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speaker

Mark
Wales

Special Ops Veteran, CEO, Entrepreneur, Australian Survivor Contestant

Profile

Mark Wales grew up in the red dirt of West Australian mining towns in the Pilbara. After deciding he wanted to join the SAS in high school, Mark embarked on a career in the Australian military that would eventually lead him to the battlefields of Afghanistan. As a Troop Commander in charge of 30 elite soldiers, Mark’s role was to lead combat missions against senior enemy commanders, deep behind enemy lines. Through this unique and harsh environment, Mark developed his skills in leadership, teamwork and high performance.

Like many in his situation, Mark battled depression and stress disorders after warfighting in Afghanistan. He tackled recovery with the same intensity he applied to Special Ops training. He rigorously researched the fundamentals of neurobiological science and the benefit of skill development. This approach underpinned a strong recovery and drove personal growth far beyond his previous abilities.

Previous Experience:

Mark’s successful recovery and growth led him to embark on a high profile career in business. With four attempts of the GMAT, he was accepted into an Ivy League college in the U.S.A, and after graduation, he joined McKinsey & Company, a respected consulting outfit also known as ‘The Firm’. He founded a fashion startup Kill_Kaptur, a tough-luxury eCommerce brand. He was a competitor in Australian Survivor 2017, the world’s #1 reality TV show.

An avid surfer, boxer, and cook, Mark stays active and keeps his experiences as varied as possible. He believes that past experience should never be a limitation to embarking and excelling in something new.

Mark loves to reveal the common threads that run through human competition in all arenas, and the importance of a growth-mindset to overcoming mental illness and drive success in future endeavours.

Expertise
Talking Points

Peak Performance Under Stress

In this shorter session (45 mins) Mark focuses on using 4-count breathing to dampen stress responses, and improve quality of decision making. This is an interactive class that uses heart rate monitors to demonstrate the benefits of deep breathing in a stressful situation.

Battlefield: Leadership in Uncertainty

Focused on skills and mindsets needed to lead teams under extreme uncertainty. Using examples from Special Operations, startups, and McKinsey, Mark focuses on tactical tips you can use from Day 1 to improve your leadership and drive results.

The Mind: Mental Resilience

Focused on skills and mindsets needed to prevent mental illness, and to recover and grow from trauma and failure. Mark draws from neurobiology and uses personal examples to illustrate a proven approach to prevention, recovery and growth from failure and trauma.

Execution eats Strategy for Breakfast.

Here Mark shares anecdotes about a hard-earned lesson: execute quickly, with a sound plan. Learn about goal setting, asymmetric warfare, contingency planning and the impact of emotions in a team setting.

Who Dares Wins

Any endeavour requires applying the basics of a clear mission, a high-performing team, and mastery of self. Mark draws on his experience at the top levels of Special Operations and business to show you that the basics done well, are the foundations of mission success.

Close Combat: The Art and Science of Competition

Here Mark reviews the importance of strategy, execution, and agility in any competitive system, drawing lessons from warfighting in Afghanistan. Useful tips on how to apply this from Day 1 are included in the talk.

Mission, Team, Self

Outlines the hierarchy of needs that any effective leader should follow. This is a useful carry over of military values into business settings, proven by 2,000 years of history. Mark discusses the importance of rest, nutrition, exercise and growth for maintaining your foundation as an individual leader.
Media
Feedback
Mark Wales was an outstanding Guest Speaker at our regional health service AGM. With a mixed audience of over 200 people including staff and community members, Mark’s fabulous presentation and his very powerful messages resonated with all. The feedback from those attending was exceptionally positive. A truly inspirational man. I could not recommend him more highly as an inspirational and motivational guest speaker. Northeast Health Wangaratta

Mark delivered a thought-provoking and insightful presentation. He displayed a level of vulnerability which was refreshing and enabled the audience to connect with him and his story. Mark also provided some very practical tips and was able to inspire others to make positive changes for both to improve mental health and perform better in the workplace. Mark made himself available during breaks and lunch to speak with individuals and answer questions and this was appreciated by many. On an administrative note, Mark was easy to contact, engage with and he was punctual and well prepared.

Department of Defence

Mark was very engaging and provided the perfect message that the team required as we head into another year of selling. Mark delivered a message that demonstrated mental strong, commitment, ownership and emotion. I would highly recommend Mark.

Mimecast Aust. Pty. Ltd.

Mark spoke to our group of approximately 100 executives at a high profile leadership offsite. He led topics related to mental health and effective techniques for stress management in the workplace. He was deeply credible and highly engaging, drawing on his experience from both the battlefield and the boardroom. We would be thrilled to have Mark join us again in the future and would certainly recommend him for other engagements.

McKinsey & Company

In his ‘Peer Perspectives on Leadership’ keystone speech at Wharton, Mark passed on thrilling lessons about life and leadership as a Troop Commander in the Australian Special Air Service Regiment. The unit specialized in sensitive strategic operations, hostage recovery, counter terrorism, and precision air strikes. Mark completed 10 tours of duty overseas, including in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, East Timor, and the Solomon Islands. Experiences in each of these countries taught Mark about the importance of how personal values and your perspectives on life can shape your approach to leadership. An unforgettable talk.

Wharton School of Business
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