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Ema Dantas  

Entrepreneur, Mountaineer & Author of "Mental Mountains"

Ema Dantas is an accomplished mountaineer who climbed the Seven Summits, award-winning entrepreneur who founded a successful Canadian translation and interpretation company, and a philanthropist who formed Peaks for Change Foundation, a charity focused on ending stigma surrounding mental illness.

Dantas is excited to share her message of passion, resilience and strength with the world. Her story is one that many can relate to. One where family mental health issues and lack of awareness, and support, led to fractured relationships and broken homes. Dantas provides hope and inspiration in how to turn our challenges into opportunities that can change the world. And she shares how she learned to overcome her limitations and fears one mountain at a time - literally.

Dantas founded Language Marketplace in the year 2000 as a professional interpreter. She saw an opportunity to do things differently by treating language professionals with respect and building trusted relationships with professionals across Canada. Language Marketplace quickly grew to become a multi-million dollar company and due to her success Dantas received Canada’s Top 100 Female Entrepreneurs from Chatelaine Magazine in 2012. Dantas then led her company to the Profit 500 list of Canada’s Fastest Growing Companies in 2013. She also received the President’s Award in recognition of her Public Policy work to benefit fellow Women Business Enterprises by WBE Canada. Language Marketplace joined NATIONS Translation Group in November 2022 and Danatas is currently the VP of Interpretation Solutions for NATIONS.

Dantas founded the charity Peaks for Change Foundation in 2016 and is currently Board Chair. Her charity is focused on raising awareness (and funds) to end the stigma surrounding mental illness. Dantas created Peaks for Change Foundation after witnessing her mother’s mental health challenges while growing up, and her untimely passing which Dantas attributes to her mother not getting adequate diagnosis and care. Dantas recognized how difficult it was for those suffering from mental illness to seek help, or even tell anyone they had mental health challenges, especially within some cultures.

Dantas and her board of directors believe that completely ending the stigma of mental health will take something extraordinary. So Dantas chose mountain climbing because of her slight stature (she is 5 feet tall and weighs just over 100 pounds) plus she had a tremendous fear of heights. So why not go and climb the tallest mountains in the world?

Dantas completed the 7 Summits for Mental Health when she summited Mount Everest on May 13, 2022. By doing so she became the first Portuguese person to complete both versions of the 7 Summits (Bass and Messner) and live to tell the tale. Dantas is one of only 70 women worldwide to complete the 7 summits and one of around 500 people to have completed the 7 summits since the 1950s.

Dantas speaks to overcoming obstacles; not just the physical ones in front of you, but those mental mountains that threaten your success. She shares her personal journey, defeats and triumphs with an honesty and authenticity that is sure to inspire all audiences alike.

Speech Topics


Ema has a lot of experience with leadership, especially Women's Leadership, and Personal Leadership. As the founder of Language Marketplace, Ema was the owner of a successful women’s enterprise for over 20 years. In that time Ema witnessed the changing landscape for women leaders, including the influence women can have on the changing world. Ema discusses how care, empathy and a more human approach helped her grow her company into a multi-million dollar, award winning translation company. She attributes her success to focussing on her translator's basic needs (making sure they were paid!) and in return she developed strong relationships with translators built on trust and respect. This created a workforce that was dedicated to the clients they served and based on that service, clients returned. Ema also attributes her success to the premise of always giving back to the community. And so she also shares her story of building charity into her company, and then eventually creating her own charity, Peaks for Change Foundation, so she could focus her efforts on matters close to home.

In terms of personal leadership, Ema shares her journey of overcoming some of her biggest fears and challenges while preparing, training, and eventually climbing the Seven Summits - the tallest mountains on each continent. Ema shares her journey of why she created a foundation that works to end the stigma of mental illness. And she shares why she chose the Seven Summits despite the fact she is petite, and also terrified of heights. Ema successfully completed both versions of the seven summits, climbing a total of eight mountains over the course of 6 years. She has many experiences to draw from on these journeys!

Resilience and Overcoming Adversity

Ema focuses on two key areas when it comes to resilience and overcoming adversity: Mindset and Attitude, and Resilience Through Change. Ema draws on her personal life experiences, as well as experiences as a women entrepreneur, and as a woman mountaineer, to demonstrate how we can gain better control of the world around us by taking action. Ema speaks to how taking control of simple things like nutrition and exercise can translate into having better control over more complex things like mindset and attitude. She shares how took action in her own world by creating a charity that gives back to a cause that is part of her story, and how she tested her own mind set by taking on the biggest challenge of her life. She also dives into how all of these same approaches can be used to navigate and adapt to change on a personal level, as well as within the business environment. Ema has over two decades of experience to draw on as President and CEO of a company that has moved through a ton of change over the years, including the rapid change to online service delivery in 2020.

Health & Wellness

On the topic of Health and Wellness Ema focuses on the importance of Nutrition and Fitness. Drawing from her experience climbing the seven tallest mountains on each continent, and the importance that good nutrition and fitness played in making that happen, she speaks to the same importance when climbing mental mountains. She also shares her journey of building the physical and mental strength required to accomplish a feat that has only been realized by less than a thousand people in the history of the known world.

Mental Health and Mental Wellness

Ema has a lot of passion when it comes to mental health and wellness. Her own life experiences growing up with a mother who had undiagnosed and untreated mental illness gave her the drive to make mental health and wellness the area of focus for her charity Peaks for Change Foundation’. For Ema, Happiness, Positivity and Stress Management are subjects she finds incredibly important when dealing with mental health and wellness. This subject also interplays directly with Ema’s other key topic areas of Nutrition and Fitness, Mindset and Attitude and Resilience Through Change and form an interesting story that people can relate to.

Diversity and Inclusion

Ema is a leader in diversity and inclusion in the Canadian business landscape. She was the President and CEO of Language Marketplace for over 20 years, where she employed translators who speak languages from around the world. 140 Languages in fact. For a translation company, this means that diversity and inclusion is baked right into the corporate culture. For Ema, this meant she could focus on deeper issues around diversity and inclusions such as Unconscious Bias and Cultural Diversity. As a Portuguese-Canadian who immigrated to Canada as a child, Ema grew up intertwined in the Portuguese community in Toronto, Ontario, which continues to this day. And as an advocate for mental health, she recognizes the impact that cultural differences have in addressing and managing mental health.

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