Over the last 20 years, Mark Pollock has studied how to build resilience and collaborated with others so that they achieve more than they thought possible.
Unbroken by blindness in 1998, Mark 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 and set up an international motivational speaking business.
In 2010, 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.
Chairman of Collaborative Cures and founder of the global running series Run in the Dark, Mark was selected by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader, served on the Global Futures Council on Human Enhancement and as a UBS Global Visionary. He is on the Board of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation (USA) and is a Wings for Life Ambassador (Europe).
Author of ‘Making It Happen’, Mark 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. Furthermore, 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. 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 It’s first six months on TED.com, and has been translated into 12 languages.
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 your people a chance of maintaining a resilient mindset under pressure. Mark Pollock’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 your people become more resilient.
Uncertainty and change typify a crisis and it’s difficult to lead in such circumstances. By providing your people with insights into the resilience, attitude and decisions of others facing extreme circumstances you will help them to develop the intrinsic motivation to move forward. Mark Pollock’s keynote on leadership and motivation delivers deep insights for leaders to navigate through the crucible moments they face and lead others to achieve more.
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’s keynote on mindset and performance is that catalyst – it challenges your people to examine expectations of themselves and others to perform at a higher level.
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 Pollock’s keynote on collaboration and teamwork provides your people with insight into how high- performance teams get things done when others can’t.
Exploring the intersection where humans and technology collide is essential for businesses to maintain their competitive edge. By raising the consciousness of your people to the human dimension of the 4th industrial revolution, you will empower and encourage innovation at the edge. Mark Pollock’s keynote on human enhancement provides your people with insight into the transformative intersection of technology and humankind as he explores a cure for paralysis using robotics, neuro-modulation, AI and VR/AR.
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"Mark prompted us to consider how we, as leaders, turn challenges into opportunities. This isn’t just a personal resilience story, it’s a leadership lesson.”
Group Chief Executive, Bank of Ireland
“What a fantastically inspirational session with Mark Pollock and his colleague Paula Cunniffe. We invited Mark to share his deep insights into how we adapt, perform and collaborate with our multi-cultural team across Europe. Combining personal experiences with the neuroscience of human performance, Mark left us with practical and actionable guidance - relevant to both our professional and personal lives.”
Associate General Counsel and Director of Corporate, External & Legal Affairs, Microsoft Europe
“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 & the Global Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Unilever
“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
“It was a privilege to have Mark address both our customers and our Management Team at Google. He delivers that rare combination of inspiration, perspective and practical insight that forces his audience to really reflect on how they rise to their personal challenges and set goals that seem unachievable. He delivers his message in a deeply personal, humorous and memorable way that lands with his audience. It was a pleasure for all of us to spend time in his company. Inspiring."
Regional Director, Northern Europe, Google
“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
“Thank you for your presentation at our 2018 Partners’ Conference. The story, your response and the manner in which you have turned such adversity into a positive is awe-inspiring enough. But the real message for me lies in your delivery which is laced with humour, warmth and humility. As you may have detected, building our community is very important in the business we’re building and the characteristics you displayed, coupled with your inspiring messages, will serve as model behaviours for everyone who heard you.”
Head of PFP Change & Controls, Prudential Financial Planning
“As part of our ongoing collaboration with Mark through our Applied Science division, we invited him to share his perspective with our colleagues at the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team. During a session called ‘Collaborating to Solve Complex Problems’ Mark and his colleague Paula Cunniffe provided deep insights into creating a culture of trust for high-performance. We look forward to working together further in the coming months.”
Head of Corporate Communications, Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team
“At Paypal, we work hard to find ways to achieve more together and, over 6 months, Mark prompted our leadership team to think deeply about how to adapt, perform, and collaborate better. The impact has been excellent, and we look forward to working with Mark and his colleague Paula Cunniffe again soon."
Head of GCCI Strategy & Global Operations Internal Controls. Dundalk Site Leader, Paypal
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