Mark Donaldson

Victoria Cross for Gallantry    

Monday morning kicks off with a presentation from a man who personifies the attributes discussed by our previous keynote presenters: a hero with considerable learning muscle, a creative and agile mindset built on enormous empathetic capacity.  Mark Donaldson VC will bring together the themes of our conference Boys to Men: Learning Today – Leading Tomorrow.  It will be an emotional and stirring speech that will have each of you feeling “Yes I can!”

A bit about Mark
Mark Donaldson is the first Australian to receive the Victoria Cross since 1969. On 2 September 2008, in a valley in eastern Afghanistan, Trooper Mark Donaldson made a split-second decision that would change his life. His display of extraordinary courage in Afghanistan saw him awarded the Australian Victoria Cross for Gallantry – the ultimate symbol of heroism. Mark, a rebellious teenager, lost his father (Vietnam veteran) and his mother in suspicious circumstances, Faced with uncertain prospects, he could have easily followed a path of self-destructiveness and petty crime, but he chose a different tactic – the army.  Mark Donaldson VC knows what it takes to lead. He is the boy who did not give in but listened to his body and his mind. He is the man who focused his act of bravery on more than courage and collaboration, but creativity and skill. He knows what it is like to take responsibility for personal and team success and understands luck can be an important ingredient for that success. He knows how crucial effective communication is to the success of any plan. A stirring keynote, we are excited to present Mark Donaldson VC to you.


Donaldson, M. (2013). The crossroads: A story of love, loss and the SAS. Sydney, Pan McMillan Australia