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Rachael
Robertson

Expedition Leader, Leadership and Teamwork expert, and Best Selling Author

Profile

Rachael Robertson returned to Australia after 12 months in the Antarctic, where she successfully led the 58th Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition to Davis Station. She was only the second female to ever lead a team at the Station and one of the youngest ever leaders.

This leadership role is a truly unique experience. Antarctica in winter is totally inaccessible which means once the last ship leaves at the end of February, no one can leave the base under any circumstance (not even if you are dying) until the ship returns in November. It’s a 24 hour a day, every day of the year, leadership role.

Rachael was responsible for all aspects of life on the Station, from the safety and welfare of over 120 expeditioners in Summer, to the delivery of the Australian Government’s $30mn science program. In any circumstance, this would be a tough role, but for a female in a male dominated environment, it was also a very challenging one!

Prior to this Rachael held senior operational management roles for 16 years in a range of complex and challenging environments and now works in the field of leadership development sharing her experiences.
Since returning to Australia, Rachael has completed her MBA and written two best-selling books. The first, Leading on the Edge, is based on her year in Antarctica. In 2020 she released her second best-seller, Respect trumps Harmony which provides the tools to build resilient, high performing teams based on research and case studies collected over 15 years.

She is an international keynote speaker and has presented at over 1,500 conferences around the world.

Expertise
Talking Points

Leading On The Edge

This is Rachael’s most in-demand keynote. It resonates with audiences seeking inspiration, humor, and practical tools to build their leadership capability. The presentation covers how Rachael built a high-performing team from a group of random strangers in an environment where the pressure was intense. She led an incredibly diverse team of 18 people, through the long, dark Antarctic winter and through trial and error built a resilient team based on the foundation that “respect trumps harmony”. The most important rule was No Triangles - I don’t speak to you, about them.
Full of extraordinary photos and videos, and with lots of hilarious stories, this keynote is ideal for any audience as its broad appeal resonates with anyone who is part of a team.

Future. Woman. Leader.

How did Rachael become only the second female to lead a team at David Station, or the youngest ever Chief Ranger? In this keynote Rachael outlines the key personal mantras, commitments and career tools that every woman must use to progress effectively. Rachael shares how she will take opportunities because she believes its always better to “regret what you did, than regret what you didn’t do.” Perfect for both women’s and mixed events this presentation is practical, relevant and inspiring.

365 Shades Of White

A hilarious and compelling account of Rachael’s time leading up to 120 people in the remotest corner of the earth for a year. Hear about ‘life in the freezer”, the plane crash and how the ‘bacon war” nearly derailed a $40M science program. This funny and engaging keynote is ideal for the afternoon slot at any conference or at the end of a leadership strategy day where you want the audience to leave on a high - laughing, inspired and raring to go.

The Future Of Teamwork

Today’s and future teams are very different from what they once were. Now we come together quickly, remotely and are expected to perform immediately. Our teams are more diverse than ever before, and this will remain the case. Diversity is a competitive advantage - yet it’s not without its challenges. In this keynote Rachael uncovers the critical tools she uses to quickly create cohesion, purpose, inclusion and resilience in teams. Practical tools you can put to work straight away. This keynote can also cover leading out of isolation and how to prepare your team for the new normal in 2020.

Remote And Dangerous

Workplace health and safety insights from the harshest, coldest, most isolated workplace on earth. Rachael recounts how she kept her team safe and sane through the long, dark Antarctic winter by building a culture of safety leadership. She provides practical tools each person can use to create leadership around them.
Media
Feedback
The evening was excellent. Rachael was great to work with and integrated with our audience with ease. The feedback from Rachael's presentation was fantastic. She was very professional, engaging and enthusiastic about her subject. A lady with remarkable leadership skills and passion. This is one extraordinary leadership experience that involved so many challenges and in such an isolated and remote situation - what an enormous year it must have been, a fascinating adventure story and I personally really wish Rachael the very best with her future. The Australian Industry Group

Rachael Robertson was excellent with her presentation yesterday at our ABMVSS AGM and PD day. Rachael is warm, engaging, down to earth and very honest and approachable. Our members really enjoyed her presentation yesterday and as they were leaving the venue I could hear many of them speaking about their own 'bacon wars' and the tools Rachael provided when dealing with such situations.

Business Managers in Victorian State Schools

Rachael was engaging and responded well to the group. Her experiences are extraordinary and she did a great job of relating what she learnt. She was also able to illustrate the similarities between her roles and those of my team. In one word, "Terrific!"

ANZ Bank

“We were delighted with the feedback on Rachael from our advisers. Evaluation forms contained phrases such as: "Excellent", "Truly inspiring", "Interesting" and "Fantastic presenter - very informative and interesting". Working with Rachael over five events around Australia was a delight. She has a very professional and flexible approach".

AXA

"I have never received so much positive feedback from a guest speaker as I have this time. People continue to tell me how impressed they were with Rachael's story. She provided a fantastic insight into difficulties around management in a remote site. Her messages and insights can be applied within our business. She shared a range of unusual and interesting stories which made her message even stronger."

Crown Casinos & Hotels
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