Robert Anderson’s entrance to the stage in New York City’s Waldorf Astoria Grand Ballroom, was along a 150-foot climbing rope suspended three stories in the air.
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Flying over the audience of 1,500 people, highlighted by a lone spotlight, with music from a Wagner opera playing and 30 foot high photographs of Everest rolling, he landed on the stage to receive a standing ovation before saying a word.
Or perhaps the audience wanted to just get out of his way in case the rope broke.
And at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. he anchored a daylong Everest symposium with an address to 450 people on the future of Himalayan climbing.
Anderson has a message that resonates with audiences as he talks of building the smallest team to ascend Everest’s largest face, without oxygen. And he speaks of team building and achieving goals as he guides expeditions deep into Tibet to the summits of the worlds tallest peaks, developing the skills of his international teams as they climb through the night to touch the clouds.
On the business front, Anderson has spent a career in advertising, beginning at Ogivly & Mather New Zealand, opening a new direct marketing office for them there, before moving on to Asia. He has worked building brands across TV, print, radio, direct marketing and Interactive media, leading teams that create the advertising for American Express, BMW, hp, IBM, Kodak and the USPS. He is now a Group Creative Director in New York at Foote, Cone & Belding, specializing in the development of interactive advertising for JPMorganChase, the IRS, Qwest Communications and Trane.
He has conducted creative leadership seminars, professional photography clinics and developed brand conferences with themes emphasizing the emotional and rational building of brands. Most importantly, he takes business theory and demonstrates how to put it in place across an organization, from creating strong consumer messaging in the mass market to developing on the ground dealer programs.
The business press maintains an active interest in his endeavors, most recently with an interview in the Asian Wall Street Journal. He featured in a chapter in James Clash’s, Associate Editor, Forbes Magazine, book, To the Limit, and in a serialized version in the magazine, available at: http://www.forbes.com/global/2002/0916/062.html
He has also appeared on NBC’s Today Show and created features for the Nightly News as well as been interviewed on CNNfn and in a host of print media, from interviews to articles and photographs in The New York Times, Sports Illustrated and USA Today.
On a personal level, audiences relate to the decision making power of a lone individual, exemplified by the first solo ascent of a new route on the tallest peak in Antarctica. And as an Expedition Leader, his experience in 2003 overseeing 85 people on three treks and a BBC film crew, while leading a team of 12 on a successful 50th anniversary ascent of Mt Everest, demonstrates the planning and perseverance necessary to reach the top of the world in any profession.
He has recounted his stories in three books, Seven Summits Solo, a large format coffee table book containing over 200 color photographs (Clarkson Potter/Random House) and the second To Everest via Antarctica (Penguin). Reviews include “Anderson is an extraordinary climber” and “His determination is fierce. The joys in his triumphs is contagious and his photographs are awesome.” His third book Antonovs over the Arctic takes readers from Alaska, to the North Pole and onto Northern Europe in a Russian Biplane.
His success in not only telling unforgettable tales, but making them memorable and valuable across a wide range of audiences is borne out by his numerous return engagements for his sponsors like British Airways, Kodak, Kiehls, Nike, and Rolex, for whom he has also featured in their TV and print advertising.
He illustrates his lectures with slides from his books, as well as video footage shot on expeditions sponsored by NBC News and National Geographic. With Anderson’s recent ascent of Everest, his talk on the worlds’ highest peak extends from his first meeting with first ascentionist Ed Hillary 20 years ago in New Zealand, to standing in line with clients as they waited to ascend the Hillary step in 2003.
Anderson’s message on building teams to support great brands, achieving personal goals and leadership are set in a dramatic, unforgettable context that motivates companies and individuals alike to reach their own summits.
“I’ve been to a number of Robert Anderson’s talks, and they are always engaging. Robert has an unusual talent for bringing the heights down to earth, so to speak. He uses both humor and modesty to disarm you, but during his presentations–through amazing photographs and a growing realization that he has BEEN to places like the summit of Mt. Everest–your respect swells.
Further, comparisons to team-building and risk-taking in the business world and on a mountain are made subtlely, as is Robert’s style, and when you leave the room there’s a feeling that you can do anything–in the boardroom or on a mountain–if you follow his inspiration.”
–James M. Clash, Author, “To the Limits: Pushing Yourself to the Edge, in Adventure and in Business” (Wiley, 2003), and Adventurer columnist for Forbes magazine