NSB Logo Dr. Adam Shoalts Dr. Adam Shoalts

Dr. Adam Shoalts

Speaker Featured

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Explorer-in-Residence, Royal Canadian Geographical Society

Dr. Adam Shoalts is a professional adventurer who inspires audiences with his insights on personal leadership, resilience and risk management. Adam has been called “one of the greatest explorers in Canada’s history” (Canadian Geographic), “Canada’s Indiana Jones,” (The Toronto Star), and a “rare breed of woodsman” (The National Post). His career has included mapping rivers, leading expeditions for the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and Mountain Equipment Co-op, numerous archaeological digs, photographing elusive and rare wildlife, building birch bark canoes, and completing a nearly 4,000 km solo journey across Canada’s Arctic. Shoalts recently returned from a solo journey via canoe from Long Point on Lake Erie to the small village of Kangiqsualujjuaq along the Arctic coast of Ungava Bay while tracing bird migration routes. 

Keynote Speeches

Virtual Keynotes & Webinars
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Motivation | How to Accomplish What Everyone Else Thinks is Impossible

Adventurer Adam Shoalts set off on a journey most said was impossible: a 4,000 km crossing of Canada’s Arctic alone in a canoe over an unprecedented route. Few believed it could be done: months alone in the wild, hundreds of miles from any sort of help, facing Polar Bears, gale-force storms, waves able to swallow a canoe and ice floes capable of crushing a boat. 

Shoalts didn’t just succeed—he did it under budget, ahead of schedule, and virtually without mishap. In this presentation, he shares the secrets to his success. These lessons can be applied to any daunting task, in any walk of life, and any line of work. Shoalts’s presentation will inspire and motivate audiences to tackle their own personal journeys, metaphorical or literal, and to take on challenges with newfound zeal and confidence. 

Key Takeaways:
• How to inspire confidence within yourself to tackle any massively daunting undertaking. 
• The mental toolkit needed to prepare for the worst possible outcomes.
• How to reframe a challenge to make progress more manageable. 

Resilience | Remain Unflappable in the Face of Anything: Lessons from a Professional Adventurer on Staying Cool Under Pressure

Staying cool under pressure is one of the most critical components of success in any walk of life—whether it’s when a snarling grizzly bear wakes you up in the night, or in a high-pressure career environment. Shoalts learned to handle pressure and stress somewhat differently than most do: by sleeping alone in polar bear territory, paddling a canoe through mazes of shifting arctic ice floes, trekking solo in mountains, and riding out countless storms and gales in his canoe and tent. He’s seen remarkable success with his adventures, having written bestselling books, making international TV appearances, and even meeting one-on-one with the Prime Minister of a G8 nation. None of this would have happened if he didn’t first learn how to dispel worry and remain cool under pressure.

In his keynote talk, Shoalts draws key lessons from some of his most epic adventures to show audiences how they can take what he’s accomplished in the wild and apply it to their high-pressure situation. With wit and humour, he shows us how we can move further than we ever thought possible and become unshakeable under pressure.

Key Takeaways:
• How to block out distractions and develop a positive mindset in the face of challenge.
• The mental tactics needed to successfully manage high-stress situations.
• The secrets of endurance to help overcome physical and mental challenges.

Stress Management | Rediscovering the Wild in our Digital World

Why are people today more stressed than ever before? Study after study, survey after survey, report a growing sense of unhappiness, anxiety and worry within our society, especially in large cities. Adam Shoalts has an answer— a tonic that can help destress, rejuvenate, and reawaken our sense of adventure and enthusiasm.  Living for months out of the year outdoors, off the grid with no electricity, has helped Shoalts better understand the effects our surroundings have on our lives. The great news is you don’t need to spend months trampling alone across the arctic to reap the rewards of his insights. 

In this keynote presentation, Shoalts explains how to appreciate the nature that’s all around us—even in our biggest cities— to make your life happier, calmer, less stressful, and more productive.

Key Takeaways:
• A new lens to apply to your environment that will help dispel stress.
• How to use nature to unlock your creativity.

Audience reviews:

  • Adam was a super hit. He could not have been better. He's really such a warm, kind, funny and brilliant young man. I had a mainstage at this conference this a.m. and referenced Adam quite a lot. Even put his name in a slide as how to increase your BDNF… brain power… Hope to get him on some other events... will be in touch. - Chief Medical Officer Americas, M.U.D. Group, Inc. (Metropolitan Underwriting Discussion Group)
  • Our opening keynote speaker at our claims and anti-fraud conference was Adam Shoalts. I know Adam was a bit surprised that a life & health insurance conference asked him to speak, but I knew the story of his expedition across the arctic would resonate with our audience, and I was right! Adam’s presentation was breathtaking. His photos and videos were amazing and he was fascinating to listen to as he told the story of his trek, including the adversity he had to overcome along the way. It really puts the day to day issues we face at work and at home into perspective when you consider some of the challenges he encountered on his journey! He had a fantastic, light hearted, funny approach to tying it in for the audience. Tips like, take a break in your day to experience nature – but do it when the weather conditions are miserable, because then you’ll appreciate going back so much more! I knew we had a lot of nature lovers in our audience, and for those who weren’t I bet they are now. Adam’s passion about the country, the flora and fauna and the excitement of being out in the wild was really wonderful to experience. We had an audience of about 300 people and they were captivated and could have listened to Adam speak for hours. When he finished I heard several people (including the conference centre’s IT staff member) approach him and say they had big fans of his for a while, having read his books and watched his documentary. I have already had one of our members ask for contact information to suggest Adam as a speaker at one of their events (imagine his surprise if he gets booked for another insurance conference – and in the USA!). - Director, Health and Disability Policy, Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association
  • Adam Shoalts, 21st century explorer, calmly describes the things he has endured that would drive most people to despair, or even madness… Rare insight into the heart and mind of an explorer, and the insatiable hunger for the unknown that both inspires and drives one to the edge.

    - Col. Chris Hadfield, Astronaut, International Space Station Commander
  • Adam Shoalts is Canada’s Indiana Jones—portaging in the north, dodging scary rapids, plunging into darkness, and surviving to tell the tale. - The Toronto Star
  • Shoalts’s love of nature, cool professionalism, and almost archaically romantic spirit draw us into his adventures….Shoalts is a knowledgeable and observant guide.

    - Quill and Quire
  • His narrative is both humourous and honest, and at times intensely gripping.

    - St. Catharines Standard
  • One could be forgiven for not instantly realizing the true nature of Adam Shoalts while passing him on the street…His strength is not an overgrown beard or a hulking build; it is an ironclad constitution and a persistence some might describe as madness. - Niagara Life Magazine

Speaker Biography

Adam Shoalts’s presentations will inspire and motivate audiences to tackle their own personal journeys, metaphorical or literal, and to take on challenges with newfound zeal and confidence.

Adam was elected a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society for “extraordinary contributions to geography.”  He’s also been named a National Champion of the Trans-Canada Trail. In 2018, he was appointed Explorer-in-Residence of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.

Adam Shoalts is the author of the national best-seller Beyond the Trees: A Journey Alone Across Canada’s Arctic, which Indigo named “one of the best books of the year.” He is also the author of the award-winning Alone Against the North, which reached #1 on the national best-seller list, and A History of Canada in 10 Maps, which was longlisted for the RBC Taylor Prize and spent multiple weeks on the best-seller list.

Adam Shoalts grew up in rural Canada with a forest on his doorstep, and it was there that his father, a woodworker, taught him to love and appreciate trees and plants. Together, they built birch bark canoes, paddles, and anything else that could be crafted from the forest. Later, Shoalts worked as a nature writer and survival instructor, but his passion always remained for just being in the woods. Next to the woods, Adam Shoalts’ second favourite place growing up was the library. If he wasn’t exploring woods he was exploring books, which led to him graduating from Brock University and being named top student in the Humanities. He subsequently completed a Master’s degree and PhD at McMaster University, where his research combined an interest in wild animals, the natural world, history and geography. He has done archaeology in four countries and presented archaeological papers at academic conferences.

Adam Shoalts is a regular guest on television and radio and his work has been featured in media around the world, including the BBC, CNN, CTV, CBC, The Telegraph, and The Guardian. His work has also been featured in Nature, the world’s most prestigious science journal. Dr. Shoalts is a highly sought after guest speaker and has addressed everyone from the Prime Minister of Canada one-on-one in his office to keynote presentations at major conferences.