The first man to transmit live television pictures from the summit of Mount Everest, and the first American to reach the summit twice, David Breashears is one of America’s most distinguished mountaineers, filmmakers and adventure authors. He has led numerous expeditions to the most inhospitable environments on Earth and is passionate about raising awareness of the consequences of climate change in the Greater Himalayan Region. It is for this reason that he founded and is executive director of GlacierWorks, a non-profit organization employing art, science and adventure for the purpose.
Breashears is co-director and co-producer of the first-ever IMAX film to be shot on Mount Everest. Whilst filming, a ferocious blizzard hit which killed eight climbers. As expedition leader, Breashears took the decision to suspend their activities and assist stricken climbers. Having done this, his team regrouped and returned to the summit. Other notable achievements on the mountain have included performing the first live audio WebCast from the summit for the PBS science documentary series NOVA, and to date he has summited Everest no fewer than five times. He has received four National Emmy Awards for his filmmaking.
Breashears has written a number of books, including High Exposure: An Enduring Passion for Everest and Unforgiving Places, a memoir that has become a bestseller. He is co-author of the bestseller Last Climb (National Geographic), documenting George Mallory and Andrew Irvine’s disappearance on Mount Everest in 1924. He wrote the afterword to National Geographic’s book Everest: Mountain Without Mercy that told the story of his Everest IMAX expedition and was also contributing photographer to the book. The National Geographic book Kilimanjaro: To the Roof of Africa is an accompaniment to his IMAX film of the same title.
Highly sought after as a professional speaker, Breashears has delivered presentations all around the world. Four times year he travels to Fontainebleau in France to deliver lectures on leadership, planning and team building for the Advanced Management Program at INSEAD, a program widely recognized as the most innovative and influential in the world. He also addresses Admirals and Commanders at the Naval Postgraduate School’s Centre for Executive Education in Monterey, California on “Leadership in an Unpredictable World” six times a year.
Vision, Courage, Passion: Leadership at 26,000 Feet
David Breashears’s leadership presentation is based on 25 years of real-life frontline experience as a widely traveled mountaineer, adventurer, and filmmaker. In telling the story of the now infamous 1996 tragedy on Mount Everest, Breashears dramatically recounts the vision, courage, and passion that led to his team reaching the summit on May 23, 1996 despite insurmountable odds. His multimedia presentation includes breathtaking and rarely seen images from his IMAX Everest expedition. Breashears has said that if there is a lesson to be learned from the tragedy, it is that success was not only being the world’s first IMAX team to film on Everest’s summit, it was also that everyone on his team returned safely from the mountain.
What It Takes to Climb Any Mountain
His years of arduous work on the unforgiving slopes of Earth’s highest peak have taught speaker David Breashears that the precepts to success are Disciplined Leadership, Disciplined Thought, and Disciplined Action. These are interdependent on one another for success. Disciplined leaders engage in a disciplined thought process when choosing their team and designing a multidimensional, flexible plan that provides options. Occasionally the environment for which the plan was devised is not the environment to which the plan unfolds. Disciplined Action is required because the plan is only as valuable as the team’s ability to execute it. Without Disciplined Action and reliance on Disciplined Thought and Disciplined Leadership, great summits are rarely achieved.
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