Mountaineer, Journalist & Alzheimer’s Advocate
Alan is a professional speaker, Alzheimer’s advocate, journalist and mountaineer. His last expedition was to the summit of the world’s 8th highest peak, Manaslu at 26,759 (8156m) in Nepal on October 25, 2013. His audiences range from corporate to non-profit to education. He lives on Colorado and is available internationally.
His Alzheimer’s speaking is part of his commitment as an Alzheimer’s Advocate. He lost his mother Ida, and two aunts to Alzheimer’s disease (AD). He says, it took his mother’s life and changed his life forever. As he went through the journey with his mother, Alan felt compelled to make a difference in the AD world to educate the public, motivate action and raise funds for non-profits using his passion of mountain climbing, public speaking and his website as his tools.
Alan took early retirement in 2007 from Hewlett-Packard to oversee the care of his mom as she entered the final stages of Alzheimer’s. During his nearly 30 year career with HP, his roles ranged from general management to marketing, R&D and sales.
He began mountain climbing at age 38 with a summit of Europe’s Mont Blanc. From there he went on to climb some of the world’s highest peaks including to the summit of Mt. Everest in 2011. He has now completed over 35 major expeditions around the world and summited all 54 of his Colorado 14ers which is a surprise to his friends and family in Memphis where he was born.
Alan is a regular contributor to Outside Magazine and Rock & Ice magazine on mountaineering subjects. He is sought out by news organizations for his perspective on climbing events.
In 2011, to raise research funds and increase Alzheimer’s awareness; Alan, at age 54, did something few people have ever attempted; he climbed the highest mountain on each continent in less than one year through a project called “The 7 Summits Climb for Alzheimer’s: Memories are Everything®”. He was able to reach over 30 million people with a message of hope, need and urgency. The Alzheimer’s Immunotherapy Program (AIP) of Janssen Alzheimer Immunotherapy and Pfizer Inc. funded the campaign.
He is a regular participant on Alzheimer’s oriented radio shows, web events and magazines telling his story of his climbs and Ida. He has personally met with members of Congress in Washington DC to encourage national action on Alzheimer’s issues.
Approach to Speaking
Alan presents to a wide range of organizations, including international venues, in private, small and large conference environments with audiences from 10 to several thousand.
His non-profit audiences usually consist of the public, social workers, health care professionals, medical researchers, nonprofit staff and volunteers, assisted living communities and education settings. Many audiences include individuals with Alzheimer’s, their families and both professional caregivers and family caregivers. He relates with these special members in a personal and sensitive manner giving them hope and inspiration. Some organizations use Alan’s presentation for Continuing Education Credit (CEC).
Alan’s presentations are filled with a mixture of his own high-quality climbing photographs that few audiences have seen. His corporate audiences range from sales meetings to annual events, and user conferences seeking to be inspired to reach new goals.
He is not the standard speaker with a tightly memorized script. He interacts freely with his audience before, during and after the event welcoming any and all questions and comments. Audiences leave with a new sense of what it is like to be on the top of the world in the harshest of conditions or to sit across from their loved one as they slowly go away.
Alan will customize the presentation for the event’s goals and audience. Alan has a deep commitment to every engagement and spends whatever time is necessary to be effective. Sponsors consistently tell Alan they were pleased that their messages were communicated and their participants inspired.
For inquiries about Alan, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-478-6652
Lessons from Alzheimer’s: From the Summit of Everest
This is a one hour presentation that starts with Alan introducing his mom, Ida, through a brief video and several poignant stories of how he and his family discovered she was sick with Alzheimer’s and not simply aging.
He talks about how it shook him to his core and compelled him to think in large terms on how he could make a difference. As a result, he set the goal of climbing the highest mountain on each of the seven continents to take a message of hope, need and urgency to people around the world that the current Alzheimer’s environment was simply unacceptable and must change.
He then takes audiences through a world wind tour of the mountain climbs showing startling pictures, videos and telling amazing stories that inspire the audience. He uses the questions of “Is it hard or impossible?” and the mantra of “1000 reason to stop and only 1 to go on.” to ask audience members to consider their own personal struggles, to find hope and the strength to push on each day in spite of seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
He goes in depth on climbing to the summit of Mt. Everest showing the audience amazing pictures and videos revealing the extreme conditions. His video of making a dedication to his mom from the summit brings the entire presentation into an emotional focus.
He concludes with a series of funny videos and his personal thoughts on his Alzheimer’s journey with points about “If I knew then what I know now” and “What I would have done differently”.
Audiences laugh, cry and think deeply. These are representative comments for an audience member and recent sponsors:
“What a wonderful presentation last evening!! Thank you so much for taking the time to come down for both presentations! The way you engage the audience and tell your story with Alzheimer’s while describing your climbs is absolutely amazing! You are such a great advocate for our cause” – Alzheimer’s Non-Profit
“I was so inspired. I recorded my mom that day and from that recording, I have a clip that I show in my video. I would like everyone to know that your presentation was what inspired me to do my video.” – Family Caregiver Audience Member
“You were AWESOME! I had one caregiver tell me if the event had ended with your presentation, she would have felt completely satisfied with the information she walked away with! You did an excellent job and really hit home with the audience.” – Area Agency on Aging Director
Leadership Lessons from Mt. Everest
Designed for business leaders, this presentation takes audiences through the three phases of accomplishing a challenging goal: preparation, execution and overcoming adversity. Alan uses humor and startling first hand accounts of surviving a fall into a crevasse, extreme illness near the summit of Everest and burying a teammate high on the mountain to focus his audience on the question of “Is this hard or is this impossible?”
Alan uses his experience from 30 years in the corporate workplace along with his 35 major climbing expeditions and his 2011 summit of Everest as the baseline story interspersed with vignettes about leadership. The topics include:
- understanding the challenge
- staying focused on the goal
- attention to the smallest detail
- shared purpose
- acknowledging contributions
- staying motivated
- commitment in tough times
- overcoming obstacles
- fact based decisions
- learning from experience
- leadership and followership
- celebrating success
A few headlines he expands are:
- 1000 reasons to stop, only 1 to keep going
- Are you hurt or are you hurting?
- Is this hard or is it impossible?
These headlines relate to individuals trying to reach a quota, obtain a new client or manage a diverse team.
It is an inspirational talk that is different (Everest), fun and inspire them to reach their goals. He uses many high quality images and videos he has personally taken on his four Everest climbs. He can also bring his high altitude climbing gear for the audience to see, touch (and smell!). Many people have never seen a full down suit or the heavy boots used for climbing Everest.
Everest for KiDs
Alan takes his inspirational and educational Mt. Everest multimedia presentation and helps children of all ages learn about the culture, geography and opportunities of taking on a huge challenge like climbing Mt. Everest. His presentation of Everest for KiDs is used in school curriculums across the world today and now Alan takes it on the road to present to schools. Teachers, parents and administrators all agree that his ability to relate to the children is special.
For inquiries about Alan, please contact email@example.com or 303-478-6652
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Does Alan speak at corporate events?
A: Yes, he often speaks to large audiences at annual meetings looking for inspirational speakers with a unique style and message based on real-world experiences that relate to participants.
Q: How does mountain climbing relate to Alzheimer’s?
A: Alan uses climbing as a metaphor for the challenges of Alzheimer’s from preparation to teamwork to overcoming mental and physical challenges. He does not dwell on the negative aspects of AD but rather that awareness and education are critical to making well-informed decisions, love for the individuals affected is the key to handling difficult situations, and more resources are needed to find a cure.
Q: How much of the presentation is about climbing and how much about Alzheimer’s?
A: The overall presentation blends the two topics seamlessly. For example, while discussing his climb of Kilimanjaro when he twisted his ankle, he cites the help he received as being similar to the role of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver. While on Everest, he brings the audience into his deepest thoughts of wanting to turn back but then tells a short story of a day with his mom that inspired him to keep going.
Q: Are there any subjects Alan is not comfortable addressing?
A: Alan primarily tells his personal story and relates to audiences as a regular person who went through a very difficult journey. Alan is not a medical or legal professional so is not qualified to discuss drugs, treatments, therapies or legal subjects.
Q: Is Alan available for pre-event publicity?
A: Yes, Alan is an accomplished media professional with extensive experience speaking on live television and radio programs plus print and web interviews. He can help your organization build excitement around your event or help promote your message.
Q: Can the presentation length be adjusted?
A: Yes, his presentation can go from 15 minutes to 2 hours depending on the meeting’s objectives.
Q: Can we video the presentation?
A: Yes, for use only within your organization.
Q: Does he have references available?
A: Yes, Alan can provide contact information for all of his previous events and will match your objectives to a similar event.
Q: Does he have any special presentation requirements?
A: Alan uses an Apple MacBook Air for his presentation due to sophisticated animations and hi-resolution videos and images. He can provide a projector if one is not available or connect to almost any in-house system. He needs to connect to the audio system for his videos and prefers a wireless microphone to all him to move freely on stage.
Q: Does he use any visual aids?
A: Yes, Alan brings several pieces of climbing gear he used on Mt. Everest including his full down suit, climbing boots and technical gear. He encourages participants to handle the gear. This is unique for many audiences.
Q: Where does his travel begin?
A: He travels out of Denver International Airport.
For inquiries about Alan, please contact email or 303-478-6652