Making Conversations about mountaineering on Everest Count

Episode 61 - Cathy O'Dowd

Enjoy a conversation with Cathy O’Dowd, speaker, and the first woman in the world to climb Mount Everest from both sides!


Cathy O'Dowd making conversations count picture

Winners never quit is a terrible maxim. You should absolutely quit in all sorts of situations.…..”

Cathy O’Dowd, Making Conversations Count (December 2021)

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We’re always moving mountains to bring you powerful conversations!

This latest of our series of business success-themed conversations is with a lady who thinks like an explorer and actually speaks about where mountains meet management.

Cathy O’Dowd is known as the first woman in the world to have completed a mission of mountaineering on Everest from both sides.

explorer on Mount Everest

Mountaineering is like business

“Mountaineering is like business more than it is like sport,” Cathy says.

“You didn’t all get brought in through years of training and selection by experts and supported by a team psychologist and the whole of the team wins together or loses together. Mountaineering is wildly more individualistic.”

This isn’t to say that teamwork doesn’t have its place in mountaineering – or in business. But what Cathy learned from mountaineering is that, ultimately, each individual has to take responsibility for their own success or failure.

“Some people, the people who are weaker in whatever way, are going to need to step down and support. So, it’s a little bit like business.

Yes, you need to collaborate with other people, but also you’re the only one looking out for your personal career.”

But the really interesting thing for us on this podcast for which we’ve become known for hosting conversations that count, is the learning she had around entrepreneurship and business leadership.

Her mountaineering feats taught her some of the biggest secrets to business success.

(Full transcript available below)

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Key parallels

We asked Cathy about some of the key parallels between mountaineering and business, and this is what she came up with:

  • Both mountaineering and business are high-risk activities. And you need to know that it’s ok to quit, and when to quit.
  • In mountaineering, as in business, you need to be clear about your goals and objectives.
  • Failure is a possibility in both mountaineering and business – but it’s how you respond to failure that counts.

explorer mountaineering on Everest

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Applying knowledge

Cathy took her learnings from mountaineering on Everest and applied them to her speaking activities.

She studied the work of author Ken Blanchard and joined his leadership development programme.

Despite being busy on the speaking circuits, Cathy says she’ll never turn her back on the adrenaline junkie inside herself!

“The last couple of years, I’ve been doing a lot of technical canyoning, so you’re still in the big mountains, but now you disappear into the deep river gorges, and then you go down the river.

We’re talking very narrow, with ropes.

Once you start going down, you can’t get out; you’ve got to keep going down. So, there’s real risk involved and a lot of technical skill around water and rope work. But it’s still what I like, very small teams, risk management, and exploring in these wild places.”

(Full transcript available below)

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“Making Conversations Count” is a podcast from WAG Associates founder and telemarketing trainer Wendy Harris.


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Full Episode Transcript


Making Conversations about Mountaineering Count




Cathy O’Dowd



00:00:00: Introduction
00:03:30: View from the top of the world
00:04:33: How Cathy got into climbing
00:07:53: Teamwork on the mountain and in business
00:10:34: External influencing factors
00:12:42: Climbing versus public speaking
Ken Blanchard: forming, storming, norming, performing
The changing face of Everest
00:22:48: Knowing when to quit
Cathy’s future plans
00:26:35: Adapting public speaking for online audiences
00:28:24: Final thoughts


Interview Transcription                                  

Wendy Harris: Welcome back to Making Conversations Count.  I’m Wendy Harris, your host and expert telemarketing trainer.  So, let’s get to Making Conversations about Mountaineering Count.

What’s new, Wendy Woo?  Well, I’m pleased to tell you that in 2022, you are going to be able to work online with me on a one-to-one basis.  If you want to find out more, you’d better just hit me with an email or a DM from the platforms of your choice.  I’ll be waiting to pick up and carry on that conversation with you.

This week, I promised you a lady that had literally touched the heavens, and I’m so pleased to introduce Cathy O’Dowd.  Now, she is a lady who has climbed the mountain; and, by the mountain, I hadn’t realised that was known in the mountaineering world as Everest.  Now, she’s climbed it not just once, but she’s climbed it twice, and I saw her do a motivational speaker set online, and she did an amazing job of explaining the parallels between climbing a mountain and running a business.  So, sit back and enjoy how being part of a team and having to trust each other in a team can be the difference to your success.  And, even if only one person reaches the summit, it’s the fact that you were part of a team that that worked.

Well, here with me to join a conversation is a lady who thinks like an explorer and actually speaks about where mountains meet management.  So without further ado, I think it’s only right that I should introduce Cathy, Cathy O’Dowd.  Hello, Cathy.

Cathy O’Dowd: Great to be here.

Wendy Harris: Thank you for joining me all the way from the mountain, it’s lovely to have you here.  Now, everybody that comes on the show, we talk about how conversation is important and how we can make conversations count in our daily lives.  And for those that don’t know you, I think it’s only right that you should let everybody know what you are perhaps most famous for achieving.

Cathy O’Dowd: Well, I guess the thing that’s always going to make the first line of my obituary would be, “The first South African to climb Everest”, followed by, “The first woman in the world to climb Everest from both sides, both the north and the south sides”.

Wendy Harris: And that’s to get to the summit as well, right, isn’t it, Cathy, because that bit’s important, is it?

Cathy O’Dowd: You can’t claim to have climbed the mountain if you didn’t get to the summit.

Wendy Harris: Oh right, okay.  So, you’re not a climber — education!

Cathy O’Dowd: You actually do need to get to the top to claim you’ve done it!

Wendy Harris: It’s not just, “We’ve gotten so far and had a rest and decided to turn round and go back”?

Cathy O’Dowd: Yeah, I’ve been to the top twice.

Wendy Harris: Wow.  What is the view like?

Cathy O’Dowd: Well, you’re so high, you can see the curve of the Earth, which is pretty cool.  Although, most people don’t realise you can see the curve of the Earth out of an aeroplane window, if you actually are in the right place at the right time.  But nevertheless, that feeling of still standing with both feet on the ground, and yet being the highest person in the world, looking hundreds of miles out across India and Nepal, and that sense of height and space.  Also, the fact that you’re so high, you actually can’t see any sign of human development.  The planet just looks incredibly pristine and wild when you’re that high up.

Wendy Harris: Wouldn’t that be a lovely thought, to see a pristine Earth, but that’s a completely different topic, right, Cathy?

Cathy O’Dowd: Yes.

Wendy Harris: It’s something that’s always fascinated me, it’s kind of one of those action movies that you sit in the arm of your chair and Hollywood can take you on an adventure without you having to get cold, or run out of food, or have to make any scary decisions that could result in loss of limb or life.  What got you into climbing in the first place?

Cathy O’Dowd: Well, the short answer, summer camps as a teenager up in the mountains doing basic adventure sports.  I liked hiking and camping, I liked rock climbing.  And then, once I got to university, I got my first chance to really get involved, and I took up rock climbing, which I loved and still love, and that started a lifelong journey through the mountains.  And, although rock climbing has been a foundation through all of that, I then explored all sorts of different things, just being curious, and that brought me to high-altitude mountaineering and to ski mountaineering and to canyoneering and to all sorts of different ways of engaging deeply in technical risk-management environments in the wilderness.

Wendy Harris: Was that a result of some of the people that you would meet on your journey that had been to other places and were explaining their experiences of different climbing experiences?

Cathy O’Dowd: To some extent, yes, although I’m very self-motivated, so a lot of these things, I found my own way to them, rather than got introduced by somebody. 

One pivotal moment, I was already rock climbing, I’d done some basic mountaineering in Africa, in the Andes.  I’m South Africa, so this was happening out of South Africa.  Reading a book, called Annapurna: A Woman’s Place, by Arlene Blum, and it was the story of the first all-woman’s expedition to the Himalaya.  And before reading the book, I’d never visualised the Himalaya.  It was too big, too distant, too masculine somehow.  It wasn’t an environment I could envisage myself in. 

Having read the book, I thought, “Hang on, it would be possible”, and that’s in fact what brought me to the first Everest trip.  Not Everest.  I was never motivated by, or focused on Everest.  All I wanted was an opportunity to go to the Himalaya.  The first opportunity that came up was the first South African Everest expedition.

Wendy Harris: Wow!  So it’s a little bit serendipitous then, that what you had envisaged in your mind became a reality, I suppose, by following the journey, following the breadcrumbs?

Cathy O’Dowd: I think luck is a real thing, it’s a real part of success, and we can’t discount luck.  But you do have to be in the space, actively working towards the things you’re interested in to get the lucky break.

Wendy Harris: I could not agree more with you there, Cathy.  So, from climbing the mountain twice, I know that you impart the thinking like an explorer, you’re not there on your own, are you; you’re there as part of a team, and you’ve got to be able to work together?  So, how did you find, I suppose, the right team; and how did that communication relationship evolve for you?

Cathy O’Dowd: Well, one of the interesting things about mountaineering is I think while it makes quite a good metaphor activity for business, it’s not like sport.  You didn’t all get brought in through years of training and selection by experts and supported by a team psychologist and the whole of the team wins together or loses together.  Mountaineering is wildly more individualistic.  You quite possibly end up on a team where you barely know the other people; and once you get to know them, you may not like them.  Success does not require every person to get to the top.  You are only going to get one person of the team to the top, and hopefully all of you home alive, and that’s a successful trip.

Often, what you’re trying to do is too hard for every single person to get to the top.  Some people, the people who are weaker in whatever way, are going to need to step down and support.  So, it’s a little bit like business.  Yes, you’re part of a team, but you’re also individually ambitious.  Yes, you need to collaborate with other people, but also you’re the only one looking out for your personal career.  And that team is probably a bunch of people you didn’t necessarily choose, and you may not necessarily like.

It’s the same sort of things that make it work.  You yourself need to be professional, skilled, self-confident and constantly learning, so even if you do not have the skills when you join the team, you have the ability to learn, to acquire the skills as you go.  You also need the ability to work with other people.  I think as long as there’s a certain basic respect and understanding that you’re on the same side and you’re moving towards the same goal, that’s enough.  You don’t have to be lifelong friends.

There are plenty of people I’d happily climb a mountain with, but I do not want to spend a week around a tent with!

Wendy Harris: That’s possibly similar to most people in most working environments, isn’t it, as well?  And I’m guessing that the mountain is in charge as well, because of the conditions.  That’s what business would see as external to the people, because there are things that you can’t control always, moving parts.  That’s got to test your honesty with yourself and I guess, your mettle as well, in dealing with whatever may come next.

Cathy O’Dowd: Absolutely.  And I think it’s also the foundation of what I think is one of the key mistakes.  There’s a great deal that’s out of your control, both on the side of a mountain and in a business environment.  And where we can often have the most impact is by putting time and thought into the soft skills, making sure that the team is as good as it can possibly be, making sure a really good team is even better, pushing them right up into high performance.

That’s tricky.  It’s hard to put that stuff on a spreadsheet, it’s hard to put numbers to that.  A lot of people are uncomfortable with delving into managing people and emotionals and team cohesion, bonding vision, group goals, interpersonal support.  They didn’t choose to climb mountains or to run businesses because that’s what they were good at; that’s where you make a difference.  You can’t stop the storms, you can’t stop COVID, you can’t turn the economy around single-handedly. 

What you can do is build a group of people with a purpose and a vision to take advantage of whatever opportunities arise in the chaos of the mountain or business world, a group of people who have got the agility, the resilience, the perception to bounce back from setbacks and see and exploit opportunities.

Wendy Harris: It’s the irony, isn’t it, that the challenges that you have faced in climbing the mountains has, in effect, grounded you.  And I’m thinking of the metaphor where people refer to the iceberg, “It’s just the tip of the iceberg, yet it’s what you see below the waterline”.  It’s really set you up, I guess, for what you also do when you’re not climbing, in helping teams in business and those communication skills.  Was that part of your professional plan, as a sort of day job, whilst you were climbing as a hobby; or, was it the other way around; which came first?

Cathy O’Dowd: The climbing came first.  I actually trained as a journalist, and then stayed on in academia in media studies, mostly to dodge getting a real job, and I was trying to climb all the mountains I could get to.  And, in fact, when we first discussed this podcast, two key conversations came to mind, and this was one of them.

I came back from my first ever Everest expedition, so I’d become the first South African to climb Everest.  But equally, the expedition was terrible.  The team was awful, the in-fighting was just so painful.  Three members walked out before we got to Base Camp.  Things got quite a lot better after that.  But the initial negativity and power-playing was just astonishing from a group of what should have been professionals with a shared goal.

So, I came home with this extraordinary experience, which had been as negative as it had been positive, and did a couple of talks in the style of the Olympic gold medallists.  You get invited to give a talk, because people just want to be in the same room, hear the gossip, get an autograph, and you get your 15 minutes and then the world moves on.

The challenges, as a motivational speaker, is how do you stay in the business for years and decades.  And at this point, I’ve been doing this since, let’s think; 30 years now, nearly.  How do you manage to keep on going after your 15 minutes has long-since vanished?  That’s about being relevant to your audience, being able to talk about things that really matter to them.

In my case, I got invited out to lunch by a friend who was a corporate team trainer.  He took corporate teams out for these day-long outdoor exercises, doing trust falls and team-building challenges, and that kind of thing.  And, he knew the men who’d walked out on the team.  He was fascinated as to what had gone wrong, because the media had only got —

Wendy Harris: Curiosity factor.

Cathy O’Dowd: — a sensationalised, very limited version.  So, I spent the next three hours unloading about what happened, and I didn’t understand and how had we ended up like that, and it had all felt so exceptional, so unexpected.  Chris eventually rolled his eyes and said, “Have you ever heard of a business guru called Ken Blanchard?” who at that time was famous, I think, for the One Minute Manager books. 

But he also had a cycle of team development, “forming, storming, norming, performing”.  So, getting together, inevitable conflict, surviving the conflict and then, trying to pull yourself up into a really high-performing team.  He said, “You guys sound like a total cliché”.  I was like, “Oh, right”.  There I was thinking we were so exceptional and we weren’t!

So, I went away and read Ken Blanchard’s stuff and it helped with another problem, which is I don’t like talking about me all that much; it makes me uncomfortable.

Wendy Harris: I know what you mean, yeah, I do know what you mean.

Cathy O’Dowd: I was never going to be brilliant as the kind of motivational speaker who went, “Look at me and be inspired”!  I’d much rather remove myself a little bit.  So, I took Ken Blanchard’s cycle of team development, used it as a skeleton, and redesigned my talk as an illustration of team dynamics.  So, it still had all the drama of a true story and, while I was still in South Africa, all the gossip that people had heard in the newspapers; but it was also now based in business team psychology, in a way that both team members and managers of teams found useful and interesting.

I also think the fact that I was prepared to talk quite honestly about the failure and the mistakes we made, and how badly we behaved early on, people found that really quite surprising and refreshing, rather than, “Let me tell you how incredibly successful our team was”; a little hard to relate to that.

Wendy Harris: That’s what resonates, isn’t it, because we’ve all been in situations that we probably don’t want to confess to, but it does add light and shade to the story?

Cathy O’Dowd: Absolutely.  And I think people associate more with someone who says, “We were good, but we also made some terrible mistakes, and our failure was almost entirely on us”.  People find that refreshing, because most of us are in that space.  We’re good, but we’re not perfect, and we’re battling to try and do our best on a day-by-day basis! 

So, yes, that conversation with Chris.  Then, also my own capacity to take that conversation and say not just, for example, “I can use this structure to structure my talk”, but also, “This solves other problems I’m having about not wanting to talk about myself”.  I could use the kernel of the idea he gave me, and then develop it over time into something that I think neither he nor I would ever have predicted.

Wendy Harris: That’s the magic, isn’t it, when a conversation can take you down a road that you never even thought you were going to travel.  So, climbing, I imagine, is fantastic; however, for me, in my opinion, Kathy, creating that model, that’s the real story, because of how many people’s lives and perceptions that you can affect change for them to be the better version of themselves, at work or personally.  Because, let’s face it, what we learn at work we do take home with us.

Cathy O’Dowd: Oh, yes.  Life’s a team sport in that you’re having to collaborate with other people in every aspect, whether it’s friends or marriages or children or work colleagues.  If I can give you very quickly a little bit of an epilogue, because of course I found Everest, okay, maybe 25 years ago.  A lot has changed.  So these days, I don’t even talk about Everest much, because now they’ve basically got a fixed safety line from base camp to the summit; you don’t actually have to be a climber to get up Everest.

Wendy Harris: I saw some pictures where there was a queue to get to the top!

Cathy O’Dowd: Yeah.  You don’t even need to bring an ice axe anymore.  You just clip into the safety life and make sure you’re facing in the right direction.

Wendy Harris: It spoils it a little bit, doesn’t it?

Cathy O’Dowd: I know, which kind of spoils it for me as a speaker as well, because that’s not that inspiring anymore.  But in the mountain space, I was able to use my Everest experience to continue to build, to continue to learn, to continue to grow as a climber; and much later, I ended up on the most difficult expedition I’ve ever been on, where we were trying to climb a new route, so a route that no one had ever done before, on an 8,000-metre peak, so much harder than Everest.

Wendy Harris: Why am I not surprised?

Cathy O’Dowd: It wasn’t much fun at the time, it was very difficult, but it makes for a great story, because it was so difficult.

Wendy Harris: Were there good lessons to take away from it though, because those are lessons that stand you in good stead to try again?  What I’m hearing is that you’ve never given up climbing.

Cathy O’Dowd: Oh, no, no.  Giving up climbing is not on the agenda!

Wendy Harris: That’s like saying, “Cathy, stop breathing!”

Cathy O’Dowd: But the thing about that climb where we succeeded, two members of the team did get the route done.  That has now become my go-to case study, and Everest now becomes an example of the old world: certain, known, predictable, but also you’re in a queue with 100 other people doing the same thing.  And you’ve got to move on from early success, you’ve got to reinvent yourself, you’ve got to step out into the unknown, the unpredictable, the unexpected.  And you may be doing that by choice, because you’re trying to be an innovator, or you may be doing that because the world forced that upon you, and stuff happened that you didn’t predict, your five-year plan is now in tatters and you’re having to react to an incredibly changed environment.

So, I’m getting challenged from both sides, and this is where the idea of thinking like an explorer comes from, interested in this idea; how do you operate in an environment where you don’t know what to expect, no one else has ever done it before, you don’t know exactly what’s going to go wrong.  All you’ve got is your team, your skills and your creativity to try and make this work.

Wendy Harris: And belief that it will work.

Cathy O’Dowd: Belief that you can deal with it, because the thing about climbing, “Winners never quit” is a terrible maxim.  You should absolutely quit in all sorts of situations.  If the mountain is too dangerous, get out, get home, you could die.  In business, if you’ve already lost a billion, don’t lose another billion, call it quits.

Wendy Harris: Give it to charity, it’s called Wendy Harris!

Cathy O’Dowd: But knowing when to call it quits and stop and move on to something else, that’s one of my great skills. 

Wendy Harris: You are right there, Cathy.  So, what’s next?

Cathy O’Dowd: Well, I’m not sure there’ll be any more big Himalayan expeditions.  I think we’ll leave that to the younger generation at this point, because the first ascents are now incredibly technically difficult.  On a personal level, I’ve always been interested in continuing to learn and taking my skills and pivoting them. 

So, the last couple of years, I’ve been doing a lot of technical canyoning, so you’re still in the big mountains, but now you disappear into the deep river gorges, and then you go down the river.  We’re talking very narrow, with ropes.  Once you start going down, you can’t get out; you’ve got to keep going down.  So, there’s real risk involved and a lot of technical skill around water and rope work.  But it’s still what I like, very small teams, risk-management, and exploring in these wild places.

So, that’s where I’ve gone in the mountain space in the last couple of years.  That and mountaineering on skis, which is good fun.  It’s a lot more fun to ski back down the mountain than have to walk down the mountain!

Wendy Harris: Do you ever record your climbs, if you’ve got a camera on your helmet, to be able to share for teaching, or for just curiosity of what’s down there?

Cathy O’Dowd: Not really, because honestly, it’s two separate projects.  Making a decent film of an adventure is really difficult.  It requires much more time and much more equipment and more people, partly because everything has to be done about three times, and the cameras have to be set up in advance, and then you do the thing and then you go back to retrieve the cameras.

I’m more interested in the purity of the actual experience.  I don’t want to be having to move with the camera at the same time.  I try and take photographs as I go, but that’s about it.

Wendy Harris: And let’s face it, if they want to see it, they’re going to have to just learn to climb and do it themselves!

Cathy O’Dowd: I’m not sure we ready to compete for the professional Red Bull camera crews!

Wendy Harris: I was thinking more Blair Witch project!

Cathy O’Dowd: Thank you very much!

Wendy Harris: Well, that would be me anyway, because you wouldn’t really know where I was looking, because I wouldn’t know what I was doing.  But it sounds like you’re never going to exhaust the adventures and be able to translate those into lessons for people in business.

Cathy O’Dowd: I will certainly keep adventuring for the reset of my life.  For the lessons, I tend to draw on the most interesting and complex of the big Himalayan expeditions, because I think they’re the ones that have real depth and value for corporate clients; I don’t think they really need to know what I did last weekend.  That’s on my Instagram, if anybody cares.

With the corporate work, I stick with the big Himalayan expeditions.  And of course, one of my challenges, like all of us, was to transition with COVID into doing all of this online, where beforehand everything had happened with the electricity of being in the space with people; now, trying to capture that across a computer screen.

Wendy Harris: Yeah, the energy is different, but it’s still doable.

Cathy O’Dowd: One of the things I’ve done with that is take some of the stories where there were key decision-making moments, and actually poll the audience in the moment, in the talk, “This is the problem, these are the choices, not a lot of information, that’s tough, you’ve got to choose.  What would you choose?” and suddenly, they’ve got skin in the game, they’ve actually made a choice.

Wendy Harris: I remember being in the audience.  I think I died very early on!  But it was a great way to get everybody invested in the story, because from what felt like an obvious choice that was wrong, but once you’d explained why the choice was this, I think most people were just sat there going, “Oh, yeah, of course”, because we screen our brains, don’t we?  We talk our brains out of different things for different reasons, so I think it’s great to have that challenge as well. 

Cathy O’Dowd: We didn’t always make the right choices.  It does reflect the reality.  A lot of project management is actually just making a choice and then managing the consequences, while trying to keep on moving towards whatever your ultimate goal is.

Wendy Harris: Well, Cathy, I really, really appreciate you coming and sharing with us the experiences that have taken you on this lifelong journey.  Long may you stay safe and keep adventuring.  If anybody wants to reach out to you, where’s the best place for them to do that after listening?

Cathy O’Dowd: So, my website, which is  You’ll find a contact page there, and that’s mostly information about my talks and just a little bit of blogging.  And then, Instagram, which is @cathyodowd, you’ll find day-to-day pictures of all the adventures in the mountains.

Wendy Harris: Fantastic.  We’ll put all the details in the show notes.  Once again, thank you so much for your time, Cathy, it’s been fantastic to speak to you.

Cathy O’Dowd: It’s been a great pleasure.

Wendy Harris: I’m sure many of you will agree now, after listening to Cathy talking about the tactics of her mountaineering and achieving what she has across the Himalayas and some of those remote parts of the world that I couldn’t even see myself in, there are decisions that you need to make because there are extremities that are going to affect you that are out of your control.

So, do pick up the conversation with Cathy; if you’ve got a team and it feels like you’re climbing a mountain, she’s definitely the lady for you.  If you need some other more sort of Base Camp help with your team on a telephone training point of view, do hit me up too.

Next week, I’m going to be Dead Honest with our guest.  She won the 2021 Best Interview Podcast, and she’s so incredibly insightful about the journey of podcasting, that we couldn’t help but get Dead Honest talking about it.  You’ll want to tune in to hear more insights about that with Georgie Vestey next time.



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Making Conversations about Marketing for Introverts Count

Let us introduce you to Jenny Procter, a marketing consultant and self-proclaimed introvert.

Jenny writes PR and communications for B2B clients and has her own podcast show, and she discusses issues around running her own business as an entrepreneur.

Andrew Deighton team coaching

Episode 5 – Andrew Deighton

Andrew Deighton – Team Coaching. Making Conversations about Teams Count. We are joined by Andrew Deighton today, who helps build and develop high-performing teams through strategy and processes in today’s remote working world.

Wendy has worked with Andrew in a second business through mentoring and knows firsthand how his advice relates to many aspects of running a business.

Nicky Pattinson sales expert public speaker

Episode 6 – Nicky Pattinson

Nicky Pattinson – Leading Sales Authority & Public Speaker. Making Conversations about Personality Count. Nicky Pattinson speaks the Truth in all she does! A northern lass who traded on the markets at the beginning of her career, similarly to your host. Now, Nicky has a best-selling book “Email: Don’t Get Deleted” and her own YouTube channel NICKYPTV.

Buckso Dhillon Wooley

Episode 7 – Buckso Dhillon-Wooley

Buckso Dhillon-Wooley – Actress, Speaker & Business Coach. Making Conversations about Self-Belief Count. A true diamond, Buckso is very much aligned with herself and the many facets of her own personality.
As an actor, speaker and coach her mission in life is to help people connect with their higher self.
Being aligned with yourself on a spiritual, physical and emotional level allows you to shine brighter in everything you touch.
Buckso Dillon-Whooley is a well known Actress, who has starred in Disney’s recent remake of Aladdin and is a long-standing actor on Coronation Street with appearances on many UK TV shows.

James Daniel Copywriter

Episode 8 – James Daniel

James Daniel – Copywriter
Making Conversations about Copywriting Count
Joining us in this episode is copywriter James Daniel.
He describes himself as ‘That old guy who writes copy – you know, the beardy one with glasses.’
We should point out there could be other old guys with beards and glasses out there!
It’s easy to like James’ style of writing because he’s a conversationalist who realizes that people don’t speak geek or tech.

Henny Maltby Digital marketing agency

Episode 9 – Henny Maltby

Henny Maltby – Digital Marketing Agency, Pink Elephant Media. Making Conversations about Digital Marketing Count. When the Pandemic hit in early 2020, Henny Maltby turned to her husband as they both realised their business was going to change forever. Offering online marketing to large corporate businesses who cut budgets left a hole to fill. By opening the conversation up with local businesses, it was obvious what the next chapter would be for them at Pink Elephant Media…

Kim Walsh Phillips

Episode 10 – Kim Walsh Phillips

Kim Walsh Phillips owns Powerful Professionals, a business that helps empower entrepreneurs to turn clicks into cash and identifying the superpowers in others so they can fly high. Kim is an expert in social selling strategy.

Amelia Thorpe Wellbeing coach

Episode 11 – Amelia Thorpe

Amelia Thorpe – Mental Health Wellbeing Coach. Making Conversations about Mental Wealth Count. Meet Amelia Thorpe, founder of Wellbeing 360, who talks to Wendy about how important it is to give equal priority to our mental and physical health. Listening to Amelia’s story will bring a beacon of hope that we can all take charge of our own conversations which will give us back the control that slips sometimes when times are tough. Amelia is a wellbeing counsellor.

John Attridge capacity business

Episode 12 – John Attridge

John Attridge – Guiding Businesses to Reach their Full Potential by Tapping into Spare Capacity

Making Conversations about Capacity Count. John Attridge, owner of BBX turns spare capacity into value for many businesses. When you listen to John you just know there is a bigger story to this guy as his accent gives it away!
John has successfully built a business network and community to help people fill spare capacity and exchange services. It is a brilliant concept and if you’ve not come across it before yet in touch with me and I’ll tell you more. Using the BBX community helped my own business through the lockdown and has provided such a lot of support and new relationships.

Clara Wilcox return to work coaching for parents

Episode 13 – Clara Wilcox

Clara Wilcox runs The Balance Collective, Specialising in Return to Work Coaching for Parents. Making Conversations about Returning to Work Count! This is a conversation that every Mum will resonate with, juggling home and work is not simply a balancing act but a superpower!

Clara recognized through her own personal journey that the right support for Mum’s returning to work was only available from the employer’s point of view. This causes a biased approach and is not always helpful in an emotive decision-making process.

dr ivan misner bni networking

Episode 14 – Dr Ivan Misner

In this episode, Ivan and Wendy explore how conversation is the foundation of all growth and learning. How times have changed, looking back and also predicting our future generations experiences, yet communication will still be the underpin even it how that looks has changed.

Janine Coombes marketing coach

Episode 15 – Janine Coombes

Google has recognised this lady as the #1 marketing coach and her video series mixes humour with key messages, it is the lovely Janine Coombes. Janine is a marketing coach for personal brands.
In this episode, Janine and Wendy share how using the right language influences the conversations we have and how it affects our results.

Lizzie Butler presentations coach

Episode 16 – Lizzie Butler

Making conversations about presentations count! Delighted to introduce Lizzie Butler, owner of LB Communications, who met Wendy at a local online networking event and immediately hit it off. Lizzie helps you to grow your business through personal development training and how to achieve brilliant communication.

Jem hills inspirational speaker

Episode 17 – Jem Hills

Making conversations about Bullying count. Jem Hills is an inspirational speaker, trainer & performance coach.
Talking to Wendy in this episode is ex-marine Jem Hills who you might find it hard to believe was affected by bullying and a lack of confidence. As a release Jem discovered Northern dancing and practiced as a bedroom activity that later led to an accidental release of freestyle dancing at a competition. The dancing-built resilience and the foundations for the training to complete the Mud Run and onto his Elite Special Forces career.

Peter howard graphic design

Episode 18 – Peter Howard

Peter Howard runs a design studio that is ranked in the top 100 in the country and was responsible for the WAG brand. Having known Peter and his team for many years, Wendy has heard lots of his stories but knew there would be one she had not heard before.

Taz Thornton & Asha Clearwater business coaches

Episode 19 – Taz Thornton & Asha Clearwater

Making conversations about partnerships count. In a Making Conversations Count first, we are joined by two dynamic guests in this episode. Both Taz & Asha provide business coach services in different areas. Joining Wendy chatting about all the elements that make up a great debate. You are not going to want to miss the observations with Taz Thornton and Asha Clearwater around questioning, opinions, debate and discernment that makes for wonderful colourful conversations.

Vicki Carroll O'Neill

Episode 20 – Vicki Carroll (formerly O’Neill)

Vicki works with entrepreneurs, small business owners and executive leaders who are stuck in their business and need someone as a partner to coach them to their next level of success. Vicki offers growth marketing consultant advice, strategy plans & also organises in-house marketing teams.

heidi medina business coach

Episode 21 – Heidi Medina

This episode contains one of our most important conversations, so we’re definitely going to make it count!
Wendy Harris brings Heidi Medina into the conversation today, who opens up the conversation about abuse she has encountered.
She’s a Linkedin expert and business coach who is the exact opposite of the classic ‘my way or the highway’.
Whether you meet Heidi online or in person she is the same.

Niraj Kapur online sales coach

Episode 22 – Niraj Kapur

In this episode, Wendy is joined by Online Sales Coach Niraj Kapur from “Everybody works in Sales” a business that helps companies with their sales processes.

Steve Judge paralympian motivational speaking

Episode 23 – Steve Judge

A life-changing accident that almost claimed a life but actually birthed a mindset shift.  Making conversations about speaking count!

Imagine losing your limbs in an accident.

That’s a real human test.

Most people would fall into one of two camps.

Feel the loss, and struggle to overcome it, before essentially accepting your ‘job lot’ and just becoming a bit angry.

Many would. And they’d be forgiven.

Then there are others, who would not let it defeat them, or define them.

Steve Judge is definitely in the latter of the two camps.

Nikolas Venios the ideas agency

Episode 24 – Nik Venios

We reflect on how this business man helped his poorly mother solve a household challenge which led to a career of making conversations about ideas and innovation count. We will all eventually lose our parents. Sadly, it’s a part of life. Not many of us have to suffer that loss at the tender age of just six. We couldn’t think of a nicer guy to help us with our goal of making conversations about ideas count. Truly, if anyone can hold a conversation about ideas, it’s Nik Venios of the Ideas Agency. Did you know that NASA has a genius test? During this episode, you’ll find out all about this, and the fascinating stats surrounding it.

Jonny cooper hates marketing

Episode 25 – Jonny Cooper

Most business owners hate marketing. That’s probably because they don’t understand it. Someone who does get marketing is Jonny Cooper, and even he can’t stand it! In fact, he despises it so much, he built a business around it. Welcome to Jonny Hates Marketing! This week we’re making conversations about messaging count. Messaging is so important to get correct. Your entire marketing voice depends on it. That’s why you need to listen very carefully to Jonny Cooper.

Wendy Harris telephone trainer how to sell over the phone

Episode 26 – Wendy Harris

Wendy Harris is an expert telemarketer, who has years worth of experience in cold-calling and doing it right. Now a podcast host, Wendy shares her story and how she became an advocate for making conversations count!

Will Polston Make it happen

Episode 27 – Will Polston

Making conversations about wealth….and Clubhouse….count! Paying it forward. Acting from a position of generosity and giving within the law of reciprocity. We’re talking to Will Polston.

Ray Blakney Live Lingua

Episode 28 – Ray Blakney

Making conversations about language count… Ray Blakney is the CEO And founder of online language school Live Lingua. Can you speak another language other than your native tongue? Wendy admitted to the “Making Conversations Count” team that she doesn’t, and we can’t help but feel she’s definitely not alone.

Many Ward write my book cuddle monster

Episode 29 – Mandy Ward

Mandy Ward is a book mentor, helping people to write their own books under the company ‘Write my book’. Mandy is also an author herself, including the popular children’s book ‘The Cuddle Monster’.

Sarah Townsend copywriter survival skills for freelancers

Episode 30 – Sarah Townsend

Sarah Townsend is a freelance copywriter and best-selling author of the book ‘survival skills for freelancers’. In this episode, we discuss the importance of conversations in the freelance world, and how things can lead to many opportunities…

Paul Furlong visual branding advertiser videographer

Episode 31 – Paul Furlong

Paul Furlong is part of Opus Media, producing TV advertising, videos, and photographs for businesses. He knows a thing or two about visual branding, and is considered a advertising guru!

Masami Sato founder B1G1

Episode 32 – Masami Sato

Masami Sato set up the B1G1 initiative. Helping businesses to do good by giving back. When was the last time you gave, freely Not for tax reasons. And not because you felt awkward at a raffle. We could all always do more.

Ann Hobbs Forward thinking publishing

Episode 33 – Ann Hobbs

Ann Hobbs helps people to self-publish their books with Forward Thinking Publishing. She is also a coach and author of her book ‘Kick ass your life’, helping people to push through adversity.

Kim-Adele Platts Career development coach

Episode 34 – Kim-Adele Platts

Kim-Adele Platts, Career Development Coach. Making Conversations about Leadership Count! If you don’t believe in yourself how do you expect others to? This was a question and topic that surfaced during this powerful and insightful conversation with Kim-Adele Platts.

Marina Hauer branding specialist for coaches

Episode 35 – Marina Hauer

Marina Hauer is a branding specialist for independent coaches. Are you using three different brand ‘voices’ in your marketing efforts? We’re making conversations about branding count!

David Smith MBE paralympian

Episode 36 – David Smith

David Smith MBE is a Paralympian in the sport Boccia. Do you know what Boccia is? David tells you in this episode all about the most inclusive Paralympian sport that helps people with their independence.

Graham Nash accountant

Episode 37 – Graham Nash

Graham Nash, BusinessWise Accountants, has worked in many fields over the years and the one common denominator has been helping business turnaround.

Ian Genius sales coach

Episode 38 – Ian Genius

Ian Genius is the sales coach to help you gain confidence in sales. His Ingenious technique helps clients see the value of your best package to COMMAND a higher price.

Jennie Erikson voice over artist

Episode 39 – Jennie Eriksen

Jennie Eriksen is a voice over artist, her company name is Lovely Voice. She helps her intended listener to learn by being able to bring characters to life.

Stella Da Silva employability trainer

Episode 40 – Stella Da Silva

Stella Da Silva talks about vocations in this episode, as a specialist employability trainer she shares her insider knowledge.
What skills do you need to be employable?

Hypnotist Jonathan Chase

Episode 41 – Jonathan Chase

Look into my eyes! You will feel very sleepy! You guessed it, we’re having one of our many conversations that count with hypnosis star Jonathan Chase.

Brynne Tillman social sales link

Episode 42 – Brynne Tillman

Brynne Tillman is a social selling expert. Her company ‘Social Sales Link’ teaches the importance of connection for selling on LinkedIn and other platforms.

Ruth Driscoll

Episode 43 – Ruth Driscoll

Ruth Driscoll supports people through toxic relationships. Her company the ‘life liberator’ takes her personal experiences to help others.

Rob Begg mindset coach

Episode 44 – Rob Begg

Rob Begg is a results based mindset coach to business leaders & teams. In this episode, he talks about your ego and self-limiting beliefs many of us hold.

Dan Knowlton video advertising

Episode 45 – Dan Knowlton

Dan Knowlton and his brother Lloyd run Knowlton – a social media and video advertising company who create unique, funny content to stop the scroll.

Sudhir Kumar

Episode 46 – Sudhir Kumar

Sudhir Kumar is an expert in social selling to grow your business, he’s written a book ‘Being Human: Marketing & Social Selling in a Digital World’.

Episode 47 – Ann Page

Ann Page is a lawyer who helps other lawyers with her courses. She teaches valuable business skills and teaches the importance of avoiding jargon.

Joe Chatham networking

Episode 48 – Joe Chatham

Joe Chatham set up USA 500. It’s an exclusive member-based organization focusing on sharing his expertise in marketing relationships and networking.

Larry Long Jnr

Episode 49 – Larry Long Jnr

Larry Long Jnr is a sales coach that helps give people, teams, and organizations the motivation to go from good to great.

pete cann laughter man

Episode 50 – Pete Cann

Larry Long Jnr is a sales coach that helps give people, teams, and organizations the motivation to go from good to great.

Hear what people are saying about the show

I love this podcast. The guests you have on all bring something new to the conversation and definitely thought-provoking.

Sometimes this means I change something I do, or something I would say, and other times it’s a real opportunity for reflection.

Thanks for sharing your guests with us Wendy, the podcasts are brilliant.

Paula Senior

I always enjoy listening to Wendy’s Making Conversations Count podcast and admire her talent for drawing out people’s stories and getting to the heart of things for finding out what makes them tick.

We all have pivotal moments and Wendy manages to find the right parts, showcasing the reasons why someone is who they are.

It’s those details that we connect to and come to more understanding of why people do what they do.

Heidi Medina

Love this podcast series. It’s a great idea to have a theme of ‘pivotal conversations’ and the variety of guests from massively different backgrounds keeps it fresh and interesting.

Wendy is a natural host and makes people feel at ease to share their stories.

Andrew Deighton

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