Skip to content


The first woman in the world to climb Mount Everest from both south and north sides

ClipArt_quote_startOur children did very well indeed.ClipArt_quote_end Expedition Patron President Nelson Mandela

Inspirational speaker, adventurer and author.

Cathy O’Dowd’s presentations combine adventure, drama, failure and success, sharing with you lessons learnt from one of the world’s most spectacular challenges: Everest.

Latest blog posts

  • Risks too big to comprehend 05/05/2015 “No climber ever expects to be in this position. When I was planning Lhotse, the word “earthquake” never entered my mind.” From Alan Arnette’s blog. I’ve been on Everest four times, and on Lhotse once. During all those expeditions, the risk of earthquake never once occurred to me or my companions. I’m not sure what the ...
  • Why to make it up as you go along 04/10/2015 The difference between ‘fluid decision-making’ and ‘making it up as you go along’ can be hard to detect. I’ve just returned home after a nine-day ski-tour in the Ecrins, a spectacular block of mountains in the southern French Alps. It was an Eagle Ski Club tour and there was a day-by-day plan. Not only did ...
  • When past performance doesn’t predict future success 03/06/2015 and why super-star hires can be an expensive mistake In a culture that worships success, failed projects normally just sink out of sight, vanishing without explanation. One prematurely terminated adventure project recently caught my eye, because the honest analysis of the failure echoed my own experience from my first Everest expedition. In summer of 2014 Brian Cunningham, ...

Read more

Recommendations from LinkedIn

Cathy's professionalism and flexibility are greatly appreciated. My client and I recently worked with Cathy and not only is she charming and a good conversationalist but she was willing to help with the overall event, joining in with the programme and making herself available to delegates to [...]
Cathy took us on an emotional roller-coaster ride through her first hard core mountaineering experience up Everest and left some 100 manager/engineers from 12 countries and 3 continents exhausted but highly motivated by the experience. Well delivered, the speech contained all the allegories [...]
Cathy spoke to the Scottish Chapter of the Professional Speakers Association in February 2010 and blew our socks off, which incidentally is not something you want half way up Mt Everest. In fact whether you are thinking socks are an issue as you prepare to climb a mountain or whether you [...]
Cathy is a brilliant speaker, natural, engaging and inspirational. If you are thinking of booking her for your event, get the call in now. If not somebody else will and she'll back up a mountain before you know it. I can particularly recommend her for any event that has summit in the [...]
Cathy is a fantastic speaker who motivates and energises with her stories on personal and team performance, on reaching the summit and on what happens beyond the summit. If you want to educate, inform and inspire your audience, you should get in touch with Cathy O'Dowd. She will hold any [...]
Cathy is a great speaker and always engages her audience. She is lovely to work with and I always recommend her as a speaker!
Cathy is an inspiring motivational speaker, who ensures that she always delivers the right presentation for the clients needs, as well as looking after the interests of the speaker agencies that she works with.
Cathy has an amazing tranquility. Having faced death many times while climbing - having seen death at close hand, she has developed an inner core strength that she can train into leaders when the chips are down. Charming, fun, relaxed and uncompromising, she is a wonderful speaker as well as a [...]
Without a doubt Cathy O'Dowd is one of the best motivational speakers in the business, her breath taking presentations are absolutely amazing and will leave you speechless.
Cathy has now been invited to speak at 2 events that I have been involved in. She is the consumate professional and has a unique way of capturing the attention of the audience with her own style of stroy telling. Her experiences - incredible in their own right - provide a strong message in [...]
Cathy has an authenticity that translates her experience seamlessly across cultures, sectors and challenges . I will always work with her first whenever the fit is right. You should too...
As an experienced Programme Director who has delivered programmes of between £20 million and £200 million in value, I was impressed how Cathy has managed to successfully navigate across the vast chasm (not surprising as she is an accomplished mountaineer) which means that her sport related [...]
Cathy is one of the best professional speaker I know - and I've booked lots! Cathy has that rare ability to engage you in the fascination of her own awsome achievements while at the same time making the whole thing relevant and useful to business. A very professional, polished and [...]
Cathy made the first external presentation at FINOV 2010, Sonae's yearly Innovation event. Given that this year's theme was The Power of Us, her message was spot on: focus on teams to deliver the best performance! Hers was a very powerful presentation, full of examples of teamwork (or lack [...]
Wow – a must for any corporate conference – guaranteed to inspire and more importantly motivate action and change. Cathy has an truly inspirational story to tell and shares it in an engaging way that ensures it’s easy for the audience to understand how they can relate to and therefore take [...]
Cathy, It was wonderful to have you join us for our Leadership Symposium. You are a remarkable lady with many remarkable gifts, and public speaking is one of those many gifts. You wowed us all with your adventures and how you tied your learnings into key leadership principles. I was sitting [...]
Thank you so much for your dynamic delivery of “Reach for the Heights” at our R&D Symposium. Your speech was much talked about the following day by all in attendance – all extremely positive! The group not only received key take-a-ways points of high performance teamwork and dedication for [...]
Cathy is an extraordinary speaker who leaves a lasting impression on her audience. Very inspring and motivating.
Cathy gave an energetic and inspirational speech at our customer dinner held in Windsor last week. Cathy holds the attention of the client well and takes you on a roller coaster of emotions whilst highlighted the key topics agreed such as how to motivate and lead a team. Cathy is extremely [...]
Cathy is a superb speaker and a hard act to follow - which can make life a little difficult for me and my clients who engage her for their events. But I never hesitate to recommend Cathy O'Dowd when a client is looking for an inspirational, honest, exciting, fun and 'easy to work with' [...]
Cathy is a very polished motivational speaker with a great message that works on many levels.
Cathy is one of my favorite speakers, one of the things that I admire most of Cathy is her ability to create and overcome new challenges, She told me once that she was going to present in Spanish and in a couple of years she did it. Now she is fluent in Spanish and she is able to create the [...]
Cathy is a world class adventurer, speaker and motivator. Having heard her speak on a number of occassions, I would highly recommend her for any company conference that wants their team to feel more inspired, motivated and positive.
It was great to have the opportunity of attending the keynote speech of Cathy, for the Enel Green internal meeting, last Tuesday y Segovia (Spain). 3Plus A*** Amazing History, Amazing Presentation and Amazing Woman. I would recommend Cathy to carry any audience to the “summit”.
I heard and saw Cathy speak for a large group of R&D professionals about her efforts to climb mount Everest in a team of climbers. She has an exceptional way of getting a message across which links her experience of extreme mountain climbing in a team to for instance the project team of [...]
Cathy is an excellent motivational speaker, ahead of her time, daring, risk-taker and enthralling to listen to. Able to capitvate and inspire others.
Cathy is one of the best speakers I have worked with. She is very friendly and a great professional
I asked Cathy to provide a keynote speech at our company's most important annual meeting where we gather around 55% of employees over the weekend to discuss the company's plans. The conference theme was, 'believe, act, achieve' and Cathy delivered the 'Achieve' piece. Her presentation was [...]
We asked Cathy to talk to our Leadership Team at a global conference with people from the US, LatAm, Europe and Asia, where our overall theme was Leadership. Cathy was very thorough, with pre-meetings to understand our business and exactly what we were looking for. Cathy took the time to be [...]

Flickr Photostream



Posted in .