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Professional Speaking

Tony van Marken has established a reputation as an entertaining and inspiring motivational speaker. He uses unique video footage and photographs from over 30 expeditions to provide audiences with a powerful and inspiring audiovisual experience.

He uses his experiences on major climbing expeditions combined with his business acumen as an award winning entrepreneur, to discuss the common challenges in setting and exceeding extraordinary goals in business and in life. His presentations, “Everest Unplugged™” and “Leadership on the Edge™” are extremely popular with all audiences.

Everest Unplugged™” provides a unique audio-visual experience as Tony shares with audiences his journey to the summit during the 2005 Spring season on the South side of Everest. This presentation includes video and still footage of the largest avalanche seen on Everest in 50 years, ladder crossings in the Khumbu Icefall, traversing the Western Cwm, climbing the Lhotse face, life at the South Col and the final ascent of the South Summit, Hillary Step and true summit.

Tony shares his battle with the mountain, poor health and the worst weather seen on Everest for decades as he finally succeeds in summitting on June 2, 2005, at the time, the latest summit date in history for the pre-monsoon, climbing season on the south side of Everest.

Leadership on the Edge™”, leverages Tony’s experience as an award winning entrepreneur with the challenges of tackling large scale high altitude expedition climbing. Using powerful images and experiences from over 30 high altitude expeditions on seven continents, Tony looks at the lessons learned on the world’s great mountains and how they can be applied in a business context.

Tony has presented to audiences around the world including amongst others :

Assent Compliance, Investec Bank, Sanlam Investments (Glacier), Barnard Jacobs Mellett (BJM), Red Cross Children’s Hospital, Vox Telecom, DataPro, Liberty Life, Moores Rowland, Mondi Packaging, Pragma, Tiger Brands, Due South, Boschendal, Metier, African Bank, YPO (Cape Town Chapter), YPO University 2007 (Kyoto, Japan), Wilderness Safaris, The Walsingham Fund, TierOne OSS, Mvelaphanda Group, IQ Business Group, MoneyWeb Holdings, Ellerines, Chevron, Protea Hotel Group, Jurgens, IBN, PriMedia Group, the European Union (EU Brussells), the YPO President’s University 2011 (South Africa), Wyzetalk, Integr8it, Audi SA, Etisalat, BPeSA (BPO South Africa), Hubba, JibeStream, ScribbleLive, Acetech Ontario, Duke University, Sime Darby, Canadian ISP Summit, Yelp, Q4 Inc, ThinkData Works, Barometer Asset Management, Viafoura, RubiKloud, Extreme Venture Partners, Nuco Global and the Aga Kahn Time to Grow Conference (2019).

Tony van Marken has also served as a lecturer on Strategic Leadership in conjunction with the following business schools:

Oxford SAID Business School, United Kingdom
Duke University, USA
Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town, South Africa


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Background –  Tony van Marken

Tony van Marken is a successful businessman and avid adventurer and has established a reputation as an outstanding motivational speaker. He has led or participated in over 30 high-altitude mountaineering expeditions on seven continents and has climbed numerous classic peaks around the world with over 60 successful high altitude summits. He reached the summit of Everest via the South Col route on June 2nd, 2005, to complete his quest to become the first South African to climb the original Seven Summits, the highest mountain on each of the world’s seven continents.

In 2002, at the age of 37, Tony van Marken climbed Kilimanjaro, which ignited a passion to climb some of the world’s great mountains. In less than three years, on his first attempt, he climbed each of the world’s seven continental summits, namely; Everest (8,850m) in Asia, Vinson Massif (4,897m) in Antarctica, Mount McKinley (6,194m) in North America, Kilimanjaro (5,895m) in Africa, Mount Elbrus (5,642m) in Europe, Kosciusko  (2,228m) in Australia and Aconcagua (6,962m) in South America.

He has climbed sixteen 4,000m peaks in Europe including the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc (3x). He completed the first, South African ascent of Mount Shinn, the 3rd highest peak in Antarctica, and completed back-to-back ascents of Mount Cook and Mount Aspiring in New Zealand, a feat rarely achieved. He has also climbed the world’s sixth highest peak, Cho Oyu in Tibet at 8,201m.

Tony van Marken is a member of the American Alpine Club (AAC), Mountain Club of South Africa (MCSA), Alpine Club of Canada, Himalayan Club and a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (RGS).

Tony van Marken is also a marathon runner, road cyclist, mountain biker and certified open water diver (PADI). He has completed numerous standard and ultra marathons (2 x Two Oceans Ultra Marathon Finisher), as well as international road and mountain bike stage races including the Cape Epic Mountain Bike Race x2 (regarded as the Tour de France of mountain biking), the TransAndes Challenge (Patagonia, Chile) and the Legend of El Dorado (Colombia) x2, widely regarded as the “Everest of Mountain Biking”.

Tony van Marken has had a successful career as a venture capitalist, high-tech entrepreneur and management consultant, having worked in South Africa, the United Kingdom, Canada and France.

Recognized as a leader in his field, Tony van Marken was honoured in 1998 as one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 and was awarded the 1996 Canadian Venture Capital Association’s (CVCA) Entrepreneur of the Year Award.