In October 1999, Pam Warren's life was torn apart when she was critically injured in the Paddington Rail Crash, and her injuries so severe that she wasn't expected to survive. Not only did Pam pull through, but she became the public face of the disaster – 'the lady in the mask' championing the cause of rail safety. Since then she has gone on to become a highly acclaimed international public speaker.
Pam Warren turned a disaster into the most positive thing to ever happen to her. Her story will inspire audiences and show them how, they too, can overcome apparently insurmountable challenges.
A woman who defied the odds, Pam Warren's life running her own financial advisory company, with a multi-million pound turnover, was turned on its head when a fireball ripped through the first class train carriage where she was sitting at 08.11am on October 5, 1999, the chances of her survival were slim.
Pam was living the high life, swapping the latest BMW for a Mercedes after a year and enjoying a 'work hard, play hard' lifestyle. She was studying for her advanced financial certificate and on her way to a training day which had been moved to London from the Thames Valley because there were not enough people from the area attending. It was simply one of those fateful moments.
Two trains had crashed head-on, at a combined crash speed of 130mph, causing a massive fireball to erupt. Minutes later, as Pam was crawling underneath the wreckage of the collided Thames Train and First Great Western, with diesel dripping on her head, any kind of future looked impossible. And as doctors battled to heal her burns in Charing Cross hospital they couldn't be sure Pam would make it through.
In total 31 people were killed and 227 were taken to hospital – Pam, just 32 years old, was amongst them. Luckily she pulled through, but had to undergo scores of operations to help rebuild her badly burned body and endured wearing a plastic mask over her face for 23 hours of each day over the following 18 months.
Following the crash, Pam Warren became a leading spokesperson for improving rail safety. Her campaign battle saw her lock horns with rail management executives and government ministers. She was dubbed a trouble maker, but that was a small price to pay if it helped her to bring about massive changes in rail safety.
Fifteen years on, having fought through a turbulent recovery process which has left a legacy of mental and physical scars, Pam no longer regards herself as a victim – she is a survivor. She uses her experiences to help others who have been affected by disfigurement or burns and has become an inspiration to many.
Pam is clear that there's nothing unusual or special about her. The only difference between the audience and herself is the severe physical and emotional trauma that she had to overcome. Weaving these experience's into her talks allows people to see the problems they are coming up against at work and at home as completely manageable.
Her five-star acclaimed autobiography, From Behind the Mask, was published in 2014 and sales continue to grow as more readers seek to know the background to Pam’s resilience, courage, and perseverance.
Pam's keynote speech delivers a motivating strategic message about overcoming the odds. Her years of leadership experience shine through in a carefully crafted speech that will inspire, uplift, energise and get the audience thinking. She shows how with teamwork, grit, determination and heart you can take on a challenge, however big or small.
Pam's own journey affirms her narrative and demonstrates the success that can be achieved. With a down-to-earth attitude, coupled with a healthy irreverence for the status quo, Pam is a powerful and moving inspirational speaker. She provides a simple message of keeping things in perspective while thinking smarter, bigger, and going beyond what's expected. Pam offers audiences not just inspiration but actual strategies to employ to overcome challenges.
Pam's experience both in the city and leading a successful campaign for rail safety gives her a unique perspective on business challenges and how to master them. She delivers her speech with warmth and humour managing to emotionally connect with her audiences which drives her business strategies home. Pam has been praised for her courage and determination by the likes of Sir Roger Moore and Sir Trevor McDonald. She is a consummate professional and feedback from both organisers and audiences have always been extremely positive.
When booked to present a motivational and inspirational talk, Pam Warren will carefully listen to the objectives and goals of you, the client. Rather than getting your event to fit her talk, Pam makes sure her talk fits your event and achieves the message you want your delegates to take away with them. Because of the unique situation in which she found herself, she has overcome and survived more events than one would expect from four lifetimes let alone one.
Pam Warren has spoken at international business conferences and luncheons, plus theatre and community events. Some of those who have heard Pam Warren's powerful presentation include; Unison annual conference, Henley Business School, Alnwick Theatre, JCI London, Thames Valley Business Expo, Women of the Year Awards, CIRAS, UK Rail Safety Summit, Office Rail Regulator, South Central Ambulance Service, Flytoget Norway, PSA South Africa and the Department of International Trade.
She also featured in an episode of the BBC1 documentary “Going Back Giving Back” and CBS Reality programme: “The Day I Should Have Died”.
The Paddington rail crash dramatically altered Pam Warren's life, but she has triumphed over terrible adversity and come through. That is what I love about Pam - her willingness to stand up to her fears and face the future, rather than be bowed by the weight and pressure of the past as well as having a relentless optimism and zest for life. Pam's story, is a story of success, courage, bravery and fortitude.
Pam's amazingly brave journey back to health via scores of operations and months of therapy is inspiring enough in itself, but the fact she never sought to point the finger of blame nor seek revenge instead preferring to concentrate on ensuring it never happened again is truly humbling.
This is an unforgettable account of an unforgettable crash. Pam Warren brings humanity to a bitter, life-changing experience.
Pam Warren's presentation was incredible and had the audience fully focused. You could hear a pin drop it was that powerful. Having spoken to members of the audience I now know that this unique and inspiring talk has stayed with them. I would recommend Pam to any conference if inspiration, hope and drive is what you're looking for.
I have had the pleasure of working with Pam Warren over the past five years, at various stages of our research programme focussing on the psychology of disfigurement. Pam's input into this project has invariably been timely, comprehensive and enthusiastic. She has contributed hugely to our work through her perceptive insights and objectivity. Pam's ability to communicate to a variety of audiences has been essential to the effective dissemination of our work. We will definitely be calling on her services again in our future research.
The one thing that stood out from Pam's talk was how powerful it was... Pam gives a very frank and honest account of what it's like when we as a railway industry doesn't get it right. There's no report or document out there that would express it in the same way as Pam does.
Pam Warren was our special guest at our annual staff awards, The AMBIES, held at Pinewood Studios, Buckinghamshire. Pam gave a very moving account to our invited guests, of how she survived the Paddington rail disaster in 1999. She then presented certificates and awards to many of the staff who had been shortlisted and who had won in their categories. Pam is a truly inspirational individual who made our event very memorable for all who attended.
What Pam’s talk does, is that it brings home to you, very clearly, that doing things the right way and not being complacent is good business. It is good safety too and every business can learn to not be complacent as it can, not only have very serious implications from a safety aspect, but can have serious implications on your business. It is a very powerful presentation to get that message across to any business leader anywhere in the world.
Tags for Pam Warren