Cathy O'Dowd

Cathy O'Dowd



  • Reaching New Heights: Teamwork and Leadership from the Slopes of Mount Everest
  • Think Like An Explorer: Doing What Has Never Been Done Before Goal Setting
  • Motivation and Inspiration
  • Overcoming Obstacles
  • Leadership in Uncertainty
  • Change Management

What she offers

An internationally acclaimed motivational speaker, Cathy shares her insights about individuals and teams under intense stress in the face of overwhelming challenge with her corporate audiences. Her stories touch on themes of importance to anyone trying to run successful projects and get the best out of people. Cathy also helps businesses to tackle an uncertain world by learning to think like an explorer and she utilises the latest technology to gain audience participation in the expedition decision making process.

How she presents

Cathy is a passionate speaker, who combines humour and drama, weaving a spell-binding story out of which she subtly draws her metaphors for achievement. Her inspirational presentations entertain and motivate while reinforcing key principles of best business practise.

Cathy O’Dowd is the first woman in the world to climb Mount Everest, the world’s highest mountain, from both its north and south sides. Her first ascent of Everest happened in the midst of the chaotic events that form the basis of the ‘true story’ behind the 2015 Hollywood movie Everest. Cathy remains a committed adventurer. Her expedition was a ski ascent of Mount Logan, the second highest peak in North America, in spring of 2016. She is also actively involved with charities focused on female empowerment, notably the Rwenzory Women for Health project in Uganda and the Astraia Female Leadership Foundation in Germany.

Cathy, who grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa, was completing her Masters degree in Journalism, while working as a university lecturer, when she saw a newspaper advert for a place on the 1st South African Everest Expedition. Six months later she was the first South African to summit Everest and three years later she became the first woman in the world to climb the mountain from both sides. She has one last expedition to Everest to try a new route on the Kangshung face. Most recently Cathy was part of the team that did the first ascent of Nanga Parbat via the Mazeno ridge.


  • Just for the Love of It (1999)
  • Everest: Free to Decide (1998)


“I only got very positive feed-back from everyone. Not only your story telling also your thoughtful style is very inspiring. My team and myself enjoyed your speech and also the opportunity for further discussion afterwards and at dinner. It gave a lot of food for thought for ourselves, not only for business but also for private situations. Thanks for that!”

“It was a pleasure working with Cathy! She is very professional and it was easy from the beginning to synch with her, connecting with Cathy in person when discussing topics and disposition of the speech to make it fit our audience. And the performance was brilliant with great storytelling, emotions and motivation involving the audience in the speech using interactive elements.”

“I have hired over 250 speakers for corporate clients’ events globally. When it comes to finding authentic content with metaphors and tangible evidence of lessons for individual teams and leaders there are few better than Cathy. When it comes to inspirational delivery and a room full of leaders where you can hear a pin drop as she shares her story you know you have a hit on your hands. A joy to work with. Spot on timing as agreed. Wonderful visual support. Superb. The end !!”

“Cathy is an extraordinary speaker who leaves a lasting impression on her audience. Very inspiring and motivating.”

“Cathy is a very polished motivational speaker with a great message that works on many levels.”

“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.”

“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 title.”

“Cathy absolutely wowed our group with her story, her professionalism and her competence. I learned more from Cathy in a couple of hours than I have learned from a bucket load of other speakers, and not simply ‘this is a good thing’ but real insights into why she does what she does in the way that she does it. I’m left wanting to watch her again and again.”

Presentation Languages: English, Spanish

To book Cathy O’Dowd Call (+90) 216 332 44 44

email us or fill our request form


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