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Spencer West

Social Activist & World Change Warrior

The life of visionary and activist Spencer West has been marked by both obstacles and triumph. After losing both legs from the pelvis down at the age of five, he entered a world that might have easily defeated him. Instead, he tackled challenge after challenge, learning to navigate in a world set against those with disabilities. His many accomplishments and lessons learned along the way, led him to discover the techniques business leaders, professionals, educators and young people can use to redefine possible in their own lives and careers.

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Presentations

Redefine Possible: Lessons for Tackling Mountains in the Corporate World
Spencer West invites corporate audiences to experience the transformation that can occur when we “redefine possible”. With his trademark humor and humility, Spencer spins a spellbinding story of the challenges he faced after losing his legs from the pelvis down at age five, and the journey of discovery that ultimately enabled him to summit Mount Kilimanjaro using his hands and wheelchair. Spencer applies the insights gleaned from a lifetime of overcoming obstacles to help leaders and employees identify their own roadblocks and push past them. His inspiring message and tangible life lessons motivate business audiences to believe they can tackle any goal, whether personal or professional.

No Can’t, No Won’t, Only How: Overcoming Obstacles to Make a Difference
Keynote speaker Spencer West lost his legs from the pelvis down when he was just five years old and faced overwhelming physical and emotional challenges. Rather than give up or turning inward, Spencer learned that by connecting with others and working to make the world a better place he could transform his life. Alternating between walking on his hands and using his wheelchair, Spencer has accomplished a list of feats, including building schools in poverty-stricken villages in Kenya and India, and walking 186 miles from Edmonton to Calgary in Alberta, Canada.. One of Spencer’s biggest achievements was climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise money for a global clean water initiative while raising awareness of the devastating drought in Africa. Spencer’s inspiring story and valuable life lessons have been embraced by students and educators worldwide because he believes that it is possible for anyone, at any age, to overcome their personal roadblocks, embrace their own leadership skills, and become a force for positive change in the world.

  • Spencer’s dynamic presentations to all of the grade 4-12 students in our district inspired and motivated each audience to make a difference. Hearing Spencer’s life story, and realizing that any barriers can be overcome with a positive attitude, left a lasting impression. Spencer magically connects with the students he interacts with; he makes each student he talks to feel important and empowered to make their schools and the world a better place. Spencer’s keynotes have had a lasting impact and our students continue to see him as their role model as they bring about positive change both locally and globally. We can’t wait to have him back to work with the elementary students in our district!

    - Director of Instruction, School District #83, British Columbia
  • Thank you for being a part of the YPO Nairobi Chapter Event. The ratings have all been terrific and the evaluation excellent! The event got a rating of a fantastic 9.9 out of 10! Thank you for helping to make our educational event an outstanding success.

    - Education Chair, YPO Nairobi
  • As Spencer’s vigorous and courageous spirit spread out to us, our eyes opened to the potential possibilities out there. His powerful and defiant attitude toward life proved that anything in this world is possible; if there is anything that stops us from continuing, it is the boundaries that we have created ourselves. Always remember, “Redefine Your Possible.”

    - Ho Jin Suh, Grade 11, International School of Kenya
  • When I approached Spencer I was scared he might not understand my excitement. . . but he welcomed me with open arms and as I sat in the front row tears streamed down my face. . . . I have always been a leader, but on Friday I learnt what it meant to be bigger than myself. . . . I can change the world.


    - Halton Regional Chair
  • We already knew he would be a great speaker, but our expectations were exceeded. Personally, it was also just really an honour to have the opportunity to meet Spencer. Everyone enjoyed and everyone was inspired- goal achieved.

    - Outreach/Program Coordinator, Jewish National Fund of Canada
  • Your personal story touched everyone and your call to action at the end was perfect! . . . I’ve received so much positive feedback following the breakfast; everyone loved meeting you and many have commented that now they feel even more compelled to continue with their volunteer work. Your enthusiasm is infectious!

    - Transitions Conference Chairperson
  • Spencer really motivated our students to “be the change” and to imagine that anything in their lives is possible if they want to make it happen. Hearing about Spencer’s recent summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, and also of his connections to Kenya, was truly inspirational. No one will forget their time with Spencer!

    - Spencer really motivated our students to “be the change” and to imagine that anything in their lives is possible if they want to make it happen. Hearing about Spencer’s recent summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, and also of his connections to Kenya, was truly inspirational. No one will forget their time with Spencer!

Summary Profile

Whether headlining corporate conferences, mesmerizing audiences in 20,000- seat stadiums, or leading volunteer excursions for youth and adults, Spencer’s words and actions have encouraged millions to stand up, face challenges and embrace change. Everyone leaves with pertinent lessons they can apply to redefine what their possible is.

Spencer’s incredible story is documented in both film and print. His journey is featured in the documentary Redefine Possible:  e Story of Spencer West, which debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival and in his book Standing Tall: My Journey.

Demi Lovato invited Spencer to open her show on her world tour across North America, where he spoke to and inspired thousands of her fans. He has appeared countless times in the media (ABC News, 60 Minutes, CTV, BBC, TMZ and CNN).

As a featured speaker and co-host of WE Day he has graced over 60 WE Day stages across Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. He has spoken alongside luminaries and performers such as Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Prince Harry, former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore, Mia Farrow, Martin Luther King III, Jennifer Hudson and Natalie Portman, to name a few.

Thee life lessons Spencer has learned on his personal journey speak profoundly to audiences facing their own challenges. Spencer’s inspiring words have reached millions of listeners around the world, including corporations, students, educators, faith-based groups and families.

Infused with humor and humility, Spencer’s talks over take-home tips and life- lessons on how to find opportunity in every challenge, while instilling hope and empowering leaders to motivate others to create positive change.

When Spencer is not inspiring audiences from the speaking platform, he is helping others to create lasting change by facilitating international volunteer trips in communities where ME to WE’s charity partner works.