Virtual Leadership Institute Meeting 2020—October
17 October 2020 

Ben Saunders

emealim ben saunders

Polar explorer Ben Saunders is a pioneer in one of the most challenging fields on earth. He is the youngest person ever to ski solo to the North Pole (at the age of 23), and holds the record for the longest solo Arctic journey by a Briton. Since 2001, Ben has skied more than 3,000km (1,860 miles) in the high Arctic, and has spent two percent of his entire life living in a tent.

Best known for leading one of the most ambitious polar expeditions in a century, in 2014 Ben was the first to successfully complete the epic, 105-day, 1,800-mile trek on foot to retrace Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s ill-fated, early 20th-century journey to the South Pole – equivalent to running 69 marathons back-to-back. Of his expedition he said, “We can all accomplish great feats through ambition, passion, stubbornness, and refusal to quit. If you dream something hard enough, it does indeed come to pass.”

As a motivational speaker, Ben Saunders has delivered keynote presentations in nearly 30 countries to many of the world’s largest and most successful corporations. He speaks with honesty, humility and passion about motivation, goal setting, teamwork, success, failure, risk-taking, overcoming adversity, dealing with change, and achieving what we set out to achieve, no matter how steep the odds.

Born in 1977, Ben grew up in Devon, was educated at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and lives in London. He is passionate about the great outdoors and spent four months walking and climbing in the Nepalese Himalayas aged 19, going on to work as an instructor at the John Ridgway School of Adventure in the Scottish Highlands, once billed as "the UK's toughest management training school".

Ben Saunders is a keen athlete – after an unpromising start ("I was the podgy kid at school that was always picked last for the football team") he discovered mountain biking in his teens and went on to race bikes on and off-road at a national level. He has run seven marathons and three ultramarathons.

Ben is a Global Brand Ambassador for Land Rover, an Ambassador for The Prince's Trust, a Patron of the British Schools Exploring Society, an honorary member of the Cordon Rouge Club, a Fellow of the British American Project, supports the Duke of Edinburgh's Award and the Orchid Cancer Appeal.

Closing Keynote Address:

Turning Ideas into Action

Ben Saunders explores the disconnect between ideas and action, touching on themes like challenging conventional wisdom, communicating with your team, and testing your sense of self-belief (which he believes gets stronger the more you use it). Through his transformative journeys across the North and South Poles, he shows audiences how to fully commit to a vision in order to maximize their chance of success and offers tips on training, preparedness, and teamwork.