Ben Saunders
Event Speaker

Ben Saunders

Record-Breaking Polar Explorer, TED ‘Master Storyteller,’ and Climate Tech Investor

The challenges of leading, performing, and executing at the highest level — and in uncertain and unpredictable climates — are familiar terrain to Ben Saunders. The ability to navigate and overcome fear, self-doubt, loneliness, and adversity in pursuit of unusually ambitious goals is what makes Saunders a record-breaking polar explorer, and someone whose story resonates with people around the world.

While the achievements of this world-leading adventurer are deeply inspiring, it is the hard-won life lessons etched within each voyage — and a career totaling nearly 5,000 miles on skis and more than a year spent in complete isolation in the harshest environments on the planet — that prove most valuable and applicable to his audiences. Faced with leading teams — and motivating both his people and himself — in some of the world’s most unforgiving and unpredictable conditions, Ben has learned the necessity of growing through failure, how to control the controllables, and that acting without certainty is the key to unlocking individual and collective self-belief.

Ben’s achievements are at the outer limits of human endeavor: he organized and led the longest human-powered polar journey in history; a 108-day return journey to the South Pole on foot that spanned 1,800 miles, the equivalent of 69 back-to-back marathons, dragging 440lbs (200kg) of food and supplies in his sled.

In addition, Saunders is the youngest person to ski solo to the North Pole, spending 72 days alone on the Arctic Ocean in conditions recognized as “the worst in 25 years,” and holds the record for the longest solo Arctic journey by a Briton. He has also climbed in the Nepalese Himalayas, worked as an instructor at the John Ridgway School of Adventure, and continues to compete as a cyclist and marathon runner into his forties. He is a worldwide ambassador for the Scouts and works closely with the UK youth development charity British Exploring Society.

With an intimate knowledge of both the wonder and the fragility of the natural world, Saunders is a powerful advocate for its future. It is a thread which runs through the expeditions he leads, the stories he tells, the future pioneers he mentors, and through his next chapter as founder of Kintanna Ventures, named after a remote Antarctic peak, and a business that identifies, invests in, and accelerates pioneering climate technology start-ups.

Sessions

General Session & ACEC/PAC Sweepstakes Drawing

Presented by Ben Saunders at 8:00 AM on Tuesday, October 17th.

Thriving in the Toughest Conditions Ben Saunders, Record-Breaking Polar Explorer, TED 'Master Storyteller,' and Climate Tech Investor Record-breaking polar explorer Ben Saunders’ story is ultimately one of achieving highly ambitious goals in the world’s most challenging, hostile, and unpredictable environments. For more than two decades he has built and led world-class teams — selecting and managing individuals…