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Alan Hobson,  Speaker

Alan Hobson

    • Mt. Everest Summiteer and Cancer Survivor
Full Bio
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Travels From


The Triumph of Teamwork

The Triumph of Teamwork

The Power of Preparation

The Power of Preparation

The Force of Focus

The Force of Focus

Alan Hobson Speaker Biography

At the age of 29, international bestselling author and worldwide adventurer Alan Hobson set out to realize his greatest childhood dream. It took him 10 grueling expeditions to high altitude, three to Mt. Everest, and a decade of intense fundraising, training and organizational effort before he finally stood on top of the world. As he gazed out from the highest physical point on the planet, tears froze to his face. He could see the curvature of the Earth as the horizon bent in his peripheral vision at 29,035 feet.

“Half the dream is done,” the then 39-year-old radioed to base camp as his voice cracked with emotion. “If we’re persistent enough, we can do the dreams.”

In August 2000, Alan set out on his ultimate adventure to date. At 42, he was diagnosed with cancer of the blood and given less than a year to live. Using the hard-won lessons he learned on Everest, he chose to ignore solid medical evidence that there was an 85 per cent chance he would die and thanks to raw courage and the miracles of modern medicine, he not only survived but thrived. He is now one of less than a few dozen people to regain an elite level of fitness after a blood transplant for acute leukemia, is more physically fit than he was prior to his last Everest expedition and has been cancer-free for over nine years. He is now considered to be medically cured.

“My ‘Inner Everest’ has dwarfed the outer one,” he says quietly, “I see life now from a new perspective. Success isn’t about height. It’s about depth.”

The story of Alan Hobson’s life is a breathtaking portrait in passion, persistence and peak performance spanning four decades. He is not only an Everest summiteer and worldwide adventurer, but an Adventrepreneur™, a serious businessman who has successfully trademarked his own business niche. He has appeared on many national television talk shows, including Oprah. His expeditions have required millions of dollars to finance, organize and execute, and they have stretched Alan’s leadership, team-building, sales and communications abilities even more than they have his physical attributes. He has proven his talent for transforming the apparently intangible benefits of high-stakes adventure into tangible results for his sponsors’ and suppliers’ bottom lines.

“Everest is 97 percent preparation and three percent execution,” he says. “If you want to climb the physical mountain, you must first climb the organizational Everest. That requires a mountain of money and that means finding out what corporations need to succeed in their own climb – and marrying the two expeditions together.”

Alan’s achievements go far beyond the business of Everest. He is the international bestselling author of half a dozen books, a former nine-time All-American gymnast, marathon runner, hang glider pilot, white water kayaker, parachutist, journalist, and winner of the prestigious William Randolph Hearst Award for Excellence in News Writing. He has scuba dived beneath the ice of frozen mountain lakes in the dead of the Canadian winter, visited sunken wrecks in Lake Geneva, and executed numerous night dives in the frigid and turbulent waters of the north Atlantic. He is a tough man for tough times – an expert at overcoming adversity, managing cataclysmic change, and enduring hostile and life-threatening operating conditions.

Alan’s first expedition to Everest ended 3,000 feet short of the summit when a fierce storm ripped his team’s high camp right off the mountain. Undaunted, Alan was back on Everest three years later, this time with half the budget of the first trip, half the personnel, and no bottled oxygen. His team missed the summit by an excruciatingly disappointing two city blocks when their lead climber came down with high altitude sickness and they elected to rescue him rather than continue blindly going for the goal. Finally, on his third expedition, Alan changed his strategy completely, attacked the mountain from its southern, Nepalese side, outsourced the organizational and leadership aspects of the climb, and focused exclusively on training and fund-raising. The plan worked. His team put six expedition members on top – almost half its climbers -- a feat achieved by likely only a handful of teams in Everest’s storied 80-year climbing history. Little did he know then, that an even greater challenge lay ahead – the Everest of illnesses.

Alan’s next expedition is the one he’s currently on – to continue his miraculous climb back from cancer, and help as many other cancer patients as possible do the same. Together with his former wife, Cecilia, they have written a landmark book, Climb Back from Cancer – Introducing The 10 Tools of Triumph for Survivors and Caregivers, Alan’s sixth. It chronicles their uplifting true story and pinpoints what they consider are The 10 Tools of Triumph™ for survivors and caregivers – the key psychological skills necessary to survive life-threatening illness and thrive beyond it. Alan has also formed The Climb Back from Cancer Foundation. It is developing the ground-breaking Climb Back from Cancer™ Program that is helping patients and survivors overcome chronic fatigue – the biggest single challenge faced by North America’s millions of cancer survivors. The foundation’s mission is to help patients, survivors and caregivers climb back to better lives.

“We not only need to save lives,” Alan says. “We need to return them.”

Alan mesmerizes every audience with a custom-built presentation. His exhaustive preparatory process results in every presentation being a one-of-a-kind program that speaks directly to the needs of each group. This approach is unequaled by any other presenter in the world and has earned him the distinctive title of “The Best Adventure Speaker in the World.”

The Best Adventure Speaker in the World.

Considered one of the best adventure speakers in the world because of his trademark ability to individually personalize every presentation to the specific needs of each group, in over 20 years of speaking he has never given the same presentation twice.  Using an exhaustive five-step preparatory research process, he carefully studies each audience.  After he has ensured the 100% accuracy of the information he has collected, he commits it to memory and blends it in perfect context into each presentation.  The result is a one-of-a-kind program with unparalleled organizational and individual applicability and impact.

Alan speaks about the following Topics and Themes:

Ever Upwards!

After more than a decade of preparation, Alan Hobson's first non-guided, corporately sponsored and self-organized expedition to Mt. Everest missed the summit by 3,000 feet when his team's high camp was blasted off the mountain by gale force winds.  He returned home to judgements that he had failed.  But instead of giving up, he used his hard-won experience to begin again more intelligently.  Three years later he was back on Everest with half the budget of his first expedition, half the personnel and no bottled oxygen.  This time, his team missed the top by just two city blocks when their lead climber developed severe high altitude sickness.  Expedition members decided to try to rescue him rather than continue blindly for the summit.  They saved is life.  Still, Alan again returned home to allegations that he and his team had failed.  Undeterred, he returned a third time to the mountain three years later and finally made it safely to and from the top of the world.  Three years after that, he was diagnosed with an aggressive blood cancer and given less than a year to live.  Again, Alan defied the sceptics.  He made a 100% recovery and today he is almost as physically fit as he was prior to his last Everest expedition.  And, he is officially medically cured.  Alan shows audiences how to turn setbacks into comebacks and obstacles into opportunities.

Swifter, Higher…Smarter!

It happens to everyone. You establish a goal, but fall short of achieving it. You try again, but a competing priority suddenly requires you to shift your focus, or your resources. Then, you finally succeed, only to be blindsided by the unexpected. Alan Hobson faced all of these situations on his three non-guided, corporately sponsored and self-organized expeditions to Mt. Everest and while climbing back from cancer. In his spellbinding fully personalized presentations, he draws invaluable connections between the priceless lessons of his life experiences and the specific challenges you face personally and organizationally. He does this by using an exhaustive five-step personal preparatory research process that enables him to link his experiences with your unique challenges and opportunities in perfect context with complete accuracy. This has earned him the distinction of being one of the best adventure speakers in the world. Alan inspires audiences to transform obstacles into opportunities and emerge swifter, stronger and smarter than ever before. 

Scaling the Inner Everest

Three years after Everest, Alan faced his biggest mountain. Diagnosed with acute leukemia (an aggressive blood cancer) and given less than a year to live, once again, he refused to give up. Today, he is one of less than a few dozen people ever to regain an elite level of fitness after an adult blood stem cell transplant to eradicate the disease. He has now been cancer-free for more than nine years and is officially medically cured. He is living proof that no mountain, no matter what kind, is insurmountable. This provides a powerful new perspective for everyone present.

Succeeding – on Purpose

After his first non-guided, corporately sponsored and self-organized Everest expedition did not make it to the top, Alan’s second attempt missed the summit by just two city blocks when the expedition's lead climber came down with life-threatening high altitude sickness. His team worked for 33 continuous hours and saved the man’s life, but it meant postponing the achievement of their goal. Discouraged, but not defeated, Alan walked away again with another set of precious lessons and started over on his third expedition with renewed determination. This time, he succeeded in safely climbing to and from the top of the world. Then came an avalanche of a totally different sort. In today’s tough economic times, instant adaptability and psychological resilience are essential to success. Alan shows audiences how to rise to the challenge of cataclysmic change and effectively re-prioritize without losing sight of their mission, vision, values or objectives. Beyond that, the possibilities are limitless – if we stay on purpose. 

Executing with Excellence

After three non-guided, corporately sponsored and self-organized expeditions to Mt. Everest, an experienced Alan Hobson finally stepped onto the roof of the world. It was a true triumph of tenacity almost two decades in the making. He shows audiences that even when times are hard, if we remain focused on executional excellence and maintain a relentless upward drive toward higher performance, we really can achieve the ultimate. His powerful personal example resonates on an individual and organizational level. When this is combined with his trademark personalization of every presentation in perfect context and with 100% accuracy, the results are impressive. A must-see for any individual or organization aspiring to greater heights. 

Rising to the Challenge of Change     

In today’s environment of uncertainty and constant change, Alan’s messages of tenacity and teamwork could not be more timely. He offers practical tools for managing the unexpected, as well as those challenges we can more easily predict. The hard-won wisdom he has garnered on the outer and inner Everests of his life has real world relevance, applicability and power. When he links it directly to your specific challenges using his trademark personalization process, the results are palpable. He is a tough man for tough times but a master at making his messages immediately applicable today – the perfect guide for anyone facing an Everest of ambiguity and the unknown. So get ready for the climb of your life! It’s time to triumph over trial and reach your peak!


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