Cathy O"Dowd

The first woman to climb Mt. Everest from both sides.



Personality, Success & Motivation


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Cathy O"Dowd

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Cathy O"Dowd is the first woman in the world to climb Everest from both sides. The South African mountaineer has been on Everest as a "token woman" team-member, and as an expedition leader. She has worked with a wide range of international teams forced to co-operate, and has climbed as the only team on a new route. She has faced the "worst storm in the history of Everest", and warring team members as ego ran rampant. She has experienced the thrill of the summit and the reality of failure, and the loss of fellow climbers. She draws on this wide-ranging experience of teams under acute pressure facing overwhelming challenges to cover themes of importance to anyone trying to get the best out of people.Cathy remains an active adventurer and her last important expedition involved a new route on an 8000m peak - the first ascent of Nanga Parbat via the Mazeno ridge. Cathy has turned this extraordinary experience into a case study that will help any strategic planner implement innovative objectives more effectively.


Reach for the Heights! Teamwork and leadership from the slopes of the world’s highest mountain.
based on a case study of Cathy's first successful Everest expedition, where the team had to contend with both conflict internal to the team and the worst storm in the history of the mountain, among other challenges 
Applicable to clients interested in:
team dynamics, effective teamwork, leadership, goal setting, motivation, overcoming challenges

Think like an Explorer! Managing uncertainty through fluid decision-making 
based on a case study of a new route on an 8000m peak - the first ascent of Nanga Parbat, 9th highest peak in the world via the Mazeno ridge. This is an interactive presentation where the audience participates in key decisions as the expedition unfolds.  Applicable to clients interested in:
leadership, strategic planning, operating in a VUCA world, effective decision-making, managing uncertainty, 

References & Press

  • Allianz
  • Siemens
  • Deutsche Bank
  • Nivea
  • Commerzbank
  • SAP
  • Heineken
  • ThyssenKrupp Group
  • Nestle
  • Roche
  • Novartis
  • Credit Suisse
  • UBS
  • Zurich Financial
  • Lindt
  • Swiss Re
  • Kuoni
  • Julius Baer


  • CSPGlobal (Certified Speaking Professional Global)
  • FPSA (Fellow Professional Speaking Association of UK and Ireland)
  • Professional Speaking Award of Excellence
  • recognised by a Resolution of the Parliament of the Republic of South Africa as the first South African to climb Everest: "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"



Just for the love of it: The first woman to climb Mount Everest from both sides (English Edition)

ISBN : 9780957524507

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Cathy O’Dowd Just for the love of it


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