I'd been a huge fan of London and the UK hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games from way before the bid, and in my small way I helped drum up support for it. Suddenly, there was a chance to be right at the centre and I went for it. I got the job, went to Beijing to observe their Games, and here I am helping to actually stage the world's greatest sporting event – in my own city and my own country.
LOCOG is in many ways a very interesting place to work. There are about 600 people who work here now. We double in size each year and so as you walk around the office, you spot that teams of people suddenly appear at their desks, busily preparing to fulfil their Games-time function.
I know 'out' LGBT staff in each division, and it makes the place a very gay-friendly place to work – as you pour your Monday morning coffee in the kitchen, it's good to talk about where you went with your boyfriend/girlfriend/partner that weekend, in exactly the same way as your straight colleagues.
Sport has a mixed reputation on gay rights, so I'm proud that LOCOG is really blazing a trail on inclusion within the sporting community. This is exactly what LOCOG is all about – 'using the power of the Games to inspire change'. It's important to me that LOCOG embraces diversity in all its forms, and it's great to work in an organisation where women hold a lot of the senior posts, and where there are significant numbers of BAME, LGBT and disabled people too.
Staging the Paralympic Games also gives us the chance to transform attitudes to disabled people. In terms of the whole workforce, I would argue that LOCOG tends to attract the best people from their respective fields who then spark off each other. It's really something to be at the table with some top-notch people as you find your way around a challenge, or make the most of an opportunity.
LOCOG staff will grow to around 6,000 at Games time, but we can't stage the Olympic and Paralympic Games on our own – we need up to 70,000 volunteers, who we call London 2012 Games Makers. These will be the friendly face of the Games, and we want the faces to be as diverse as possible.
Each one will need to commit to a minimum of 10 days, and the work will be hard but rewarding. Each will get to do something truly unique to tell their friends and family, and the experience can be used to mark them out when they apply for jobs in future.
London introduced volunteering at the 1948 Games, and we now have the chance to redefine this aspect of the Games for the Olympic and Paralympic Movements, and the way to do this is through recruiting with diversity front of mind. There are loads of LGBT staff already amongst the 600 staff already here, and I hope this is reflected in our thousands of London 2012 Games Makers.
So, now you face the same moment as I did in 2007. It's an opportunity for you to jump in, get trained up and ready for when the world's focus turns to London 2012 in less than two years' time. I'd urge you now to look at the Games Maker website, think about the challenge that volunteering would pose, consider whether you've got what it takes, and then apply online to join us in the run-up to the greatest show on Earth.
In the summer of 2012, I will be part of the greatest thing to happen to my city, to my country, in my lifetime – and now's your chance to join me and be part of it too. Apply now to volunteer