Colonel John Blashford-Snell OBE: Keynote, After Dinner, Awards, Educational Talks
#Explorer #DarienGap #BlueNile #Leadership #Teamwork
Colonel John Blashford-Snell OBE is an explorer who has influenced, mentored and inspired several generations of explorers and adventurers. Throughout his extraordinary career, John Blashford-Snell (JBS) has lead over a hundred expeditions and his entire career has been involved with developing leadership and potential in others both in the army and in civilian life. He continues to lead several expeditions a year to remote communities and regions of the planet: each expedition has a medical, scientific or conservation focus.
'John has had a profound influence on generations of explorers. He is highly respected not just for leading innovative expeditions but for founding Operation Drake and Operation Raleigh with Prince Charles and encouraging thousands of young people worldwide to face challenges and believe in themselves. His vision, inspirational leadership, compassion and courage continue to inspire me. And he is a wonderful storyteller with some extraordinary experiences to share.'
Sir Ranulph Fiennes
A superb after dinner and lunchtime speaker John has a broad range of hilarious anecdotes to draw upon from meeting Emperor Haile Selassie to delivering a piano to the Wai Wai tribe:
John is available for after dinner talks, conference keynote talks and addresses to the Board. He is also a popular speaker at schools and universities.
John’s presentations on leadership focus on the two aspects of leadership that he believes to be essential: communication and inspiration. He draws on his vast experience on expedition to illustrate and emphasize his key messages. John inspires others to ‘dare to achieve’. His stories of expeditions to remote parts of the world are delivered with humour that audiences really appreciate. However John also discusses the risks and hazards on expedition and the importance of being prepared and remaining flexible and continuing to think clearly and creatively when you are under real pressure.
‘A leader in the best of moulds - he cares for those he leads.'
‘John was absolutely brilliant.’
JBS has so many extraordinary stories - many think he is the original (British) Indiana Jones!
Clients & Reviews
John Blashford-Snell gives entertaining after dinner and lunchtime talks, acclaimed conference keynotes and masterclasses on leadership and teamwork and has a wealth of experience to draw upon when tailoring addresses to the Board. Passionate about encouraging the next generation, JBS gives motivational talks in schools and enjoys the opportunity to speak at Annual Speech Days and Awards.
‘John Blashford-Snell’s wealth of experience, knowledge and passion for what he does resonates through his storytelling. He is an inspiration.’
‘John was absolutely brilliant.’
‘John was an absolute pleasure to deal with. He held his two sets of audiences entranced – he was interesting, authoritative and very amusing. He inspired them to wish to travel to the South American destinations he described so well. A real bonus was to be able to purchase a signed book from him on the spot – such a nice reminder of him and of the day in general.’
The Bushcraft Show
St George’s Day Lunch
‘We were fortunate to engage JBS as our after dinner speaker. Stories of the early days of exploring without modern aid capture the attention of anyone interested in the outdoors (or even the couch potato). Voted best speaker in 10 years - an achievement as we have had some other big names.’
'We were delighted when we secured Colonel Blashford-Snell for our Presentation Evening and he didn’t disappoint. Not only did he regale us with tales of exploration and adventure and inspire our students to get out and see the world, but he also showed genuine interest in our prize-winners, speaking to them individually as he presented their awards.'
Beths Grammar School
‘We thoroughly enjoyed listening to John last Friday and he was excellent company during supper beforehand.’
‘Can I take this opportunity to tell you how much my 17 year old son and I enjoyed the lecture last night. His understated delivery - something unique to great people - managed to entertain and inspire both of us.’
‘John's talk was a great success, and many people have told me how much they enjoyed the evening - what an engaging speaker he was!’
‘Professional and inspirational.’
Crickhowell Walking Festival
‘It was an entertaining evening. John was very well received and he was also great company.’
'I had a fantastic evening and it was a pleasure to hear just a tiny part of your eventful life. I reckon you could probably speak at events like that every day for months and not need to tell the same story twice. An inspiration to us all to go out and LIVE our lives.’
Talks by JBS: Legendary Explorer & Inspirational Speaker
JBS gives tailored talks for companies on motivation, team building and leadership, illustrating the subject with examples from his experience of leading and organising over a hundred expeditions and projects, often in remote regions. JBS is also an entertaining after dinner speaker and guest speaker in schools, colleges and universities.
Popular talks include:
- CLOSE ENCOUNTERS WITH WILD ANIMALS - With dramatic slides and video clips, JBS describes meetings with wild beasts including the giant elephants of Bardia, Nepal and tiger, lion, crocodile and gorilla.
- A LIFE OF ADVENTURE - From the birth of whitewater rafting, over mountains and deserts, through jungle and swamp and beneath the sea, JBS takes his audience through his adventurous life, including the quest for a giant mammoth-like elephant in Nepal. A very popular, amusing and fast-moving presentation with dramatic film and amazing archival slides, suitable for audiences of all ages.
- WITH THE WAI WAI IN GUYANA - JBS tells of his 2010 project assisting the Wai Wai tribe in a remote part of Southern Guyana.
- THE PATH BETWEEN THE SEAS - The story of the search for the pre Panama canal water route believed to have existed in Nicaragua.
- OPERATION DRAKE - The story of the first of the great global youth expeditions. At the suggestion of HRH The Prince of Wales, a new type of enterprise took young explorers of many nations into the far corners of the earth to face challenges and dangers that turn boys into men and girls into women - and give the older staff some grey hairs in the process! Using an airship and a splendid sailing vessel, it attracted thousands of applications. Strongly supported by the American and British media, ABC, Survival Anglia TV and especially Capital Radio on London. The content can be in a serious or humorous vein on exploration, expeditions, travel, leadership, team building, motivation, communication and inspiration.
- THE EIGHT WONDER - The discovery of strange underwater ruins and wrecks by a large team of Royal Engineer divers off Paphos, Cyprus.
- THE CONQUEST OF THE BLUE NILE - The story of one of the most famous expeditions of the twentieth century. A team of British servicemen and scientists make the first complete exploration and navigation of the infamous rapid-strewn Blue Nile in the mountains of Ethiopia. Supported by the Daily Telegraph and Survival Anglia TV, the voyage of discovery has been likened to a real life "Raiders of the Lost Ark".
- THE DAHLAK QUEST - A remote and mysterious Red Sea archipelago is found to contain massive rays, sharks, exotic bird-life, mysterious wrecks and hundreds of blind people. Supported by the Daily Telegraph.
- IN THE STEPS OF STANLEY - On the centenary of Henry Morton Stanley's trans-African expedition, JBS led 160 strong international team of medical experts, biologists and soldiers to carry out scientific exploration of flora, fauna and disease of the 2,700 mile Zaire (now Congo) River. With the backing of the Daily Telegraph and Survival Anglia TV, and using special jet craft and giant inflatables, this is an epic adventure.
- AFRICA - THE STORY OF STANLEY AND LIVINGSTONE - With magic lantern pictures used by Sir Henry Morton Stanley in his own lectures and other early images, JBS tells the incredible story of 19th century adventure and discovery. Stanley's voice from an early recording will also be played. The lecture covers all Stanley's epic expeditions as well as the finding of Dr David Livingstone.
- THE LEGEND OF LIVINGSTONE - To mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of the famous explorer, JBS uses early images and magic lantern slides to tell the life story of this remarkable man's expeditions and his fight against slavery.
- OPERATION RALEIGH - Following the success of Operation Drake, a new enterprise was launched by HRH The Prince of Wales. The adventures of the many thousands of young venturers were only part of the story. The real value was what they did to help the environment, wildlife and the people of the areas in which they worked; and what they did for their own communities on their return. Widely covered by the media.
- THE DARIEN BREAKTHROUGH - The Pan American Highway running from Alaska to Cape Horn is broken in Panama and Colombia by the infamous Darien Gap. This is the story of how in 1972 a large international team of servicemen and scientists make the first vehicle crossing of the complete gap, carrying out important research en route - a dramatic tale of human endeavour under the most appalling conditions; JBS's toughest project. Supported by the Daily Telegraph and filmed by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
- MISSION TO MAGDALA - The story of the amazing rescue in 1868 of some 60 diplomats and missionaries held captive by Emperor Theodore of Abyssinia on a 9,000 foot mountain. JBS tells of his visit to the remote site where General Sir Robert Napier's expeditionary force defeated the despotic ruler.
- SEARCHING FOR LOST CIVILIZATIONS - THE KOTA MAMA EXPEDITIONS - A massive project involving fascinating archaeology and an epic adventure by traditional reed boats on the rivers of South America, to unravel some of the mysteries of the past. Featured by the Daily Telegraph, Sunday Times, Daily Mail and BBC.
- ON A WING AND A PRAYER - The story of the Kota Mama VI expedition seeking a giant meteorite in the Bolivian Amazonas area. Involving the first use of paramotors on scientific exploration and the delivery of a pedal organ to a remote tribe. Supported by The Daily Mail and featured on BBC.
- THE GRAND ADVENTURE - An incredible story of the delivery of a grand piano to a tribe of Amerindians in a remote part of Guyana. Supported by the Daily Mail and filmed by BBC.
Colonel John Blashford-Snell is a legendary explorer: he has influenced, mentored and inspired several generations of explorers and adventurers. He has lead over a hundred expeditions and his entire career has been involved with developing leadership and potential in others both in the army and in civilian life. John inspires others to ‘dare to achieve’.
During his career as a Royal Engineer, John (or JBS as he is fondly known) lead many expeditions including selecting, training and leading a team of 60 servicemen and scientists down the infamous rapid-strewn Blue Nile in the mountains of Ethiopia (the first ever descent). He has lead vehicle crossings of the Darien Gap and navigated the Zaire River (almost all 2,700 miles). John’s expeditions have always had strong environmental, medical and scientific objectives. His innovative method of negotiating white water in inflatable boats is now a popular worldwide sport.
He has lectured on leadership at Sandhurst and he also developed an innovative programme of exploration at Sandhurst to teach young officers resilience and leadership. John and HRH Prince of Wales had the vision to found ‘Operation Raleigh’ in 1978, a highly innovative leadership programme designed to develop young people no matter what their background by giving them an opportunity to explore the world. (This followed the highly successful and high profile ‘Operation Drake’.) Operation Raleigh has now helped thousands of young people across the globe through their participation in a 3-month expedition to develop their self-belief as well as their skills at communication, teamwork and leadership. The expedition is always on difficult terrain and they are expected to take part in community and science/environmental projects as well so that their time with Operation Raleigh is as constructive and as useful to others as possible.
John continues to lead expeditions through the Scientific Exploration Society an organisation he founded in 1969. In recognition of his leadership of the Blue Nile, British Trans-Americas and Zaire River expeditions, John was awarded the prestigious Livingstone Medal by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society. He has been awarded numerous other awards including an OBE, a Gold Medal (institute of Royal Engineers) and a Patron’s Medal (Royal Geographical Society).
John’s presentations on leadership focus on the two aspects of leadership that he believes to be essential: communication and inspiration. He draws on his vast experience on expedition to illustrate and emphasize his key messages. His stories of expeditions to remote parts of the world are delivered with humour that audiences really appreciate. However John also discusses the risks and hazards on expedition and the importance of being prepared and remaining flexible and continuing to think clearly and creatively when you are under real pressure. He has so many extraordinary stories, many think he is the original (British) Indiana Jones!
John is available for after dinner talks as well as keynote talks. As Sir Rannulph Fiennes puts it: ‘He is a wonderful storyteller with some extraordinary experiences to share.'
Film footage & Radio Recordings
Over the years, JBS has appeared on numerous TV programmes including Parkinson (BBC), This is Your Life (ITV), Terry Wogan Show (BBC) and several documentaries have focused on his expeditions such as the Darien Gap, Blue Nile, The Great Zaire River Expedition and also a series for BBC on Operation Raleigh.
Features in the Press
A Personal Perspective (from other explorers and adventurers)
‘A leader in the best of moulds - he cares for those he leads.’
Bear Grylls: TV Presenter & adventurer
‘Colonel John Blashford Snell is the reason I became an explorer. A truly legendary figure in the world of expeditions, John has had more close scrapes, has led more teams, and has a greater collection of stories than anyone else in the business. He is the adventurers’ adventurer, and is universally revered and admired for his leadership in the most extreme of circumstances. In terms of tales of the wild and the wonderful from the days of genuine exploration, no-one else even comes close.’
Monty Halls: TV Presenter, Marine Biologist & Adventurer
Support for Charities include:
JBS is honorary president of the Scientific Exploration Society which he founded with Army colleagues in 1969, following a successful descent of the Blue Nile in inflatable boats. The SES runs exeditions and gives bursaries to encourage the next generation of explorers.
JBS is passionate about supporting the next generation through charities such as the Merseyside Youth Association which assists disadvantaged young people in Liverpool and the surrounding area; the Moorlands Community Development Project, a small charity that works with under-privileged young people in Brixton; the Trinity Sailing Foundation where young people are given week long sea training on Gaf rigged trawlers and disadvantaged and disabled children take part in cruises April to October, and further afield, JBS supports Classrooms in the Clouds a charity aiding children in Nepal.
JBS works closely with the water charity Just a Drop This is an international water aid charity which was set up in 1998. Fiona Jeffery, the charity’s founder, learnt that just £1 can deliver clean water to a child for up to 10 years.
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