Alison Levine

Opening Ceremonies
Explorer, Mountaineer, Author

Alison Levine is a history-making polar explorer and mountaineer. She not only served as team captain of the first American Women’s Everest Expedition, but she also climbed the highest peak on each continent and skied to both the North and South Poles—a feat which fewer than 40 people in the world have achieved. In 2008, she made history as the first American to complete a 600-mile traverse from west Antarctica to the South Pole following the route of explorer Reinhold Messner. She completed this arduous journey on skis while hauling 150 pounds of gear and supplies in a sled harnessed to her waist.

In 2005, Levine founded the Climb High Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of jobless women in Africa by training them to be trekking guides and porters in their local mountains so that they would have the skills to earn a sustainable living wage through climbing-related tourism. Her work in Uganda enabled the first group of local women to make history when they climbed Uganda’s highest peak Mt Stanley, in the Rwenzori Mountains. Her work in Uganda is the subject of the PBS documentary Living Courageously.

Levine currently works as an adjunct instructor at the United States Military Academy at West Point in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership and is a strategic advisor for the Thayer Leader Development Group at West Point, an executive education a program that shares West Point leadership best practices with senior level-executives from the public and private sectors.

Levine is the author of the book On the Edge: The Art of High Impact Leadership. Having spent prolonged periods of time in some of the world's most dangerous and inhospitable places, she tackles the topics of creating cohesive teams, taking responsible risks and developing no-nonsense leaders that can succeed in times of uncertainty.