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Susan Ershler

History-making Mountain Climber, Business Executive, and Author, Together on Top of the World and Conquering the Seven Summits of Sales

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Susan Ershler tours the world speaking about her life journey and sharing with others her secrets for success, determination, and achieving seemingly impossible goals.

Featured Videos

Leadership | Think Like a Trusted Guide

Perseverance | Pain is Temporary

Speaker Resources

  •  Susan  Ershler
  •  Susan  Ershler


Susan’s record would be remarkable enough if it only detailed her business achievements. During her 23-year corporate career, she has held a series of increasingly responsible executive positions in the sales divisions of Fortune 500 companies including Verizon, CenturyLink, United Technologies, and FedEx. She’s led teams to sales records, beating objectives from $1 million to $600 million, ultimately as a Vice President. Along the way, she earned 11 annual President’s Club awards for leading teams to top performance.

During that era of corporate achievement she and her husband Phil were climbing the Seven Summits, the highest mountain on each of the world’s the seven continents. That remarkable journey culminated at the top of Mount Everest on May 16, 2002.  With that climb, she and Phil became the first couple in history to climb the Seven Summits.

That feat earned them world-wide media attention, including Good Morning America, CNN, the Today Show, Chicago Tribune, The New York Times and many others. 

In her first acclaimed book, Together on Top of the World; The Remarkable Story of the First Couple to Climb the Fabled Seven Summits, Susan shared her remarkable Everest adventure and the life lessons she learned on the mountain. Now, in her latest book, Conquering the Seven Summits of Sales: From Everest to Every Business, Achieving Peak Performance (published by HarperCollins), Susan examines the habits of success anyone can master to achieve peak performance in selling, business and leadership, using the same techniques and determination that empowered her to climb the world’s highest mountains.

Not a professional mountain climber, Susan trained by climbing the 35 stories in her high-rise office building on her lunch hour for a year - with a 40-pound pack on her back. She tells her electrifying story to audiences with clarity and passion.  She lifts her audience's ambitions by showing them how hard work, dedication, perseverance and a total commitment to excellence can pay off in reaching seemingly impossible goals.

As a business speaker, Susan illustrates how she utilized her experience as a sales leader as the foundation to her training for climbing mountains. She begins with visualizing a goal, no matter how difficult or seemingly out of reach.  She continues with demonstrated techniques to improve focus, discipline and teamwork. She concludes with a passionate affirmation of the value of life and the thrill of celebrating your success from the top of the world.

Having climbed the mountain in work and in the world, Susan’s message stands apart for its credibility and power.


  • Source

    The Power of Teams: From Everest to the Pinnacle of Business Success

    By: Susan Ershler

    (Thought Leaders, LLC) – In 2002, while relaxing at Everest Base Camp, I fell into conversation with Dan, a fellow climber about to make his fifth attempt to reach the summit alone. Dan was determined to be completely self-sufficient, carrying all of his own gear and climbing without a guide. I wondered why anyone would take on such a huge challenge without accepting even a modicum of help. But I wished him luck and rejoined my team to prepare for our climb of the treacherous Khumbu Ice Fall, the first major obstacle on our route to the summit. A week later, at Camp III, I found Dan camping alone and stopped by briefly to offer him a cup of tea and an energy bar. Cordially but firmly, he refused, reiterating his decision to rely exclusively on the supplies he had carried up himself from Base Camp. Later, I heard that Dan’s fifth attempt to reach the summit of Everest had failed. His determination to climb the world’s tallest mountain alone had defeated him.

  • Source

    A demotion, then an Everest climb cut short: How one woman tackled two different kinds of failure

    By: Caroline McMillan

    (Bizwomen) – It's known as the Death Zone. Elevation: 26,000 feet. Mere hours from the summit of Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth.

    And the hiker's set out a few minutes before midnight, on the eve of their 63 rd day of the climb, the storm gathered strength.

    The human body wasn't made to operate at that altitude. Sleeping is difficult. Digesting food is nearly impossible. And oxygen levels are so low that without a supplementary supply, bodily functions are known to deteriorate to the point of unconsciousness. And then, death.

Speech Topics

No matter how impossible they may seem, your dreams for personal and professional success are never truly out of reach if you Project • Prepare • Persevere®. This is the systematic approach to high achievement Susan Ershler developed while simultaneously climbing the world’s tallest mountains and leading sales organizations at some of the nation’s largest corporations.

On May 16, 2002, Susan and her husband Phil made history as the first couple to stand together at the summit of Mount Everest, capping their decade-long odyssey to climb the Seven Summits; the highest mountains on each of the seven continents. In her stirring keynote, Susan tells the amazing story of their Everest experience, the setbacks they overcame along the way, and their triumphant return to reach the summit. She also shares the road-tested strategies she developed that can empower anyone to overcome their perceived limitations and achieve seemingly impossible goals.

Is your sales organization achieving its true potential? What strategies and techniques would transform your sales team into a dynamic force for revenue growth and customer satisfaction?

For two decades, Susan Ershler rose through the ranks of sales leadership while simultaneously climbing the highest mountain on each of the seven continents. Now, her mission is to help others secure the financial rewards and personal fulfillment that come with being a top performer.

In this presentation, Susan shares the Seven Summit principals that every sales professional must master to consistently achieve top performance year after year. She describes the Project • Prepare • Persevere® methodology that enabled her to lead her sales team to achieve a seemingly impossible $300M revenue goal. She also provides practical techniques for overcoming real-world sales challenges and blowing away the numbers. Attendees will walk away inspired to excel and ready to meet Everest-sized revenue objectives.

In today’s increasingly competitive business environment, it takes vision, planning and perseverance to reach the pinnacle of career achievement. Are you ready to see your career trajectory accelerate into the stratosphere? Then Susan Ershler’s Project • Prepare • Persevere® methodology is your key to becoming a peak performer and reaching the pinnacle of personal and professional success.

In this inspiring presentation, Susan shares the Seven Summit principles that every business professional must master to consistently achieve top performance year after year. She also describes practical techniques for overcoming real-world business challenges and securing the financial rewards and personal fulfillment that come with being a top performer. Attendees will leave confident, inspired, and equipped with the tools they need to achieve peak performance and realize their dreams.

On the mountains, successful expedition leaders think like guides, not climbers. In the business world, the most successful sales leaders think like CEOs. They inspire and lead by example.

Susan is an expert practitioner in the art of sales leadership. Throughout her career, she has excelled at building and leading teams that achieve exceptional, sometimes life-changing results. In this inspiring presentation, Susan shares the Project • Prepare • Persevere® methodology that enabled her to lead her sales team to achieve a seemingly impossible $300M revenue goal while simultaneously climbing the Seven Summits; the highest mountain on each of the seven continents.

Drawing on her knowledge and experience, Susan shows why the best leaders are much more than top performers themselves. They enable every member of their team to overcome their perceived limitations by learning to commit to their team’s shared vision of success. Attendees will walk away with the leadership skills they need to help their teams win the recognition and rewards that accrue to top performers.

Susan learned an important, simple truth from her quest to reach the top of Everest: to achieve something that seems impossible, you’ve got to first set the goal, then prepare, then keep going until you get there. She and her husband, Phil, were the first couple to climb the Seven Summits not because they were superhuman, but because they were humans who kept going. Susan believes that’s what achievement is made of. Personal and professional successes go to those who show up and do the work — until they reach their goals.

How do you achieve your dreams in both your personal and business life — especially the ones that seem impossible? In this inspiring presentation, Susan shares her road-tested methods for combining a demanding job with a fulfilling life, while still achieving all that you desire. Project, Prepare, Persevere®.

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