On April 14, 2017, GROW* which stands for Growth in Relationship and Opportunities for Women hosted the 7th Annual Keynote Speaker Event at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla in San Diego. This year, the organization welcomed Alison Levine, Team Captain of the First American Women's Everest Expedition & Author of the New York Times Bestseller On the Edge: Leadership Lessons from Everest and Other Extreme Environments.
A history-making polar explorer and mountaineer, Alison is not afraid of a challenge. In 2008, she was the first American to complete a 600-mile traverse from west Antarctica to the South Pole following the route of legendary explorer Reinhold Messner. Alison continued to make history in 2016 after completing the first ascent of Antarctica's Hall Peak. Her success in extreme environments is noteworthy on its own, but especially given that she has had three heart surgeries and suffers from Raynaud’s disease, which put hers at extreme risk for frostbite.
In addition to having tackled some of the most challenging outdoor environments, Alison has climbed the corporate ladder, authored a New York Times bestseller book, and founded a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of women in Western Uganda.
As Alison shared her story of adventure, she highlighted some lessons that she learned on her high-risk journey to the top:
- You cannot control the environment; all you can do is control the way you react to it. While you can prepare to the best of your ability, ultimately you need to be willing to take action based on the situation at hand. Environments, both in nature and in business, are constantly changing, so be ready to act and react quickly.
- Backing up is not the same as backing down. If the conditions are not right, you may need to cut your losses and move on. Those who reach the top are no better than those who had to turn around. Being able to learn from your journey is what will help you reach a successful outcome in the future.
- Fear is okay. Complacency is what will do you in. Complacency does not lead to success. When you take risks and fail, you are rewarded with the knowledge and tools you need to progress, innovate, and ultimately succeed.
One of GROW’s most highly attended event to date, Alison left the audience inspired to tackle challenges and keep climbing. Keep an eye out for a future guest post from Alison Levine.
For more information about GROW, click here.
*Barney & Barney/MMA’s women’s initiative, GROW, was formed in 2010 to attract, retain, educate and support women in the firm.