Jeff reminds us that, in fact, we are all guides in some capacity… professionally and personally. By utilizing real life stories, vivid images and thrilling video from his adventures around the globe, Jeff is able to extract impactful themes which are applicable for every audience member and weave them into memorable, humorous, thought- provoking and paradigm-shifting keynotes.
Jeff’s skills have been acquired not only on the highest peaks around the world, but also through guiding blind climber Erik Weihenmayer on extraordinarily challenging objectives including the summit of Mt Everest and a 2nd place ﬁnish on ABC’s adventure series, Expedition Impossible. While ﬁlming the series Everest Air for the Travel Channel, Jeff served as the chief medic and team leader for the highest helicopter-based Search and Rescue team in the world on the ﬂanks of Mt Everest.
Also contributing to Jeff’s expertise are his experiences as the co-founder and Expedition Leader for the injured US veteran program, No Barriers Warriors as well as his time spent on the front lines in Iraq leading a team of emergency medics in their efforts to save the lives of injured soldiers and civilians.
He is the published author of MountainVision: Lessons Be-yond the Summit, and is featured in the award-winning documentaries Farther Than the Eye Can See, Blindsight, and High Ground.
Jeff received his undergraduate degree in anthropology from the University of Colorado in Boulder, and his Masters as a Physician Assistant at Drexel University in Philadelphia. Jeff currently resides in Evergreen, Colorado with his wife Merry Beth, son Jace and dog Roka.
- Embrace your Inner Mountain Guide” Virtual Series
This live or alternatively prerecorded virtual keynote is a condensed, pandemic-specific event. Through the roughly 30-minute talk, Jeff distills out the learning opportunities that were baked into his life experiences as an Emergency Room Physician Assistant and international mountain climbing guide and draws out the parallels and relevance to the uncertain landscape we all find ourselves currently navigating, both professionally and personally. The result is an engaging, humorous, real-life storyline that provides the audience with solid take-home tools to move forward in these complex times.
o Embracing your inner mountain guide. Tapping into the characteristics necessary to be an effective guide.
o Nurturing trust within the “rope team” in an unfamiliar and remote landscape.
o Learning how to communicate effective and transparently with your “rope team” in a remote and unfamiliar landscape.
o Implementation of the “Sherpa attitude” of stepping up and pulling your weight in complex times. Looking for ways to be a selfless leader.
o Mapping out new routes to climb upwards when the route you chose isn’t fit for safe travel.
o Embracing accountability for yourself and your team.
-Jeff reflects back on how he committed to digging out climbing ropes on Mt Everest @ 28,000 feet to secure his team’s safe ascent. In doing so, he willingly “gave up his own summit.” By showing the team his level of commitment, the team charged forward, inspiring Jeff to continue on as well. All 19 team members summited Everest together on the same day shattering the previous record of 9 from one team in one day.
- Encourage audience members to look for opportunities to show their team their level of commitment… to dig those ropes out when presented with a chance to do so.
- Using Jeff’s work with his No Barriers Warriors organization (wounded veterans), Jeff outlines examples of resiliency and fortitude in the face of adversity.
- Being a “Guide”… Both Professionally and Personally
- Regardless of your professional role (or title), we are all guides… both professionally and personally. Definition: One who shows the way by leading, directing or advising. We are advisors, leaders, problem solvers and members of multi-dimensional teams. Being a guide and problem solver requires balancing and optimizing a cocktail of leadership, communication, accountability and critical thinking.
- Jeff then introduces the Sherpa and the “Sherpa Attitude” which incorporates all of these attributes.
- Jeff uses the experiences he gleaned from his team’s 2nd place finish on ABC’s Expedition Impossible to showcase adversity in an exciting and fun way.
- Jeff reflects on his time as team lead/medic for a trauma team on the front lines of the war in Mosul, Iraq. It takes a high functioning team to work effectively in a V.U.C.A. (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) environment.
- Adversity happens. Landscapes change. Attitude and adaptability are the ingredients to guiding your team through adversity in a constructive way.
- As a leader, your team is watching how you manifest your reaction to adversity.
- Without ever having faced strong adversity, one cannot expect to be an effective leader. What’s critical is to embrace the adversity and learn from it. Don’t shy away or back down. Hit it head on.
- Using a very dramatic video clip of Jeff and his blind teammate Erik jumping off a 40ft cliff into a river below, Jeff illustrates the need for reciprocal trust.
- Encourage audience to develop collateral relationships based on trust and commitment to each other.
- Much of trust is built on open communication. Stepping out of our “silos” to reach each other.
- Jeff discusses the concept of the “rope team.” We are all on rope teams… both professionally and personally. Inextricably connected to each other…win or lose, it will happen together. Develop and nurture those rope team alliances.
- The collective power of one!
- At some point we will be in each position on the rope… some days leading from the front, other days we will need assistance as we bring up the rear.
- Developing a strong and nurturing rope team is critical.
- Servant Leadership
- Jeff describes the selfless attitude of the Sherpa to convey the nature of a Servant Leader. Working for the overall success of the team. Not interested in personal accolades or summits. No complaining or whining. Just go out and get the job done… for the people around them. That’s the “Sherpa Attitude”. Another term for that is Servant Leadership.
- Servant Leadership… leading from a place that is centered around fostering the success of others. Whether teammates, clients or family. Nurturing others to help them identify their models of success and guiding them up the route that optimizes their particular skillsets.
- The world needs more servant leaders. Adopt the Sherpa Attitude both professionally and personally.