‘The acquisition of real-world wisdom is attained through lived experiences in the real world… it is not necessarily found in the pages of books.’
Victoria Humphries is a polar adventurer, three times Guinness World Record holder, mountain climber, marathon runner, author, Bath based businesswoman and a ‘normal’ person. She prides herself on being just your average woman who happens to believe that Anything is Possible if you put your mind to it. Life is full of challenges and we always have a choice – step forward or run away, be overcome by the enormity of it or be brave and step into it. What’s the worst that can happen? Just give it a go!
In 1997 a group of twenty women set out to become the world’s first all-female expedition to the North Pole. Victoria and her Mum Sue were surprised to find themselves amongst them. En route to the most isolated and forbidding regions of the globe and facing the bitterest hardships, both were seeking a new beginning. For Sue these were the first steps following treatment for breast cancer. For Victoria, abandoning the security of her career was a good way to test her self-belief. Along the way they experienced temperatures of -40oC, constantly shifting ice and at one point both of them fell into the Arctic Ocean finding themselves in a life or death situation. The expedition tested their resilience, their ability to cope with a constantly changing environment and most of all, their determination to keep on heading North no matter what. Their adventure was turned into a book “Frigid Women”.
When not accepting challenges and generally being a little bit bonkers she has spent 25 years working in the education sector as a teacher, governor, Managing Director, consultant and trainer. She continues to work in education and also works with businesses and schools running resilience workshops; encouraging each person to use their lived experiences to build their ‘resilience toolbox’.
Some of her other achievements include –
- In Franklin’s Footsteps expedition (Arctic) – 1998
- Millennium low Arctic expedition – 2000
- London Marathon – 1998, 2001, 2010
- Midnight half marathon (Tromso – run at midnight on the longest day) – 2010
- Mount Kilimanjaro – 2020
Victoria is unusual in that she combines stories from her various adventures and challenges with her extensive commercial experience to create a talk that is both inspirational and relatable to the challenges of the modern day workplace. She is known for avoiding corporate jargon and simply uses her real life experiences to inspire and motivate.
She focuses on helping your workforce to recognise that they live in a ‘non-linear’ world; one where there will be constant change, they will fall over, they will need to change direction and there will be many times where they don’t know all the answers. She explains how resilience is not about being strong but about learning to pick yourself back up again and keep going. In particular she is keen to inspire young people and women to follow their dreams and by taking one step at a time discover that they can achieve anything they desire.
Key topic areas:
- Overcoming adversity
- Building resilience
- Managing change
- Women in business
- Motivation and inspiration
I was stunned and impressed with your fortitude, guts and belief - I know we can all learn from that and certainly put some of our day to day issues firmly into a new perspective. The crowd adored you and I think they felt very inspired to try something almost equally ambitious themselves one day!’
— - British Telecom - Executive Women's Networking Group
‘Absolutely fantastic. I've never seen anyone engage absolutely everyone in the room before as much as Victoria did… and [it was] delivered with lots of humour!’
— AQA Education
‘Everyone was enthralled by all you had to say…I am sure you fired the imagination of many in the audience.
— St John’s Ambulance Annual Conference