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Alan Hobson

2-Time Cancer Survivor & World Adventurer

Whether your organization wants to climb back from adversity or to greater heights of peak performance, Alan Hobson delivers. A two-time cancer survivor, world adventurer and bestselling author, Alan is the best speaker in the world at creating custom-built presentations.

Calgary, Alberta, Canada


The Brilliance of Resilience
After seven years of preparation, Alan Hobson’s first self-guided, self-organized and corporately sponsored $500,000 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 judgments that he had failed. Instead of becoming disheartened and giving up, he used the hard-won lessons from his expedition to begin again more intelligently. Three years later he was back to 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. His team members decided to try to rescue him rather than continue blindly for the summit. They saved his life but it cost them the summit. So ended Alan’s second expedition. Again, he returned home to allegations that he and his team had failed. Undeterred, another three years of intense fundraising, training and organizational work later, he returned a third time to Everest and finally made it safely to and from the summit. Ironically, an even harder climb lay ahead. Three years after reaching the top of the world, he found himself at the bottom when he was diagnosed with the very aggressive blood cancer, acute leukemia, and given less than a year to live. At diagnosis, 90% of the cells in his bone marrow were cancerous. Again however, Alan defied the skeptics. He made a 100% recovery. Today he has been leukemia-free for over 12 years and is one of less than a few dozen people in the world ever to have regained an elite level of fitness after an adult blood stem cell transplant for the treatment of leukemia – a tiny fraction of the number of people who have climbed Mt. Everest. And, he is officially medically cured. Through the brilliance of resilience, Alan shows audiences how to triumph in turbulent times and turn setbacks into comebacks. If your group is struggling to overcome adversity, this presentation will give them the tools they need to win today — and tomorrow.

The Triumph of Teamwork
We can’t do it alone. We can’t climb big mountains alone and we can’t take on big organizational challenges alone either. Each of Alan’s three self-guided, self-organized and corporately sponsored $500,000 expeditions to Mt. Everest consisted of 10 to 20 expedition members from different countries, cultures and customs. They had different languages and faiths. They ate different foods. They even looked at Everest differently. Yet united around one common goal and skillfully organized and led, they executed near flawlessly. How? By sticking together and surviving the avalanches, the injuries, the setbacks, the storms and the storms of uncertainty together. Alan’s first expedition to Everest took seven years to finance, organize and execute. It ended 3,000 feet short of the summit when the team’s high camp was blasted off the mountain by gale-force winds. Undeterred, three years later Alan and his team were back on Everest with half the budget, half the team members and no bottled oxygen. This time, the team’s lead climber came down with life-threatening high altitude sickness just two city blocks from the top. After crawling on his hands and knees back into the team’s high camp, the expedition launched a grueling 33-hour continuous rescue to save his life. Everyone came home safely but so ended their second expedition. Finally, another three years later, Alan’s team succeeded in putting almost half its climbers on top of the world — a feat equaled by very, very few teams in Everest’s long and storied climbing history. Unbelievably, an even greater triumph of teamwork lay ahead. Three years after stepping down from the top of the world, Alan had to step up to the base of a medical mountain more challenging than Everest. His team consisted of hundreds of team members, many of whom Alan never even met. Yet in the end, the team saved his life and today, he embraces life more than ever before. “We’ve all heard the expression, ‘There’s no ‘I’ in the word ‘team,’” he says. “Well for me, there would be no ‘I’ were it not for a team.” If your team is struggling or if you just want to bring them closer together around a story that will uplift them, inspire them and show them what it takes to work and win as a team, this presentation is for you.

Leadership from Within
Even before he could read, Alan dreamed of climbing Mt. Everest because he’d seen pictures of it in books. Then, when he began to read he discovered the fascinating stories of high altitude mountaineers and he asked himself one question…What did they have that enabled them to do these amazing things? “They were doing things that were apparently impossible to do,” Alan observes. “They were surviving for days, weeks, even months with insufficient sleep, insufficient food, insufficient shelter and insufficient oxygen. Temperatures regularly reached 40 degrees below zero and winds hit 50 and 60 miles per hour. The specter of death went everywhere they went. So what did they have that enabled them not only to survive, but to thrive in these kinds of hostile operating conditions?” In this presentation, Alan answers the question and in the process pinpoints the key to all effective leadership – self- leadership. We cannot lead others unless we first lead ourselves. That doesn’t start from an external goal. It starts from an internal drive. Fuel this drive in your leaders – and followers. This presentation ignites it.

Executing with Excellence
After three self-guided, self-organized and corporately sponsored $500,000 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. In this presentation, 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 and continuous learning, we really can achieve the ultimate. His powerful personal example resonates on an individual and organizational level. When this is combined with his trademark customization of every presentation in perfect context and with 100% accuracy, the results are impressive. This keynote is a must-see for any individual or organization aspiring to greater heights of performance, unity and results.

The CAN & WILL of Winning – What it Takes to Triumph in Turbulent Times
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 self-guided, self-organized and corporately sponsored $500,000 expeditions to Mt. Everest and while climbing back from near-terminal cancer. In this spellbinding fully personalized presentation, he draws invaluable connections between the priceless lessons of his life experiences and the specific challenges you face personally and organizationally. Alan inspires audiences to transform obstacles into opportunities and emerge swifter, stronger and smarter than ever before. As it turns out, it all comes down to two words. That may sound simple but what we can do with the knowledge is powerful.

  • You certainly did your homework both before and after speaking with me and my associates and you absolutely nailed your presentation! Your personal story, the preparation and process of your climbs and the way you weaved it all flawlessly into the challenges we face on a daily basis in our business was amazing. During Q&A, it was impressive to see one of our long-time associates stand up in front of his peers and thank you for the time you invested in learning so much about what we do. Hats off to you for a job exceptionally well done!

    - Vice President of Sales-Eastern U.S ASSA ABLOY Door Security Solutions
  • You are an absolute perfectionist and you commit to a speaking presentation the way you commit to an adventure. You do your homework, prepare thoroughly and execute passionately. In short, you reflect professionally what you have done personally.

    - TransAmerica
  • What impressed me most was not only your fantastic story and your dynamic speaking ability, but when it was over, you didn't leave. You joined us at our booth, greeting our customers and you even came back the next morning to attend one of our associate's breakout sessions. You weren't just a great speaker. You played an active role in what we were trying to do at the conference.

    - Liberty Funds
  • I have never had a better, more integrated presentation to our meeting messages. I could not believe your commitment to ensuring that your message aligned with ours. From the 2.5 hours that we spent on the phone preparing, to your attending four of our 90-minute product sessions, it is clear that you are committed to your customer’s complete satisfaction. 

    - Vice President of Sales - Americas, Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies
  • Not only does Alan have a story, he has many. He also has the intelligence to do his homework, to learn about his audience and to draw them into the experience.  Guiding us through the difficulties, the decisions, the power of a “can” attitude and the strength of the “will,” Alan easily captures the spirit of any crowd. His message resonates so effectively with people.

    - Vice President, Corporate Communications & Administration, Agilex Technologies
  • He was a big hit! The first thing one notices with Alan is his passion, customer focus, and intense preparation for a successful event. He was inquisitive, insightful, and able to tie his experiences and message with what is relevant in our business. His delivery was outstanding. He connected with the audience and delivered a powerful, funny, emotional, and inspiring message.

    - Senior Vice President, Hussmann Corporation
  • You hit it out of the park with your outstanding presentation.  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!

    - Planning & Marketing, Bridgeport Hospital, Yale New Haven Health System
  • He was amazing. His presentation was motivating, moving, engaging, and from the heart. What made it especially potent was that he perfectly customized his presentation to our audience. It was a one-of-a-kind program and he is a one-of-a-kind presenter. He is passionate, powerful and absolutely committed to excellence.

    - Director of Member Events and Communications, The Institute of Chartered Professional Accountants of Saskatchewan

Summary Profile

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 self-guided and self-organized expeditions to high altitude, including three expeditions to Mt. Everest, each of which required $250,000 to $500,000 in fundraising. When he finally stood on top of the world, the tears of elation froze to his face. He could actually see the curvature of the Earth as the horizon bent in his peripheral vision at 29,035 feet (8,852 m). “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.”

Three years later after stepping down from the top of the world, he found himself at the bottom when, in August 2000, at 42, he was diagnosed with a very aggressive 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, a strong spiritual faith, and the miracles of modern medicine, he not only survived but thrived. He is now one of less than a few dozen people in the world ever to regain an elite level of fitness after an adult blood stem cell transplant for acute leukemia and has been leukemia-free for over decade. In 2010, however, he was again diagnosed with cancer, this time with squamous cell carcinoma. After minor surgery, he was back cross-country skiing within a week. He is now considered to be medically cured and has no lasting significant side effects from either of his cancers or cancer treatments.

On stage, Alan mesmerizes his speaking audiences with his riveting custom-built presentations. Using his exhaustive 5-step personal preparatory research process, he is able to make every presentation a one-of-a-kind experience that speaks directly to the specific needs of each group. This approach is unparalleled by any other presenter in the world and has earned him the distinctive title of “The Best Speaker in the World at Creating Custom-Built Presentations.”

Alan’s achievements go far beyond his inner and outer adventures. 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.