From car bombings to meeting Yasser Arafat and making it to the summit of Mount Everest, Mark ‘Squiz’ Squirrell OAM has experienced more than many can dream about. When he headed to the East Timor Crisis in 1999 he was setting out on the adventure of a lifetime. It was a journey that would see him navigate some of the globes most brutal war zones to deliver emergency aid and conquer the world’s tallest mountain.

Squiz was awarded the coveted “Green Beret” whilst serving with the Australian Commando’s.  His tenure with the military provided him with the skills and courage to succeed amongst adversity and turmoil. It was the perfect grounding for a career as an International Aid Worker.

Squiz escorted food convoys through the Gaza Strip, negotiated with the Liberation Tigers of Tamel Eelam (Tamil Tigers) and brokered deals with Somali Clansmen to ensure the safe delivery of United Nations food aid.  In doing so, he has mastered the challenges of performing under pressure, communicating effectively and building relationships.

Squiz uses anecdotes and presents real time scenarios that demand lateral thinking to deliver relevant and practical tips for those working in today’s complex and fluid global market. The real time conundrums are presented via authentic video, Virtual Reality goggles and photos that have the audience embroiled in the critical decision making that led to his eventual success.

In addition to this, Squiz has taken the concept of being motivated at work to an all new high.  He was inspired by his organisation, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), and the impoverished people that it feeds, to climb to the top of the world to help raise awareness of the global hunger crisis. After a gruelling six week ordeal, Squiz raised the WFP flag on the summit of Mount Everest. The inspiring and thrilling recount across glaciers and up exposed cliffs reveal the motivation, habits and adversity skills that facilitated his success.

Squiz has a Bachelor of Business (HRM) and has published a memoire titled From Arafat to Everest. In 2019 Squiz was recognised in the Australia Day Honours List with an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for “service to the international community through humanitarian aid”. He continues to deploy on short term assignments to emergency zones, such as the Ebola Outbreak in West Africa and 2015 Nepal Earthquake.

Now based out of Melbourne, Squiz provides keynotes, workshops and team building activities to develop workplace performance. Unique footage played through Virtual Reality goggles guarantee that your staff will have a life-like, high impact and unforgettable experience!

Topics

Chaos and Culture
How cross cultural teams from the United Nations overcome chaos in the world’s most challenging hotspots.

Everest Extreme Teams
Maximising your team’s talent to smash your opposition.

Ebola Outbreak (ie Change)
Managing risk and emotions to create excitement around the challenge of the unknown road ahead.

Building Resilience
Succeeding during turbulent times and in unpredictable environments.

Motivating Teams
How to get your team to climb the organisations “Everest”.

Extreme Leadership
Strategic leading to ensure a unified and collaborative effort at all levels.

Corporate Social Responsibility
Maximising CSR results and using it as a motivational tool for your workforce.

Effective Communication
Opening up the channels that maximise communication and create unity amongst team members.

Negotiating Under Pressure
Conversational and behavioural tactics used on the battlefield to negotiate access and save lives.

Maximising Diversity
Using diversity to build powerful teams.

Virtual Reality Experience
Experience first-hand the challenges and rewards of working in war zones and climbing Everest. Up to 80 VR goggles are available, larger audiences would need to be staggered.

Team Building Activities
High pressure situations are recreated inside or outside your conference room to build your team. These are tailored to suit your objectives and can be used to enhance a Keynote presentation.

Testimonials

Squiz was fantastic! A really strong, engaging presentation and Q&A that was truly inspirational and landed the key messages for the team to take away really succinctly. He delivered very strongly against the theme / messages brief I provided prior to the session. He has an amazing story to tell which inspired the team to think bigger

We are in the midst of a post conference survey and Squiz presentation has received a 4.8 out of 5 across all participant responses – Definitely one of the highlights of the conference!

I personally will be recommending Squiz to others – not only a great guest speaker, but a bloody good guy!
Sian Sullivan, PZ Cussons

"Oh my goodness! He was amazing. You were absolutely right….he was inspiring, funny and truly had the audience captivated! I actually have one of our franchisees in Melbourne thinking about booking him for another event!"
Liz Taylor, Kip McGrath

Feedback from staff has been very positive.  Mark was excellent and was able to link key messages to our training and PD day. Very informative session.
Nicole Bradshaw, Mentone Grammar School

Amazing presenter, kept the audience intrigued!
Ambulance Australia

"....it was a pleasure to have you take us all on a journey to some places far removed from our daily work lives, but none the less relevant. The scenario exercise in particular provided our staff with a great opportunity to problem solve using some basic tools that operate at a very human level, something I know the team valued and made for great discussion the next day as we continued to work with these principles
Finn Robertson, John Holland

Mark has an uncanny presentation style that had the audience move from the serious realities of global poverty to a series of light hearted and at times humorous anecdotes. The audience came away with knowledge but at the same time were entertained and inspired by marks remarkable journey with the United Nations. Our committee was most impressed and would recommend him to others who are considering his services."
Anti Poverty Week NT

"All delegates at the Forum were impressed with his story and the relevance to what we as an industry are trying to achieve. Squiz's story and the way he presented it uplifted all of us to new heights."
James Kellaway, Australian Egg Corporation Limited

"The executive team at Indigo was very energized by your presentation to the group. Hearing your stories about working as a team in times of adversity, allowed us to draw some terrific parallels to how we can work closely together as a cohesive unit under difficult circumstances."
Brendan McGrath, Indigo Shire Council

Mark Squirrell speaker

Speaker Video

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Mark Squirrell Keynote Speaker at Ovations
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Humanitarian and Everest Keynote Speaker - Mark Squirrell

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A massive thank you to you both for all your assistance from selecting to co-ordinating the speakers for our annual ProLoan conference. Feedback was that this year’s speakers where the best they had EVER heard at ANY event. So this is pretty amazing, because they do go to a lot of sessions like these.

Director of Network Relationships - Proloan (aust) pty ltd

Again this year you and your team have been fantastic and extremely helpful.  In regards to you Sharm, you have been an absolute star and phenomenal help with our speakers and presenters, a great communicator, wealth of knowledge and so prompt with responding and looking at ways to cater to our needs.

Event Manager Fitness Australia

I would recommend, without hesitation, the services of Jane Rowland Smith and Ovations. Jane answered a last minute call to arrange a guest speaker for our principals. Nothing was too much effort, all was arranged within hours, and went very smoothly. The guest speaker was exactly what we required and our brief was followed. Thank you Jane and the team at Ovations.

Executive Director of Schools Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta

All aspects of the process has always gone seamlessly with Ovations and we will continue to seek your assistance for the awards in the coming years.

Thank you again, your help has meant that our Awards are very professional and extremely well received by our members and guests.

Executive Assistant BSCAA NSW Division

Jane, I personally want to thank you for all of your support, advice, patience and all round kindness that you have given me over the last 3 or so years.  This event would not have been as successful without the valuable MC’s you have recommended and the support you provided me when it all just seemed too hard

Shona Dilley – Smart School Awards, Department of Education
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