Polar explorer Ann Daniels, was one of the inspirational leaders who took to the stage at our World Class Leadership summit. Ann offers insights from her experiences on a polar adventure, on the importance of trust when you’re working in a team, especially when in challenging situations.
The next night we put the tent up on a flat piece of ice and at around 5 am in the morning the whole ice began to break and shot up – that was flat to the ground – and the sound! And you kind of forget when you’re walking on ice that thick that’s it’s an ocean. As the sound started to break up quake we suddenly realise that we had to get out of there because if we had gone in that would have been the end of us. It took two days for a plane to get to us in good weather so there was no let’s just call somebody in at anytime, it was down to us. And I woke up with the first noise and we had thought about what we would do. So we went into our routines and I think sometimes that can be the hardest thing. My job was to stay in the tent – couldn’t see anything – and throw everything out as fast as I could. Pom’s was to grab everything and launch it into a sled and Caroline’s was just to look at the ice and see when the last second would be. And I think that was one of my toughest times because I could feel the ice and I was frightened and I knew that our very lives were in danger. But I just had to trust and I had to trust that Caroline would do her job and let us know when the last second was. There’s no good me checking on her is it? Alright, put my head out and checking the ice because I had to get everything out and sometimes I think that’s quite difficult trusting other people and actually standing back and letting them do the job. We did get out of there thankfully and we skied along. We did celebrate because I think we should celebrate everything. Staying alive for us was worth celebrating. So we celebrated with all we had, a little bit of chocolate, ate it and moved on.