Mark Pollock – Explorer, Innovator & Collaboration Catalyst

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 is that catalyst.

Red Bull UK’s Managing Director describes Mark as “awe-inspiring”. Google’s Head of SMB Sales says that he “…started a conversation about challenging conventional wisdom that is ongoing at Google”.

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 aim to do every time.”

With this in mind, Mark has used his hard-earned expertise to help people in hundreds of organisations worldwide including at TED2018, Davos, the Web Summit, the World Economic Forum, EG and Wired.

Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO, described Mark as one of “the most inspiring people I met” after they discussed the ways in which technology is changing how people learn. Following Mark’s contribution to the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, the Head of Public Engagement and Foundations said “Mark doesn’t just talk about the transformative intersection of technology and humankind. He lives it. His exploration of a cure for paralysis helped people understand the human dimension of the fourth industrial revolution.

As he explores the intersection where humans and technology collide, Mark is catalysing collaborations that have never been done before. And, through the Mark Pollock Trust, he is unlocking $1 billion to cure paralysis in our lifetime.

Topics covered include:

* Adversity & Challenges – Maintaining a resilient mindset under pressure.

* Leadership & Motivation – Leading through a crisis and developing intrinsic motivation.

* Collaboration & Teamwork – Creating and motivating dispersed teams across disciplines and geographies.

* Human Enhancement – Innovating at the intersection where humans and technology collide

A picture taken at a side view of Mark speaking to a corporate audience and Mark and the audience are laughing
A picture taken at a side view of Mark speaking to a corporate audience and Mark and the audience are laughing

Speaking highlights

The following section is a timeline illustrating highlights of Mark’s Speaking story in images and videos.


Resolving The Tension Between Acceptance & Hope At TED2018

Mark and his fiancée, human rights lawyer Simone George, spoke at TED2018 in Vancouver about how to resolve the tension between acceptance and hope, something they had to try and figure out in the aftermath of Mark’s catastrophic spinal cord injury.

Amy Cuddy, whose TED talk about power posing earned her worldwide recognition and has over 47 million views, described Simone and Mark’s talk as “the most powerful, moving talk I have ever seen at TED” while TED curator Helen Walters described their talk as a “love letter to science”.

Watch TED Talk


Explaining the Research, Commercialisation & Investment Challenges

Mark is interviewed by award winning journalist Matt Cooper at Big Ideas, a multi-disciplinary conference that empowers the front runners in research to pitch their technology solutions and business propositions to the investment community. Mark speaks about the breakthrough technologies emerging from labs around the world and the barriers to making them available in the clinic.


Putting Paralysis Cures on the World Stage at Davos

Mark provided a powerful perspective on the human dimension of the fourth industrial revolution to audiences at Davos. Mark doesn’t just talk about the transformative intersection of technology and humankind – he lives it as he explores a cure for paralysis.

honorary doctorate RCSI

Mark addresses the School of Medicine At The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland

As the recipient of the 2015 RCSI honorary doctorate, Mark spoke to 282 future doctors from 24 different countries around the world about balancing competition and collaboration. Professor Cathal Kelly Chief Executive, RCSI, who read the citation at the conferring ceremony, said, “We make this award to individuals of outstanding merit with an international perspective who, in addressing our students on their day of embarking on a life as a doctor, will inspire them to also make a difference to the world with their talents and education. It is with great honour that we present Mark with an RCSI honorary doctorate.”


Talking Human Bionics with CNBC International

During One Young World’s annual conference Mark spoke to CNBC International’s The Edge about human bionics and finding and connecting people worldwide to fast-track a cure for paralysis.

Expecting Problems as We Explore Possibilities at TEDx Hollywood

Mark explains how he worked with UCLA’s Reggie Edgerton, the world’s leading authority on electrical stimulation of the spinal cord, to become the first person in the world with chronic complete paralysis to regain enough voluntary control to actively take steps in a robotic exoskeleton while having his spinal cord electrically stimulated.


Building collaborations with leading scientists & foundations

As part of the Fail Better exhibition at Science Gallery Dublin, award winning journalist Jonathan McCrea interviewed Mark and his scientific collaborators from the Frasier Institute in Kentucky and Ekso Bionics in San Francisco, as well as spinal research foundations Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation in the US and Wings for Life in Europe.

honorary doctorate RCSI

Mark addresses Graduates At Queens University Belfast

As the recipient of a Queens University honorary doctorate for his services to the community, Mark spoke to the School Of Biomedical Sciences and Nursing and Midwifery about being brave, different and ambitious as they begin their careers. Norma Sinte, director of Development and Alumni Relations at Queen’s, who delivered Mark’s citation said: “Mark Pollock is an inspiration to thousands who are facing adversity. Through his actions and leadership, he gives hope to people he may never meet.”

A Healthy Disregard For The Impossible At Wired 2012

During Wired Magazine’s 2012 conference in London, Mark spoke about the impact of his catastrophic spinal cord injury and the scientists and technologists that he is working with to challenge the conventional wisdom that recovery is impossible.


Adding Paralysis To Blindness

Unbroken by blindness in 1998, Mark went on to compete in ultra endurance races around the world. In 2010 he was left paralysed after falling from a second story window. He is now exploring the intersection where humans and technology collide and catalysing collaborations that have never been done before. Through the Mark Pollock Trust, he is unlocking $1 billion to cure paralysis in our lifetime.


Helping People Worldwide To Achieve More

In 1998, Mark was a student and international rower with a fantastic job offer in London when he suddenly lost his sight. He had been on the crest of a wave as he prepared for his final exams in Trinity College Dublin in Ireland, but came crashing back to earth with the news that he would never see again. Over the next 8 years, he rebuilt his life and exceeded his pre-blindness achievements. Using insights from extreme challenges, he launched a motivational speaking business to inspire people in companies all over the world.

To discuss how Mark can help your organisation achieve more, contact us by filling in the form below:

Speaking Enquiry
Portrait image in blue and white of Mark Pollock taken before he broke his back while training in Glendalough

Mark Pollock mobile:

From Ireland 087 2233372

From UK & Europe 00 353 87 2233372

From US & International 00 353 87 223372

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.

Senior Director EMEA


Mark presented at our North American Leadership Conference in Chicago. It was attended by 200 of HSBC’s senior managers across Canada and the USA. Given the complexity of today’s financial services industry, Mark’s insight into the motivational challenges facing our management teams was accurate and his suggestions and ideas were equally relevant.

North America Holdings Inc.


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