Maria Conceicao – Guiness World Record Holder, Philanthropist & Motivational Speaker
Few people can captivate audiences with charm alone. Fewer still can inspire them to great heights by telling powerful stories about their own choices, obstacles, failures and triumphs, and point to ways their efforts have led to the tangible enrichment of hundreds of lives. Maria Conceição is one of those people.
Maria Conceicao is more than her description: innovator, humanitarian, the first Portuguese woman to summit Everest or trek to the North and South Pole. She’s a philanthropist, a teacher, a mother figure to dozens of successful young people – and a compelling public speaker who elevates her audience as she relates her own incredible journey.
Born into poverty, Maria Conceicao began cleaning toilets. No one would have expected that she would ever rise beyond an early marriage and a life of grueling manual labor. Through sheer force of character, however, she became an elite flight attendant who traveled the world in luxury. Most would have accepted this as a satisfying definition of success, but Maria hadn’t even begun. Her purpose became clear the day she witnessed unspeakable poverty in the slums of Bangladesh, and she vowed to do something, anything, to lift the children she saw living there out of crushing, hopeless circumstances.
Through a series of challenges designed to raise money for these children’s educations, she overcame staggering odds. Never an athlete, she trekked to the North Pole and the South Pole.
With no background in mountaineering, she trained for the arduous physical task of climbing Mt. Everest. With incredible endurance and sense of purpose, she learned to swim so she could cross the English Channel, raise money, continue her philanthropic work and work toward her goal: to help transform the lives of others less fortunate.
Recognising the power of her story, organizations around the world have invited Maria to speak about the trajectory of her life and to encourage others to pursue their own goals and dreams. She has been a keynote speaker at events from small corporate events to audiences in the thousands. She has spoken for the John C. Maxwell annual event, Harvard Alumni and other top-level events in Europe, USA and the Middle East. The result is always the same: a rousing reception by an inspired and grateful audience.
As a speaker Maria Conceicao’s story gives incredible examples of innovation, leadership, and agility to keep her project going, to keep her promise to those slum children. A never give up attitude and strength to constantly re-invent herself and her strategy, Maria believes that you can always find a path to success.
Maria Conceicao offers her audience practical advice on what it takes to turn dreams into reality, how to stop your mind from playing tricks on you, how to overcome fear and how to get things done. She encourages people to pursue their own goals and dreams, to aim higher and to achieve more in life for themselves and others.
“Maria is one of a kind. She managed to overcome unbelievable challenges that most of us do not dare to even think about. She follows what she believes in with a passion. Her priority is to look after the deserving others and does not give up.”
— - Musa Al-Sadoon, President at Rotary Jumeirah – Dubai