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Mark Pollock: Explorer, Innovator & Collaboration Catalyst

An unbelievable story by an unbelievable man

Mark helps people achieve more than they thought possible. It is tough to deliver world class performance. Your people won't do it by chance. With a high-impact catalyst you can help them act with the courage to make it happen.

Mark Pollock is that catalyst.

Unbroken by blindness in 1998, Mark went on to compete in ultra endurance races across deserts, mountains, and the polar ice caps including being the first blind person to race to the South Pole. He also won silver and bronze medals for rowing at the Commonwealth Games.

In 2010 Mark was left paralysed after falling from a second story window. He is now exploring the frontiers of spinal cord injury recovery combining an innovative electrical stimulator over his spinal cord and a drug super-charging his nervous system whilst walking hundreds of thousands of steps as the world's leading test pilot of Ekso Bionics robotic legs.

Through the Mark Pollock Trust he is on a mission to find and connect people around the world to fast-track a cure for paralysis.

Described in the Daily Telegraph as "a story of courage, determination and hope" Mark has used his hard-earned expertise to help people achieve more than they thought possible in over 250 organisations worldwide as well as Davos, Wired and TEDx.

Topics Mark Pollock will cover include:
•    Motivation – Resilience and attitude under pressure.
•    Leadership – Performance and leading through a crisis.
•    Teamwork - Collaboration across disciplines and geographies.
•    Innovation – At the intersection where humans and technology collide.

Book Mark Pollock to inspire, encourage and make you aware that nothing is impossible! His sheer determination in the face of adversity will leave everyone inspired to achieve.

Mark Pollock: Explorer, Innovator & Collaboration Catalyst

Mark Pollock is a Northern Irish adventurer, athlete, rower, author and international motivational speaker who became the first blind man to race to the South Pole. he took 43 days in January 2009 to complete the Amundsen Omega 3 South Pole Race. An avid rower Pollock has won bronze and silver medals at the 2002 Commonwealth Rowing Championships in Nottingham, England and has also written a book titled Making It Happen.

When Mark was five, he lost the sight of his right eye and was forced during the remainder of his childhood to avoid contact team sports to preserve the vision in his left eye. He was educated at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution where he was a keen rower. He later went on to study Business and Economics in Trinity College, Dublin, where he became a champion schools rower and captain of the university's rowing club.

 Aged 22 he lost the sight in his left eye and was then suddenly blind.  This had a devastating effect on him as he believed at the time that blind people could not have a life which he perceived as normal.  Before his operation he had been about to embark on a city job in London but was unable to pursue this career.

Mark returned to Ireland and enrolled in a course to help come to terms with his disability. He has since achieved unbelievable goals including:

  •      running six marathons in seven days with a sighted partner across the Gobi Desert, China in 2003
  •      competing  in the North Pole Arctic Marathon on the sixth anniversary of his blindness

As well as his race to the South Pole and winning medals at the Commonwealth Rowing Championships.

In July 2010 Mark suffered a tragic fall from a second story window. He broke his back and was left paralysed. Mark is now living his own lessons, deciding how to overcome this second blow. A pioneer, he is exploring the frontiers of spinal cord injury recovery through aggressive physical therapy and robotic technology.

Selected by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader, Mark is on the Board of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation (USA) and is a Wings for Life Ambassador (UK). He is the subject of two acclaimed documentaries - Unbreakable, and Blind Man Walking - and is co-Founder of the global running series called Run in the Dark (www.runinthedark.org).

In addition, Mark has been awarded honorary doctorates by The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and also from Queens University Belfast. And, he holds a diploma in Global Leadership and Public Policy for the 21st Century from Harvard University, degrees from Trinity College Dublin and The Smurfit Business School.

“Mark provided a powerful perspective to the assembled media at Davos. Mark doesn’t just talk about the transformative intersection of technology and humankind – he lives it. As he explores a cure for paralysis, he helped people understand the human dimension of the fourth industrial revolution at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting.”
Head of Public Engagement & Foundations, World Economic Forum.

“Mark was a speaker at National Geographic's Extreme Explorers dinner in Davos in January 2016. His personal story and insights were incredibly powerful, and clearly had a profound impact on everyone in the room. He embodies the spirit, resilience and determination that are the hallmarks of what it means to be an explorer.”
Editor in Chief, National Geographic Magazine.

“Mark brought a hugely authentic and moving story to our conference. He challenged us all to think about the mind-sets we bring to work and life, and to change those for the better.”
Global HR Manager Crude & SEE, Shell UK.

  “Mark’s presentation and participation was a key component to the success of our biggest Channel Partner conference to date. His incredible story linked perfectly with the conference theme and was a huge inspiration for our participants. Mark’s insights ‘Made it easy’ to set our partners up for success. I would not hesitate for a moment to recommend Mark to any conference organiser.”
Group Manager Western Europe, EOC Ops Microsoft.

"In the weeks following Mark’s talk I have seen managers’ at LinkedIn reference Mark's approach to solving complex problems. His talk was inspirational and can be applied in our daily business lives.”
Director, Northern Europe & Growth Markets, LinkedIn.