Inspirational Speaker

Are you looking for someone to help motivate and encourage your team? I have 20 years of executive level experience in Fortune 50 companies. Using mountaineering as a metaphor, I will help get your teams excited about the challenges ahead.

The Explorers Club

The Explorers Club
Dec 2, 2017
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Sep 15, 2017
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Sep 9th, 2013
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LAST NIGHT WAS SUPER!!!! Vanessa–you are far more than a mountaineer.  Your intellect, focus, concentration, determination and achievement all combine to make you a very special person.  I appreciated your thoughtful candour, clear articulation of the risks, and emphasis on what it takes to succeed as well as your encouragement to the audience made the evening extremely special.  Congratulations on becoming the first American and British women to summit K2.

Bill Liss
The Explorers Club
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“It was a pleasure interviewing Vanessa O’Brien at The Explorers Club as part of my “Exploring Legends” series. She follows in a line of other great guests including Sen. John Glenn, Jim Whittaker, Buzz Aldrin and James Cameron. Vanessa really had to think on her feet as this series is just one-on-one Q&A between myself and the guest (no visual props) in front of some of the world’s more hard-core adventurers. She was dynamic, and both funny and dead serious when discussing her challenges at the Poles and on the Seven Summits. The audience clearly was engaged as she graciously answered several more questions afterward, publicly and privately. I highly recommend her as a speaker at any kind of event.”

Jim Clash
The Explorers Club Director and “Exploring Legends” Moderator

The American Alpine Club

NYS American Alpine Club
Nov 11, 2017
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Jun 1st, 2013

“Each November since 1980, the New York Section of the American Alpine Club, has hosted an annual dinner with a notable speaker from the world of alpinism. Over the years, historic climbers such as Hillary, Messner and Houston, have kept members and guests enthralled with their exploits. Last night Vanessa O’Brien, only the third woman to speak at this event, kept the tradition alive with a captivating presentation revolving around her recent ascent of K-2. Vanessa became the first American woman to summit the most difficult and dangerous of the 8000 meter Himalayan giants in July of this year. In addition, as a holder of dual British-American passports, she also became the first British woman to summit and safely descend K-2, the “killer mountain”. As a speaker she speaks with energy, enthusiasm and humour. Her message, not only to female audiences, is that determination, persistence and enthusiasm can achieve great things.”

Philip Erard
Chairman American Alpine Club, New York Section (1980-2015)

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Boston College Carroll School of Management

Boston College
Carroll School of Management
Sep 21, 2016
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Sep 18, 2013

“Vanessa O’Brien has been a guest lecturer and a presenter for us at the Boston College’s MBA program at the Carroll School of Management on two occasions.  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.  Vanessa recently brought to life the story of the catastrophic events that took place in 1996 on Mt. Everest (HBR) and K2: The Brotherhood of The Rope (Darden) for a class of graduate students in our High Performing Teams course.  With both a sense of history, and also through her first-hand perspective of climbing Everest and K2, 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 each of these expeditions.”

Scott F. McDermott
Director, BC MBA Consulting Service
Boston College Carroll School of Management

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K2 & The Invisible Footmen NYC Film Premier

NYC
Apr 16, 2016
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“Thank you for helping to put on such an interesting, informative and interactive event.  With nearly 400 attendees from a variety of backgrounds it was a great honor for myself and APF to be involved.”

Muhammad Talal Javed, MSc, CNP
UN NGO Representative, American Pakistan Foundation


“Vanessa O’Brien, from promoting the event to presenting on your experiences, you helped to take the event up a notch!  Most importantly how you involved the mountaineering community.”

Jocelyne Jeannot
American Pakistan Foundation

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World Congress of Overseas Pakistanis (WCOP)

WCOP, London
Nov 29, 2015
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“Vanessa touched hundreds of hearts when she spoke at Women Achievers Congress in Westminster, London in the presence of the British Home Secretary Rt Hon Theresa May and hundreds of high achiever women from various disciplines. The Congress brought together the most prominent women leaders from the UK in public sector, politics, policymaking, business, academia along with select leaders from government, media, sports & philanthropy. Vanessa talked about the central theme of the Congress “Leading with Purpose” and inspired the audience. The audience loved her analogy of conquering the mountain vis-e-vis scaling the corporate ladder. Her passion and enthusiasm were termed infectious.”

Arif Anis Malik
Executive Director, WCOP

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Pakistan – U.S. Alumni Network

Pakistan – U.S. Alumni Network
Aug 7, 2015 Islamabad
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“The focus of my activity was to give women an open and safe environment for physical activity that is not only good for their health but also for their psychological development. Vanessa O’Brien’s presence and the support from the PUAN leadership have been instrumental in making this project a success.”

Ms. Shah Rukh
Alumna of the Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Women Project Artemis
Sponsored by the U.S. State Department & Pakistan – U.S. Alumni Network

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Capital One

Capital One
Jun 4, 2015
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“Vanessa is a dynamic story teller, putting you right on the mountain with her. She effectively related how key business concepts like teamwork, adaptability and leadership are skills that apply to just about any scenario – even navigating in high altitudes and deep crevasses. She had our group focused and engaged until the very end. It was great to reinforce business concepts in this unique way and Vanessa didn’t disappoint.”

Shana Fleet
Enterprise Data Management

Alaska Women’s Summit

University of Alaska
Oct 17, 2014
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“Using the metaphor of climbing, Vanessa took us on a tour of some of the most challenging and remote places on the planet,” said Senator McGuire. “In her presentation, she explored the importance of overcoming adversity by having a purpose through short-term goals. She illustrated how preparation, teamwork, staying focused to avoid risks, and applying a success-oriented mindset differentiate the winners from the losers – not just on the mountain but in business and in life. I think this was the perfect way to end an incredibly inspiring two days of discussions with a direction of where we need to head next.”

Senator Lesil McGuire
Alaska State Legislature

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Cape Henry Collegiate

Cape Henry Collegiate
Jan 16th, 2014
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“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.”

Kathleen K. Sharp, M.Ed., Ed.S.
Director of Academic Affairs
Cape Henry Collegiate

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A Small World

A Small World
Nov 20th, 2013
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“Vanessa O’Brien is, without a doubt, the ultimate adventurer. Having set the world record for the “Explorers Grand Slam,” Vanessa is easily one of our most inspiring members. Recently, she hosted an event in New York to tell us of her incredible adventures. From pictures of frostbite to anecdotes of life on the mountain, Vanessa’s talk captivated the audience. But what makes her so extraordinary is her determination.The former Finance Director at Barclays Bank decided to pursue this challenge because of an innocent dare by a friend during lunch: “Why don’t you climb Mt Everest?” Always looking for new challenges, Vanessa accepted and soon found herself undergoing mountaineering training in New Zealand. Lucky for us, Vanessa wore her Go Pro Camera throughout her expeditions so that we can live vicariously from the comfort of our desks. Vanessa gets our vote for favorite ultimate adventurer!”

Anna Lutz & Patrizia Ecker
Membership & Events Managers
A Small World

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Other Events

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Ilkley Grammar School
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Jun 9, 2015
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Ted Baker London
Aug 21, 2014
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The 3RDOOR
Oct 9, 2012
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