Living and breathing expeditions and climbing is not a life that many people can relate to, neither is choosing to go to Afghanistan – on holiday. However, the skills of building a cohesive team, visionary leadership, timely decision making, effective communication, adaptability and mitigating risk translate to many work environments, just honed out of necessity in the Himalayas or Hindu Kush.
Passionate about exploration and driven by becoming the first person to stand on the summit of some of the remotest summits in the world I have been undeterred by those who tell me what I can’t do. I have travelled the world, often on long overland journeys and seeking out adventure and summits. My work has involved leading teams on expeditions in all 7 continents, working with the military in developing leadership in the British hills as well as with young people on personal development expeditions.
Talks draw on my personal expedition experiences and that of working with people in the mountains and reflect on how the lessons I have learnt can be transferable to other circumstances. Talks focus on entertainment, transferable skills from the mountains to the office, and self-deprecating humour – now let’s not take this too seriously!
Keynote speech examples:
Embracing the Unknown – noone’s stepped on the mountain before, there is noone to tell you which way to go, or whether it is even possible.
Failure can be the key to success – I never fail as much as I do in the mountains. Mountains have taught me how to fail well and this has been my success.
Communication across cultural boundaries: Adventures in misunderstandings – travel in over 70 countries, from Afghanistan to Zambia, sometimes alone, communicating effectively with people has enriched my adventures and misunderstandings provided some hilarious tales and insightful lessons.
A misfit leader: Leadership in challenging circumstances – In the male dominated world of high altiude expeditions I wasn’t the leader the team expected, there is little time to win their trust before being in a serious mountain environment.
Risky business: Insights into managing Risk in the mountains – Risk is accepted in the mountains, how to manage it and where the line lies between acceptable and unacceptable differs.
Inspiration for the future
Having been introduced to the outdoors through school, family holidays and the Duke of Edinburgh Award, I have gone on to pursue a career as an expedition leader as well as having a passion for Geography in which I have gained a PhD.
My talks focus on my journey from Bronze Duke of Edinburgh expeditions in the Kent countryside to mountaineering expeditions in some of the remotest parts of the world. They also highlight how being in the hills has enabled me to achieve a PhD, despite being told throughout school that I was not academic.