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Jim Davidson    

Resilience Expert, Expedition Leader & Author

Jim Davidson is a resilience expert who has survived not just one epic mountain disaster, but two. From his real-world survival experiences, he distills hard-won lessons about forging the resilience to overcome change, challenge, and uncertainty.

While climbing Mount Everest, Davidson and his team survived massive earthquakes and avalanches on what became the mountain’s deadliest day ever. Davidson later returned to Everest and summited successfully. His riveting survival stories have been featured in documentaries for National Geographic, Smithsonian Channel, Netflix, and Discovery’s hit show, “I Shouldn't Be Alive". Davidson has been featured on NPR, CBS, CNN, and hundreds of other media outlets.

From his 42 years of adventures, Davidson shares compelling stories and practical tips about how to persevere and how to endure uncertain times through resilience strategies and post-traumatic growth. Davidson provides motivating keynotes and interactive workshops on resilience, teamwork, leadership, and change management. His energizing messages have been shared in-person and virtually with audiences in more than 35 countries.

Davidson has scaled high peaks from Argentina to Nepal, and from Bolivia to Tibet. While leading expedition teams around the globe, Davidson has guided his teammates through storms and setbacks to reach lofty summits. The U.S. National Park Service has commended Davidson twice for volunteering on successful high-altitude rescues in Colorado and Alaska.

His latest book, The Next Everest, was published in six international editions and was selected as an Amazon Editor’s Pick. Davidson’s survival memoir, The Ledge, was a New York Times bestseller. He worked for twenty years as a hydrogeologist and managed his own environmental consulting firm. In his youth, Davidson worked for his father painting high-voltage electrical towers carrying 230,000 volts.

Speech Topics

EVEREST RESILIENCE: Overcoming Adversity and Reaching High Goals

Work, life, and mountain climbing always include change, challenge, and uncertainty. From his four decades of adventures around the globe, Jim Davidson shares hard-won wisdom about forging resilience, encountering setbacks, and still achieving high goals.

In this riveting keynote, Jim shares his real-world survival experiences of:

  • Enduring the deadliest day ever on Mount Everest, when huge earthquakes and avalanches trapped Jim and his team at 19,900 feet.
  • Recovering from this disaster and returning two years later to summit Mt. Everest.
  • Escaping from the 80-foot-deep hidden glacial crevasse that swallowed Jim and killed his climbing partner on Mount Rainier.

Your attendees will learn practical lessons on how they can:

  • Cultivate a resilient mindset for managing change.
  • Spark resilience in each other during stormy times.
  • Provide resilient leadership, even when the path forward is unclear.
  • Rebound from setbacks even stronger than before, through post-traumatic growth.

Jim will inspire your team to be ready and resilient for the challenges and opportunities ahead. Keynote is 30 to 75 minutes. Offered live or virtual.

CLIMBING MOUNTAINS OF CHANGE: Elevating Your Team’s Resilience

Many businesspeople feel overwhelmed by global changes, resource challenges, and market uncertainties. All of these, combined with high client expectations, can create fatigue, stress, or burnout. To keep climbing these mountains of change, professionals need to elevate their resilience.

From his 42 years of high-altitude climbing experiences (including Everest), expedition leader Jim Davidson shares field-tested tips for building a resilient mindset. He shares practical tips and techniques on how your team can:

  • Accept uncertainty.
  • Adapt to changes.
  • Endure the inevitable storms.
  • Stay summit-driven while avoiding dangerous “summit fever”.

In this compelling keynote, Jim reveals resilient teamwork and leadership techniques for:

  • Being trustworthy.
  • Amplifying resilience in others.
  • Preparing for false summits.
  • Nurturing Post-Traumatic Growth for the opportunities ahead.

NOTE: This keynote connects especially well with fiscal services organizations and high-level sales teams. Since 2006, Jim has spoken to hundreds of such teams, both nationally and internationally, because the traits that make great high-altitude climbers also make excellent sales professionals. Keynote is 30 to 60 minutes. Offered live or virtual.


As an expedition leader, Jim has encountered many intense teamwork and leadership challenges. During remote climbs and rescues, the pressure increases, uncertainty grows, and team dynamics can become strained. High-performing organizations face these same teamwork and leadership conditions in today’s fast-paced, ever-changing world.

By examining real-world mountain rescues, that Jim has conducted, he facilitates an invigorating, interactive workshop that has your team working together to resolve complex leadership and teamwork challenges. Some of the difficult rescues that Jim has been on include:

  • Solo mountaineer critically ill at 19,200 feet on Denali (Mt. McKinley).
  • Hiker severely injured by falling 70 feet off a cliff at 13,000 feet in Colorado.
  • Climbers trapped by earthquakes and avalanches at 19,900 feet on Everest.

In this hands-on session, Jim uses engaging storytelling and powerful visuals to bring these amazing experiences to life for your attendees. Then, he guides the participants to analyze the situation and distill crucial resilience lessons that they can use to be better team members and leaders. Your team will:

  • Debate what traits make a team member resilient.
  • Identify characteristics that a resilient leader should display.
  • Examine their own resilience strengths and weaknesses.

This engaging workshop includes interactive modules with small-group discussion, large-group facilitation, and individual self-reflection. Jim’s well-refined process enhances mutual understanding and relationship-building among work colleagues. Each person walks away with an individual written self-analysis and specific ways that they can enhance their resilience at work or home.

Also, by recording all the key traits identified during the discussions, the process distills your team's collective ideas on what makes a resilient team member and a resilient leader. This critical insight can be used later in internal communications and for enhancing corporate culture.

Attendees vigorously engage with the process because these are real challenges (not board games or simulations). Jim regularly facilitates this energizing program for top-quality organizations like Marriott, Credit Suisse, US Army, Kia Motors, and many more. Interactive workshop is 1.5 to 4 hours.

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