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About Cathy O’Dowd

author and motivational speaker

Cathy O’Dowd is a South African rock climber & mountaineer.

Cathy O’Dowd’s Social Media Profiles

What is Cathy O’Dowd’s Net Worth

$1 Million – $5 Million

When was Cathy Born

1968 in Johannesburg South Africa

Introduction to Cathy O’Dowd My Story

Cathy O’Dowd was the first woman across the world who climbed the highest mountain in the world from its south and north sides. She was born in 1968 in Johannesburg. Cathy is most known for being a motivational speaker, mountaineer, author and rock climber. She is a well known author, her most popular books are, Everest Free to Decide and Just For The Love Of It, published in 1997 and 1999 respectively.

“Leadership is about having a vision of something and then being able to share it with others in a compelling way.” – Cathy O’Dowd

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Cathy O’Dowd Personal History

Cathy, grew up in South Africa, she went to St. Andrews School for Girls and has climbed ever since leaving university at 21, both aplinism and rock-climbing. Her early expeditions were to the Andes and Ruwenzori, central Africa, followed by exploring the Alps for a year.

When completing her journalism masters degree, she also worked as a lecturer in university. Whilst doing so she saw a newspaper article on the Everest expedition in South Africa. Six months after seeing this she became the first woman from South Africa who went to summit Everest.

Three years later she was the first woman ever to climb up the mountain on each side. She spent three years living in the Himalayas for her degree. Here she discovered a lot about herself and about teams and individuals under extreme stress with overwhelming challenges. Cathy often shares these with her audiences. Her past experiences have shaped the way she is now and make up her speeches and teachings to others.
In addition, in 2001, Cathy married Ian Woodall an Expedition leader and now lives in the Pyrenees.

Cathy O’Dowd Professional Career

Cathy is an avid speaker and has been for around 20 years. She has spoken at events on six continents, 44 countries and counting. Also, she has been awarded an award of excellence for professional speaking by the Professional Speaking Association in Ireland/UK.

Cathy has turned her experiences of reaching summits and climbing mountains into interactive case studies of executions and innovative goals.

In addition, she is involved actively with charities that focus on female empowerment in particular the Ugandan Health project, Rwenzori Women. As well as being the Women’s Foundation voice in Germany and a jury member of the European Adventurer.

Cathy lives in Pyrenees mountains, here she pursues her speaking career, exploring the European mountains. She spends her time canyoning, ski-mountaineering and rock climbing. Unfortunately, Cathy’s planned expeditions for 2020 have been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Through her Everest experiences and different routes that she has tried, she wrote the book, Just For The Love Of It published in 1999. In her first ascent herself and team got trapped in a wild storm. When reaching the summit, the thrill quickly went away after realising a team member had disappeared on the way up there. In 1998, when Cathy was climbing the north side, she stopped to help an American climber who was dying but had to leave her before also risking her own life.

In this book, Cathy perfectly captures the dramas of an Everest climb, her passion for mountain climbing and love for the great outdoors on her climb attempts. She tries to answer questions as to why people choose to climb the mountain even though they know it’s so dangerous. This book talks of challenges, death, life, love and adventure. It mentions why people climb Everest just for the love of it.

Cathy O’Dowd Teaching and Events

Throughout her career, Cathy O’Dowd has been involved in several personal performances, seminars and engaging talks. Her practices and viewpoints on life are very unique and her experiences are fascinating.

She is a professional keynote speaker talking of challenges she has experienced on her expeditions, how she has led teams and executed high risk plans in environments which are very stressful and how she strives for great goals. She helps people learn the reasons for plans failing and why teams fall apart. As well as discovering the best tools to getting to the top.

One keynote topic is Think like an explorer. Cathy talks of a new route on a peak of 8000 meters that is award winning. Within this she mentions, decision making, diverse teams, project management, managing uncertainty, innovation and interacts with the audience.

Another topic relates to reaching new heights, leadership and teamwork from the Mount Everest slopes. She talks about; leadership, overcoming obstacles, achieving goals, women in a man’s world and team dynamics.

Cathy O’Dowd Books & Publications

Cathy O’Dowd has written a number of best selling books

Self Help

Everest: Free to Decide

May 1996 was one of the most eventful months in Everest’s history – for all the wrong reasons. Forteen expeditions were trying to climb the mountain from the southern side, among them the first South African team ever to attempt the summit.

Self Help

Just For The Love Of It

At 8am on 29 May 1999, Cathy O’Dowd, a 30-year-old mountaineer from South Africa, stepped onto the summit of Everest and into history. She had become the first woman to climb the highest mountain in the world from both its south and north sides.

What Can Cathy O’Dowd Do For You Personally







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