Announcing the Engage Boston 2023 keynote headliner
In about two months, world-class blind adventurer Erik Weihenmayer will take the main stage at Bullhorn Engage Boston 2023 to share his inspirational journey with attendees.
After losing his vision at age 14, Erik became an accomplished climber, paraglider, skier, kayaker, and the first blind person in history to reach the summit of Mount Everest. In 2008, he completed his quest to climb the Seven Summits—the highest mountain on each continent. Erik has shared his journey in numerous television programs, books, and films, and he is now focused on giving back through his nonprofit, No Barriers USA.
Read on to learn more about our keynote speaker, and register for Engage Boston today to secure your spot!
About Erik Weihenmayer
World-class blind adventurer
Erik Weihenmayer is one of the most sought-after speakers in the world. Despite losing his vision at age 14, he is an accomplished climber, paraglider, skier, and kayaker who never allows blindness to interfere with his passion for pursuing an exhilarating and fulfilling life. Erik brings audiences a powerful message about harnessing the power of adversity as fuel for greatness, emphasizing the importance of building a strong “Rope Team” and illuminating how to develop a “No Barriers Mindset.” Erik’s talks resonate with diverse audiences, from graduating college students to large sales teams to CEOs of Fortune 500 companies.
Erik’s speaking career has taken him around the globe, from the 2005 APEC Summit in Chile to the 2009 Presidential Inaugural celebration in Washington, DC. Erik speaks to major companies in London, Dublin, Moscow, Berlin, Hong Kong, Beijing, and Abu Dhabi, as well as across the United States. Previously, he shared speaking platforms with luminaries such as Secretary Colin Powell, President Bill Clinton, and Prime Minister Tony Blair.
In 2001, Erik Weihenmayer became the first blind person in history to reach the summit of Mount Everest. In 2008, he completed his quest to climb the Seven Summits—the highest mountain on each continent. Additionally, he has ascended dozens of major peaks, rock walls, and ice climbs around the planet, including the first blind ascent of the 3,000-foot Nose of El Capitan in Yosemite and an ascent of a rarely climbed 3,000-foot frozen waterfall in Nepal.
In 2003, Erik competed in Primal Quest, among the toughest adventure races in the world: 457 miles, 9 days, 60,000 feet of elevation gain, and no time-outs. Averaging only two hours of sleep a night, Erik’s team was one of 42 to cross the finish line out of the 80 elite teams that started. In 2006, Erik created the Adventure Team Challenge, a first-of-its-kind adventure race in which teams of disabled and non-disabled athletes compete; his team won five years in a row.
In 2010, he completed the Leadville 100 mountain bike race, with elevations all above 10,000 feet, on a tandem bike, once again becoming the first blind person to complete a world-class competition. And in 2011, Erik’s Team No Limits raced across the deserts and mountains of Morocco for a month, finishing in second place on the ABC reality show “Expedition Impossible.”
In September 2014, Erik and blinded Navy veteran Lonnie Bedwell kayaked the entire 277 miles of the Grand Canyon on the Colorado River, considered one of the most formidable whitewater venues in the world.
In addition to being a renowned adventurer and speaker, Erik is also the author of “Touch the Top of the World,” which has been published in 12 languages. The book was made into an A&E movie and released on DVD by Sony. Erik’s second book, “The Adversity Advantage: Turning Everyday Struggles Into Everyday Greatness,” shares hard-earned lessons and practical advice for using adversity as fuel for growth and innovation. His latest book, “No Barriers: A Blind Man’s Journey to Kayak the Grand Canyon,” was released in February 2017 and is an adventure story that illuminates how we move forward in our lives toward growth and purpose – despite the barriers that get in our way.
Recognitions, media, and films
Erik’s adventures have earned him dozens of awards, including an ESPY, Nike’s Casey Martin award, and the Helen Keller Lifetime Achievement award. He is also a frequent television guest who has appeared on NBC’s “Today Show,” “Oprah,” “Good Morning America,” and “The Tonight Show.” He was featured on the cover of “Time” magazine, among others, and has also carried torches for both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games.
“Farther Than the Eye Can See,” the documentary of his Everest ascent, is ranked by “Men’s Journal” as one of the top 20 adventure films of all time. The film won first prize at 21 international film festivals and was nominated for two Emmy awards. In 2004, Erik and six Everest team members trained a group of blind Tibetan students and then led them to 21,500 feet on the north side of Everest. “Blindsight,” the documentary of the ascent, won People’s Choice Awards at the Los Angeles, London, and Berlin Film Festivals and was released in theaters in 2007 to major accolades from film critics. Erik has been featured in the 2012 award-winning film “High Ground” and, most recently, the 2019 award-winning and compelling film “The Weight of Water.”
In 2005, Erik co-founded No Barriers USA, a nonprofit organization that helps people of diverse abilities develop a “No Barriers Mindset” – to attack challenges head-on, problem solve, build winning teams, and serve others. The signature event is the annual No Barriers Summit, bringing together technology, innovation, and adventure to engage attendees to tap into the human spirit, break through personal barriers, and create community and global breakthroughs.
In 2010, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of their Everest climb, Erik and his team created No Barriers Warriors, a No Barriers program, to help veterans reclaim their lives by leading and serving again.
Erik Weihenmayer joins Engage Boston 2023 alongside a lineup of the foremost staffing industry leaders to share insight on making it happen in 2023 and beyond.
Discover how to effectively empower your team, talent, and clients by registering for Engage Boston 2023 today.