Mark Pollock

Explorer, Innovator & Collaboration Catalyst


The rule of seven is one of the oldest concepts in marketing, the rule states that you must hear something seven times before you act. Mark is a rule breaker in so many ways, but most importantly his message to be a competitor or spectator, realist or optimist, collaborator or soloist was a onetime hit with our team at LinkedIn. I have heard Mark speak many times and each time I come away with a renewed sense of purpose and willingness to act. Mark’s drive to build radical collaboration hubs is one of the most important efforts in his drive to find a cure for paralysis however it’s also the biggest lesson he has for those he interacts with.
Head of Solutions SMB, EMEA & Growth Markets, LinkedIn

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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 (

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.