As one of only 41 people in history to have reached both the North and South Poles on foot and a veteran of over a dozen mountain and polar expeditions, Tom Avery is one of the brightest stars amongst the UK’s new generation of explorers.
Tom Avery’s passion for adventure began when he first read about the exploits of Captain Scott as a seven-year-old boy. He soon took up climbing, first on rock in the British Isles, before moving on to snow, ice and higher altitude terrain. Tom has since organised and lead countless expeditions to the world’s Greater Ranges, from first ascents in the Himalayas to an attempt to become the first Brit to ski down an 8,000-metre peak. A fascination with volcanoes has taken him to the highest peaks of the Andes, the African Rift Valley and the Pacific Ring of Fire – sometimes mid-eruption.
In 2002 Tom achieved his childhood dream and completed the perilous journey to the South Pole, man hauling his sledge and kite skiing more than 700 miles from the Antarctic coast for 45 days.
In 2005 Tom and his five-strong team electrified the exploration world by recreating Peary and Henson’s controversial 1909 expedition to the North Pole, travelling with teams of Eskimo dogs and replica wooden sledges. Tom’s ambitious aim was to prove the sceptics wrong and match Peary’s 37-day journey to the Pole. After an epic dash across the most unforgiving environment on the planet, Tom’s exhausted team rewrote the history books by making it to the Pole with only four hours to spare. More than a decade on, they remain the fastest team in history to reach the North Pole.
Tom’s most recent challenge saw him breaking another Guinness World Record, this time for the fastest coast-to-coast crossing of Greenland in 2015. Using kites and pulling two sledges each, Tom and his three team mates smashed the previous record by more than a week, completing the crossing in just 9 days and 19 hours, with barely any sleep. In one night, the team kited an incredible 180 miles in 16 hours, the equivalent of travelling from London to Manchester.
After five years at Harrow School, Tom graduated from Bristol University with a degree in Geography and Geology. His highly acclaimed first book, Pole Dance, was released in 2003 and his second, To the End of the Earth, was published on both sides of the Atlantic in 2009. Tom was an official ambassador for the London 2012 Olympic Games and his expeditions have raised nearly £100,000 for charity, primarily The Prince’s Trust. Tom is also a passionate environmentalist, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a Member of the Explorers Club in New York. Tom has made many appearances on international TV and radio, in the newspapers and in the lifestyle press, for whom he is a regular contributor.
Tom Avery is the co-founder and co-owner of Ski Verbier Exclusive which specialises in ski holidays to some of the most spectacular chalets in the Swiss Alps. He lives in the Cotswolds with his wife Mary and their three daughters Maud, Olive and Nell.
Tom is an incredibly passionate, inspiring, personable, modest and entertaining speaker and with over 500 separate speaking engagements under his belt on five continents, he is one of the most popular speakers on the international circuit.
What makes Tom such a unique speaker is that before embarking on his exploration career, he worked in the City as an accountant with Arthur Andersen. He is also the co-founder and director of Ski Verbier Exclusive, one of the UK’s most exclusive ski businesses, employing over 80 people, meaning that as well as having a high level of professionalism in everything he does, Tom can directly relate to corporate audiences, subtly drawing out key leadership lessons from both the expedition and business worlds.
Illustrated with a stunning collection of images and video clips, Tom’s uplifting and fascinating presentations bring the raw beauty of the polar regions to life and describe how his teams battled with the elements during their many record-breaking journeys. Drawing on his own personal experiences, Tom involves each individual as he makes the analogy between Mother Nature’s most extreme challenges, and the day-to-day challenges facing those of us in slightly less dangerous occupations.
Tom’s presentations provide a unique and highly motivating lesson for any organisation by stressing how communication, planning, goal setting, creative thinking, patience, organisational skills, enthusiasm, flexibility to meet and overcome unexpected obstacles, risk analysis and individual determination are vital ingredients in achieving results when under extreme pressure. Tom can tailor his talks to suit each audience or conference theme.
Tom has been firmly established in the corporate speaking market for more than a decade, giving motivational talks all over the world to a broad spectrum of audiences including BAE Systems, BNP Paribas, Air New Zealand, Shell, BlueBay Asset Management, HBOS, BNY Mellon, AXA Insurance Group, Barclaycard, Imperial Tobacco, Roche , Carrefour, The Shire Group, ABN AMRO, Diageo, Lloyds Banking Group, Johnnie Walker, PWC, Pernod Riccard, the NHS, Ernst & Young, Macquarie Bank, the RAF, KPMG and the John Lewis Partnership to rave reviews. Tom has also been a guest speaker at the Davos World Economic Forum, as well as at the Royal Geographical Society in London and the National Geographic Society in Washington DC.
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