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Polly Williamson

Polly Williamson

Polly Williamson is a multiple gold-medal winning event rider who suffered a near-fatal brain injury when a horse she was training panicked and kicked her in the head.

Put into an induced coma, Polly woke up 11 days later with major memory problems and needing to learn to talk, walk and coherently think.

After five months of treatment, Polly was able to return home but it was at this point that she experienced issues around her identity, feeling that Polly Williamson was dead. Looking at pictures of herself, she felt there were two different people as her damaged brain now worked in an unknown pattern.

Until the day of the accident, Polly had been in charge of her life, had achieved significant goals, ran a business, had a family and enjoyed a busy social life. All this went in a puff of smoke following the traumatic brain injury.

The loss of identity was the most difficult part of Polly’s long recovery, losing her self-esteem and confidence along with her identity. But she didn’t lack determination, sense of purpose and independence, traits that had served her well prior to her accident.

The decade-long journey back from coma to new normal saw plenty of challenges overcome. Her story is one of pure and relentless determination and is a reminder to anyone that it is always possible to start again, even after the most significant of setbacks.

As a speaker, Polly Williamson shares her inspirational story and leaves audiences with the clear message that we all have an inner strength to overcome adversity and that a new path can be found. A humorous, sincere and heartwarming speaker, Polly is guaranteed to leave a strong impression on all her audiences with a potent reminder of what can be achieved.

Contact Great British Speakers today to book former European champion horse rider and brain injury survivor Polly Williamson for your next event.

Type Of Speaker

Testimonials

We invited Polly Williamson to speak at our ‘Business Brain’ event in London in April 2024. The audience was a wide range of executives from the Financial World. Polly used her personal experiences to talk about Resilience and building confidence. She took questions both during and after her excellent slide-supported presentation. The session lasted about 45 minutes.

Polly fully engaged the audience throughout and received rave reviews. This was primarily because of her ability to relate to real business issues and challenges that people face every day, drawing from her personal journey having suffered a life-changing accident. Her advice was clear, practical and hard hitting. I would recommend her wholeheartedly as a speaker at any event.

James Patrick – Director, Templar Advisors

An email to say how amazing your talk at Badminton in the Albert Goodman and Clarke Willmott tent was yesterday, listening to talk about your accident, family dynamic and how you managed to overcome against all adversities was amazing. The touch with your children and opening up about how honest you were with your oldest was incredibly emotional to listen to but also so insightful. Its often too easy to shy away from the truth when it comes to children and you were so bold and honest, its refreshing.”

Stephanie Christensen BSc, Fisher German LLP

Thank you so much for attending our International Women’s Day here at NatWest today.

Like many others in the room, I found your talk inspiring, highlighting to all what you can achieve with a determined and resilient mindset.

I wish you all the very best with your next challenge.

Malcolm Bennett – Director, NatWest

This was a brilliant presentation. The key message of focus and resilience and tools we can employ to maximize these can be applied to anyone’s life. Honest, heartfelt, motivating and uplifting. Fantastic event!

Lauren Morrison – Head of Business Management, Corporate and Commercial Coverage

“We were delighted that Polly agreed to speak at our Ladies Day event at Badminton Horse Trials this year. We had over 45 professionals from the Agri sector and you could hear a pin drop in our marquee as we all listened to Polly’s story of her recovery journey after her life-changing brain injury. A truly inspirational woman, Polly’s resilience and sheer determination to regain her identity left us in no doubt that any adversity can be overcome by having a positive mind-set and never giving up! I thoroughly recommend Polly as a speaker, she is professional and her warm personality when engaging with the audience really made our event extra special and memorable. Thank you Polly.

Kerry Hake – Events Manager, Albert Goodman Accountants

Everyone felt it was a safe space to discuss their own, as well as open up so freely to discuss things – that is something you made so special and I know we will want to more of these and not just for women!

I know we will be in touch and I am sure there will now be a queue wanting to use your talents!

Janine Thorne CCIBS – NatWest

Polly, thank you for joining us. Your determination, resilience and courage were truly inspirational for myself and the team. We all left with a quiet thoughtfulness and conversations have continued beyond our event.

Melanie Hannay – NatWest Regional Director

Thank you once again for yesterday!

Here is also some verbatim of the great feedback we have had:

‘’ if you haven’t just been on the session with Polly, pleaseeee watch it back, it’s such a thought provoking thing to listen to and I’d encourage you to share it around your teams as she gives such a wonderful explanation’’

‘’ Polly was fab wasn’t she? And so inspiring’’

‘’ Loved Polly’s perspective that an act of kindness goes a long way’’

Have a great weekend and I wish you every success in your new career!

Danielle McIntyre CCIBS – Controls & FC&C | Global co Chair Enable Network

Polly’s engaging account of her story told with great conviction, plenty of humour and, at times, disarming honesty, made a very positive impact on our students. She did not hide the difficulties and challenges that she had encountered and continues to encounter but the resilience that Polly has shown, and the obstacles that she has overcome, cannot fail but to inspire those who hear her. She makes all things seem possible with the right mindset and determination and her lack of any self-pity sharpens the listeners’ focus on what is possible rather than what is hard to achieve. I highly recommend Polly as a speaker.

Mrs Emma McKendrick. Headmistress Downe School

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