Polly Williamson was so in charge until the day she wasn’t. Those heady days of success – achieving your goals, running a business, starting a family – went in a puff following a traumatic brain injury. But the decade-long journey back from coma to new normal has had plenty of challenges, lifting the fog, finding an identity, juggling new demands, and arriving at a different work-life balance. Unchanged is the sense of purpose, accompanied now by greater adaptability, fresh goals, and all egged on by the best of family and friends. Polly was once a 6-times European Gold Medallist at Eventing, and has found freedom, trial and the greatest enjoyment in being on and around horses. She has written a book called ‘Where did I go?’. Polly Williamson has had two lives.
The common thread is a determination to succeed, no matter what the obstacles might be. The first life encompassed her dream of winning 6 European Gold Medals in the sport of Eventing. Passion will get you so far, but success was founded on the ability to identify and manage risk. In her late teens, Polly needed to set up and lead a sustainable business, without the scaffold or resource provided by a bigger Company.
In the saddle, Polly Williamson needed to apply the finest judgements, taking risk tempered by experience, and always under the pressure of time. The second life embraced the need to return from traumatic brain injury. This journey was about recognising change, finding a new identity and working with her altered brain, accepting her ‘neuro diverse’ state. Starting from the depths of despair, she relearnt how to walk, talk, and think. Family and friends played a big part, but it has been the same rugged determination that has underpinned the decade-long journey back from coma.
Her new normal included the simple milestones of completing a half-marathon and penning a book called ‘Where did I go?’. In the business world, Polly Williamson brings a fresh perspective that contrasts overt success with hidden challenge. Overcoming a traumatic brain injury, Polly is in a unique position and talks of the hidden depths the neuro diverse do offer. Her presentations are delivered with warmth and humour, reaching out to those who seek to lead, manage, and join a workforce where life has not always been straightforward. If you set your mind to it, nothing is impossible.
The neuro diverse will often think outside the box and new and unfettered thinking can make any organisation great. Keynote sessions will explain how the neuro diverse mind can think differently.
Sharing the tools used to stabilize mental health and move forward following a life changing brain injury.
We all seek an identity. Traumatic brain injury took away Polly’s identity and a keynote session can explain the characteristics and actions used to build an identity.
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"Polly makes all things seem possible with the right mindset and determination and her lack of any self-pity sharpens the listeners’ focus on what is possible rather than what is hard to achieve. I highly recommend Polly as a speaker."
Mrs Emma McKendrick, Headmistress Downe School
"Like many others in the room, I found your talk inspiring, highlighting to all what you can achieve with a determined and resilient mindset."
Malcolm Bennett, NatWest Director | Head of Financial Institutions
"Loved Polly’s perspective that an act of kindness goes a long way’’
Danielle McIntyre CCIBS, Global co-Chair Enable Network
"If you haven't just been on the session with Polly, pleaseeee watch it back, it’s such a thought provoking thing to listen to and I’d encourage you to share it around your teams as she gives such a wonderful explanation"
"Polly was fab wasn't she? And so inspiring"
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