Alan Hobson

Change Management, Everest Climbers, Inspirational, Motivational Speaker, Overcoming Adversity

Travels from Alberta, Canada

Alan Hobson's speaking fee falls within range:
$10,000 to $15,000 (Speakers' virtual presentation fees are generally around 60-80% of the in-person fee range noted here.)

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Alan Hobson Profile

Mountaineer and cancer survivor, Alan Hobson embarked on ten high-altitude expeditions and a decade of raising millions of dollars before finally reaching the summit of Mount Everest. One of the world’s foremost adventure speakers, he offers practical steps as well as encouraging advice for managing the unexpected and turning obstacles into opportunities.

A former nine-time All-American gymnast, Alan missed Everest’s summit by 3,000 feet when a fierce storm tore his team’s camp off the mountain during his first expedition. Three years later and a short distance away, he sacrificed the summit again to save a companion’s life when the companion came down with high-altitude disease. Finally, on his third attempt 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.

In 2000, Alan was confronted with an obstacle more perilous than Everest; diagnosed with leukemia he was given less than a year to live. However, armed with undying determination and breakthrough medical technology, he not only survived, but also surpassed the level of fitness he had prior to his illness. Cancer-free for nine years now, he is the coauthor of the landmark book, Climb Back from Cancer – Introducing The 10 Tools of Triumph for Survivors, and the founder of The Climb Back from Cancer Foundation, a nonprofit which strives to not only save patients’ lives, but recover the vitality and physicality they enjoyed prior to the disease.

Internationally known for his skilled style of customizing presentations for his audience, Alan’s list of clients encompasses scores of Fortune 100 & 500 companies, including Johnson & Johnson, GlaxoSmithKline, Merrill Lynch, New York Life, & many others.

  • View Extended/Alternate Bio
      • 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.”

Alan Hobson Speaking Videos

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Alan Hobson's Speech Descriptions

Because of Alan’s trademark ability to individually personalize every presentation to the specific needs of each group, he has never given the same presentation twice throughout his 25 years as a professional speaker. Using an exhaustive 5-Step Personal 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.

Most Popular Keynote Presentations:

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!

What People are Saying about Seeing Alan Speak

Rating Entries

    “Alan was a MAJOR hit. He brought our conference to a motivating, uplifting conclusion. Several attendees mentioned how well Alan did his homework and really related his message to issues we face.”

    North Carolina Hospital Association

    “You hit it out of the park with your outstanding presentation at our 3rd Annual Cancer College event!  We truly appreciated the time you took to customize your presentation for us and couldn′t have asked for more. You really blew us away when you incorporated our “Patient Passport” into your presentation. I was amazed that the passport, which you had only heard about the day before on our brief hospital tour, made the stage with you. You knew us very well. We have heard nothing but rave reviews!”
    Stephanie M. Weirsman, Planning & Marketing, Bridgeport Hospital, Yale New Haven Health System, Bridgeport, CT

    “In my 18 years with Melaleuca we have had the pleasure of hearing from some of the best in the business.  The list is a “who′s who” that includes Colin Powell, Les Brown, Lou Holtz and Rudy Giulani.  Of all those presenters, none have come close to understanding our business model, our products and our culture as you did.  As inspiring as your personal story is, and as impressive as your stage presence and delivery was, I was most impressed with your attention to the smallest details about our company.  Your research and preparation definitely paid off and it showed – – in spades!”
    Phil Crescenzo, Executive Director, Melaleuca, Inc., Buena, NJ

    “We were all intrigued by your commitment to learn about who we are in order to weave the story of Staples into your message and your story.  Like my colleague leading our other sales division, I was a little sceptical that after covering our overly complex structure, terms, acronyms, etc., that it would all be relevant when blended into your presentation.  Then, like my colleague, I sat there in the audience listening in awe of your ability to use all of our terms, names, issues, challenges and opportunities and use each of them accurately and in context, in fact, in perfect context!…  As our SVP of sales said in his closing remarks at the end of the meeting, he′d have bought anything that you were selling!”
    Doug Woodard, V.P., Contract Merchandising / Inside Account Management, Staples Advantage, Staples Inc., Franmingham, MA.

    “Thank you for your unbelievable attention to detail and for giving so much of yourself at our annual meeting of CEOs.  We received numerous unsolicited compliments adn you achieved this in a very difficult late afternoon time segment.  For as long as you have been speaking — 20 years, I′ve been coordinating our annual meeting. I′ve hired many speakers over the years from all backgrounds and expertise.  I′ve never had the pleasure of working with a speaker that was so willing to be accessible and genuine in his desire to learn about the audience and the purpose for which they are meeting.  Then, you incorporated that information seamlessly into your presentation. Most paid speakers want just a few sound bites for their stock presentation and they come with lots of riders, do their thing, collect their money and are gone.  Your approach to speaking is refreshing and it mirrors your climb if Everest – research in advance, the training and learning phase, acclimation to the environment (audience). then the climb, and finally the safe return from the summit before embarking on the next challenge.  As you say, it′s ′97% preparation and the rest execution.′  You very definitely walk your talk.”
    Henry J. Scarfo, Assistant Secretary & Managing Director of Corporate Affairs & Insurance Services, American Automobile Association, Heathrow, FL

    “Alan Hobson is unique.  In my many years working with professional speakers, I have never experienced one who invested so much time learning about our mission and goals, and integrating them seamlessly and repeatedly into his presentation.  He would have been great without that element but, with it, he was a smash hit.  I also have never left an event while participants were still in line to meet him and get his autograph.  On a 10-point scale, Alan is on an 11!”
    Paul J. Taylor, Senior V.P., South Shore Hospital, South Weymouth, MA

    “I have never seen, ever, in my 17 years with this firm, a speaker who learned more about us before you gave the speech. It wasn′t just a cursory level of understanding. It went well below the surface. You went out of your way to understand not only our industry, but our firm.”
    Bob Sabelhaus, EVP, Director, Private Client Group Legg Mason Wood Walker, Inc., Baltimore, MD

    “The way you tied your message into State Farm was outstanding. It wasn′t a speech that could be delivered anywhere to any group. You really tailored it to us. It′s a powerful story that made a powerful connection to us – exciting, refreshing, a hit.”
    George Holton, VP, State Farm, NE Zone, Chadds Ford, PA

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