Ultra endurance competitor, motivational speaker and author. He helps people achieve more than they thought possible. Unbroken by blindness, Mark was the first blind endurance explorer to race to the South Pole
Mark Pollock Biography
Mark Pollock is an author, explorer and endurance racer. He motivates people to realise their full potential and achieve more than they ever thought possible.
Unbroken by blindness, Mark has competed in ultra endurance races across deserts, mountains and polar ice caps including being the first blind person to race to the South Pole. In 2010 Mark was left paralised after falling from a second story window. He is now exploring the frontiers of spinal injury recovery combining an innovative electrical stimulator over his spinal cord and a drug super-charging his nervous system. 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.
He also won silver and bronze medals for rowing at the Commonwealth Games and set up a motivational speaking business.
Selected by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader and appointed to the Global Futures Council on Human Enhancement, 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 the acclaimed documentary called Unbreakable, has spoken at Davos, Wired and TEDx Hollywood and is co-Founder of the global running series called Run in the Dark.
He 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.
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 300 organisations.
Acknowledged as an expert in smashing expectations, Red Bull UK’s Managing Director describes him as “awe-inspiring”.
Head of SMB Sales says he “started a conversation about challenging conventional wisdom that is ongoing at Google”.
Topics covered include:
- 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.
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Testimonials for Mark Pollock
“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.”
“Mark’s fascinating contribution was a perfect fit at our global conference to celebrate 30 years in business.
His experiences of making decisions in difficult circumstances aligned with the challenges faced by our
Brunswick people and our clients. Mark’s insights into resilience, innovation and leadership prompted action
across our international team at Brunswick. He is truly an inspiration and a fantastic example of what we can
all achieve through sheer hard work, determination and imagination.”
“Mark opened our global launch meeting in Rome. His motivational speech on “Mindset” really captivated and
helped to motivate the entire launch team!
Mark’s inspirational story about mindset and perseverance linked directly to the launch plans and his three
themes (e.g. competitor vs. spectator, realist vs. optimist, and collaborator vs. soloist) made the talk very
relevant to our journey ahead with the product launch.”
“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.”
“Mark spoke at our first ever global managers meeting at Dr Martens in London. Mark’s powerful talk around
perseverance, teamwork and collaboration really resonated and mirrored our own brand values. Mark’s
delivery connected with our entire team and was continuously referred to over the whole event. We would
absolutely recommend Mark as a truly inspirational individual who encouraged us all to re-frame our thinking
“An amazing, humbling experience. Mark held a room of over 400 people and you could not hear a pin drop – his messages on continuously reinventing yourself and using challenges to define your future was done in an engaging, perceptive, inquisitive and humorous way. His insights truly connected with the audience on so many levels and left them with one enduring quote “…sometimes you do not choose a challenge, it chooses you…”. Mark is proof that it’s one thing to read the theory but quite another to live it.”
“Mark’s contribution was a perfect fit at our global conference at CDB Aviation. His experiences of creating
multi-national teams aligned perfectly with our international audience. And, Mark’s insights into innovation,
collaboration and leadership informed many of the discussions across our teams from Europe, Asia and the
US for the rest of the conference and continues to do so during our day to day work.””
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“Mark was a speaker at National Geographic’s Extreme Explorers dinner in Davos in January 2016. His
personal story and insights were incredibly powerful, and clearly had a profound impact on everyone in the
room. He embodies the spirit, resilience and determination that are the hallmarks of what it means to be an
“At the European Investment Bank, we have a clear understanding of our mission to improve the state of EU countries through strategic investment. And, Mark joined us in Luxembourg to help our employees face the challenge of implementing that vision. His insights into resilience, innovation and collaboration were powerful, emotional and uplifting in equal measure, an excellent contribution to our event.”
“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!”
“During our recent away day in Belfast, Mark spoke to our team who had travelled from across the UK. He was
truly inspiring, sharing insights into resilience and adaptability while showing how important it is to be both
competitive and collaborative if you want to succeed – a powerful message for the challenges and constant
changes we face in our business. The entire team were not only fully engaged on the day, but since Mark’s
talk, we have reflected on what he said and has undoubtedly shaped how we think about what we do at all
levels of the team. Truly inspirational.”
Mark Pollock‘s Topics
Resilience and attitude under pressure
At the intersection where humans and technology collide
Mindset & Performance – Challenging Expectations to Perform at a Higher Level.
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.
Performance and leading through a crisis
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 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.
Collaboration & Teamwork — Creating and Motivating Dispersed Teams Across Disciplines and 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 Pollock’s keynote on
collaboration and teamwork provides your people with insight into how high-performance teams get
things done when others can’t.
Collaboration across disciplines and geographies
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
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.
Human Enhancement – Exploring the Intersection Where Humans and Technology Collide During the 4th Industrial Revolution.
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.