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Alison Levine at South Pole
|Born||April 5, 1966|
Alison Levine (born April 5, 1966) is an American mountain climber, sportswoman, explorer and leadership consultant. She is the author of On the Edge 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 Mt. Everest. She serves as an adjunct instructor at the U.S. Military Academy.
Early life and education
Levine was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona to Jack and Corinne Levine. Her father served in the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover. They moved from New York to Arizona in the early 1960s. Levine earned a Bachelor of Arts from University of Arizona and an MBA from Duke University.
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. Her transition from restaurant hostess to marketing intern was chronicled in the career guidance book Smart Moves by Sheila J. Curran and Suzanne Greenwald. To help finance her college education, Levine started a custom sportswear company and sold logoed items to various groups and associations on multiple college campuses.
Levine spent most of her career in the pharmaceutical and medical device industry working for health-care giant Allergan (AGN) and later for a start-up semi conductor-based laser company called Iridex (IRIX). In 2000, she earned her MBA from Duke University's Fuqua School of Business and then worked on Wall Street as an associate with Goldman Sachs. She left Goldman after 3 years and took a job as deputy finance director for Arnold Schwarzenegger in his bid to become governor of California during the recall election in 2003.
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After 12 years of mountaineering and polar expeditions, Levine completed the Adventure Grand Slam by climbing the highest peak on each continent and skiing to both the North and South Poles. Her trips have been funded by a variety of different sponsors including the Ford Motor Company and the women’s network 85 Broads. Levine climbed her first mountain, Mt 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 from the Ford Motor Company. After spending nearly two months on the mountain, her team was turned back a few hundred feet shy of Everest’s summit due to deteriorating weather. When Levine reached the summit of Mt. Everest on May 24, 2010, she completed her Grand Slam bid.
Seven summits and polar expeditions
- Kilimanjaro (1998)
- Elbrus (1998)
- Aconcagua (two summits—1999 and 2004)
- Carstensz Pyramid (1999)
- Denali (2000)
- Vinson Massif (2001)
- Everest (2002; went as high as 28,750' with the 1st American Women's Everest Expedition)
- North Pole (2004)
- South Pole (2008; 1st American to traverse to the South Pole via the 600-mile Messner Route)
- Everest (2010; in honor of friend Meg Berté Owen)
Notable first ascents
- Hall Peak in Antarctica (2,190m/7185 ft) – January 6, 2016, via the south face/southeast ridge
- Khang Karpo in Nepal (6646m/21804 ft) – November 10, 2016
Levine is a consultant and lecturer. 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 featured speaker at Duke University's 9th Annual 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.
In 2009 Levine joined the adjunct faculty at the United States Military Academy at West Point where she teaches in the Dept. of Behavioral Sciences & Leadership. In August 2010, Levine also joined the Board of Advisors of the Thayer Leader Development Group (TLDG).
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.
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 Publisher’s Weekly and is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller. It was named Best Business Book of the year in the Management/Leadership Category by 800-CEO-READ.
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.
- Janie McCauley. American tops Everest, completes 'Grand Slam' (2010). . Retrieved August 13, 2010.
- KRON-TV, San Francisco 
- National Archives. 
- Radio Interview 
- Fred J Cook. The FBI Nobody Knows (1965). 
- William W Turner. Hoover's FBI (1970). 
- Mark North. Act of Treason: The Role of J. Edgar Hoover in the Assassination of President Kennedy (1992). 
- Anthony Summers. Official and Confidential - the Secret Life of J Edgar Hoover (1993). 
- Hartford Courant Obit 
- Duke University, Fuqua School of Business & Coach K Leadership Conference. 
- "Hall Peak, South Face and Southeast Ridge - AAC Publications - Search The American Alpine Journal and Accidents". American Alpine Journal. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
- "First Ascent: Alison Levine Reaches Antarctic Summit - Womens Movement". Womens Movement. Adventure for Women. 27 June 2016.
- "First summit on Khang Karpo excites climbers". The Himalayan Times. 13 November 2016. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
- "Ascents". Himalayan Database. August 2016. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
- "Khang Karpo (6646m) First Ascent". Dreamers Destination. Retrieved 2 August 2017.