After more than a year of being cooped up and socially distanced, nearly all interactions being virtual, and endlessly delaying vacations, many of us are feeling like the classroom full of students you see in so many movies flinging papers into the air as the bell rings out, signaling the arrival of summer.
People are eager to make this summer the very best it can be — to relax and unwind — but also to explore, try new things, and make up for lost time. For businesses, organizations, and universities, it’s the perfect time to support your employees and students by booking speakers who can truly usher in those summer vibes at your next event. These adventurers, authors, and outdoors enthusiasts have scaled mountains, broken records, and poured their passions into this summer’s best page-turners. Their rich life experiences and exhilarating stories allow them to wow audiences of all kinds and bring the excitement of summer to your events.
Outdoor lifestyle speakers
Summer is the perfect time for adventures of all kinds and all sizes, and adventure means taking on new challenges. Through their life’s adventures and advocacy work, these speakers inspire and motivate audiences to tackle challenges, overcome adversity, and come together to care for our planet. Browse through a collection of avid explorers, nature advocates, and many more.
TV Host, Science Communicator, Ocean Explorer & Nature Advocate
As a world-renowned television host and science communicator, Danni Washington is the first African-American woman to host a nationally broadcast syndicated science television series. She is presently the host of The Genius Generation podcast produced by Seeker and Trax which spotlights young people behind an incredible invention, entrepreneurial pursuit, or discovery using science. Washington also served as a correspondent on CBS’s “Mission Unstoppable,” a weekly program highlighting fascinating female innovators thriving on the cutting edge of science, “Xploration Nature Knows Best” on FOX, a series predicated on ingenuity in biomimicry meant to expose younger generations to inventions inspired by nature.
Sahara Desert Adventurer, Bestselling Author, Corporate Change & Engagement Expert
A spellbinding storyteller and motivational speaker, Steve Donahue grabs your attention and never lets go. His highly interactive and deeply researched presentations touch the heart and soul of corporate purpose and individual motivation. As a young man, he crossed the Sahara Desert overland. Decades later, Donahue completed a three-year, 72,000-mile global odyssey to find a new story and a reason to tell it. These incredible journeys inspire his work to create legendary leadership in epic organizations as a speaker, leadership trainer, and consultant.
Freedive-Spearfishing Champion, Certified Chef & Award-Winning Environmentalist
Kimi Werner is a United States National Spearfishing Champion, a certified culinary chef, an award-winning artist, and a sought-after speaker. Her daily life is a pure fusion of her talents, rooted in sustainability and geared towards a healthy future for our global community. Werner is an advocate for sustainable food and a new mom. She grew up in rural Maui and her passions for conservation and the underwater world have taken her on global adventures and given her lessons to last a lifetime.
Peruvian-American Explorer & Mountaineer; Author; Survivor of Sexual Violence; Founder and CEO of Courageous Girls
Silvia Vasquez-Lavado is a native Peruvian and a sexual violence survivor. Vasquez-Lavado became the first Peruvian woman to summit Mt. Everest in May 2016 and the first openly gay woman to complete the 7 Summits by summiting Denali in June 2018. She also summited Mt. Kosciuszko in Australia and Carstensz Pyramid in the island of Papua, Oceania, in March of 2015, and Vinson Massif in Antarctica in December of 2015. Her memoir, “In the Shadow of the Mountain,” is slated for release in 2022, and has been optioned for a movie adaptation, starring Selena Gomez.
Extreme sports athletes
With the eyes of the world turning toward the Summer Games, sports of all kinds are at the forefront of everyone’s attention. Extreme sports offer athletes heart-pumping thrills as they tackle obstacles and risks to push their own personal limits. Whether it’s to achieve professional success, a personal hobby, or an experience to cross off of the bucket list, action or adventure sports demand a certain level of commitment, discipline, and courage. It’s these traits that make the speakers on this list so universally inspiring to audiences around the world.
Professional Surfer & Shark Attack Survivor; Inspiration for the Film “Soul Surfer”
Bethany Hamilton has become a source of inspiration to millions through her story of determination, faith, and hope. At the age of 13, Hamilton lost her left arm to a 14-foot tiger shark, which seemed to end her career as a rising surf star. One month after the attack, she returned to the water and within two years had won her first national title. In 2007, she realized her dream of surfing professionally and since then, her story has been told in a New York Times bestselling autobiography and in the 2011 film, “Soul Surfer.” Passionate about helping young women be unstoppable in life and faith, Hamilton has launched a new website and online course for sharing content and facilitating connection.
Professional Rock Climber & Star of the Academy-Award Winning Documentary “Free Solo”
Alex Honnold is a professional rock climber whose audacious free-solo ascents of America’s biggest cliffs have made him one of the most recognized and followed climbers in the world. A gifted but hard-working athlete, Honnold is distinguished for his uncanny ability to control his fear while scaling cliffs of dizzying heights without a rope to protect him if he falls. His humble, self-effacing attitude toward such extreme risk has earned him the nickname Alex “No Big Deal” Honnold.
The First Woman in the World to Climb Mt. Everest from Both North & South Sides
South African mountaineer Cathy O’Dowd is the first woman in the world to climb Mount Everest from both sides. Her many high Himalayan expeditions provided extensive experience with individuals and teams facing stress, risks, and overwhelming challenges. She shares these insights with her corporate audiences through story-driven expedition case studies. She is an internationally acclaimed motivational speaker who has spoken in 45 countries.
Professional Rock Climber, Speaker & Writer
Sasha DiGiulian took the rock climbing world by storm at an early age and has grown into one of the sport’s most famous faces – traveling the world and completing over 30 first female ascents. DiGiulian first began climbing at 6 years old in 1998. She has won the World Championships for Female Overall twice and has placed Silver in the Bouldering World Championships, as well as Bronze in the Duel. DiGiulian was the undefeated panAmerican Champion 2004 to 2014, and she is a three-time US National Champion.
13x Paralympic Swimming Gold Medalist
Jessica Long is one of America’s most decorated Paralympic champions, a speaker, author, advocate, and sports personality. Long’s life has been nothing short of amazing. Born to a teenage mother in the arctic backdrop of Siberia, burdened by congenital defects in her legs, and placed for adoption at 13 months old, Long was able to persevere to become one of the most decorated female athletes in US history. Now as one of American’s most decorated champions, her work focuses on winning in the water and inspiring others outside the pool. It’s through her struggles that she has learned to grow and thrive as a champion and person, and her message of hope resonates with all walks of life.
Authors releasing a new book in Summer 2021
Whether you’re laying on a beach, sitting around a campfire, or just enjoying your own backyard, there’s no better time than the summer to catch up on all the reading you’ve been meaning to do. And there’s no shortage of great books releasing just in time for Summer 2021. These authors have new books that are great additions to your reading list. From inspirational memoirs to business management and diversity topics, these bestselling authors, business leaders, world-class athletes, and TV personalities are bound to inspire, educate, or simply entertain readers.
Zakiya Dalila Harris — “The Other Black Girl”
Zakiya Dalila Harris is a Brooklyn-based author with a passion for writing (and talking) about Blackness, books, and oldies music. Her debut novel, “The Other Black Girl,” is a dynamic, thrilling social commentary that speaks to anyone who has ever felt threatened, manipulated, or overlooked in the workplace.
Danny Trejo — “Trejo: My Life of Crime, Redemption, and Hollywood”
Danny Trejo developed a prolific career in the entertainment industry with a hard-earned and atypical road to success. From years of imprisonment to helping our youth battle drug addictions, from acting to producing, and now on to restaurant ventures, Trejo’s name, face, and achievements are well recognized in Hollywood and beyond. His new book, “Trejo: My Life of Crime, Redemption, and Hollywood” tells his unforgettable and exceptional story.
Ursula Burns — “Where You Are Is Not Who You Are”
Ursula Burns is the former chairwoman of VEON, an international telecommunications services provider. She is best known for having served as the Chairman of the Board of the Xerox Corporation from 2010 to 2017 and as its Chief Executive Officer from 2009 to 2016. When she was appointed Xerox’s CEO in 2009, she became the first Black woman to serve as CEO of a Fortune 500 company. In her book, “Where You Are Is Not Who You Are,” Burns shares unique insights on American business and corporate life and the obstacles she’s conquered being Black and a woman.
Martin Rooney — “High Ten: An Inspiring Story About Building Great Team Culture”
Martin Rooney is the founder of Training For Warriors. An internationally recognized trainer, speaker, author, and pioneer of strength and conditioning, Martin holds a Master of Health Science and Bachelor of Physical Therapy from the Medical University of South Carolina. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Exercise Science from Furman University. His new book “High Ten: An Inspiring Story About Building Great Team Culture,” is an invaluable resource for anyone striving to achieve the highest level of culture―one where everyone feels like a valuable part of the team and consistently produces exceptional results.
When you’re ready to book one of these dynamic speakers for your next event, AAE is here to help you through every step of the process. Just contact us to get started.