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iDID welcomes Mark McGowan to the team

March 9th, 2015

At iDID, we are dedicated to ensuring we are providing the best quality service to empower those individuals who benefit from our services. To achieve this, we set out to recruit an advisory board to support and enhance our work. We're absolutely delighted to welcome Mark McGowan to our board and can't wait to continue working with him. Our Director, Suzi Rees, caught up with Mark to grab a few words of wisdom but before we crack into the interview, here's a few reasons why he is so awesome.

Mark is a well renowned member of the climbing community both home and abroad, his passion for development, innovation and progress is second to none. No stranger to pushing his limits and challenging himself and others, Mark has more than enough epic achievements (we couldn't fit them all in):

  • Referenced in the Who is Who book Young Entrepreneurs for 2002
  • Masters in Business Administration  from Glasgow Caledonian University
  • Ground up 2nd Ascent of Gone With The Wind E7 6b, 6a in early ‘90’s with Grant Farquar
  • North Face of the Eiger 1992 with Neil Boyd
  • Began climbing again by training from  6a (5.10b) to 8a (5.13b) within 180 days of starting back after a long break 2010
  • Founder of Reach Climbing Coach
  • Coach for British Team 2011 (Scotland)
  • Team Coach for GB Paraclimbing Team for 2014

Suzi: Can you tell me a bit about yourself and what you do?

Mark: I am currently the founder of Reach Climbing Coach and appointed coach for 2015 for the BMC GB Paraclimbing Team. I began climbing at age twelve and was awarded a Talented Sports Performer Award by the Mountaineering Council of Scotland (to allow me to compete internationally), then stopped to focus on business and entrepreneurship in my early twenties. I was a Managing Director & founder of various companies throughout my fifteen years in business, laterally working with small start ups on a consultancy basis. Was lucky enough to be referenced in the ‘Who’s Who of Young Entrepreneurs’ book in 2002 and I completed an MBA part time in 2005 at Glasgow Caledonian University.

I decided to change my life in 2010 and follow my heart and began climbing again and moved to the French Midi Pyrenees in 2012 where, I worked part time as a consultant in Barcelona for a Spanish climbing wall manufacturer alongside coaching rock climbing from France & Spain. I moved back to UK and I am currently based in Snowdonia, North Wales where I coach and work closely with an inspiring young man with autism as his climbing coach and support worker to help him get the best from his life.  I also enjoy travelling and been lucky enough to visit gems like Tahiti, Jamaica and Glasgow!

Suzi: How would you describe your approach to life?
Mark: Looking back, I seemed to have done some stuff, gained some stuff and lost some stuff…

So I have learned to take the good and the bad from my life and learn about and enjoy the true freedom of being more open and kind to others...

Suzi: Given our work with marginalised groups, what do you think is the biggest barrier they, or society, face when trying to improve their well-being?

Mark: Working with the GB Paraclimbing Team and others, has made me firstly confront my own lack of understanding and initial fear at looking and working closely with marginalised groups and individuals. For me, the biggest barrier is similar to countries and nations understanding each other… It seems to be about finding ways to really be part of each others worlds, and learning the language of ‘humanity’ as opposed to ‘them and us’ policies etc.. So for marginalised groups trying to improve their well being, then, perhaps it comes down to learning about what strategies for well being fit particular groups then perhaps educating each other to understand the most important elements of human life could just be the pursuit of happiness for all.which naturally, is both mental and physical. But it seems that understanding and empathising with others is cheaper but physically making change in one’s world for others (inclusivity) initially takes a lot more courage.

I don’t know the answer but it seems like fear is the biggest barrier and education combined with action through inclusivity may create the change , but I know that my life is getting richer and more fulfilling by being part of the marginalised groups lives in the climbing community (through Paraclimbing) and I expect to be a metaphorical millionaire by continuing on this journey...

Suzi: How did you first hear about iDID and its work?

It was when I first met you competing at a climbing competition in London in 2014. From there then I've followed some of iDID's work, like the Bristol Inclusive Climbing Festival and the clubs.

Suzi: I remember it being my first competition, you guys were incredibly supportive. Great to hear you've been following our work. Other than iDID being amazing, what made you decide to join the advisory board?

Mark: If I’m honest, seeing how you has faced your personal adversity and flipped it for the benefit of others. I like when people can take life effecting challenges and turn them, through personal courage and compassion for others to improve their lives. Being a small part of that, is more than enough reason to join this great adventure.

Suzi: I think we all have our own story don't we, what is it they say? You can't have a rainbow without a little rain. You too have had an incredible journey and are doing amazing things with it. As you know, we're uber excited to have you on board. What do you hope to bring to the team?

Mark: I hope I can bring experience from a competitive commercial business environment and translate it into positive grassroots action and a strategic influence combining my current knowledge in working with the inspiring people in Paraclimbing to add real value to the great work that iDID will do in the future on both a national and international platform to improve the wellbeing of others through active participation in adventure sports.

Suzi: It's certainly going to be an exciting journey, what do you hope to see iDID achieve in the future?

Due to Mark's potty mouth, we had to cut this last bit out but it ran to the effect of.... ALOT!

Suzi: Thanks for chatting with us Mark, look forward to working with you.

You can find out more about Mark and work with Reach Climbing on his website or Twitter

Be sure to check out his latest project, the Eiger Paraclimb 2015

Categories:   iDID Adventure  

Posted By:  Susanne Rees

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