FBLA KEYNOTE SPEAKER
Motivational Speaker, Inspirer, Leader and
Aron Ralston’s extraordinary story of survival after an 800-pound boulder trapped him in a remote Utah canyon captured global headlines in 2003. In his New York Times best seller, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, the Oscar-nominated film, 127 Hours, and on stage, Ralston takes audiences vicariously through those six days without water, means of communication, or hope of escape, to the ecstatic moments when he freed himself by severing his own arm.
Following a miraculous rescue spearheaded by his mom and with the aid of prosthetics he helped design, Aron returned to his outdoor passions, completing elite mountaineering projects which remain unrepeated even to this day. He has interviewed with Tom Brokaw, David Letterman, and Jay Leno, and received standing ovations and industry-leading testimonials from over five hundred groups around the world. Attendees credit Ralston’s story with encouraging them through disease, disability, and loss, even saving their lives from suicide and depression.
Aron’s incredible triumph in the face of insurmountable odds inspires audiences to harness the power of their deepest motivations, relationships, and mindset to transform personal and professional “boulders” into their blessings. Today, Ralston continues to pursue high-altitude adventures, advocates for wilderness protection, and tries to keep up with his two spirited children, Leo and Elisabetta.
FBLA FEATURED SPEAKER
TIME’s 2020 Kid of the Year
Scientist and Inventor
“Observe, brainstorm, research, build and communicate.” That is what the brilliant young scientist and inventor Gitanjali Rao told actor and activist Angelina Jolie about her process, over Zoom, from her home in Colorado, during a break in her virtual schooling. Just 15 years old, Rao has been selected from a field of more than 5,000 nominees as TIME’s first ever Kid of the Year. She spoke about her astonishing work using technology to tackle issues ranging from contaminated drinking water to opioid addiction and cyberbullying, and about her mission to create a global community of young innovators to solve problems the world over. Even over video chat, her brilliant mind and generous spirit shone through, along with her inspiring message to other young people: don’t try to fix every problem, just focus on one that excites you. “If I can do it,” she said, “anybody can do it.”