Cathy O’Dowd

First woman ever to summit Mount Everest from both North and South sides


English, Spanish


Specific topics

Peak performanceSuccessadventureauthorempowermentfailurefitnessinspirationsportsteamworkwomen

Cathy O’Dowd is the first woman ever to summit Mount Everest from both North and South sides. When following the Southern route in 1993, she became the first South African to ever reach the summit of the Everest. Only three years after that record, she successfully climbed from the Northern side, earning great worldwide recognition.

As a speaker, Cathy O’Dowd delivers a highly motivational message. By sharing her experiences as a prominent climber, she gives great insight on how to build and lead teams, as well as carrying out plans in in high-risk, high-stress environments, while aiming at great goals. O’Dowd explores in her talks why and how teams and plans fail, giving the audience the right tools to manage these situations and achieve goals.

Cathy O’Dowd had always been a mountaineering lover, and while studying a master’s in Media Studies, she applied and got accepted on the First South African Everest Expedition, which in 1993 would enable her to be the first South African to summit the Everest. Three years later, she reached summit from the Northern side. She also tried designing an Eastern route she eventually gave up on after great difficulties. All her Everest experiences are described in her book, Just for the love of it. She is still climbing mountains and practicing mountain-related sports, like skiing. Moreover, she is greatly involved with charities focused on female leadership.

Conference topics
- Teambuilding and team leadership
- How to successfully work in extremely challenging environments
- Risk management
- Motivation: work towards your goals
- Learn from failure

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