Annette Lyn O'Neil

Leader/product nerd/writer/producer/adventurer/athlete.Oxford. 🏛

With gratitude to my sponsor, @cookiehelmets

Hi. I'm Annette.I lead people, and I love product.

After graduating from the University of Southern California with degrees in Film, Geology and Communications, I spent my early career in the (decidedly diploma-agnostic) entertainment industry, where I cut my teeth as a logistician:operationalist in an environment of 36-hour working days and ridiculous celebrity demands. I loved it.Because my teeth, after that, were indeed quite sharp, I started pinch-hitting in the Ops departments of my friends' companies, then their friends' companies—but always as a freelancer. I preferred to move mountains, then move along.In 2018, I shifted to full-time in one of those long-term consulting roles: what was once a fractional C-suite gig became the COO chair of a fully remote software engineering staff-augmentation firm. The firm provided dev services for product startups and scale-ups, such as Merit, Qatalog and Hearken.I moved to England to found the UK subsidiary of that company in October of 2020. Not long afterward, I was appointed CEO of the US parent company.In 2022, I exited my CEO:Director role to immerse myself completely in Product. I started consulting in Product Operations for Ecologi in November of 2022. Fueled by the broad experience I'd gathered in the space of startup strategy, I transformed the org's product operations in just three months.In July of 2023, I took up the Head of Product role at Just About, a startup community platform that unites fans around shared passions and, vitally, pays them fairly for creating the best content and conversation on the internet. The mission is galvanising, the work is the perfect balance of challenging and delightful, and the team is brilliant. 14/10.I also serve as Editor-in-Chief of the membership magazine for British Skydiving and as Producer of the Annie Awards (which annually celebrates the highest achievements in the animation industry).

I've been a digital nomad since long before the coining of the term.

I was raised a third-culture kid, hopping all over the world with my family. I still live life like it's a somewhat-less-boisterous game of passport bingo.

I've been location-independent since 2006 and lived as a full-time traveler from 2009 to 2020. During those years, I lived out of a suitcase (and some airsports gear bags) and jumped, flew, worked and thrived intercontinentally without missing a beat.I've lived in old-town Cusco, the peninsular countryside south of Auckland, the Swiss mountains, the paragliding-happy Turkish beach town of Ölüdeniz, the Kenyan coast, La Paz, Berlin, Cape Town, the southern coast of South Africa, the Carpathian mountains, the Arizona desert, Utah’s Wasatch Front and all over the UK. I've traveled on a somewhat less-permanent basis to many, many dozens more.These days, I live with my husband/co-conspirator/professional crush, Alex — CTO, mission-driven startup founder, heart-led superhero and general badass — on a beautiful boat on the Thames. I’m having the time of my life. 🎈

I'm an athlete.

I started my journey into "extreme" activities in the summer of 2008 on a sportbike, carving along the legendary mountain roads north of Los Angeles. It wasn't long after that when, during an extended stint in South Africa, I met a skydiver in a ramshackle beach bar who explained to me that skydiving isn't necessarily something you do once and walk away. Intrigued, I went for my first tandem that weekend. Standing in the airplane door over the craggy landscape near Pietermaritzburg, I could already feel myself falling in love with human flight.Skydiving led quickly to paragliding, speed flying and, then, BASE jumping. In May of 2012, I jumped from a bridge in the South African garden route, a cliff near Cape Town, a skyscraper in Istanbul and an antenna in Southern California. This sequence of four consecutive jumps made me the first female to achieve BASE—building, antenna, span and earth—in just four jumps. Since then, I've logged more than three hundred BASE jumps and hundreds of foot-launched flights across five continents, to say nothing of the skydiving. The pace shows no signs of slowing.In 2018, Joel Strickland and I undertook the challenge of becoming the first athletes to skydive in all fifty states in a single trip. Over the course of six months, despite heavy odds (and Joel dying that one time), we did it.Today, I'm sponsored by some of the world’s top skydiving gear brands: Performance Designs, Cookie Helmets, CYPRES Airtec GMBH, UPT and Larsen & Brusgaard.In between flights and jumps, you'll find me flying in the wind tunnel, doing partner acrobatics with my husband, rock climbing, skiing, slacklining, or participating in another practice that pushes out the intensity:novelty:difficulty radar chart. No matter what, I'll be flopping happily around on a yoga mat at regular intervals.

I'm a bit of a Hollywood type.

I spent my twenties producing first music videos, then big commercials and production service idents.My credits include commercial spots for such clients as Toyota, Dell, Dirt Devil, Eggo, Denny's, Kraft, Gillette, Best Buy, Budweiser, Procter & Gamble, Washington Mutual, Syfy and the Travel Channel, as well as music videos for such artists as Depeche Mode, The Killers, Keith Urban, Michael Buble, Good Charlotte, Britney Spears (unreleased, and that's a fun story), The Frames, Hot Hot Heat (a couple of times), Hoobastank (again, multiply), Marilyn Manson and the Jonas Brothers, to name just a few items on a very long list.I know what you're thinking, and yes: working in the music industry tends to smack you with a bit of a date stamp.Moving on.Listening to the same pop song sixty times in a row is fun and all, but my favorite gigs have been the production service projects I've worked on for international clients. I did a suite of epic promos for Channel 4, as well as several extraordinarily creative individual-show promos for both C4 and Sky UK. I've also done an armful of fashion spots, including Norway's lingerie release for Cubus and Donatella Versace's summer collection for H&M.I’m still involved on the executive level with the Annie Awards, where I get to drink champagne with Spongebob in a tux.

I'm a writer.

From 2012-2020, I was a staff writer for the world’s top airsports publications, Parachutist Magazine and USHPA Pilot (nee Hang Gliding & Paragliding). I've also been a regular contributor to Red Bull Adventure, Blue Skies Mag, Dropzone, Whole Life Times and May 2023, I took on the role of Editor-In-Chief of Skydive the Mag, the membership magazine for British Skydiving, to lead its digital transition and execute a total reboot of the magazine's content and direction.

Fun Facts

I'm a world record holder in the sport of BASE jumping.
I’m the first woman to BASE jump from all four fixed object types—Building, Antenna, Span (bridge), Earth (cliff)—in the first four BASE jumps. I went on to jump from fixed objects more than 300 times, across five continents. I then left the sport before the inevitable statistics caught up to me. (Whew.)
I'm a world record holder in the sport of skydiving.
I’m the only person to skydive in all fifty states during one continuous trip. I still jump, and I'm currently working on expanding the already-prodigious collection of dropzones in my logbook.
I've been a digital nomad since before Tim Ferriss published The Four-Hour Workweek.
No matter where you’re from, I probably know your general neighborhood to an extent that will raise your eyebrows.

I don’t intend to slow down.

Can't stop, won't stop.


With gratitude to my sponsor, @cookiehelmets