Rachael Robertson

Onya Soapbox

Rachael Robertson

Rachael Robertson (CSP, MBA) is a former Antarctic expedition leader, Chief Ranger and leader with 20 years of ‘extreme’ leadership experience.

Leading an Antarctic expedition, coordinating media during the Black Saturday bushfire event and leading teams through turmoil all required extreme leadership and the ability to inspire through tough times. As Rachael reveals using incredible and often hilarious examples, these events demanded big leadership in small moments, because it’s the small moments that build momentum.

As only the second female to lead a team at Davis Station in Antarctica she managed a diverse group of up to 120 people, through total isolation, months of darkness, with no way in and no way out. It was a leadership laboratory in the most extreme and hostile environment on Earth, where most of the theory doesn’t apply.

Rachael presents with great humour, humility and passion. No matter the event, Rachael will leave your audience inspired, challenged and equip to take the next step in their leadership journey


Leading on the Edge

This presentation provides a compelling insight into the highs and lows of 18 strangers living in complete isolation in the most remote place on the planet, for an entire year. With awe-inspiring images of Antarctica, plenty of humour and using real-life stories, Rachael takes the audience on an emotional journey revealing the truth behind life in this most fascinating and isolated environment.

This presentation is always adapted to the theme of your event, be it entertainment, leadership skills or improved teamwork. Rachael’s clients typically choose from one these themes:

  • Life, love and leadership in Antarctica.
  • Edge Leadership.
  • Edge Teams.
  • Remote and Dangerous.

Life, Love and Leadership in Antarctica

This presentation has been specifically designed to give an insight into the highs and lows of 18 strangers living in complete isolation in the most remote place on the planet, for an entire year. With awe-inspiring images of Antarctica, plenty of humour and using real-life stories, Rachael takes the audience on an emotional journey revealing the truth behind life in this most fascinating and isolated environment.

Specific Takeaways:

  • Entertainment – even the rowdiest crowd quickly comes under Rachael’s spell.
  • Inspiration – your audiences will be moved to dream the impossible.
  • Education – learn the most interesting facts about life in Antarctica.
  • Motivation – your people will leave motivated to rise to new challenges.

Edge Leadership

Q > What does leading an Antarctic expedition have to do with corporate leadership?
A > Much more than you could ever realise!

There can be no argument that leading Antarctic expeditions is extreme. Once you commit there is no turning back. Yet the challenges for the leader are the same in every workplace. Leaders need to acknowledge and navigate through the perpetual scrutiny, the frequent isolation, and the need to keep going when you feel you have nothing more to give.

Leaders need to be able to develop personal resilience and be able to manage the scrutiny spotlight that their position attracts. This keynote is perfect for leaders and aspiring leaders in all forms:

Specific Takeaways:

  • Leader for a reason, a season and for life – how to make the right decision, the right way.
  • Open Door Policy 2.0 – it’s not time management, it’s boundary management.
  • Power of reflection – how to hone your self awareness and build resilience.
  • Tools to build teamwork, influence and trust in organisations.
  • Antarctic winter: How to sustain yourself in the dark times.
  • The “Bacon Wars” and why its critical to ‘major in the minor’ things.

Edge Teams Inspire, empower and equip your people to lead their teams with mastery

Few of us get to select every member of our teams. Usually, we need to build an effective and resilient team from an existing group of diverse people. The ability to understand and harness this diversity to create high performance is critical.

Rachael shares her experience and techniques including how to motivate and reward staff using intrinsic measures and how to keep teams focused on your main goal, but know what needs to be done now.

Specific Takeaways:

  • LADAR – listen out “pings” for on your ‘language radar’ to strengthen respect and integrity.
  • Adapt or perish – why collaboration is critical and why only the smart teams survive.
  • The “Bacon Wars” and how to shape your team’s attitudes and behaviours.
  • Lessons from emperors – How to protect the tribe so the individual thrives.

Remote and Dangerous! Practical tools for safety, resilience and teamwork

Remote and dangerous worksites present unique challenges to people and their employers. Workers need the skills to quickly adapt to the work and then re-assimilate into their home lives. Teams must live a culture of safety. Employers must strive to create a zero harm environment without losing productivity and efficiency.

Keynote speaker Rachael Robertson successfully led in the most remote and dangerous workplace known to man, a year long expedition to Antarctica. Now she shares her insights, experience and tools!

Specific Takeaways:

  • Bacon Wars – why every organisation has a coffee cup sign in the kitchen and what it means for safety.
  • Plane Crash- how to lead through an emergency.
  • Resilience – choose and develop mental toughness.
  • Mode switch – tools to streamline swing transitions.
  • Antarctic Winter- how to keep teams inspired and motivated during the long dark times.
  • Spotlight – coping strategies for close living.

Edge Moments How to turn good people into great leaders, strategy into execution and ideas into action

The big things are important, but it’s the small things that make the difference. Great leaders know how to show BIG leadership in small moments.

Most people want to lead. They really do, and they make great efforts to do so. Yet research shows that most “leaders” don’t inspire their people. There is a deafening chorus of employees shouting “I want my leader to inspire”. So… what is it that great leaders do differently? They understand the value of edge moments.

Edge moments:

– shape strong connections, which
– create trust and loyalty, and
– build passion and commitment, that turn
– strategy into execution,
– ideas into action,
– good people into great leaders.

Specific Takeaways:

  • Appreciate how moments create trust and momentum.
  • Understand the multiplying effect of moments.
  • Learn how to create powerful edge moments.
  • Learn how to spot, address and fix moments.
  • Learn the language of moments – body, voice, context.
  • Receive the tools to immediately become an Edge Leader.


Rachael was engaging and responded well to the group. Her experiences are extraordinary and she did a great job of relating what she learnt. She was also able to illustrate the similarities between her roles and those of my team. In one word, ‘Terrific!'”

“We were delighted with the feedback on Rachael from our advisers. Evaluation forms contained phrases such as: “Excellent”, “Truly inspiring”, “Interesting” and “Fantastic presenter – very informative and interesting”. Working with Rachael over five events around Australia was a delight. She has a very professional and flexible approach.”

“I have seen a number of speakers over the years, however Rachael was amongst the absolute best of them. I took so much away from her amazing story, and have relayed some of her messages to other people. Love the bacon war!”

“Rachael is a passionate and enthusiastic speaker. She has that magic mix of tangible down-to-earth stories that give way to strong and inspiring messages on leadership, relationships and life. She fully engages with the participants from the moment she arrives right through to the moment she leaves.”

“Rachael was fantastic. She gave engaging presentation that left the audience wanting more.”
Leadership Great South Coast