Speaking with Felicity Aston MBE before BCI World Hybrid 2022

  • 05 Oct 2022
  • Felicity

As part of BCI World Hybrid 2022, Felicity Aston will be delivering a presentation (‘Alone in Antarctica: A journey of Resilience’) at the physical event in London. Here, Felicity highlights some of the areas the talk will cover and how polar expeditions showcase lessons in resilience that can be easily translated into a business environment.

An introduction to Felicity Aston

My name is Felicity Aston and I’m a polar explorer, but also a speaker, author and research scientist. My background is mostly in polar science and polar explorations. I spent some time at the British Antarctic Survey research station, called Rothera research station, in Antarctica, before I started putting together my own expeditions and putting together international teams of women to ski to both the North and South Poles.

Perhaps my best-known expedition was my solo ski across Antarctica, where I became the first woman to ski alone across Antarctica, as well as the first person to make that journey using just muscle power (no machines, kites or dogs, etc). I’m still putting together expeditions and am now trying to include further scientific objectives into my expeditions.

What will the session at BCI World be about?

I’ll be recounting some of my experiences and stories from these polar expeditions. I’m quite lucky that polar exploration is a well-known metaphor for coming together as a group to overcome adversity and achieve a common goal. Indeed, although the experiences I will be relating are quite niche (I don’t expect anyone in the room to share those precise experiences), it’s interesting how widely those experiences resonate with people that perhaps have never been near a polar environment. I think that’s because we’re talking about the human condition at the heart of it (how do you get along with a group of people? How do you keep yourself motivated?).

All of these questions are things that we all share and struggle with. When I’m talking about those subjects, but in the context of Antarctica, people are not only fascinated by the environment that story is set in, but are also interested because the same dilemmas may be arising in business and they would like to hear the solutions that I’ve found because it could be of use to them in the future.

How will it be useful for those working in BC and Resilience?

There’s a misconception out there that polar exploration is an adrenaline sport and that those undertaking it are slightly reckless, foolhardy or spontaneous. However, the exact opposite is true. If you want to put together a polar expedition successfully, you have to be a fan of spreadsheets. It can involve 2-3 years of planning and preparation, constantly going through the ‘what ifs’ (what if this piece of equipment fails, etc).

It’s not always about Plan Bs or putting in spare equipment, it’s about making sure the preparation is as solid as it can be. I think it’s the same in business.

To learn more about BCI World Hybrid 2022 or to book your ticket, click on the link below:


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