Local speakers have a special connection to the Aspen community, and they bring these experiences into the meeting room with them. It is these unique interactions and engagements with the audience that bring your meeting experience full circle. You may also discover that hiring a local speaker keeps planning easy and costs low. We recommend beginning your research by reviewing the well-established locals below.
An Aspenite, Neal Beidelman has called these mountainous landscapes home since a young age. His experiences frame his talk, which is showcased through a slideshow of his award-winning photographs. Neal has spoken to over 75 professional and corporate groups; traditionally, the focus of the talk is about leadership and decision-making in high-stress environments, using his experience during the events of the 1996 Mt. Everest tragedy as the framework. However, Neal openly tailors the focus of the talk around the interest of the group. Neal is an outdoor enthusiast, mechanical engineer, photographer and author. His photography work has graced the covers of LIFE and National Geographic magazines.
An inspirational speaker, community organizer, writer and yoga teacher, Gina Murdoch’s endeavors focus on helping people thrive and find joy and freedom in the mind, body and spirit—connecting to the core of the Aspen Idea. She is the founder of the Aspen Yoga Society, The Aspen City of Wellbeing, Lead with Love, The Love Ninjas and the Mind, Body, Spirit Rx content brand. Gina is passionate about the wellbeing of people and the planet, heart-centered leadership and spirituality, which all are facets to her keynote speech topics: Heart-Centered Social Impact, Your Joy is Genius: Give Yourself Permission to Shine and Living into “The Aspen Idea,” to name a few. During her talks, she infuses humor, enthusiasm, authenticity and vulnerability. Her speeches range from 20 minutes to an hour in length; she also offers half- and full-day workshops or trainings on these topics.
Auden Schendler is senior vice president of sustainability at Aspen Skiing Company, where he focuses on big-scale solutions to climate change, primarily centered on clean energy and activism. His speeches focus on clean energy, corporate responsibility and sustainability, green building and meaningful action. Previously, Auden was a corporate sustainability researcher at Rocky Mountain Institute, where his work was covered in Outside, Fast Company, Businessweek and Men’s Journal. He has shared his knowledge on stage at Harvard University, Yale, MIT, Google and Starbucks. Most notably, Auden was named a global warming innovator by TIME magazine, a climate saver by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and has testified to Congress on the impacts of climate change. Additionally, he publishes widely on climate, sustainability and parenthood in outlets ranging from Harvard Business Review to the Los Angeles Times as well as his book, “Getting Green Done: Hard Truths from the Front Lines of the Sustainability Revolution.”
Sylvia Theisen has developed simple and powerful systems to help employees achieve more with less and to create change within organizations. With 13 years of psychotherapy experience, she has heard and seen it all. Her practice is through sharing relevant, real-life experiences, not just theories. Sylvia offers three styles of keynote speeches: business speaker, women in business and non-industry specific. Regardless of the speech style, she combines research, stories and humor customized for every audience. Additionally, Sylvia’s first book, “Break the Rules: An Uncommon Guide to Creating the Life You Crave,” hit number one upon its debut on Amazon in December 2017. This short guide to shifts in habits and thinking are infused within her presentations.
James Beard award-winning author of six mouth-watering books on cheese, Laura Werlin is a cheese and wine expert that brings serious flavor to your private or corporate events with cheese and wine tasting and pairing sessions. Her presentation, Cheese and Wine Discovery, takes you on a flavorful journey through the smell and taste of every bite and sip. Each presentation is an enriching and interactive experience that takes your mind and taste buds on a delicious exploration of artisan cheese and wine. Laura presents at food and wine festivals across the west coast, including Food & Wine Classic at Aspen, Pebble Beach Food & Wine and the Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta. When she isn’t savoring these delectable flavors, she can be found jogging along the streets or hiking in the mountains.
Meet Alex Ferreira, local Olympic half pipe skier. Growing up in Aspen, Colorado, Alex was exposed to all things outdoors, and was on skis before he could barely walk. He quickly began winning local competitions, and he has gone on to reach celebrity status both in his hometown and throughout skiing culture. His passion has taken him all over the world, culminating in a silver medal at the 2018 Winter Olympics. Alex intends to use his platform and notoriety to raise awareness and inspire action. He is actively involved with POW (Protect Our Winters) and continues to pursue partnerships with organizations having a positive impact in Colorado and beyond. He is currently sponsored by Columbia Sportswear, POC, USANA Health Sciences, Rockstar Energy Drink, and Aspen Snowmass Ski Company, and is partnering with Level Gloves to develop his own line of ski gloves. As an engaging and articulate speaker, Alex shares the inspirations, successes and failures that contributed to his success as a professional athlete, and he frames them in a way that is both riveting and relatable to his audience. Words he lives by? Love all, trust few, and paddle your own canoe.
Nicholas Vesey is the Author of Developing Consciousness and Minister of the Aspen Chapel. Nicholas has been working as a spiritual teacher for 30 years. He has studied many of the ‘Wisdom Traditions’, and is as much at home with the Tao Te Ching or the Upanishads as he is with the 4 Gospels. Before taking this path, Nicholas worked as a ranch hand on a sheep and cattle station in Australia, in advertising ending up at Saatchi and Saatchi, as a political consultant and campaign director for a UK General Election Party, as a self-awareness trainer, as a marketing consultant and as a broadcaster. Formerly an Anglican Priest in Norwich, England, he is now the Minister at the Aspen Chapel. His interest has always been in discovering how to live life more skillfully, and to that end has made a study of the connection between consciousness and spirituality. For the last 10 years he has been sharing techniques and practices that are used to develop a deeper experience of consciousness with others through his ‘Developing Consciousness’ course and the book.Developing Consciousness - A Roadmap of the Journey to Enlightenment.
Tours & Presentation Opportunities
THE ASPEN INSTITUTE CAMPUS
Enjoy a private guided tour of The Aspen Institute campus and art collection with Lissa Ballinger, curator of the art collection and galleries. This one-hour tour highlights the Institute’s important role in the making of modern art in Aspen. Lissa’s art background spans 20 years in both for-profit and non-profit arenas. Since starting her Art Advisory business in 2010, she has worked for museums and art galleries and with private collectors and art consultants. Lissa obtained her Masters of Art Administration from Columbia University in 2002, and in 2014, she completed the coursework with the American Society of Appraisers through the University of Chicago. Tours are available to individuals and groups. A campus tour is $100/hr. and a presentation ranges between $150-$200. Visit www.walnutfive.com for updates and additional details. Contact Lissa at [email protected] or 970-343-9111.
THE ASPEN HISTORICAL SOCIETY
The Aspen Historical Society educates people year-round through museums, ghost towns and walking tours across Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley. As vice president of education and programming, Nina Gabianelli has continued to elevate these experiences over the past decade. Nina is a certified interpretive guide, as recognized by the National Association for Interpretation, and has collaborated with her team on creating dozens of programs and tours for people of all ages and abilities, such as the Wheeler Stallard Museum, Victorian West End Walking Tour, Historic Downtown Walking Tour, Hotel Jerome History Tour and Red Butte Cemetery Tour. Tours vary in duration and cost. For appointments or more information, contact Nina at [email protected] or 970-925-3721 ext. 104.
For more information or an introduction to local Aspen speakers, contact [email protected].