Profilbild: Cathy O’Dowd

Cathy O’Dowd


Themen: Motivation, Sport & Abenteuer

Tags: Außergewöhnliches, Bergsteigen, Führung, Team, Change Management, Marke, Marketing

For English biography of Cathy O’Dowd please see below.

Cathy O‘Dowd hat alles erlebt, was man am Berg erleben kann: Den Nervenkitzel einer Erstbesteigung. Das Glücksgefühl, wenn eine Expedition gelingt, und den Triumph auf dem Gipfel. Genauso aber die zerstörerische Kraft der Natur, den Stress, der ein Expeditionsteam zerbrechen lassen kann – und das Gefühl, dem Tod gerade noch entronnen zu sein.

Als erste Frau der Welt hat die gebürtige Südafrikanerin den Mount Everest sowohl über die Nord- als auch über die Südroute bezwungen. Eine Zeitungsanzeige brachte die kletterbegeisterte Universitätsdozentin 1995 mit nicht einmal 30 Jahren zum ersten südafrikanischen Everest-Team – seitdem hat sie das Extrembergsteigen nicht mehr losgelassen.

Expeditionen in Süd- und Zentralafrika, in Südamerika, den Alpen oder auf andere Gipfel des Himalaya folgten ebens wie Hundeschlittentouren zum Nordkap oder Wüstenläufe in Marokko. Immer wieder sucht Cathy O‘Dowd neue sportliche Herausforderungen.Als nächstes hat sie sich den Mount Logan vorgenommen, den zweihöchsten Gipfel in Nordamerika.

Durch ihre zahlreichen sportlichen Grenzerfahrungen hat Cathy O‘Dowd vor allem eines gelernt: Wie man Teams leitet und motiviert, wie sie erfolgreich sind und was ihre Zusammenarbeit gefährden kann. Seit mehr als 20 Jahren spricht sie darüber in ihren Vorträgen.

Genau wie Bergsteiger müssen auch Führungskräfte in Unternehmen ihre Projekte sorgfältig planen, Ressourcen effizient einsetzen, Risiken abwägen und flexibel auf Veränderungen reagieren. Als Rednerin beschreibt Cathy O‘Dowd präzise, wo dabei die Chancen und Risiken der Teamarbeit liegen – und wie man auch scheinbar ausweglose Situationen erfolgreich meistert. Sie untermauert ihre Thesen mit plastischen Beispielen. Ihre charismatische Persönlichkeit macht ihre Auftritte zu einem ganz besonderen Erlebnis. Ein weiteres Highlight sind natürlich die faszinierenden Bilder ihrer Expeditionen.

Cathy O‘Dowd lebt in Andorra und engagiert sich leidenschaftlich für karitative Projekte. So hat sie beispielsweise die Astraia Stiftung mitgegründet, die sich für eine gerechtere Welt für Mädchen und Frauen einsetzt. Ihre Vorträge und Keynotes hält Cathy O‘Dowd auf Englisch und Spanisch.

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English biography Cathy O’Dowd

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.

The years she spent on or around Everest were for her a degree ‘in living’. The insights she discovered about herself, and about individuals and teams under intense stress in the face of overwhelming challenge, are ones she has been sharing with her corporate audiences ever since. She has been a professional speaker for more than 20 years and has presented her message to companies in 39 countries on six continents.

Cathy remains a committed adventurer. Her last Himalayan epic involved teaming up with two top British alpinists and three Sherpas to attempt a new route on an 8000 metre peak. Although Cathy herself did not reach the summit, two of her teammates did, doing the first ascent of Nanga Parbat via the Mazeno ridge, and winning the prestigious Piolet d’Or for their achievement. Her next expedition will be a ski ascent of Mount Logan, the second highest peak in North America, in spring of 2016.

She is actively involved with charities focused on female leadership, notably the Rwenzori Women for Health project in Uganda, and the Astraia Female Leadership Foundation in Germany, of which she is a founder and board member.

Cathy, who grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa, has climbed ever since leaving school. She was completing her Masters degree in Media Studies at Rhodes University, and working as 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. Three years later she became the first woman in the world to climb the mountain from both sides.

Following the expedition the South African government passed a Resolution congratulating Cathy and her fellow team members, and saying that: “Cathy O’Dowd joins illustrious women in South Africa who are demonstrating that women have come into their own and are contributing to the many glories achieved by our nation.”

She has been on Everest as the last minute ‘token woman’ team-member, and as an expedition leader. She has worked in partnership with a wide range of international teams forced to co-operate on popular routes, and has climbed on a team attempting a new route, the only expedition on the entire east face. She has faced the ‘worst storm in the history of Everest’ and the giant avalanches of the Kangshung face, and she has faced warring team members as ego ran rampant. She has experienced both the thrill of the summit and the reality of failure, and has paid the ultimate price with the loss of fellow climbers.

Cathy draws on this wide-ranging experience of teams under acute pressure attempting overwhelming challenges to create her corporate presentations. Her stories touch on themes of importance to anyone trying to get the best out of people.

Cathy O’Dowd is currently living in Andorra, in the Pyrenees mountains, while she pursues her speaking career, and explores the mountains of Europe and other regions in the world.

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Ihre Vorträge und Keynotes hält Cathy O‘Dowd auf Englisch und Spanisch. Sie spricht über:

  • Leadership
  • Leadership in Uncertainty
  • Teamwork
  • Goal Achievement
  • Overcoming Obstacles
  • Motivation / Inspiration
  • Risk Management
  • Effective Project Management
  • Authenticity
  • Brand and Reputation Management

Exemplarische Vortragstitel sind zum Beispiel:

  • Reaching New Heights: Teamwork & leadership on the slopes of the world’s highest mountain Cathy draws on her experiences from her first Everest climb, on a deeply dysfunctional expedition. The climbers had to overcome internal conflict and redefine themselves as a working team, in order to survive the dangers of the mountain. She examines the real reasons why teams fail and the key tools that lead them to succeed - all issues embedded in the dynamic of the team. And she shows how leaders can create more effective teams.
  • Think Like An Explorer: Going where no one has gone before Based on Cathy’s Nanga Parbat Mazeno ridge expedition: an extraordinary case-study of the challenges of trying to do what has never been done before. She examines the pitfalls of operating in unpredictable, high-risk environments and identifies the key problems in executing ambitious plans in a VUCA world - volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous.The speech includes live audience participation in the expedition decision-making process via internet polling.
  • Brand Everest This talk brings a dramatic, unusual spin to topics that are currently top-of-mind: • How can you both be a ‘brand’ and be ‘authentic’ ? • How can you prove the truth of your claims? • Can technology save us from fake news? • What does it take to build a great reputation? Cathy’s key message is that you can’t take a helicopter to the summit of Everest. And you can’t expect any one campaign or claim to prove your authenticity. You build a great reputation the same way you climb a mountain - with discipline and consistency, day by day, step by step.
  • Just for the love of it, Neuauflage 2014
  • Aus Liebe zum Berg, 2002
  • Just for the love of it, 2001
  • Everest: Free To Decide (with Ian Woodall), 1997
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