On Thursday, 17th March we were very lucky to have world class polar explorer, Pen Hadow, talking to the whole school about Leadership and his polar expeditions.

Pen first stormed into the world’s headlines with his historic solo trek to the North Pole – a feat that has never been repeated. Within months of his return he succeeded in pulling off a polar double by trekking solo to the South Pole, again without resupply.  He then set up a Polar travel company leading expeditions to the poles and more recently he founded Geo Mission, a pioneering environmental sponsorship organisation looking into the effects of climate change on the Arctic.

Will Ponty and I were very fortunate to hear Pen speak in the autumn at a senior prefect’s conference in London.  We both really enjoyed listening to him so I wrote to him to ask if he would come and speak to the school. Very kindly and much to our pleasant surprise he agreed to fit us into his very busy schedule and come and visit the College

Pen spoke about his trips to the poles that proved to be a fascinating insight into the challenges facing explorers in such barren and freezing regions and how he overcame them – from fighting off polar bears with saucepans to swimming in ice cold water. But what was so useful for everyone was Pen’s wisdom on how to lead. He used his own experiences as Deputy Head Boy of Harrow and as an explorer to illustrate key things a leader needs to do in order to be successful.

His expeditions sometimes did not go to plan and his message from this to us all was that if one fails in reaching one’s goal first time round, don’t see this as a failure but as part of the inherent training/learning needed to achieve the goal – never give up!

Some students were very lucky to join Pen for supper before the talk and it was an excellent chance to chat informally about what life is like as an explorer and how to keep oneself motivated.

It was a fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable evening that generated many questions for Pen afterwards. It has also sparked off a lot of discussion within the College since.

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