Karen Darke motivational speaker and sportswoman
Dr Karen Darke, motivational speaker
Karen Darke motivational speaker and sportswoman
Dr Karen Darke, motivational speaker

Dr Karen Darke MBE

Paralympic Gold Medallist, Motivational Speaker, Inspirational Speaker, Keynote Speaker, Motivational Workshops

Karen could be described as a modern-day ‘Alchemist’: a learning & development specialist turned mindset- heartset coach, explorer, athlete, speaker and author, Karen’s purpose is about helping individuals and organisations ‘Find Inner Gold’: turning challenge into opportunity, turning ‘mud’ into ‘gold’. Karen started out as a geologist researching gold in the Bolivian Andes, but a life-changing accident that left her paralysed led her away from being a ‘rock-doctor’ to winning Paralympic gold in the sport of Paralympic hand-cycling in Rio 2016.  It was the 79th medal for Britain, and 79 being the elemental number for Gold led to Karen creating Quest 79. The project has Karen cycling 7 continents in 9 iconic rides, raising £79K for Spinal Injuries and encouraging many people to step out of their comfort zones and discover passion, purpose, strength and other aspects of their ‘inner gold’.

She is a Guinness World Record holder for landspeed by armpower, has skied across icecaps, kayaked at extreme latitudes of the planet, and hand-cycled across the world’s biggest mountain ranges and alongside some of the longest rivers. These experiences combined with unique studies of mind, resilience and performance have led to helping people view life as an adventure, and to embrace all its’ experiences as opportunities to learn and grow. Karen has extensively studied what goes on ‘inside’:  the power of the mind and language to positively impact emotions; improving presence, performance and wellbeing.

Karen is a popular Keynote Speaker, Motivational Speaker and Inspirational Speaker. With a deep understanding of how trauma, stress and life events can lead to fear, pain and dis-ease, she has a passion for helping others transform, move beyond perceived limitations and consider possibility. Ability is a state of mind not body: through my own journey, she has discovered the incredible power we have within us to change our thoughts, our emotions, and our energy. We can all learn to be our own alchemist, to transform unwanted emotions or experiences into gold, be creators of our reality and in doing so improve our performance, our wellbeing, and the world around us.

Her first book “If You Fall” tells the story of her accident; the second, “Boundless” is about her adventures in Greenland and climbing El Capitan. “Quest 79: Find Your Inner Gold” is a collection of short stories positive psychology tips. All are available at www.karendarke.com

‘Karen’s captivating story shines a bright light on the meaning of challenge, and on the limitless capabilities of the human spirit.’ Sir Ranulph Fiennes, polar explorer

Karen has an MBE, a PhD in Geology, MA’s in Development Training & High Performance Coaching, and Diploma’s in Clnical & Pastoral Counselling, Hypnotherapy & Motivational Coaching. She has been awarded honorary doctorates from The University of Aberdeen, Leeds, Cumbria, Sheffield Hallam and Abertay Universities, in recognition of her accomplishments and contributions in adventure and sport.


‘Karen’s captivating story shines a bright light on the meaning of challenge, and on the limitless capabilities of the human spirit.’

Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Polar Explorer

“Karen was without a doubt, the highlight of the day. Microsoft values taking accountability, integrity and respect, and we want to encourage our people to hold a growth mindset. Karen delivered an inspiring message in harmony with those company values and culture. Attendee’s feedback listed her inspirational message, humility, amazing, moving, incredible talk, and also about how well her advice translates to work and home life.”

Microsoft, Customer Success Division

“I wanted to send you a personal note of thanks on behalf of KPMG for the fabulous session you delivered to us yesterday at the British Museum. The feedback was universally outstanding. I personally had a number of takeaways that I will be building into my life.”


“Karen is a bright and dynamic presenter, with a practical can do attitude and level headedness. ; An excellent, engaging speaker with a compelling story and amazingly positive attitude.”

Shell UK

“The group was enthralled and inspired (and probably a little dumbstruck) by the end of Karen’s talk at all her achievements. She is an amazing, strong individual who’s energy, enthusiasm and vision is an inspiration to all who come into contact with her.”

BAE Systems

“Karen’s achievements are inspiring, awe-inspiring in fact, but just as impressive is her gift for connecting with people of all ages.  It is this connection that means that after some time spent with Karen, you feel not only that you’ve been on a journey with her, but that you can relate her experience to your own life and apply that to reaching your own potential.  It’s a compelling combo and we are honoured to have worked with Karen to share her story, her positivity and her wisdom with young people across Scotland as part of our Lockdown Live project.”

R Tarves, Lockdown Live, e-Sgoil

“In our online mid year review Karen spoke to our team, sharing some sage advice on how to adapt to changing situations which had a galvanising impact on us in this ‘virtual’ world. It made up stop and think differently about our challenges and how to overcome them, backed up by practical tools we could use immediately to start to reframe our thinking and move forward positively. Thank you Karen.”

Head of Business Insights & Analytics, Bayer PLC Consumer Health

“Karen you were simply fantastic. I was talking to various people afterwards and they were really moved and inspired by your story. Your narrative is so powerful and your delivery very slick but authentic and relaxed.”

Emerge UK

Karen Darke – British Paralympic Cyclist. International Youth Federation Event, USA

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