Maria Witchell , adventurer and inspirational speaker, has been inspiring her audiences with her resilience presentations. Audiences found her sharing genius and helpful for them to face their own challenges.
Some audience feedback examples:
Thank you. Gosh – there were lots of top take-aways – not just one. Having an inner best friend is a great one, as well as discarding an inner bad friend. Another way I have heard that similarly put, is in relation to buses – if you are not on a happy bus, get off that bus and get on a happier one.
I hope you don’t mind me you emailing you to thank you for your presentation. It was excellent and resonated very much with my strong belief that resilience is absolutely vital, in ploughing on, no matter what life throws at you. Listening to the experiences you shared, was extremely inspiring – thank you.
I have just come back to work and loved your presentation, thank you so much!!
You were fab – I really really appreciate it. So inspiring – thanks again
Very, very grateful for this talk. Very inspirational!
What a great talk! Very inspirational from the most humble person I know
Thank you for your presentation today. It was amazing. My son , who is 14 has been going through a very tough time during COVID and it has affected him greatly at school (75% non attendance last academic year). He is back in school now but has seriously lost his way. Definitely scared to fail and therefore won’t try. You have inspired me today to really try and support him in a much more positive way and to find a more positive experience in trying to get him motivated. I really, really, really am so grateful for your presentation. I loved, loved your video.
Maria Witchell is a veteran of eight polar expeditions, the first completed when she was 17, including two crossings of Finnmarkvida, Arctic Norway, scaling Mount Newton on skis in Svalbard and reaching the North and South Poles. She was recently part of a team to successfully establish a new polar route traversing the narrow plateaux of the Antarctic Peninsula in 2019. Maria has also been a trustee of the military charity Style for Soldiers for the last 5 years.
Following university, Maria began her career as a British Army Officer after graduating from The Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst in 1989. She quickly went on to complete Special Forces selection and became one of the few women to serve as an operative in the United Kingdom Special Forces (UKSF) conducting covert military operations.
As an Officer in UKSF, she gained substantial experience operating in challenging, pressurised, intense and dangerous environments which included covert and counter terrorism operations of the most serious and sensitive nature. During that time she was also operating to combat threats including organised crime and nuclear proliferation.
Maria progressed to working for the British government and became one of the first women in the world to become a professional kidnap ransom negotiator operating worldwide.
The early 2000s saw a change of direction. Maria attended The College of Law in London, qualifying with a specialism in banking with a leading London city law firm. After five years, she then joined a major international investment bank becoming head of equity financing, legal in London. Today Maria is head of corporate loans and derivatives, legal for the Asia Pacific region located in Hong Kong.
Maria has held leadership roles in both her military and corporate careers and has considerable experience in the transferability of military leadership skills into the corporate world.
Maria’s disarming style and dry sense of humour make her a captivating speaker. Challenging ideas of what a Special Forces Operative looks like, Maria relates lessons from some of the toughest working environments on the planet. Speaking topics include:
- Leadership under pressure
- Conduct in the corporate work place
- Negotiation tactics – insights from a hostage negotiator
- Diversity and inclusion
- Climate change