Motivational Speaker and Author
Jo entered the Guinness World Records for the fastest female ascent of the Seven Summits. She is also the second British woman to ever climb Everest’s North Ridge. In 2005 Jo Gambi and her husband Rob, became the first couple to climb the ‘Seven Summits’ in record time and ski to the North and South Poles. Jo is the first woman to achieve this. Remarkably they achieved these records not only while Rob was in remission from his second bout of cancer, but also in spite of facing death along the way, while stranded high in the Himalayas.
Jo’s book, ‘Holding On – a story of love and survival’ was successfully launched in the UK and internationally in 2006. As a talented and keen photographer, Jo has captured images from some of the most remote and wild places around the globe and in addition to contributing to the prestigious Nikon Owner Magazine, she is currently working on her second, photographic book.
Jo developed a real passion for the outdoors from an early age whilst on family holidays where sailing, camping and hiking were the norm. Although Jo competed successfully throughout her school years in numerous athletics disciplines, she excelled in her academic studies too, going on to be awarded the highest grade and a first class honours degree in ‘Business Management and Clothing’, as well as a ‘Diploma in Biblical Studies’. After this Jo was accepted on the acclaimed graduate management programme at Marks and Spencer which led to her career as a Product Technologist in the men’s and women’s wear buying teams.
Jo’s university summer vacations saw her love for travel and adventure develop as she worked overseas extensively in Kenya, Romania, Bolivia, US, Greece and Malaysia. With roles varying from sailing instructor and lifeguard to community, hospital and church based projects. In 1997, Jo’s career changed direction as she wanted to pursue a profession more dedicated towards helping people – something she had always enjoyed throughout her ten years of church youth work. After gaining a degree in Physiotherapy she worked at University College London Hospitals (UCLH), one of the country’s leading NHS trusts as well as working privately for the London Welsh Rugby Club and teaching Clinical Pilates.
Jo’s warm and gregarious personality combined with her dynamic and engaging speaking style enables her to inspire, challenge and motivate any audience. She brings fascinating insights as a result of her experiences, but her reflections both as a female and a wife are also unique. Whilst Jo’s achievements may seem out of reach for most people, audiences are often delighted and relieved to discover she is from a “very ordinary background” without any of the potential advantages of a privileged upbringing or education. By tenaciously overcoming personal obstacles, Jo has discovered that so many of life’s answers are within reach of us all. Jo loves to inspire people to be the best they can be, maintain perspective, and passionately pursue their dreams. Jo lives in west London with her husband Rob, who is now an MD for a major financial institution.
“Jo met our needs perfectly as we were looking for a motivational speaker who could engage with and inspire our audience and she certainly did that. An unassuming and approachable individual who spoke from the heart about the challenges one takes on but also those challenges which are thrust upon one. Her passion and determination came though and she definitely resonated with our sales force.”
Lawrence Coleman, National Sales Manager, Molnlycke Health Care
“Thank you very much for your invaluable insights of your personal journey to the Seven Summits. The feedback of our participants was simply outstanding. The discussion highlighted so many parallels to our business challenges. We all felt deeply inspired and took away all the pictures and metaphors you gave us”.
Ulrich Aschoff, Executive Director, UBS Investment Bank
“Jo’s talk was excellent and inspiring. It dealt honestly with confronting very difficult situations, and how setting clear goals allied with determination, teamwork and a passion to succeed can make al the difference. The conference delegates were able to take these messages and see the relevance for them”
Phillip Hewtson – Director of Finance – Supply & Capability, AstraZeneca
“Jo is a natural communicator; her talk was inspiring and fascinating. It was also beautifully illustrated by first class visuals. Jo captivated the audience and left them wanting more”
Charlotte Hindle, Wanderlust Career Break
“Thank you so much for your talk. The audience was mesmerized. It was not only the subject but also the quality of presentation. You should take up public speaking as a career”.
Robert Thomas, Master of The Worshipful Company of Actuaries
“It was a delight to hear Jo share the story of her and Rob’s global climbing adventures. I would happily recommend her to anyone looking for a highly engaging speaker with a truly inspirational tale to tell”.
Wendy Hand, Director of Celebrity Speakers Australia
“Grays of Westminster have presented numerous talks, lectures, seminars and workshops for the years. They have all received excellent feedback. However, none of those events have ever received the kind of rapturous response as that given in our Christmas Evening with Rob and Jo Gambi. From the moment of their dramatic entrance to the very personal talk with the accompanying images all these elements came together to make ad heady mixture of utter professionalism and whole presentation edge of the seat excitement. It was inspiring and dramatic”
Gray Levett, MIoD, Director, Grays of Westminster
“Jo - you were brilliant! There is a quite unprecedented buzz from those who were lucky enough to witness your talk last night. Aside from evident admiration for both you and Rob for the 7 Summits and 2 Poles achievements and Rob's extraordinary powers of recovery, people seem inspired by your ability to talk very eloquently from a deeply personal perspective, complemented by some wonderfully well considered quotes from others; along with some terrific photography. Thank you so much for battling the Chicago snow to get back and deliver such a lively and engaging presentation.”
Andy Carter, National Director, Jones Lang LaSalle
“My sincere thanks to Jo Gambi for her input into the 'celebrities in conversation' night. Her contribution was outstanding and we thoroughly enjoyed her input into the evening.”
David Marson, Chelmsford Christian Festival
“The Gambi's told a heart-warming and exciting story about a their quest for exploring the elements and limits much beyond everyday life - a life that suddenly and unexpectedly can appear preciously too short. Thank you”.
Michael Strobaek, Management Consulting Services – UBS Global Wealth Management - Zurich
“A huge thank you from all of us for a truly wonderful talk last night. I’m sure everyone who hears you says the same, but you were truly inspirational on so many different levels. You and Rob set such great examples not only as explorers and adventurers, but also in the strength of your love for each other, your faith, and your fight against Rob’s cancer. The success of the evening was down to you Jo, so thank you so much”.
Jo Scott – Fundraising Event Co-ordinator - CRUK
“On behalf of our Presidents and members of our Club I would like to say an enormous thank you for the wonderful presentation you made to our guests for our 50th Anniversary Charter Lunch. I have had such positive feedback from everyone”.
Jenny Todd - Joint Hon Secretary - Soroptomist International Aylesbury & District
“Thank you for such an amazing evening our lives have been enriched and blessed!”
Lone Wright - Alpha supper co-ordinator
“Jo’s inspirational and motivational story proved ideal for our Leukaemia CARE training day. She gave the staff a powerful message about inner strength, over coming illness and believing in yourself and concluded our day with a great talk.”
Tony Gavin - Chief Executive - Leukaemia CARE
“I do hope we will meet again. Yours is such an inspirational story. Thank you so much for helping make our festival a resounding success”.
Hazel Roy – Himalayan Nepal Festival Co-ordinator
“A huge thank you for coming to Uppingham and for sharing your amazing story with us. You had us captivated as we travelled with you into the thin air”.
James Gale - Uppingham House Summer camp Leader
“I am still out of breath form climbing those summits at altitude with you! We all thought the evening at Lord William’s was great. Thank you for all the enthusiasm that you put into the event”.
Mike Shorthouse – Chair, Gambi Link Committee
“Thank you so much for coming and sharing with us at ‘Face to Face’. You are such an inspiration and you touch so many women’s lives leaving them thirsty for more. What a gift!”
Gill Hampton – Chair – Face to Face Events - All Saints
“Thank you so much for such a tremendous evening - inspiring and personally challenging for those who listened. The beauty of the photos, drama of what you shared - I think we saw just a little blink. I am sure everyone at the evening is thinking over and over, some of your poignant personal messages”
Liz Harvey – Co-ordinator, Stoke Poges Outreach Supper Party
“Just wanted to say thanks once again for your great talk on Friday! I really appreciated the way you linked your challenges and achievements to many of the situations the audience will be facing”.
Lawrence Coleman – National Sales Manager – Molnlycke Healthcare
“Jo had a relaxed demeanour and communicated clearly and enthusiastically focusing on the things the audience could appreciate”.
Mike Peascod – Chairman – Fort William Mountain Festival, USA
“Jo engaged really well with the children – her pace and delivery kept them enthralled. She thoroughly exceeded our expectations as a speaker. The Year 3 children gained a real sense of relevance to their learning about mountains by meeting someone so passionate about their experiences. The content of Jo’s talk was completely appropriate for the age range of children she was talking to and she did three talks. Her balance of the themes of perseverance and dedication to the climb and facing illness was clearly understood by all the different age groups. I give her 10 out of 10.”
Rob Davey, Assistant Head Teacher, Belmont School, London.
“Jo, I wanted to write to thank you for taking time out to address our Leadership Conference. Your presentation was both hugely inspiring an very thought provoking. Many people commented to me that they thought it was the highlight of the conference. Thank you so much again for a fabulous talk and for sharing your experiences with us, We are also extremely grateful for your continued support”.
Harpal Kumar – Chief Executive Officer – Cancer Research UK
“Thank you for your mail. I sincerely mean it; your contribution at those different Talent & Leadership events was the one with the biggest impact on participants. I have heard so many of them emphasizing it and referring to it as a highlight”.
Eleonore Leder – Global Head Education and Development - UBS Global Asset Management, Zurich
“To hold the attention of 150 teenagers for an hour is no mean feat; Jo did so with apparent ease. Jo was readily able to match the style and content of her lectures to suit different age groups. She struck an excellent balance between covering the material relating to her many expeditions and that of their incredible life story, skilfully weaving two together in a manner which was both interesting and inspiring. Unashamedly, yet unobtrusively, too, she described how, as a Christian, her faith impacted on their story. I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending Jo. I have no doubt she could address (and engage and inspire) a wide range of different audiences, from school children through to hard nose business executives. Hers is an incredible story told with honesty, humour and sincerity.
Paul Stockdale, Headmaster, Oswestry School’s 600th Anniversary Celebrations
“I want to say a huge thank you for coming and sharing your inspiring story with us. Everyone was gripped by your presentation and we had so much positive feedback from those who came along. My personal lasting memories from your talk (apart from the bits about having to put your food inside your clothes to defrost it with body heat!) were of your incredible perseverance to keep going even when pushed to your physical, emotional ad spiritual limits”.
Ali Preston, Co Ordinator, Women’s Christmas Celebration Evening, Holy Trinity, Hazlemere
”You managed to engage the audience and present an entertaining account of your extraordinary experiences in a way that enabled us to relate to them. We really feel we know what you went through and what it must be like to test yourself beyond the limit”
Ian Buckley, Chief Investment Officer, Henderson Global Investors
“Jo Gambi spoke at our New Wine Women’s day at Westminster Central hall. She was an engaging and fluent speaker, who was able to hold the attention of the audience and point them to a higher spiritual goal. I thoroughly recommend her to you”.
Anne Coles, Leader of Women’s Ministry, New Wine Trust
“Jo Gambi was the keynote speaker at the Cancer Research UK Long Service Awards 2007. Her ability to connect her tremendous achievements to the lives of everyone in the room was really motivating. I have no hesitation in recommending Jo as a speaker at future events”.
Tom Russell, Director of Strategic Resourcing & Reward
“Jo joined us recently in Oxford to share with our students her extraordinary experiences. The warmth and humour with which she hared, coupled with an ability to really connect with her audience was quite remarkable. I have no hesitation in recommending her to you”.
Ceri Rees, College Manager, King’s Bible College & Training Centre
“Jo Gambi gave an exciting, natural, well tailored presentation accompanied by great photography. Her openness and honesty were very inspiring. Everyone agreed it was entertaining and rekindled our audience’s joy of adventure and the need for team work”. “It even inspired a few people to try for the Iron Man!”.
Rosemary Freenan, International Director, Jones Lang LaSalle, World Winning Cities Programme
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