NSB Logo Spencer West Spencer West

Spencer West


Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Social Activist, Visionary & 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.

Keynote Speeches

Virtual Keynotes & Webinars
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Redefine Possible: Lessons for Tackling Mountains in Your Personal and Professional Worlds

Spencer West invites 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 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.

Platform Plus Presentations

Unique formats and ways to connect with audiences.
Spencer’s charisma and dynamism captivate audiences every time he speaks. He's co-hosted many events around the world.

Audience reviews:

  • 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
  • Thank you for all your help securing Spencer West for our conference…His keynote was quite fantastic and we’ve heard great feedback.

    - Coordinator, Finance Operations, Oxford Properties Group
  • 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

Speaker Biography

Whether headlining corporate conferences, addressing university/college students, educators, members of non profits/associations or mesmerizing audiences in 20,000-seat stadiums, Spencer’s charisma and dynamism captivates all. Sharing his journey from losing both legs as a child, to climbing – and summiting – Mount Kilimanjaro using his hands and wheelchair, 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: The Story of Spencer West, which debuted at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival and in his best-selling book Standing Tall: My Journey.

As the opener on Demi Lovato’s world tour across North America, Spencer spoke to and inspired tens of thousands of her fans. He has spoken alongside luminaries and performers such as former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore, Mia Farrow, Martin Luther King III, Jennifer Hudson, Natalie Portman, and Miss Piggy, to name a few. And, has appeared countless times in the media (ABC News, 60 Minutes, CTV, BBC, TMZ, CNN, Forbes, and The Globe & Mail).

Spencer’s inspiring words have reached millions of listeners around the world, including Virgin Atlantic, KPMG, Staples, Banks, Microsoft, Universal McCann, Ministry of Education, Colleges & Universities, YPO/WPO, SickKids Foundation, Boys & Girls Clubs, and more.

Infused with humour and humility, Spencer’s talks offer 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.

“We need to stop looking at obstacles as negative things. I firmly believe obstacles are given to us to help us learn and grow as individuals. I think it’s important, with any challenge we face, to take a step back and look at what we were supposed to learn. And furthermore, how can we share that lesson to the people around us.” – Spencer West