An Interview With Felicity Aston
Who or what motivates you?
I like making things happen. I find the whole process of starting out with a goal and gradually working towards it step-by-step incredibly satisfying. Usually my goals are challenges that are prompted by curiosity; the curiosity to travel to new places or the curiosity to find out how far I can push myself.
Why do you enjoy being a speaker?
I am a born story-teller and whether through writing or speaking, I genuinely enjoy sharing my experiences with others. I speak to a wide range of audiences and yet, there is always something within my expedition experiences that is relevant and meaningful to everyone in the room. I find that astonishing and very rewarding.
What do you do to ensure your presentation has a lasting impact?
When I give a talk, I'm not just recounting experiences or giving advice, I am telling a story and I think that makes a crucial difference. The audience is engaged from the start and the messages of the talk resonate louder when embedded within a memorable story. I talk from the heart, every time.
What unforeseen challenges presented themselves when you were putting together the all-women Antartic mission?
I speak for 40 minutes in answer to this very question! The team of 8 came from Brunei Darussalam, Cyprus, Ghana, India, Jamaica, Singapore, New Zealand and Great Britain. The youngest was 19 and the oldest 43. The women had a wide range of occupations, faiths, languages and outdoor experience (one woman had never seen snow before joining the expedition). For me, as the leader, the biggest challenge was transforming a group of 8 diverse individuals into one efficient team.
What do you feel is your greatest achievement?
I regularly receive emails from strangers who tell me that they have been encouraged to pursue a life goal after reading or hearing about one of my expeditions. The fact that I have helped others to achieve what is important to them - be it run a marathon, start a business or learn a new language - is something I am very proud of.