Gary Kopff: What If I
Can’t Make The Summit?
In 1991, he stood on the summit
of the highest peak in the Antarctic with his friends, Rob Hall & Gary Ball --
then the world's top mountain guides. They invited him to climb Everest. In
his life, he believed “Shoot for the top; 2nd best you can always get.” Yet,
at 25,000’ an injury denied his summit bid.
What did he learn? How did these lessons help him years later in 1998-2001
guide his clients up & down "Mt. NASDAQ?"
Hear what a Yale classmate of Bush and Kerry, a former McKinsey consultant,
and an amateur mountaineer who started climbing at age 42, learned about the
pursuit of excellence after failing to reach the summit. Kopff will motivate
your organization’s top achievers who fail, at least once, to make their
Educated at Yale at the time President Bush, Senator Kerry, and N.Y Governor
Pataki were classmates, Mr. Kopff then graduated 1st in his MBA class at
Cornell and began climbing the corporate ladder. His 35 years of financial
strategy consulting include serving at McKinsey & Company, heading Policy
Development for Fannie Mae, and serving a clientele that includes 7 of the 50
largest financial companies in the world* and such not-for-profit
organizations as the World Bank.
More recently, he has
aggressively managed investments, deeply on margin, for family and friends
through the growth of the NASDAQ-100 as they climbed together from 1,000 to
4,600 and slid back to 1,000 between Jan 1998 and Oct 2002. What lessons did
he put to use from his experiences on Everest when he couldn’t reach the
summit? What were the lessons he learned from the late Rob Hall and the late
Gary Ball as, together, they ascended and descended the icy Vinson Massif in
Unlike the late climbing heroes, Rob and Gary, and many Everest motivational
speakers, Mr. Kopff is not a great climber. And yet, prompted by his best
friend’s death at 42, he embarked on a transformation that propelled him to
the summits of three of the world’s “seven summits” and start his own
financial strategy consulting firm, whereas, for example, peers from McKinsey
rose through corporate ranks to become CEOs, his partner who shared leadership
of the finance practice at another consulting firm went on to become CEO of
Capital One, one of his fellow Fannie Mae officers became the U.S. Trade Rep,
and others passed him by in climbing the corporate and governmental ladders.
What did he learn from stepping out of rank to pursue his own dream? What
mistakes did he make and now acknowledges? How does he build on these
experiences and insights to motivate others to find their own dream and push
to success despite setbacks on the way up?
A member of the Cosmos Club of Washington, D.C. and the Explorers Club
headquartered in New York, Mr. Kopff’s pursuits are cerebral as well as
Over 100 times over the past decade, he has either delivered presentations to
corporate audiences throughout the U.S., Europe, and South America or
delivered motivational talks at prep schools as an Outward Bound Board member,
on Capital Hill, or to various other non-profit organizations. A former
Trustee of the Colorado Outward Bound School and the International Outward
Bound organization, he “walks the walk and talks the talk.” In 1962, as a high
school student, he was one of the first participants in Outward Bound when it
started in the U.S. Over the age of 40, he completed four more Outward Bound
courses, including dog-sledding in the Arctic Circle and climbing in the
Caucuses with Russians who spoke no English. Other explorations have included
diving in the Mediterranean in a high visibility submersible to depths of
1,000 feet to explore ancient shipwrecks.
Mr. Kopff has developed a high tech, multi-media motivational talk to carry
the images and his insights from the high mountains to young and old who may
have failed to reach one of their summits -- or secretly fear they may do so –
yet want to find the will to keep on trying. Mr. Kopff is now available to
present to corporate audiences throughout the world his fascinating
audio/video show. Moreover, he can draw upon his extensive consulting
expertise to work with top management on organizational development and
strategy issues that might be incorporated into a customized presentation.
*Citigroup (U.S.), HSBC Holdings (U.K.), Fannie Mae (U.S.), BNP Paribas
(France), ABN Amro (Netherlands), AXA (France), and Lehman Brothers (U.S.).
To achieve the summit of your next
business conference, club meeting, training seminar or social function,
Marketing and Management Company
Call Todd at