Alison Levine

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Alison Levine
Alison Levine Antarctica.jpg
Alison Levine at South Pole
Personal information
Born (1966-04-05) April 5, 1966 (age 57)
Famous partnershipsFord Motor Company

Alison Levine (born April 5, 1966) is an American mountain climber, motivational speaker and leadership consultant.[1] She is the author of On the Edge: The Art of High Impact Leadership and the executive producer of a documentary, The Glass Ceiling. She has ascended the highest peaks on every continent and also skied to both the North and South Poles. In 2010, she completed the Adventure Grand Slam by reaching the summit of Mount Everest. She served as an adjunct instructor at the U.S. Military Academy.

Early life and education[edit]

Levine was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona to Jack and Corinne Levine. Alison earned her bachelor's degree in communication from the University of Arizona in 1987.[2]


Levine worked a series of restaurant jobs throughout high school and college. During her junior year at the University of Arizona she managed to parlay a job at Keaton's Restaurant into a marketing internship at Mattel Toys when a group of Mattel executives came into the restaurant for dinner. After completing her MBA from Duke University's Fuqua School of Business in 2000, she worked for Goldman Sachs until 2003. She left Goldman Sachs after three years and went on to serve as the deputy finance director for Arnold Schwarzenegger in his successful bid to become Governor of California.[3]


Levine climbed her first mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro, in 1998 at age 32. In August 2001 she was asked to serve as the team captain of the first American Women's Everest Expedition which was slated to go to the mountain in the spring of 2002. She secured funding for this expedition from the Ford Motor Company. Her team turned back a few hundred feet short of Everest's summit in May 2002. Levine finally reached the summit of Mount Everest on May 24, 2010. After 12 years of mountaineering and polar expeditions, she completed the Adventure Grand Slam by climbing the highest peak on each continent and skiing to both the North and South Poles.

Seven summits and polar expeditions[edit]

  1. Kilimanjaro (1998)
  2. Elbrus (1998)
  3. Aconcagua (two summits—1999 and 2004)
  4. Carstensz Pyramid (1999)
  5. Denali (2000)
  6. Vinson Massif (2001)
  7. Everest (2002; went as high as 28,750' with the 1st American Women's Everest Expedition)
  8. North Pole (2004)
  9. South Pole (2008; 1st American to traverse to the South Pole via the 600-mile Messner Route)
  10. Everest (2010; in honor of friend Meg Berté Owen)

First ascents[edit]

Post-climbing career[edit]

Levine is a consultant and a motivational speaker. By drawing parallels between staying alive in the mountains and thriving in the business world, Levine's company, Daredevil Strategies, addresses leadership development and dealing with changing environments. Levine was a board member and a featured speaker at Duke University's Coach K Leadership Conference. In September 2010, CNBC aired "Meeting of the Minds: The Future of Leadership," which featured Levine alongside other leaders including General Wesley K. Clark, Henry Paulson, and Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger III. In January 2011, Levine spoke at the World Economic Forum in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland.[citation needed]

After a climbing trip to the Rwenzori Mountains in 2005, Levine founded a nonprofit organization, the Climb High Foundation, which trains jobless women in western Uganda to work as trekking guides and porters in their local mountains.[citation needed]

Levine's book On the Edge was published by Hachette Book Group and was released in January 2014. The book shares anecdotes from Levine's expeditions and from other "extreme environments." On the Edge earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly[9] and is a New York Times[10] and Wall Street Journal bestseller.[11] It was named Best Business Book of the year in the Management/Leadership Category by 800-CEO-READ.[12]

In late 2015, Levine began working as an Executive Producer with film director Nancy Svendsen on the documentary, The Glass Ceiling which chronicles the life and climbing career of Pasang Lhamu Sherpa who was the first Nepali woman to summit Mount Everest.[13]



  1. ^ "This Is How Your Favorite Dirtbags Really Make a Living". Outside Online. 2019-01-28. Retrieved 2022-03-22.
  2. ^ "History-Making Adventurer and UArizona Alumna to Deliver Commencement Address". University of Arizona News. 2020-04-23. Retrieved 2022-03-22.
  3. ^ Caprino, Kathy. "What Polar Explorer Alison Levine Knows About Leadership That Corporate Managers Don't". Forbes. Retrieved 2022-03-22.
  4. ^ "Hall Peak, South Face and Southeast Ridge - AAC Publications - Search The American Alpine Journal and Accidents". American Alpine Journal. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  5. ^ "First Ascent: Alison Levine Reaches Antarctic Summit - Womens Movement". Womens Movement. Adventure for Women. 27 June 2016.
  6. ^ "First summit on Khang Karpo excites climbers". The Himalayan Times. 13 November 2016. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  7. ^ "Ascents". Himalayan Database. August 2016. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  8. ^ "Khang Karpo (6646m) First Ascent". Dreamers Destination. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  9. ^ "Nonfiction Book Review: On the Edge: The Art of High-Impact Leadership by Alison Levine". 7 January 2014.
  10. ^ "Business Books - Best Sellers - Books - Feb. 2, 2014 - the New York Times". The New York Times.
  11. ^ "Best-Selling Books: Week Ended Jan. 12 - WSJ". Wall Street Journal. 16 January 2014.
  12. ^ "Awards — Business Books in Bulk - 800-CEO-READ". Archived from the original on 2015-03-22.
  13. ^ "The Glass Ceiling: A Documentary Film". Archived from the original on 2010-09-21.

External links[edit]