Not many people experience failure on as grand a scale as John Cantor has time and again, yet he continues to return for more.

In 2012 adventurer John Cantor achieved a six-year dream of traversing the Brooks Range solo, a 1,600 km expedition across Arctic Alaska. Considered one of the toughest solo expeditions on earth, John completed the traverse in just 31 days, 10 days faster than any previous attempt.
 
With no previous experience and only blind self-belief, this young surfer from Noosa Heads, Queensland, set himself a near-impossible goal. There were only four documented solo traverses of the range prior to this, all of whom were Americans. After failing on three successive attempts in three consecutive years, John realised he was banging his head against a brick wall, so took 2011 off and adopted a completely different approach to the expedition. He broke it down into little battles and worked on perfecting each element. John finally completed the expedition in 31-and-a-half days, setting a speed record for the traverse.

During this time John also battled with chronic knee and back injuries as well as severe anxiety. John's expedition was featured on the ABC's Australian Story and was the most downloaded episode for 2012.

The next goal John set himself was a Winter Traverse of the Brooks Range. This expedition has never been done and is seemingly impossible, but John felt he had to try. In January 2014 with fellow adventurer Evan Howard, they began the trip but had to abort on the 10th day due to frostbite.

John's initial goal had been to find his limit, and as hard as the summer traverse was, he knew he had more in him. With the winter traverse, the continuous darkness, winds so strong John was knocked off his feet, temperatures past minus 45, the constant threat of falling through ice on the rivers - he found his limit.

These experiences have only made him stronger and his next trip is already in the making. In June 2014 John will return to Alaska to climb Denali, North Americas highest mountain.
 
John Cantor has inspired companies, sports teams, organisations and schools with his adventures and the lessons he has learned from them. His presentations focus on determination, resilience, turning failure into a positive, goal setting, overcoming adversity, positive self-belief, earning the desire to achieve something remarkable and understanding fear and anxiety. He is also a Beyondblue ambassador and speaks about his own bouts of anxiety and depression.

Testimonials

Thank you for your time and contribution to our North Queensland regional roll out of Ongoing Service Seminars for Commonwealth Financial Planning. The feedback received from our client's for you as the lifestyle speaker at both Cairns and Townsville functions was positive.We enjoyed your humour and motivational words. We suffered in your agony and felt your disappointments. You spoke to the audience with passion and kept us engaged throughout your autobiography of accomplishing your dream. You have inspired others to keep on trying but most importantly to plan and prepare. Your ability to make your journey and learning's relevant to our clients and business was appreciated. We wish you all the very best in your next mad adventure!
- Financial Planning Manager, Commonwealth Bank Financial Planning

John's story is an inspirational tale of adventure and tenacity. He is well spoken, funny and very open about the trials and tribulations he faced during his many attempts (and eventual success) to traverse the Brooks Range solo.
- Explorers Club

We enjoyed your humour and motivational words. We suffered in your agony and felt your disappointments. You spoke to the audience with passion and kept us engaged throughout your autobiography of accomplishing your dream. You have inspired others to keep on trying but most importantly to plan and prepare.
- CBA

I thought in particular you use of media, including the Australian Story material, was of a very high standard and made the subject matter particularly approachable for our clients. We will not hesitate to use your services again for similar groups.
- Managing Director, Lexis English

Your informative and inspirational talk about your successful Brooks Range traverse at our annual 'Adventure Showcase' was undeniably the highlight of the day. The event’s theme was skillfully woven throughout your presentation and your approachable personality made it easy for all the attendees to connect to you and relate to your ability to triumph over adversity.
- Trek & Travel

We found your presentation very professional and extremely informative. Our entire team were amazed at the level of commitment you showed to cross the Brooks Range in a record time and found your story very inspirational and motivating.
- Berghaus

Importantly, you reminded people that only through trying can we achieve; and that success is measured in multiple ways.
- CEO, QORF

John's adventure was not only inspiring but testimony to what you can achieve if you prepare and persist. His presentation was clear and entertaining and he connected well with his audience. Much of his journey was spent paddling into the wind but he reached his goal in the end. This is very true of life, hence the lesson is there for us all.
- Newington College

On behalf of the players and staff of the North Melbourne Football Club, I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the recent presentation provided by John Cantor. John’s story of how he managed to conquer not only the Brooks Range, but also the personal challenges that he overcame through determination, perseverance and resilience was a truly inspiring experience for all involved. John tells his story in an honest, open and engaging manner and even in some of his most trying moments of the expedition, he seems to find a way to find the funny side of what are seemingly incredibly daunting situations.Our players and staff are still talking about the presentation and what they got out of it individually and collectively. As an elite sporting team with a strong focus on developing mental resilience and personal resolve, John’s story has been a terrific example of what can be achieved when you truly set your heart and mind on something. We will be following John’s next expedition to the Brooks Range with great interest and hope to invite John and Evan back to share their latest adventure upon their successful return.
- General Manager, Football Operations, North Melbourne Football Club

John is a shining example of what can be achieved with true grit and determination. He is very willing to work within the time frames required of the organiser and as an inspiring speaker he is engaging, informative and adaptive to his audience. Someone who is definitely worth listening to.
- DanceSport Australia

All of our guests loved his story and said it was one of the highlights of the day. We loved having John speak for us, he has inspired us all to never give us and follow your dreams even when times get really tough.
- Belinda Carusi, Viver Fitness

John delivered a powerful and poignant presentation with a beautiful blend of humility and humour. There was a rich balance of personal anecdotes, audio-visual material and evidence-based scientific research. Our entire Goal Setting unit was framed around John's speech with a viewing of the ‘Australian Story’ episode and subsequent lessons about learning from failure. John's honesty, sincerity and authenticity ensured a strong connection with his audience.
- Coordinator of Student Wellbeing Programs, BGS

Thanks so much for sharing your story with our members at our recent National Professional Development Day series. The feedback at the event was very positive and the formal ratings of your sessions in our post event survey were excellent. Your message around resilience and mental toughness is delivered in a very relaxed style and your use of videos really adds to the delivery. Very best wishes for the winter traverse ... looking forward to hearing the stories.
- CEO, PLAN Australia

John Cantor presented at our annual industry conference, to a group of electrical contractors. Johns presentation was both entertaining, and informative. He presented our delegates with key insights into the processes that he undertook to overcome adversity, and I think that all of our delegates were able to take something away from that. There was certainly a lot of discussion generated later amongst delegates about how much they enjoyed his presentation.
- Events Master Electricians

John spoke to more than 160 students from across our region for our annual School Leaders’ Breakfast. I was impressed by his honesty and willingness to talk about topics such as anxiety. John is a living example that success can come from failure and hardship. He was inspiring for students who are about to embark on further studies or enter the workforce. John’s experiences exemplify the need for resilience when it comes to achieving goals.
- . Cessnock City Mayor.

John Cantor speaker

Speaker Video

thumbnail
Fear is your best friend John Cantor TEDxNoosa
thumbnail
Keynote Presentation to PLAN Australia
thumbnail
5 Minutes with John Cantor
thumbnail
John Cantor's Alaska expedition

Other speakers you might like:

Scott Dutton

Scott is the Conflict Whisperer and the Fun Maker! Scott is known as the most engaging, insightful & fun speaker in the conflict resolution arena. He has presented to more than 10,000 professionals and is in high demand as a keynote speaker and workshop facilitator.

Scott has been awarded CSP (Certified Speaking Professional) designation - the highest international measure of speaking competence. He is accredited as one of Australia's top 100 certified speaking professionals by the Professional Speakers Australia (PSA) and is recognised by the Global Speakers Federation (GSF) as among the top 12% of professional speakers worldwide.

James Castrission

Cas is an Aussie Explorer constantly pushing the boundaries of human endurance.

Most recently, on the 26th January 2012, he made history by completing the longest unsupportedpolar expedition of all time, alongside his best mate, Jonesy. In 100 years of polar exploration no-one had EVER walked from the edge of Antarctica to the South Pole and back without assistance. Many had tried, none had succeeded. After 89 gruelling days they made it back to the coast after having skied 2275km with everything they needed to survive in the harshest environment on Earth.

Mark Dobson

Dobbo has spent twenty-five years in the trenches alongside CEOs, world champion athletes, innovators, and pioneers. His clients are elite performers from every sphere – true outliers. Mark is a experienced performance coach, speaker and trainer who gets results.

Justin Jones

Justin Jones (or other wise affectionately known as Jonesy) is one of Australia’s premier motivational speakers and extreme adventurers. Constantly pushing the boundaries of human endurance he has undertaken a number of large scale expeditions over the past 14 years. Two in particular have captured global acclaim and attention, setting 2 Guinness World records.

Pippa Hallas

Ella Baché is a respected skin care brand revered across the country. You may think you know its story, but there’s so much more to this brand than meets the eye.

It all started with a bold woman, a pot of wax and the decision to stand out in the foyer of David Jones.

Now, for the first time, CEO Pippa Hallas is opening up about the journey behind the brand, the disruptions, the innovations, the mistakes, the risks - and what it really takes to steer an 80 year old business through a rapidly changing world.

A massive thank you to you both for all your assistance from selecting to co-ordinating the speakers for our annual ProLoan conference. Feedback was that this year’s speakers where the best they had EVER heard at ANY event. So this is pretty amazing, because they do go to a lot of sessions like these.

Director of Network Relationships - Proloan (aust) pty ltd

Again this year you and your team have been fantastic and extremely helpful.  In regards to you Sharm, you have been an absolute star and phenomenal help with our speakers and presenters, a great communicator, wealth of knowledge and so prompt with responding and looking at ways to cater to our needs.

Event Manager Fitness Australia

I would recommend, without hesitation, the services of Jane Rowland Smith and Ovations. Jane answered a last minute call to arrange a guest speaker for our principals. Nothing was too much effort, all was arranged within hours, and went very smoothly. The guest speaker was exactly what we required and our brief was followed. Thank you Jane and the team at Ovations.

Executive Director of Schools Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta

All aspects of the process has always gone seamlessly with Ovations and we will continue to seek your assistance for the awards in the coming years.

Thank you again, your help has meant that our Awards are very professional and extremely well received by our members and guests.

Executive Assistant BSCAA NSW Division

Jane, I personally want to thank you for all of your support, advice, patience and all round kindness that you have given me over the last 3 or so years.  This event would not have been as successful without the valuable MC’s you have recommended and the support you provided me when it all just seemed too hard

Shona Dilley – Smart School Awards, Department of Education
Back to Top /**/