Mike McAllen sits down with the very inspiring Wendy Booker– who will be keynoting at IMEX America next October. Her talk which is called “I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends” is one not to be missed.
We can’t do it alone. Every great undertaking in life—for career, family or personal achievement—requires teamwork. Wendy Booker, an MS survivor who has climbed mountains on six of the seven continents and is currently training for the Iditarod, shares the value and power of teamwork and leveraging connections to accomplish goals.
Learn how leadership, healthy collaboration in spite of differences, seeking out expertise through degrees of separation and maintaining a positive attitude are all keys to both personal and professional success.
Catch her at IMEX America
Thursday, October 16, 2014
Time: 8.45 a.m. – 9.45 a.m
Mike: Welcome back to the Meetings Podcast this is Mike McAllen from Grass Shack Events and Media and also from AV for Planners now and we are here on the IMEX Podcast and we are very lucky to be speaking to Wendy Booker, hi Wendy!
Wendy: Hi there!
Mike: Thank you so much for talking with me.
Wendy: Oh, this is great I love it!
Mike: And are you excited about the IMEX coming up next month?
Wendy: Absolutely, what a great venue and a great opportunity to share my story.
Mike: Yes, so why don’t you tell the audience a little bit about yourself and just who you are.
Wendy: Well I was certainly not what everybody expected me to be and in 1998 I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis that takes your breath away anytime you receive news of a chronic illness it will stop you in your tracks. At that time I was living a life I thought I was supposed to, the soccer mum, PTO, volunteer, interior design, I found out that I have MS and I think this isn’t good, as we all do we imagine the worst, we see a wheelchair impending in our future and so as a non-athlete I decided to run the Boston marathon probably because I didn’t know a thing about it. And from that marathon which led to many more, I had the opportunity to take on a challenge I never thought I would do and that was to climb the seven summits which are the highest mountains on each of the seven continents and I have tried Everest twice so I now say I have done six and a half, no summit on Everest but became the first person living with multiple sclerosis to do all these cool things and as a result of not summiting Everest I started to think about what was Everest and of course everyone tells you it is the top of the world but I am thinking, ‘no, it is the only top?’ And so I had an aha moment after I came back very despondent that I hadn’t summated and my moment was ‘oh, wait a minute, what about the North Pole?’ so in April 2011 with a sled team of six dogs I became the first person with MS to reach the geographical top of the world and that was the North Pole. All my reasons for doing this at first running that very first marathon, I did it just for me, just to see if I had what it takes but since I started the mountains, the mountains became the metaphor for what life with a challenge is really like that we all have our mountains, we all have our challenges, now what are you going to do with it? And that is where my story started, to go up there and prove to people with multiple sclerosis or any challenge that within themselves they can find that mountain, take it on and for the time their mind is engaged doing something they enjoy, it takes away the illness for a little while. The illness will take a back seat, they also will become more confident, they will gain a lot of their soul back and so that is what the mountains in there all my challenges have come to represent.
Mike: Wow that is so inspirational. And so, what are you going to be talking about at IMEX? What is your keynote?
Wendy: Well, my keynote is going to be on team building because you don’t do any of these things alone, actually we as humans don’t do much on our own, if you really think, remember that ‘no man is an Island unto themselves’ and really in order to take on these mountains or the North Pole or the Iditarod which is what I was currently training for, it takes putting together a team of people to help you achieve that goal, similar vision, similar outlook, and the importance of all the characters that play into your team, each of them has a special role, they may not even know or it may not be identified until you start to work together. So I want to incorporate how valuable the people around me are into making me who I am and it is spreading the word about multiple sclerosis and challenge.
Mike: So awesome, so what should people expect when they are walking out the door after listening to you? What is that action, what are you trying to inspire into people besides being so inspiring?
Wendy: First of all it is going to be interesting because I can stand up in front of an audience and I guarantee over half of them probably have some connection to multiple sclerosis, somebody they know, somebody they work with, somebody in their lives. So that is the first thing that relationship will come out but my main take away is I want to inspire them to take on something they might never have thought just to see if they can do it, see how far they get and I like to say there is no such thing as failure because not only did you take on a challenge, you did it and you tried. So no matter how far you get you are still a winner because of it. So that will be my take away, the other thing I want to say is going back to that team building, have people around you with that similar vision, similar goal who will cheer you on, be your champion and help you succeed in whatever challenge you take on. We all face challenges everyday and it is really how you approach it. My father used to say ‘it isn’t what happens to you in life, it is how you deal with it’ and that is really what I want to have their take away be.
Mike: Fantastic! Okay, well I guess we will see you in IMEX then, right?
Wendy: You absolutely will, see you in Vegas.
Mike: Yeah and you are going to be on Thursday, October 16th from 8:45-9:45.
Wendy: Absolutely I am there.
Mike: Alright, so we will see you there Wendy and thank you so much for talking with me.