Talking from her own experiences, Penny’s series of powerful, engaging and entertaining keynote talks on subjects such as Mental Toughness, Resilience and Results, Ambition to Achievement and Enlightened Leadership have become acclaimed international favourites for many of the world’s most powerful businesses, brands and business leaders.
Continuing his theme of introducing us to a selection of his far from bland friends, clients, contacts and connections, Strangebrew’s Phil Strachan introduces us to Penny Mallory, ex Rally Champion, Television Presenter, Author and Motivational/Keynote Speaker.
I was first introduced to Penny about seven years ago, being very aware of her incredible accomplishments on the Rally circuit – not only in becoming the British Women’s Rally Champion against all the odds but also because she was the first and only woman to be given a drive in and to compete in a World Rally Car with the Ford Rally team.
Being very interested in cars, I was also aware of Penny’s subsequent role as a regular and respected TV Presenter and host on leading motoring programmes including Channel 4’s Driven, ITV4’s Used Car Roadshow and Men and Motors, Discovery’s Classic Car Club and Channel 4’s World Rally Championship.
Shortly after meeting Penny, I had the immense privilege of working with her on the creation of her Take Control brand as she launched her now well established and very successful Motivational/After Dinner Speaking career. Indeed, working with her recently, I arranged for Penny to deliver her stimulating ‘World Class Thinking – World Class Behaviour‘ motivational talk to a totally captivated audience at the Network Royals business event at Reading’s Madejski Stadium.
Penny has a wealth of experience in human psychological performance, having worked with very many World Class teams and organisations, including F1, to effect behavioural change through the development of a winning mindset.
In her book and keynote talk on World Class Thinking – World Class Behaviour, Penny demonstrates how anyone can develop their own Mental Toughness by embracing the four key components of Control, Commitment, Challenge and Confidence in order to transform the quality of their life, their performance and the results they achieve.
Penny talks from her own experience of being part of a dysfunctional family, of leaving home at 14 and becoming a homeless teen living on the edge through to turning her life around to becoming a hugely successful Rally Champion and the first woman in the world to drive a World Rally Car for the Ford Rally team. She really is driven and mentally tough and knows exactly how to compete and how to beat the odds.
Penny, as I recall you first got the rallying bug when you were about six or seven years old
Yes, I had just watched a rally on TV and I decided there and then that I wanted to become a rally driver. I told everyone that but no one took me very seriously at the time. But that ambition never went away – the dream of one day becoming a rally driver stuck in my mind. It was always there and I really wanted it.
Moving forward some years, you had left home, you had moved to London. Without going into too many details, your life was at an all time low. You were homeless and sofa surfing for several years, so how did you end up fulfilling your dream and not only managing to become a rally driver but to go on to become a Rally Champion? That’s quite a leap!
Yes it was, Phil. As you know, I am a great believer that you make your own ‘luck’ in this world. Opportunities rarely come handed to you on a plate and if you really want something badly enough, you have to take control and do whatever it takes to make it happen. It is all about having a goal, an ambition and being determined enough, committed enough and resilient enough to make it happen and to get the result that you want.
Regarding breaking into rallying, there was no opportunity that came to me, an unknown on the streets of London with a crazy dream and little else. There was no call from any rally team, let alone a leading rally team, who needed my services or wanted to give me the opportunity to fulfil my dream.
So what did happen – How did you get into rallying?
In my determined innocence, I phoned directory enquiries to find out where I could go to learn to drive a rally car. I was given telephone numbers for some rally schools (I did not even know such things existed) and I phoned one up and booked a half day course. Simple as that! I had managed to achieve my first goal of getting the chance to drive a rally car.
That was me hooked, addicted. I can scarcely describe the euphoria and adrenalin rush of driving a rally car for the first time on a gravel-covered airfield, doing handbrake turns, getting sideways and going round obstacles on opposite lock. It was a truly life-changing experience. This was it, I was transported into another world. For the first time ever, I felt truly in control and that day I decided that I was going to be a rally driver and that I would allow nothing to stand in my way.
But you did have many obstacles that stood in your way and the odds of you succeeding were very poor.
Absolutely, Phil, the main one being money. I did various jobs working in bars and restaurants and managed to earn and to borrow enough money to get some lessons, to hire cars to drive and to enter a few rallies. I did OK and I wanted to do more. I realised that if I wanted to be good at it that I needed more practice, more drives and more rallies.
When I had maxed out my borrowing, I then sought sponsorship to fund me. I was very fortunate to secure some great sponsorship deals – as much because of my obvious drive, passion, enthusiasm, determination and commitment as my ability in a rally car. I was very fortunate but once again I had made my own luck – I had taken control.
When you set out, did you ever dream that you would become Women’s Rally Champion and that you would become the first woman to get a drive in and compete in a World Rally Car?
No – but I wanted to succeed. It was all a question of setting one goal at a time, one achievable but challenging step or stage at a time. Firstly, to get a drive in a real rally, then having achieved that, to win a rally. Having achieved that, I then wanted to win the Championship and having achieved that, I then wanted to drive a World Rally Car.
Having reached the top of your profession over 12 years and having become truly world class, you then embarked on another very successful career as a TV presenter, hosting and co-hosting some of the leading motoring programmes. Once again, you had to succeed in a very competitive and challenging business.
Yes, Phil. And what a privilege that was. I was very fortunate but at the same time, I took control and to a great degree made my own luck. It is a very competitive business but I was determined to succeed and I rose to the challenge.
Challenges against the odds are something that you really thrive on, Penny. Not content with what you had achieved in a rally car, your fighting spirit at one point led you to take up boxing. That itself took a year of intensive training to earn the right to compete in an official boxing match.
Yes – I always like new challenges and something to focus on and it was a challenge that appealed to me – just like the three marathons that I ran back to back over three days.
And being a relative of George Mallory of Everest fame, it should come as no surprise to anyone that you also took on and conquered two of the seven highest peaks in Europe.
Penny, there are very many motivational speakers out there who can ‘talk the talk’ but there are very few who can do so with such convincing authority. You really have ‘walked the walk’, repeatedly demonstrating your mental toughness and winning mindset by setting yourself seemingly impossible challenges and by overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles and odds. It’s what sets you apart and qualifies you as one of the leading Motivational Speakers in the UK.
Thank you Phil. My objective now is to help others to develop a winning mindset and the mental toughness to achieve their ambitions through my talks and my workshops
Anyone wishing to book Penny as a speaker to deliver one of her truly inspirational, engaging and entertaining Penny Mallory Talks series or a workshop should contact her on 07831 179231