent is international coming from over 40 different nations. 

He also argues that disability needs to get closer to the centre of the diversity agenda alongside gender, racial, and sexual equity. 

Peters, who joined the IPC in 2015, talks openly about how disability is not monolithic. 

There are those who acquire disability and those, like him, who are born with a disability - Peters has cerebral palsy. He believes the Paralympic Games serve as an example to the wider society of what can be achieved when persons with disabilities get equal opportunities. 

In the podcast, Peters concludes: “Our Games’ evidence that when you give athletes the same opportunity that able-bodied athletes have, you see them do incredible things on the field of play. 

“For me and for those various leaders in our Movement, that should serve as one example of what these same individuals and what individuals with disabilities can do in other contexts.

"If you give a person with a disability the chance to succeed in an office, they will. In a boardroom, they will. In a classroom, they will.

“For these individuals who have leaned into their disability and embraced it, they have come out the other side with a sense of strength, vision, and hope that is really instructive for the rest of us in society. That is a group we should tap into and also support as they want to continue to achieve great things.”