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About John

John Caldwell, an Australian CEO, media personality, and author, triumphed over a traumatic childhood. He has established successful recruitment brands, engaged in property design and development, and pursued a career in TV, radio and film production. John is now a passionate philanthropist, advocating against bullying and supporting organizations to protect young people. Awarded Australian of the Year for Victoria in 2014, he chaired the Midsumma Festival, elevating it to a top LGBTQI event. John's journey showcases resilience and inspiration in various fields.

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John's Story

A Challenging Childhood

John Caldwell is an Australian who was raised in caravan parks by parents whose lives were a cycle of violence and alcohol. John was bullied at school, abused by foster parents, and was present when his father killed himself with a shotgun in the family caravan. By 15 John was homeless and forced to leave school abandoning any hopes of qualifications or a future. Against all odds, he rose above this nightmarish childhood.

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Rising Through the Ranks

Determined to make something of himself John quickly realised that retail and hospitality was the best avenue to propel him to success. Progressing from an entry-level role, through to support office he took a number of posts including Training Manager and State Operations Manager. By 21, John owned two fast food franchises, he won the Franchise Store of the Year award and was globally recognised as a Top Franchisee. Continuing in the industry, he worked within fashion in HR, Operations and General Management functions.

All the time he concealed from colleagues and friends that he was gay.

John’s experience, drive and entrepreneurialism led him to set up The RWR Group of companies comprising of Retailworld, RWR Executive, Hospoworld and RWR Health across Australia and New Zealand. Some of the largest and most successful recruitment brands in their sectors. In 2014 John was awarded the SEEK Australian CEO of the year award for his commercial success and industry contributions.

In recent years John structured the business into a franchise model allowing the business to partner with some of the top recruitment minds in their fields. RWR Group is going from strength to strength with new offices opening all the time.

John is also the founder and CEO of John Caldwell Holdings Pty Ltd a property design and construction arm. Self-taught in both development and interior design John has completed many projects with properties featured in all manners of interior design magazines here in Australia and globally. JCH properties have been featured on the cover of Grand Designs magazine Australia and one was the first property ever to be featured concurrently on the cover of Grand Designs New Zealand and Australia. JCH also wholly owns and operates a string of upmarket holiday rental properties in some of Australia's most desirable holiday destinations including the Blue Mountains, St Andrews Beach and Melbourne CBD. 

Exploring Creative Passions

In recent times, John has ventured into a realm that resonates deeply with his childhood ardor for drama and creativity, finding expression through his multifaceted roles in television, radio, and film production. His commanding presence has left an indelible mark on the Australian media landscape, garnering substantial recognition as an entertainment reporter and esteemed media commentator across prominent television and radio platforms. A glimpse of his remarkable body of work can be explored on our website, showcasing his impactful contributions to the field.

Yet, amidst his dynamic media pursuits, John's true fervor lies in a profound commitment to philanthropy. An impressive array of endeavors sees him actively contributing to the betterment of society through a multifaceted approach. As an ambassador, board member, and chairperson, he plays pivotal roles in various charities, channeling his influence to effect positive change and uplift communities. This testament to his unwavering dedication to altruistic causes further underscores his multifaceted legacy as an influencer and changemaker.

Paying it Forward: Philanthropy and Giving Back

Dedicating his efforts towards positive change, John has made an impactful mark by collaborating with multiple charities across the globe over the span of two decades. From esteemed charities under the patronage of Buckingham Palace to immersive engagements with remote African villages, his philanthropic journey has traversed diverse landscapes, demonstrating a profound commitment to uplifting communities on a global scale.

In a recent stride towards meaningful impact, John has aligned with longstanding associates to assume a substantial role as a major shareholder and contributor to the innovative social enterprise, Unlabelled. This endeavor transcends mere business, reflecting a shared vision to make a tangible difference. Unlabelled stands as a testament to John's holistic approach to creating positive change.

Unlabelled serves as a remarkable non-profit organization, steadfast in its mission to combat the pressing concern of youth suicide. Guided by a vision to effect transformation, a range of ethical and sustainable hand and body wash products has been meticulously crafted and embraced. These products, proudly endorsed by Chemist Warehouse and our website, embody the embodiment of change – each purchase contributing towards the collective endeavor to reduce youth suicide rates. This holistic approach epitomizes the depth of John's commitment to driving impact-driven initiatives that echo far beyond mere profit margins.

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Anti-Bullying Advocate

John is an anti-bullying advocate and an Ambassador for the Alannah and Madeline Foundation. On 28 April 1996, Alannah and Madeline Mikac, aged six and three, were tragically killed alongside their mother and 32 other people at Port Arthur in Tasmania. 

One year later, the Alannah & Madeline Foundation was launched in the girls’ honour by their father, Walter Mikac AM and a small group of volunteers. They were driven by the belief that all children and young people should be able to live a happy and safe life, free from violence and trauma.

Today our mission continues through care, prevention and advocacy – from supporting children experiencing family violence to online bullying and fighting for the rights of young people everywhere. After 25 years, our fight continues. The challenges facing children and young people may have changed, but our mission has not.

John now works closely with the foundation and campaigns to spread the anti-bullying message on a global scale. He is actively involved with communities on all levels, from schools to universities doing research into the epidemic as well as groups lobbying to government.

John's passion and commitment to the cause has created a large network of people working together to stop bullying. 

Making an impact internationally, John is taking the message to all corners of the globe, being relied on as the link with overseas charities such as The Trevor Project in the USA and the Anti-Bullying Alliance in the UK. 

John's passion and commitment to the cause has created a large network of people working together to stop bullying.

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John's Experience with Bullying

As a victim of bullying throughout his childhood, John is passionate about educating youth on the affect a bully can have on a person. Speaking through his own journey, he presents to large groups with an anti-suicide message – proving that you can come out the other side stronger than ever.

John released a book, Full Throttle, in 2013 which revealed his upbringing and the emotions he experienced that have led him to work tirelessly to spread the anti-bullying message.

Midsumma Festival Chairman

After being Midsumma Festival Champion, John joined Midsumma as a board member in 2015, and was then elected Chairman.

Midsumma is a Melbourne-based organisation with an annual festival celebrating the LGBTIQ community. During his time as chair, John transformed the almost bankrupt festival into what is now one of the top 5 LGBTQI festivals in the world and includes a wide variety of arts and cultural events.



Australian Of The Year - Victoria 2014

In a defining moment of recognition, John earned the prestigious title of Australian of the Year - Victoria 2014. This exceptional honor underscored his unwavering dedication to philanthropic endeavors, positioning him as a beacon of inspiration for his fellow citizens. The Australian of the Year Award, a pinnacle of distinction, serves to highlight and celebrate the remarkable contributions of eminent individuals who embody the ethos of leadership and societal betterment. Chosen as a role model, John exemplifies the very essence of this honor through his remarkable achievements, thereby inspiring others to engage in their own transformative efforts towards building a stronger and more vibrant Australia. The exclusivity of this accolade, bestowed annually to a sole Australian, accentuates the significance of John's exceptional accomplishments within this esteemed community of changemakers..

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