Robert Swan OBE is a Record Breaking Polar Explorer, Environmental Campaigner and Keynote Speaker.
Swan has earned his place in history alongside the great explorers and adventurers who have tested their physical and mental strength to the limit in the planet’s most hostile environments.
By the age of 33 Robert Swan became the first man to walk to both the North and South Poles. His 900-mile journey ‘In The Footsteps of Scott’ across the treacherous Antarctic ice cap to the South Pole stands as the longest unassisted walk ever made. He is an exceptionally gifted communicator and is regarded as one of the world’s top motivational speakers.
Robert’s talent as a communicator is the key to his extraordinary career. Maintaining a positive view. No one is inspired by the negative – the challenge in the world isn’t lack of information – it’s a lack of inspiration. Robert’s job is to inspire people to get them to believe it is possible by showing them small achievable steps.
Icewalk, The International North Pole Expedition was ostensibly designed to draw attention to the environmental crisis confronting both the polar and world ecologies. This ambitious project, costing over US$4 million, was a two-pronged endeavour consisting of an eight-man assault on the Pole and the world’s first international student expedition to venture into the Arctic wilderness.
On both expeditions, Robert Swan experienced, firsthand, the effects of environmental damage on the Polar icecaps. In Antarctica, his eyes were affected and the skin peeled from his face after walking for weeks under the hole in the ozone layer. In the Arctic, the team almost drowned due to melting ice, caused by global warming.
The unique insights and lessons learned enable him to educate and stimulate corporate audiences.
Speaking topics include:
Robert Swan has shown through his expeditions to both Poles that we have the power to overcome obstacles and achieve our goals through perseverance, determination and commitment.
A leader must make decisions, sometimes tough ones, and have the courage to stick to them. In the Antarctic there is no desk to hide behind.
We live in an age of complex communication technology, yet many people find little time to communicate effectively. In a hostile environment like the Arctic you need to explain your thoughts, feelings and actions, just to survive. Effective communications in business is equally vital.
Robert witnessed firsthand the damage to the most delicate of the world’s environments, the Polar Regions. Traveling under the hole in the ozone layer in Antarctica and seeing the Arctic ice melt earlier than predicted – both results of global warming.
Robert accepts that great feats are rarely achieved by individuals in isolation: more often it is a team effort. A team which understands its strengths and weaknesses and pulls together to face the challenge will achieve the seemingly impossible.
Robert Swan compares his icy experiences to boardroom manoeuvres and his inspirational addresses have received the acclaim of discerning audiences worldwide.
In 1992 he was invited to be a keynote speaker at the Rio Earth Summit where Robert’s message was a universal one: that it is possible to achieve your goals and fulfil your ambitions in both your personal and professional life.
His contribution to education and the environment have been recognised through his appointment as UN Goodwill Ambassador for Youth, a Visiting Professorship of the School of Environment at Leeds Metropolitan University and in 1994 he became Special Envoy to the Director General of UNESCO. He was awarded the OBE in 1995.
In 1996/7 Robert Swan organised Tandem One Step Beyond – The South Pole Challenge where he led 35 young explorers from 25 nations in Antarctica.
In January 2002 after three years of planning Robert lead his International team to successfully remove 1000 tons of waste from Antarctica. Following three years of planning, fundraising, and organisation, Mission Antarctica’s ship, the Anne Boye, transported the rusting remains of equipment and other waste from the research stations to Uruguay for recycling and safe disposal. “This is a fresh approach to addressing environmental problems,” said Robert. “We need leadership by example, new ways of thinking and working together,” he added, “to inspire people to believe that they can make a difference through small, achievable steps.”
In 2003, Robert and his company delivered the first ever corporate Antarctic Expeditions on Teamwork and Leadership through positive participation and real missions.