Mark Hughes Foundation: Everest Trek

One of our values at PKF is community, giving back. It is a pillar of what we are built on. For me, and many others like me, this has mostly been by way of a financial contribution to many charities and not-for-profit organisations. Over the years, we have given hundreds of thousands of dollars. Now don’t get me wrong, this is great, and it is so needed, but a few years ago when talking to my good mate, Mark Hughes of the Mark Hughes Foundation (MHF), it dawned on me that I could get more involved and have more impact by utilising the wonderful network I am a part of to reach more people and raise awareness of a worthy cause. And there is no cause more worthy than MHF’s fight to defeat brain cancer.

Anyone that has heard Mark’s story (if you haven’t go to the MHF website and check it out) knows what I am talking about and I have no doubt is in awe of Mark and his wonderful wife, Kirralee, and what they have fought against and continue to fight. So, I asked Mark how I could get involved. I was thinking I could unpack beanies or help out at a store or host an event. All relatively normal suggestions I thought. But Mark and the MHF team don’t do normal. Brain cancer sufferers don’t get to do normal.

So, after a quite a bit of self-talk, from ‘you’ve got this’ to ‘maybe this is too hard’ to ‘you can’t take the time away from work’ and many other thoughts and emotions, I said yes
to the challenge and the discomfort of climbing the highest single freestanding mountain above sea level in the world, Mount Kilimanjaro! To say it was tough is an understatement,
but there is something about helping others, pushing yourself and achieving that makes you want to go again and again. That was in 2019, and since then I have completed the MHF Top End challenge in Kakadu and in October last year, the pinnacle to date, I completed the Everest Base Camp Twin Peak Summit. 

Those three treks alone have generated great funding for MHF, with a combined total of over $1.5m (my network personally contributed over $110k! – unbelievable support) which allows them to achieve so much for those in need. But it has been the awareness we can bring to these causes that is worth so much more. Make no mistake, these challenges are just that, they push you to your limits, but the more I have leant into them, the more I have taken away. The personal learning is immense, and I have no doubt I have grown each trek and been better for the experience.

The Everest trek was no different. So many takeaways to apply to life, and after spending time with some wonderful humans and with a little reflection, I have listed my ten things that leads to peak performance that hopefully you can get something out of too.

  1. You’re not alone, you will achieve much more as a team.
  2. Being vulnerable lets people in and creates relationships.
  3. Different is scary, but not wrong. Most of your limitations are psychological.
  4. Be prepared. Start each day right.
  5. Buy in to a common purpose bigger than yourself
  6. Focus on the journey not the destination and reap the real rewards.
  7. Life is simple, don’t overcomplicate it
  8. Practice gratitude. Recognise what you have and what you can create.
  9. It’s not a race. It’s about achieving your purpose, continually learning and improving along the way.
  10. Celebrate the successes. Not just the big things, but the little wins as well.

Giving back actually gives so much to you. There is no perfect time to get involved, no way of getting around the discomfort and yes, it will be hard. So what, these are all challenges that you will get past. Those in need, like brain cancer sufferers, don’t get to pick and choose. They must get on with it to get back to their peak performance. 

I have got so much more out of these treks than I have given and I have come to realise that ‘Whether you think you can or you can’t…you’re right!’.

Related insights

Subscribe to our newsletter


Propel your career

Learn more about Careers

Follow us

Find your closest office


Read our latest Clarity mag

View now

About the firm

Transparency reports