Keynote Presentation


Aron Ralston
127 Hours: Between a Rock and a Hard Place
Friday, November 19 | 8:30 - 9:45 am CST

"You know me as the guy who cut his arm off. But this is the story of the guy who was smiling when he cut his arm off," explains Aron Ralston, who faced 6 days of unimaginable adversity with surprising gratitude. An extraordinary example of the human spirit pushed to the extreme, Aron's legendary tale of survival and post-traumatic growth personifies resilience, perseverance, and the power of our minds.

Using evocative detail and bright humor, Ralston captivates and transports audiences into the intense darkness of his entrapment, through to the euphoric release of his amputation. In his adept storytelling, the boulder that crushed his arm becomes a metaphor for the adversity we all experience in our personal and professional lives. Aron urges us to reframe those challenges as the crucibles which clarify what's important to us and what's possible for us. Ralston's thesis is that, while we can't always control what happens to us, we can control how we respond.

Meet The Keynote

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.

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