Karen speaks from the heart with honesty, open-ness, sharing personal stories and experiences that have given her unique insights into overcoming challenge, embracing change, making the ‘impossible’ possible, and about stretching ourselves to achieve surprising things. She inspires audiences around the world with her ability to connect with diverse audiences from multinational businesses to young school children. Her most intimate audience has been 6 lovely humans, the largest 3000, and she is as adept virtually as face to face.
“Someone once told me, ‘ability is a state of mind not a state of body’, and I believe that’s true. Through my own journey, I’ve discovered the incredible power we have within us to change our thoughts, our emotions, and our energy. We can all learn to be our own alchemist, to find our inner gold, be creators of our reality and in doing so change our performance, our wellbeing, our world.”
Karen could be described as a modern-day ‘Alchemist’: an adventurer, athlete, speaker and author, Karen’s purpose is about inspiring and impacting, about turning challenge into opportunity: finding ‘inner gold’. Karen started out as a geologist researching gold in the Bolivian Andes, but a life-changing accident that left her paralysed led her away from being a ‘rock-doctor’ to winning Paralympic gold in the sport of Paralympic hand-cycling in Rio 2016. It was the 79th medal for Britain, and 79 being the elemental number for Gold led to Karen creating Quest 79: Find Your Inner Gold. The project has Karen cycling 7 continents in 9 iconic rides, raising £79K for Spinal Injuries and encouraging people to step out of their comfort zones and discover passion, purpose or ability: their ‘inner gold’.
Karen views life as an adventure, and embraces all its’ experiences as opportunities to learn and grow. She has experienced some fairly extreme lows on her own roller-coaster, and knows how trauma, stress and life events can lead to fear, pain and under-performance. She has also created some highs, exploring and extending the limits of possibility physically, mentally and emotionally. She has skied across icecaps, kayaked at extreme latitudes of the planet, and hand-cycled across the world’s biggest mountain ranges and alongside some of the longest rivers. She has also extensively explored and studied what goes on ‘inside’, from the power of the mind and thoughts to enable performance, to the impact of thoughts and emotions to transform. Her career as an athlete and adventurer combined with her unique studies of mind, wellbeing and performance make Karen a specialist in transformation.
Karen has an MBE, a PhD in Geology, MA’s in Development Training & High Performance Coaching, and Diploma’s in Clnical & Pastoral Counselling, Hypnotherapy & Motivational Coaching. She has been awarded honorary doctorates from The University of Aberdeen, Leeds, Cumbria, Sheffield Hallam and Abertay Universities, in recognition of her accomplishments and contributions in adventure and sport.
“Karen’s achievements are inspiring, awe-inspiring in fact, but just as impressive is her gift for connecting with people of all ages. It is this connection that means that after some time spent with Karen, you feel not only that you’ve been on a journey with her, but that you can relate her experience to your own life and apply that to reaching your own potential. It’s a compelling combo and we are honoured to have worked with Karen to share her story, her positivity and her wisdom with young people across Scotland as part of our Lockdown Live project.”
R Tarves, Lockdown Live, e-Sgoil, 2021
“In our online mid year review Karen spoke to our team, sharing some sage advice on how to adapt to changing situations which had a galvanising impact on us in this ‘virtual’ world. It made up stop and think differently about our challenges and how to overcome them, backed up by practical tools we could use immediately to start to reframe our thinking and move forward positively. Thank you Karen.”
Head of Business Insights & Analytics, Bayer PLC Consumer Health, 2021
“Karen was without a doubt, the highlight of the day. Microsoft values taking accountability, integrity and respect, and we want to encourage our people to hold a growth mindset. Karen delivered an inspiring message in harmony with those company values and culture. Attendee’s feedback listed her inspirational message, humility, amazing, moving, incredible talk, and also about how well her advice translates to work and home life.”
Microsoft, Customer Success Division, 2019
“Modest and thoughtful, Karen is a highly sought after and successful speaker, whose stories inspire all those who take time to reflect on what it took to achieve them.”
Joe Simpson, speaker and author (Touching the Void).
“Karen is a bright and dynamic presenter, with a practical can do attitude and level headedness. ; An excellent, engaging speaker with a compelling story and amazingly positive attitude.”
Shell UK, 2015
“Karen was wonderful. She launched our event in a spot on way and fulfilled her brief to the letter. She left the whole room smiling. She really is inspirational and we would certainly recommend her to other groups and organisations facing major change as an ambassador for positive thinking!!!!.”
Kingsbury School, 2014
“Karen you were simply fantastic. I was talking to various people afterwards and they were really moved and inspired by your story. Your narrative is so powerful and your delivery very slick but authentic and relaxed.”
Emerge UK, March 2016
“I wanted to send you a personal note of thanks on behalf of KPMG for the fabulous session you delivered to us yesterday at the British Museum. The feedback was universally outstanding. I personally had a number of takeaways that I will be building into my life.”
“I just wanted to offer my thanks for delivering what was an excellent speech and one which left myself (and, judging by the comments afterwards, others) feeling in awe, motivated and inspired.”
“The group was enthralled and inspired (and probably a little dumbstruck) by the end of Karen’s talk at all her achievements. She is an amazing, strong individual who’s energy, enthusiasm and vision is an inspiration to all who come into contact with her.”
BAE Systems, March 2016
Previous clients include private and public organisations, universities, school and charities. For example:-
- BAE Systems
- Duke of Edinburgh Award
- Institute of Directors
- Red Bull
- Scottish Institute of Business Leaders
- Sport Scotland
- The Royal Bank of Scotland
- The Scouts
- The Spinal Injuries Association
- Williams Formula 1