Rolling the Dice: 5 things we learnt from CIO+1

CIO+1 was founded by Claire Priestley, Director of Information Technology at City, University of London in 2017 and is all about promoting diversity in IT. The focus of CIO+1 does exactly what it says on the tin. IT leaders from across the UK are invited to attend events along with someone from their team they would like by their side.

This person might be a future leader or someone they believe would really benefit from being there. Whatever the reason, the point is that these events are not exclusive to C-level, it’s a great chance for people from all walks of life to come together to promote diversity in tech and that is why we have sponsored CIO+1 for two years in a row.

Last week we attended this years’ first CIO+1 event, where we were lucky enough see 2 truly inspiring speakers as they shared their thoughts and experiences on looking to the future. One speaker that particularly caught our attention was Bonita Norris. Bonita is the youngest British woman to ever reach the summit of Mount Everest at the age of just 22.

We thought that was pretty impressive, so let’s take a look at the top 5 things we learnt from Bonita at CIO+1…

Say yes to everything

Flashback to 2008, Bonita was at university, watching TV on a lonely weekday night. Her friend invited her to a mountaineering lecture which she thought was a little odd since she had never even considered it before. But on the promise of meeting some strapping male mountaineers, she went along. Bonita may not have found love that night, but she did find a passion for climbing and adventure.

Everyone has to start out somewhere so don’t be afraid to embrace each opportunity with open arms, you never know what you might find.

Be spontaneous

A powerful sense of curiosity is one of the best qualities we have as humans. It often leads us a down a path we may never have taken otherwise. Make the most of it. Surprise yourself. It could be the best decision you’ll ever make.

Bonita reminded us that nothing is ever as bad as what you think it’s going to be. Reality is kinder than your thoughts. Climbing the tallest mountain in the world is a no mean feat, but, when you look at it plainly, it’s just climbing 29,000ft, right? So, trust your gut instinct. Keep rolling the dice.

Never give up

Climbing Mount Everest is as challenging financially as it is mentally and physically. Bonita called 1000 British businesses over 5 months in the hope of raising a whopping £50,000 to fund her dream of reaching the summit. She got 0 responses.

With the deadline fast approaching, it seemed all was lost and the dream was over. One more call she thought. It turned out to be the call she needed and a kind supporter gifted her the full amount.

So when you think, what is the point? Remember that feeling you’re aiming for. It all comes down belief. Believe in what you are doing and what it takes to achieve your goals. When we are driven by a clear vision that has meaning, passion will always trump logic.

It’s all in your head

Mountaineering – it’s just a few steps in an upward direction, right? Bonita found it was so much more than that. When you’re climbing at the highest level, danger is all around and you always have to have your wits about you. One step wrong and you’re a goner.

This is can cause a great sense of fear that can get out of hand. The key is to keep it under control. Your body is much more capable than you believe it is. Conquering the mountain of the mind can sometimes be harder than beating the biggest mountain in the world. Fear pushes us forward in time like these but it’s more important to push yourself.

Don’t look up just yet

The very top of Mount Everest is known as the Death Zone, this is the area with an altitude above 8,000 meters, where there is so little oxygen that the body is actually in a state of dying, minute by minute.

Bonita and her team endured these conditions for 24 hours straight without stopping, treading through knee deep snow to reach the summit. How on earth do you manage that? Keep your head down says Bonita.

Stop thinking about tomorrow, next week or next year, concentrate on your next step and the others will follow. It’s not over until it’s over. Focus the little details and the challenge falls away. Before you know you’re at summit, stood on top of the world.

Check out what else is going on with CIO+1 here and stay tuned for details about the next event.

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