Mark Pollock: Biography highlights

Mark helps people to build resilience and collaborate with others so that they achieve more than they thought possible.

Known for:

Authors
Sports Personalities
TED Speakers

Languages spoken:

English

Full biography of Mark Pollock

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 a 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.

Co-Founder of the global running series called Run in the Dark (www.runinthedark.org), 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).

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

DELIVERING IMPACT

It is 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 remain resilient, adapt to change and collaborate with others for 20 years.

Using his hard-earned expertise, Mark has 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.

As a speaker, Mark is best known for his 2018 TED Talk focused on resolving the tension between acceptance and hope (go.ted.com/markandsimone) delivered jointly with his fiancee, Simon George. It gathered over 1.5 million views in its first 6 months online and has been subtitled in 12 languages.

Acknowledged as an expert in resilience, innovation and collaboration, 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 am to do every time.”

Show more

Available for:

After Dinner Engagement

Watch Mark in action

Playlist
1/5 videos
1
Mark Pollock - Online Masterclass
Mark Pollock - Online Masterclass
02:07
2
A love letter to realism in a time of grief | Mark Pollock and Simone George
A love letter to realism in a time of grief | Mark Pollock and Simone George
19:23
3
Expect problems as we explore possibilities | Mark Pollock | TEDxHollywood
Expect problems as we explore possibilities | Mark Pollock | TEDxHollywood
13:34
4
The Forum of Young Global Leaders | Mark Pollock
The Forum of Young Global Leaders | Mark Pollock
04:30
5
Acknowledging progress on CNN
Acknowledging progress on CNN
05:07
Avolon

“Uncertainty and change has swept through the airline industry and we are facing that challenge head on at Avolon, as Mark says “Dealing with the Facts”. To support our employees to remain resilient and adaptive to the evolving situation, we engaged Mark to work with us through his ‘Challenge is the Opportunity’ webinars co-hosted with Paula Cunniffe. Everything from the opening presentation to the interview and interactive Q&A worked excellently. The learning and mental diversion for all was hugely impactful, insightful and worthwhile.”

Head of North America
Bank of Ireland

“With Mark’s deep understanding of how to navigate a path through crisis, we asked him to contribute to our most recent CEO Council at Bank of Ireland. Co-hosted with his colleague Paula Cunniffe, Mark prompted us to consider how we, as leaders, turn challenges into opportunities and provided a mental model for doing it – facts, acceptance and hope. This isn’t just a personal resilience story, it’s a leadership lesson.”

Group Chief Executive
Facebook

“Mark used his story to encourage us to think differently about how we decide to respond to challenges, regardless of where they come from.”

Director & Associate General
Google

“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.”

Shane Holland
Regional Director, Northern Europe
Twitter

“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.”

Barry Collins
Senior Director EMEA
Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD)

“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.”

Global Brand Leader
Dr Martens

“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 and approach”

Change Communication and Culture Lead
National Geographic Magazine

“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 explorer.”

Editor in Chief
Bayer PLC

“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.”

Board Member, Pharmaceuticals
CDB Aviation

“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 theUS for the rest of the conference and continues to do so during our day to day work.”

President and Chief Commercial Officer
Prudential Financial Planning

“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
Exec Lead (GM Moving) and Chief Executive Officer (GreaterSport)

“As part of our vision to change lives through physical activity and sport we invited Mark and his colleague Paula Cunniffe to contribute to our first virtual GM Moving conference. Focusing on how to bring people together to solve complex problems, the session couldn’t have been more aligned with our efforts to create collaborations with multiple agencies across systems. And, as we took a step into the unknown with our first online conference, Mark and Paula’s thought provoking contribution launched the day perfectly.”

Cisco

“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
Islandbridge Capital

“Mark and his co-host, Paula Cunniffe, provided us with an insight into how to adapt to the circumstances that we are now operating in – an excellent, impactful intervention at this time.”

Chief Investment Officer
Microsoft

“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
Nestlé Nespresso UK&ROI

“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.”

Business Development Director
LinkedIn

“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.”

Aaron Downs
Head of Solutions SMB, EMEA and Growth Markets
European Investment Bank

“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.”

Vice President
Brunswick Group

“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.”

Sir Alan Parker
Chairman
Nestlé Nespresso UK&ROI

“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
LinkedIn

“Mark spoke to our global team during our sales development conference at LinkedIn. His experiences of remaining resilient when faced with challenges and creating collaborations that have never been done before was exactly the message that we were looking for. Mark connected with everyone in the room, despite the multiple nationalities involved and his messages filtered into many of our discussions over the remaining days at the conference.”

Global Programs Manager
AMCS

“At our first virtual global team day in AMCS, we wanted to give employees some perspective s on how to deal with the challenges presented by Covid-19. Having heard Mark speak previously at live events, I felt that he would contribute greatly to that effort – he did not disappoint, mixing story and theory brilliantly.”

Head of Human Resources
Microsoft Europe

“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
Unilever

“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
Microsoft Europe

 “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
Unilever

“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

Mark's speaking topics

Check Mark Pollock's availability

To enquire about booking Mark Pollock, email info@speakersassociates.com or complete this form.

Check Availability

You

Your event

Your budget

Other speakers and topics

Options

Would you like to receive our free monthly speaker bulletin?