Susan Ershler knows a thing or two about taking things to new heights. Ershler and her husband Phil, a professional mountain guide, received worldwide media attention including GMA, Today Show, CNN, and New York Times after becoming the first couple in history to conquer the Seven Summits of mountain climbing lore — successfully climbing the highest mountain on each of the world’s seven continents. The remarkable journey culminated at the top of Mount Everest — 29,035 feet — on May 16, 2002.
What makes Susan’s feat even more impressive is that she was climbing the world’s highest mountain while maintaining a successful career as a business and sales executive. During her 23-year corporate career she has held leadership positions in several Fortune 500 companies, leading teams to sales records, beating quotas from $1 million to $600 million. Ending as a vice president of sales for a multi-national telecommunications company, she was responsible for the company’s fast-growing Internet division. She also worked at US WEST (CenturyLink), GTE (Verizon), United Technologies, General Dynamics and FedEx.
Throughout her life and career, Ershler, the fourth American woman to climb the Seven Summits and 12th American woman to climb Mt. Everest, has attained heights that most would find unimaginable. What has set her apart is a set of guiding principles that can be adopted by anyone who dreams of achieving a seemingly impossible goal. She speaks about her life journey and shares her secrets for success, determination, and achieving seemingly impossible goals.
Susan, who now tours the country as a speaker, shares lessons learned in the high mountains that help overcome challenges in the business world. She lifts her audience’s ambitions by showing them how hard work, dedication, perseverance and a total commitment to excellence can pay off in reaching seemingly impossible goals. Her leadership message often begins with visualizing a goal, no matter how difficult or out of reach. She continues with techniques to improve focus and discipline and shows how essential teamwork is to achievement. She then concludes with a passionate affirmation of the value of life and the thrill of celebrating your success from the top of the world.
Susan authored two books; first titled, “Together on Top of the World,” that details the remarkable story of climbing the fabled Seven Summits. The book is a story of going for your greatest dreams against all odds and pushing past mental and physical boundaries and “Conquering the Seven Summits of Sales”, where Susan draws on her experiences to inspire sales professionals, leaders, and anyone striving to achieve their life goals and reach new heights of success, illustrating how anyone can achieve peak performance, published by HarperCollins.
Susan had only started climbing in her mid-30s, and Phil, a mountain guide and the first American to reach the top of Everest from the north face, suffered from Crohn’s disease. Phil taught Susan to love the mountains the way he did, and so she began using her vacation time to join him on his climbs. In fact, Susan trained by climbing the 35 stories in her high-rise office building on her lunch hour for a year — with a 40-pound pack on her back. When a cancer diagnosis threatened to end Phil’s mountain-climbing career, the Ershlers fought back the only way they knew how — to climb.