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 Pollock 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 Pollock 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, Pollock 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 Pollock 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.
“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
“Mark’s work to bring people together to solve complex problems resonates with what we are doing in the cyber-security team at BT. At our recent leadership conference in London he shared his experiences of galvanizing a disparate group of people around a common goal I call it purposeful collaboration – and Mark’s impact was exactly what he said he was going to deliver.”
Managing Director, BT Security
“As part of our Squeeze Every Drop developmental philosophy at Ulster Rugby it is important that we support our players physical and mental conditioning. Mark’s focus on pursuing success while risking failure was a perfect fit with the leadership group and the wider squad ahead of our European Cup quarter final. His words supported our players to play with the confidence and Every Inch mentality that we are aiming for in our performances this season and as we plan for the next phase of our development.”
Head Coach, Ulster Rugby
“With the significant global growth targets we have set for ourselves at Nitro, our ability to remain resilient and relentless in our execution will be critical over the next 12 months. During our Revenue Kick Off we were joined by Mark Pollock and his colleague , Paula Cunniffe, for their masterclass called ‘Turning Challenges into Opportunities’. Mark’s story combined with the practical insights were eexactly what we needed at this time – thank you.”
SVP Global Sales, Nitro
“Mark’s session was unbelievably impactful for our teams at UCB. And, despite my initial concerns about how well it could translate in a virtual world, it was perfect. any people have commented to me about the relevance of Mark’s message to choose to be competitors and find a way to collaborate. The entire session landed so well, and we are working on plans how to embed this approach in the coming months. Thanks Mark!”
British and Irish Isles Operations Lead – Bone Unit, UCB Pharma
"At Dropbox we are always striving to achieve more for our staff and customers. Mark is a living embodiment of someone who does that on a daily basis. The way he connected his story with our people was inspiring, impactful and exactly what we needed to motivate our people for the challenges and opportunities ahead. Thank you.”
Head of Dropbox Business, EMEA
"Mark spoke to our Microsoft employees at a global event for our recent graduate and MBA hires. He connected his story with our international audience of graduates challenging them to decide to be competitors, realists, and collaborators inside and outside work. His words deeply resonated with the people in the room and prompted all sorts of conversations through the rest of the day."
Global Program Manager, Early in Career Team, Microsoft
“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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