Adventurer, Innovator & Collaboration Catalyst on a mission to cure paralysis.
A humanitarian and catalyst for positive change and resilience, in 2010 Mark became paralysed from a spinal cord injury. Today, in collaboration with leading scientists and technologists, his goal is to help cure paralysis. In his talks, he inspires leaders and their teams to build resilience and collaborate with others.
Mark Pollock: Explorer, Innovator & Collaboration CatalystMark 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.
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.
- 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
“Mark spoke to a select group of our C-suite clients at our recent Temenos worldwide conference. Balancing the importance of being a competitor as well as a collaborator to achieve positive change in the world really resonated with our global audience. His delivery was entertaining and inspiring all at the same time – excellent!” – Chief Marketing Officer, Temenos
“Explorers and adventurers of all kinds have spoken to our members at the Royal Geographical Society in Hong Kong and Mark Pollock’s story fitted right in with this. In addition though, in this humorous, eloquent and passionate talk, his message to be a competitor, realist and collaborator resonated with our international audience of members and guests.” – Director, Royal Geographical Society, Hong Kong
“Mark’s contribution was a perfect fit for our ITU Science and Triathlon World Conference in Edmonton, Canada. But most of all, it was an inspiring and motivational speech that made us all realise the challenges and life experiences we all have to face every day, and how to take a different approach to those. His experiences of taking decisions in difficult circumstances aligned perfectly with the challenges faced by our coaches, athletes and officials, and we felt really inspired by Mark’s talk. I’m absolutely convinced that Mark’s insights into resilience, innovation and collaborative leadership impacted the rest of our meeting’.” – Marisol Casado, President, International Triathlon Union & International Olympic Committee Member
“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, Microsoft CEO
“From the moment I asked Mark if he was available to do our event to the moment he finished his talk, our experience with him and his team has been superb. He has been a pleasure to work with and everything from the concept planning stage to his key note address ran so smoothly. His story and experience is remarkable and his delivery honest and warm. He warmed the hearts and minds of our senior executive team in an extraordinarily touching way” – Avril McHugh, Group Marketing Manager, Cpl Resources plc.
“Mark went down really well-he did a wonderful job. I really admire the way he can field questions about business and make the connections between his learning and the world of work. People loved him and he made a big contribution to what was an exceptionally successful day” – Datalex, January 2015
“He was most impressive and had the audience hooked on every word for 45 minutes. I strongly recommend him as a speaker.”– Liam Grimes, KPMG, November 2012
“On behalf of us all here in the Irish Nurses Organisation we would like to say a sincere, but heartfelt, thank you for your most uplifting of presentations at our 90th Anniversary Conference…your presentation really did strike a chord with the audience and left them realising that as individuals and as a collective group they can “make it happen” rather than simply apply the blame game or find excuses.” – Liam Doran, General Secretary, Irish Nurses Organisation
“There was a deafening silence in the room while Mark spoke. His story was relevant and insightful and demonstrated the power of the human spirit to overcome challenges. He has the ability to motivate, inspire and connect with his audience and he delivered exactly what was required on the day.” – Aidan Power, Head of Marketing, EBS Building Society
“Mark’s quiet calm and confidence on stage really enraptured our guests. He tells an inspiring personal story that resonates superbly with a business audience, yet is never-contrived or over-messaged. It was a total pleasure to work with Mark.” – Ben Atherton, Global Events Director, Nortel
“Mark’s delivery and ability to tailor his messages to our audience exceeded our expectations. His unique and compelling story really added to our event and resonated with everyone in the room”. – Sinead O’Grada, Microsoft Ireland
“One of the great strengths of Mark’s message is that it does lead the listener to look at their situation and question their responses and to re.ect on those attitudes. We may not control the environment and may not be responsible for the situation we find ourselves in but we are responsible for our actions and responses.” – Paul Masi, MD, head of Equity Markets, Merrill Lynch
“Mark’s talk was exactly what was required in terms of motivating the new team as they face the challenges of the next few years. I was personally humbled to listen to Mark’s story and also uplifted by it.” – Denis Donovan, CEO, Wholesale Financial Services, Bank of Ireland
“In uncertain times, Mark displays an attitude and perspective that reminds us that we really are in charge of our own destiny. In hearing how he has overcome his own dif.culties, he demonstrates the power that resides within all of us to ‘make things happen’. Mark truly lives up to the title of “inspirational speaker”, and we look forward to his return to Asia.” – Tom Royds, Head of Asian Equity Sales, ABN AMRO
“Mark had over 40 participants on the Harvard University-based Leaders for Tomorrow Programme sitting on the edge of their seats thinking whether they should change how they were responding to their situations. Mark is a compelling and challenging speaker.” – Alan McKelvey, Principal, McKelvey Consultancy
“Having Mark Pollock speak at our employee event was inspiring. He gave our event a whole other dimension and my colleagues still speak about the event and Mark\’s address today.” – Catherine Casey, Marketing Manager, Fujitsu
“On behalf of IRCSET I would like to thank you for taking the time out of your diary to come and speak at this year’s IRCSET Symposium…we have already had a great deal of positive feedback from delegates to the conference. I believe that the success of this year’s Symposium was due in the main to the high quality of speakers who participated in the event and took the time to share their insights with our researchers and invited guests. I would very much like to thank you for your contribution to the success of the event.” – Martin Hynes, Director, IRCSET