CULVER, Ind. – Alison Levine has no trouble taking on tough challenges. Whether it’s across the Arctic Circle (or the Antarctic Circle, for that matter), up the slopes of Everest, or scaling the canyons of Wall Street.
And she’s done all that despite three heart surgeries a neurological disease that causes the arteries that feed her fingers and toes to collapse in cold weather, leaving her at extreme risk for frostbite.
Levine brings her story of conquering extreme environments to students at Culver Academies on May 14, 2014, as part of the school’s Vaughn Family Outdoor Leadership Series. Immediately after her talk at Culver’s All School Meeting, she will sign copies of her new book, “On the Edge: The Art of High Impact Leadership” (January 2014, Grand Central Publishing). In the book, she tackles the topics of creating cohesive teams, taking responsible risks and developing no-nonsense leaders that can succeed in times of uncertainty.
The talk is open to the public and will be held at 2:30 in the EppleY Auditorium.
Funded by the generosity of the Robert C. Vaughn family (Robert Class of ’74, his wife, Fallon, and their children Robert, Jr. Class of ’06 and Browning Class of ’08), the Vaughn Family Outdoor Leadership Series was established to introduce Culver students to adventurers and explorers who share their outdoor experiences, challenges, and passions.
Levine has climbed the highest peak on every continent, served as the team captain of the first American Women’s Everest Expedition, and skied across the Arctic Circle to the geographic North Pole. In January 2008 she made history as the first American to follow a remote route across west Antarctica for 600 miles to the South Pole on skis while hauling 150 pounds of gear and supplies in a sled harnessed to her waist.
Levine is an adjunct professor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point where she lectures on the topic of leading teams in extreme environments. She is the author of the New York Times best-selling book “On the Edge,” which chronicles the lessons she learned during her various expeditions.
She has also worked in the pharmaceutical and medical device industry, earned an MBA from Duke University, and spent three years working for Goldman Sachs. She left Goldman in 2003 to serve as deputy finance director for Arnold Schwarzenegger in his successful bid to become governor of California.
Among the natural obstacles Levine faces is her condition known as Raynaud’s disease, which causes the arteries that feed her fingers and toes to collapse in cold weather.
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.”
At West Point, Levine teaches in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership and is a strategic adviser for the Thayer Leader Development Group at West Point, an executive education program that shares West Point leadership best practices with senior level-executives from the public and private sectors. She was a contributing author to the book “Leadership in Dangerous Situations: A Handbook for the Armed Forces, Emergency Services and First Responders.” She also serves on the board of the Coach K Center on Leadership & Ethics at Duke University.
About Culver Academies
Located on Lake Maxinkuckee in Culver, Ind., Culver Academies is a boarding school offering a college-preparatory curriculum for boys and girls in grades nine through 12.
Annually, Culver has an enrollment of 800 students representing more than 40 states and 25 countries. Approximately 21 percent of the students are international, coming from such countries as Canada, China, Ecuador, Germany, Korea, Lithuania, Mexico, and Taiwan.
Culver’s mission is to educate its students for leadership and responsible citizenship by developing and nurturing the whole individual – mind, spirit and body – through integrated programs that emphasize the cultivation of character.
Founded in 1894, the boys’ school, Culver Military Academy, is based upon a military-type system used to teach self-discipline, responsibility, and leadership. Culver Girls Academy, founded in 1971, is based upon the prefect system, with girls practicing democratic, self-rule to achieve similar values.