Cathy O'Dowd

The First Woman in the World to Climb Mt. Everest from Both North & South Sides

Cathy O'Dowd Biography

The years Cathy O’Dowd 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 nearly 20 years and has presented her message to companies in over 40 countries on six continents.

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.

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 remains an active adventurer. This summer she will disappear into the wilds of Arctic Norway rock-climbing, having spent last summer ski-mountaineering in northern Patagonia. In spring of 2016 she will attempt Mount Logan - 2nd highest peak in N America - on skis. Her last Himalayan epic was in the summer of 2012 when she teamed 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 wining the prestigious Piolet d’Or for their achievement.

Cathy O’Dowd has written a book about her Everest experiences, Just For The Love Of. 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.

In her free time she does technical rock-climbing, ski-mountaineering and trail-running. Cathy O’Dowd is currently living in Andorra, in the Pyrenees mountains in southern Europe.

Contact a speaker booking agent to check availability on Cathy O'Dowd and other top speakers and celebrities.

Cathy O'Dowd Videos

Cathy O'Dowd: Think Like An Explorer - going where no one has
Cathy O'Dowd I Motivational speaker I Showreel
TEDx Andorra la Vella: Cathy O'Dowd habla sobre la fiebre de la cima

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Cathy O'Dowd is a keynote speaker and industry expert who speaks on a wide range of topics . The estimated speaking fee range to book Cathy O'Dowd for your event is $10,000 - $20,000. Cathy O'Dowd generally travels from Andorra and can be booked for (private) corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. Similar motivational celebrity speakers are Viola Davis, Amy Poehler, Amy Schumer, Rashida Jones and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Contact All American Speakers for ratings, reviews, videos and information on scheduling Cathy O'Dowd for an upcoming event.

Cathy O'Dowd Videos

Cathy O'Dowd: Think Like An Explorer - going where no one has
Cathy O'Dowd I Motivational speaker I Showreel
TEDx Andorra la Vella: Cathy O'Dowd habla sobre la fiebre de la cima
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