Mark Pollock

Explorer who became the first blind man to race to the South Pole

Mark Pollock | NMP Live
About

Faced with life's toughest circumstances, how should we respond: as an optimist, a realist or something else?

When Mark Pollock lost his sight in 1998 at the age of twenty-two, he thought his life was over. Diagnosed with weak retinas after losing the sight in his right eye as a child, Mark’s vision then became blurred as a student and within two weeks he was completely blind.

The story of how he overcame the odds to rebuild his life and exceed his wildest expectations has inspired people the world over. Hearing his story you will find what they can't teach you in university: the education that is garnered from what is euphemistically called 'the university of life'.

Unbroken by blindness, Mark Pollock became an adventure athlete competing 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.

Then, in 2010 and less than a year after returning from the Pole, a fall from a second story window nearly killed him. Mark broke his back and the damage to his spinal cord left him paralysed. Now he is on a new expedition, this time to cure paralysis in our lifetime by exploring the intersection where humans and technology collide.

Author of ‘Making It Happen’, Mark Pollock is the subject of the acclaimed documentaries ‘Blind Man Walking’ and ‘Unbreakable – The Mark Pollock Story’. He has been awarded honorary doctorates by The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and also from Queens University Belfast.

Co-Founder of the global running series called Run in the Dark, Mark has been selected by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader and is a former member of the Global Futures Council on Human Enhancement. He is a UBS Global Visionary, is on the Board of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation (USA) and is a Wings for Life Ambassador (Europe).

He holds a diploma in Global Leadership and Public Policy for the 21st Century from Harvard University, degrees from Trinity College Dublin and UCD Smurfit Graduate Business School.

Mark was described by Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella as one of “
the most inspiring people I met” after they discussed the ways technology is changing how people learn. Following his contribution to the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, the Head of Public Engagement and Foundations said, “Mark doesn’t just talk about the transformative intersection of technology and humankind, he lives it”.

Using his hard-earned expertise, Mark Pollock’s keynote motivational speeches have inspired millions of people to achieve more than they thought possible in hundreds of organisations worldwide as well as at TED, Davos, the World Economic Forum, F.ounders, InnoTown, EG and Wired.

Speech Topics

Acknowledged as an expert in resilience, innovation and collaboration, Mark Pollock helps people to build resilience and collaborate with others so that they achieve more than they thought possible.

As a speaker, Mark is best known for his 2018 TED Talk focused on resolving the tension between acceptance and hope, delivered jointly with his fiancée, Simone George. It gathered over 1.5 million views in its first 6 months online and has been translated into 12 languages. He has inspired millions of people in hundreds of organisations and is a Davos, World Economic Forum, InnoTown, F.ounders, EG and Wired speaker.

It’s tough to deal with uncertainty and change. 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 and that’s why leaders worldwide have asked him to support their teams to adapt, perform and collaborate to achieve more.

Mark says, “The reason to bring in a speaker is to move the audience emotionally. It can never be about the speaker, rather it must be about engaging the audience to help them achieve more than they thought possible – that is what I aim to do every time.

Motivational speech presentations include:

Adversity & Challenges — Maintaining a Resilient Mindset Under Pressure
Sometimes we choose our challenges, sometimes our challenges choose us. What we decide to do about them is what counts. Deciding to be a competitor, a realist and a collaborator offers leaders and their teams a chance of maintaining a resilient mindset under pressure.

Mark’s keynote on adversity and challenges uses the power of active decision making to deal with challenges, regardless of where they come from, to help leaders and their teams become more resilient.

Leadership & Motivation — Leading Through a Crisis and Developing Intrinsic Motivation to Move Forward
Uncertainty and change typify a crisis and it’s difficult to lead in such circumstances. By providing leaders and their teams with insights into the resilience, attitude and decisions of others facing extreme circumstances Mark helps people to develop the intrinsic motivation to move forward.

Mark’s keynote on leadership and motivation delivers deep insights for leaders to navigate through the crucible moments they face and inspire others to achieve more.

Mindset & Performance – Challenging Expectations to Perform at a Higher Level
It is tough to deliver world class performance. Leaders and their teams won’t do it by chance. With a high-impact catalyst they have a chance of building the courage to make it happen.

Mark’s keynote on mindset and performance is that catalyst – it challenges leaders and their teams to examine expectations of themselves and others to perform at a higher level.

Collaboration & Teamwork — Creating & Motivating Dispersed Teams Across Disciplines & Geographies
Galvanising a disparate group of people around a common goal is not easy. Yet when it happens, when we collaborate, that is when major breakthroughs happen.

Mark’s keynote on collaboration and teamwork provides leaders and their teams with insight into how high-performance teams get things done when others can’t.

Human Enhancement – Exploring the Intersection Where Humans & Technology Collide in the 4th Industrial Revolution
Exploring the intersection where humans and technology collide is essential for organisations to maintain their competitive edge. By raising the consciousness of their teams to next generation technologies, leaders will empower and encourage innovation at the edge.

Mark’s keynote on human enhancement provides leaders and their teams with insight into the transformative intersection of technology and humankind as he explores a cure for paralysis using robotics, neuro-modulation, brain machine interfaces and AI.

Testimonials

Mark presented at our Global Sales Partners Conference in Twitter and was exceptional. His ability to link his personal story to people’s everyday life and work challenges was excellent. The session was not just about listening to an incredible story, it was a chance for everyone to really think about themselves. There is something in this talk for everyone.

Senior Director EMEA - Twitter.

Mark presented at our North American Leadership Conference in Chicago. It was attended by 200 of HSBC’s senior managers across Canada and the USA. Given the complexity of today’s financial services industry, Mark’s insight into the motivational challenges facing our management teams was accurate and his suggestions and ideas were equally relevant.

North America Holdings Inc. - HSBC.

Mark Pollock has demonstrated an extraordinary ability to adapt as he has dealt with challenges in his life. And, during my recent LinkedIn Live interview with him, colleagues from across our global team at Unilever, as well as public subscribers worldwide, tuned in to learn about building resilience, collaborating with others, and achieving more together. Our expectations were high and Mark delivered an incredible session. He is clearly a thought leader in this space and we look forward to working with him again soon.

Global Executive Vice President of Marketing & Global Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Unilever.

Mark opened our virtual conference at Cisco EMEAR, titled ‘Making It Happen’. I had high hopes and expectations and they were all exceeded significantly. Since the session, so many of our business partners have commented on how much they appreciated Mark’s input and how we used his insights to set the tone for the conference. Most importantly, Mark is living proof that we are able to overcome any challenges.

EMEAR Strategic Account Lead, Cisco.

At a time of relentless uncertainty, we invited Mark back to EY to share his insights into turning challenges into opportunities. Co-hosted with his colleague, Paula Cunniffe, Mark outlined how to confront the brutal facts, anchor ourselves with a sense of control and chart a path towards a better future as part of his online masterclass series. We look forward to having Mark deliver another session in the coming months.

Head of Tax, EY Ireland.

I was honored to meet with Mark Pollock in Ireland this year, where we engaged with teachers and students at St. Patrick’s College to discuss the ways technology is changing how students learn. Mark is an extreme adventurer and athlete who has raced to the South Pole — and even more incredibly, he was the first blind man to ever do so. Mark is a brilliant example of the fact that we can always achieve more than what we think is possible.

Satya Nadella, CEO 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.

Whenever we gather our demonstration team together, we seek to motivate and inspire them to each personally impact the business when they are back in the trade environment. We took the opportunity to bring Mark into the meeting to deliver a powerful message, that we hoped would resonate with the team throughout a key trading period.  We certainly got the reaction we were looking for thanks to the compelling way in which Mark delivered such a personal experience, blending moments of real pain with great hope and at times humour, ensuring the team left the meeting with a renewed enthusiasm and belief to think differently and approach their challenges head on – Thank You Mark!

National Sales Manager, Nestlé Nespresso UK&ROI.

Books and DVDs

Clients often ask about purchasing books for giveaways and delegate packs. Below you’ll find a selection of products by Mark Pollock. Click the images to view on Amazon's website. For bulk orders, please speak with your Booking Agent.

How to book Mark Pollock for your event

To book Mark Pollock, please submit an online enquiry, email bookings@nmp.co.uk or speak with one of our booking agents on +44 (0)1372 361 004.

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you made the whole process of finding and engaging our speaker very easy.
Julie Smith, Head of HR - Hastoe Group
MORE TESTIMONIALS
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