Mountaineer & Business Leader
Vanessa O’Brien is a world record-holding British-American climber and arctic explorer whose extensive international business experience affords her a unique take on the world. Having moved to live on her own at the age of 16, O’Brien developed a sense of responsibility early on. Determined to rise to the top, she worked extra hard “climbing” the corporate ladder, not knowing that the worst recession in living memory would lead her to face her biggest challenge yet: climbing Mt. Everest. Read More >
Preparing for the Grand Slam
Shattering Records on Wake Up with AI
Finding and Reaching Your Goals
There are working groups and then there are high-performing teams. What do you have? What have you experienced? The audience will learn how high-performing teams differentiate themselves and can make a difference in any organization.
Are leaders made or can they be trained? What are the traits of a successful leader? The audience will find out what differentiates great leaders through leadership examples in business and on the mountain.
Do you want to win? What are you willing to sacrifice? The audience will learn how goal setting, determination, and hard work will get you where you want to go both in the business world and in life.
Obstacles are a fact of life: “that which doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger.” The audience will find out how to turn adversity into opportunity.
Becoming the fastest woman to climb the seven summits and reach both poles in 11 months is no small challenge. The audience will take away a better understanding of the sport of mountaineering and the challenges a mountaineer faces along the way.
Paris, before the days of the Eiffel Tower, had no distinction. But after the Eiffel Tower was built, many came to marvel and admire this amazing structure. What is your Eiffel Tower? The audience will learn the importance of differentiating oneself from the herd and becoming memorable to others.
Is there a glass ceiling? Do women have the same opportunities as men to succeed? What traits do women possess that position them above men in terms of success? Discover why women are achieving more than ever in today’s increasingly complex society.
"Your recent visit to Cape Henry Collegiate was nothing short of remarkable. Your presence and style engaged students while your story and message inspired them. The time you spent with our community before and after your presentation provided all with an opportunity to ask questions and learn about the life lessons of risk-taking, decision-making, and goal-setting. Your passion for climbing, coupled with your diverse experience set, made for a memorable day for both faculty and students."
"Vanessa recently brought to life the story of the momentous Mt. Everest ascent in 1953 for a class of graduate students in our High Performing Teams course. With a sense of history, and also through her firsthand perspective of climbing Everest, Vanessa expertly connected her audience with the magnitude of the accomplishment. She effectively wove together the elements of leadership, teamwork, motivation, and incredible commitment to tell the story of the successful British expedition. She poignantly described the ‘breakthrough power’ found when team members invest deeply in each other’s success! Her orientation and experience as both an adventurer and business leader make her an exceptional speaker on topics at the intersection of leadership, strategy, execution, and teamwork."
"She speaks with enthusiasm, energy, and pace, [and incorporates] excellent audiovisuals. Her message is that dedication and perseverance, not innate abilities, can achieve great things."
"Vanessa O’Brien is an extraordinary individual with a fascinating story to tell. Many of our members spoke to me afterwards to tell me how enjoyable and interesting they found her presentation and personal quest. Vanessa was entertaining and educational and left many wanting to conquer their own Everest – actually or metaphorically! Thank you for inspiring the members of the BC Club."
"Summiting a mountain is not a small feat. What I was most inspired by from your talk was this: if you set a goal, no matter how challenging it is, with dedication, hard work and perseverance, one can achieve it."