Olympic Gold Medalist, Kerri Strug, joins the 2015 Summit outside of Atlanta and shares some insight.
The Higher Purpose Summit serves as an intense training ground for members of our community. Over the course of 4 days, attendees will have an opportunity to experience the very best of Oregon; participating in outdoor challenges, small group workshops, and intimate dining experiences with the strongest members of our community.
Alan Webb electrified the track & field world by setting the high school American record in the mile (3:53.43), gaining international media attention and early comparisons to Steve Prefontaine. Following his early success, Alan represented the United States in the 2004 Olympic Games and set the American record in the mile in 2007 (3:46.91). Alan is best known for his tremendous range, competing at a world class level from 800m to 10,000m over his 11 year professional career with Nike. Never one to back down to a new challenge, Alan is reinventing himself in hopes of succeeding in triathlons at a professional level.
We bring together leaders varying in age and ethnicity from all corners of the world. When this carefully selected group comes together, genuine connections are made and life-long bonds are established. Being part of the Summit is a tremendous honor and following your attendance, you will gain access to the entire Higher Purpose Project Community.
For each Summit, mentors are carefully selected based on the unique needs of the attendees. Mentors are down to earth, outliers in their fields, active leaders in their communities, and excellent teachers. By keeping the Summit extremely intimate, you will have time to connect with each mentor directly and share your ideas.
At the Summit, mentors and speakers share insights and skill sets they’ve found most useful in making an impact. We don’t believe in podiums, PowerPoint presentations, or canned speeches. Through our carefully designed, interactive program, you will explore how to apply these insights to your work, community, and life.
The Higher Purpose Project is not a passive experience. All topics that are discussed are immediately reinforced through an experiential exercise. Over the course of 4 days, attendees will be put to the test through outdoor challenges, physical exercises, and small, interactive workshops.
The Higher Purpose Project selects the most beautiful destinations around the world to hold Summits. These carefully chosen locations serve as the ideal training ground for personal growth and provide a safe and comfortable environment to disconnect from daily distractions.
Summits are held all over the world with the goal of introducing attendees to different cultures. During the experience we highlight local businesses, artists, and ingredients in our menu. In addition, attendees are selected from all parts of the world to share their unique perspectives.
Every element of the Summit – from the music to the decor – is intentionally designed to expand your creativity. We don’t believe in cookie cutter experiences and spend a great deal of time creating unique environments that empower and rejuvenate. To see more of past summit locations, please visit our photo section.
Dan Adams is a storyteller, systems builder, athlete, and human connector. His notable accomplishments include co-creating the 2012 ESPY award winning initiative, Mission Kilimanjaro, becoming a Div 1 NCAA record holder, serving as a member of the US National Team, competing against Pacman Jones, Priest Holmes, and Rich Gannon on Season 4 of Pros vs Joes, and building upon his experiences in finance, film, and marketing to tell powerful stories. Through consistently finding new ways to create value, Dan has had the opportunity to collaborate with many amazing individuals working in different fields. Dan brings to The Higher Purpose Project years of experience crafting powerful events and is excited to build upon his ability to connect and strengthen a new generation of leaders.
Victoria Gigante is an author, consultant, teacher, and a certified yoga therapist with a double masters in psychology and psychological counseling from Columbia University. She is no stranger to setback, overcoming tremendous odds to serve as a Lieutenant in the Navy despite being born with a serious heart condition and asthma. After sailing around the World as an officer and creating the Academic Center For Excellence (ACE) at The US Merchant Marine Academy, she decided to leave her traditional career path to pursue a higher calling . Since that time, she’s lived in several different countries and visited all 50 US States by car, teaching and empowering individuals around the World as an author, coach, and consultant for Psych Central. Victoria brings to The Higher Purpose Project years of experience crafting and leading programs that provide a safe environment for people to step into their strength.
By being a part of The Higher Purpose Project, you will have an opportunity to build intimate relationships with fellow change makers. During the Summit experience, all accepted applicants will be assigned to a mentor that will assist in providing resources, answering questions, and creating a comfortable, inclusive environment. Below, you will find a list of some of our past mentors.
Kerri Strug is an Olympic gold medalist, that came into the national spotlight after her courageous performance in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Her gymnastics career helped build popularity in the sport and taught millions of people around the world the power of overcoming adversity. Following the end of her athletic career, she received her graduate degree from Stanford and gained experience in various industries. Despite her demanding schedule as the mother of two young children, Kerri works on behalf of the Department of Education and volunteers for a number of charitable causes.
An avid climber, skier, and mountaineer, Stacy Bare has transitioned his skill sets from the military into serving as the Director of Sierra Club’s Outdoor Recreation program. Named National Geographic Adventurer of the Year for his work with veterans, he’s also the recipient of the Bronze Star for merit and combat action badge for his service in Iraq. Stacy currently serves as an ambassador for North Face and continues to create new adventures that empower people to embrace the outdoors.
Pat Solomon is a commercial and film director that created the award winning documentary, “Finding Joe”, focused on the work of Joseph Campbell and the power of the hero’s journey. Based in Southern California, Pat is a father, avid surfer, and outdoor enthusiast always looking for the next adventure.
Born without arms and legs, Kyle never succumbed to the idea of limitation. An avid wrestler, Kyle won 32 matches his senior year in high school despite losing every match for 2 1/2 years . Not content with his athletic achievements as a teenager, he fought an MMA fight against an abled body opponent that was featured in the ESPN documentary “A Fighting Chance”. In 2011, he co-created Mission Kilimanjaro with HPP Co-Founder Dan Adams, focused on confronting fears and limited perceptions to reach the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro without assistance. He succeeded and became the only man to crawl up Africa’s largest peak, winning his second ESPY for male disabled athlete of the year.
Erik dealt with adversity early in life when he lost his vision and was forced to ask the bigger questions. Those questions led him to the world’s highest peaks, becoming the first blind person to reach the summit of Mt Everest on May 25, 2001 and complete the seven summits the following year. Erik is the founder of No Barriers USA and spends his free time white water kayaking, acrobatic skydiving, long distance biking, marathon running, skiing, and free style rock climbing.
An avid adventure seeker, Jeff served as the “eyes” for blind climber, Erik Weihenmayer, in his quest to become the first blind man to summit Mt. Everest. Since the 2001 expedition, Jeff founded the adventure company, Mountain Vision, and has appeared in several documentaries and television shows. Currently, Jeff serves as a motivational speaker and expedition guide for Soldiers To Summits.
Karen is the 9th American woman to summit Mt. Everest and the only mother in the world to take her 13 year old step son along for the journey. In 2011, she completed the Seven Summits and helped her step son to become the youngest person to accomplish this feat. In addition to mountaineering, Karen is a former All-American Skier and has participated in adventure races on every continent around the world. We call her “Super-K.”
While climbing to the summit of Hinchinbrook Island, off the northeast coast of Australia, Warren became trapped beneath a one-ton boulder in a freak rock fall. As Warren lay crushed, his travel companion raced down the mountain to get help. It was two days before a helicopter arrived and he was rescued. The accident cost him the loss of both legs, amputated at mid thigh. Just ten months later, Warren climbed Tasmania’s Cradle Mountain using a modified wheelchair and the seat of his pants. In February 2003, he became the first double above-knee amputee to reach the summit of Africa’s tallest peak, Mt Kilimanjaro. More recently, in a spectacular effort requiring 2800 pull-ups over 3 days, Warren made an ascent of America’s tallest cliff face, El Capitan.
Eric James is a successful tech entrepreneur that has gained national media attention for his contributions to aviation and photography. His ability to take calculated risks has led to becoming a popular guest lecturer at the University of Colorado on the topics of Entrepreneurship, Photography, and Technology. In 2014, Eric launched a $50 million dollar hedge fund in addition to several tech projects that have expanded his reach in a multitude of different fields. This year he hopes to photograph space through his partnership with Richard Branson and Virgin Galactic.
With a passion for nature and the outdoors, Taylor won the NBC Reality Show, Expedition Impossible, as a member of a three-man team that confronted various adventure challenges around the world. Currently based in Southern California, Taylor serves as a media producer and editor.
An award winning director/writer, Takashi made the conscious choice to pursue his passion for film despite having no formal education or experience in the industry. A Fighting Chance, his first feature documentary, premiered on ESPN in November 2010 and in a 2-week sneak preview launched as the #1 Film and #1 Documentary on Hulu. He is the youngest person to sell a film to ESPN in addition to being featured and discussed in the Washington Post, MovieFone, IndieWire, Fancast, Short of the Week, and Director’s Notes, among others. Currently based in Southern California, Takashi is represented by WME and is currently directing a feature film that will be released in 2016.
Dr. Nassir Ghaemi
Dr. Nassir Ghaemi is a Professor of Psychiatry and Pharmacology at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, serving as the head of the Mood Disorders Program. A NY Times best selling author, Dr. Ghaemi is focused on expanding the way we view mental illness. In his book, A First Rate Madness, Ghaemi argues that some of humanity’s greatest leaders developed their ability to thrive in crisis situations through personal experiences confronting mental illness. His work is redefining how we perceive ADHD, mania, schizophrenia, and other forms of mental illness in our world.
Ryan Duzer is an award winning filmmaker and television personality that has appeared on Travel Channel, The Discovery Channel, National Geographic, and Men’s Journal. Ryan has embarked on some interesting adventure including biking from Honduras to Colorado, winning the popular Discovery series, “Out of Venezuela”, running ultra marathons, and creating community events in Boulder, CO to share his love for the outdoors and physical challenges. Ryan brings a host of different experiences and unique skill sets to The Higher Purpose Project community.
A leader of large teams and small business owner, Pat serves as the VP of IMG Creative and co-owner of the Atlanta based flower shop, Blooms of Dunwoody. . In his “free time”, Pat hosts local events in his two acre old english style garden that he constructed in 2013. Pat bring years of marking experience and a special ability to formulate collaboration in getting an idea off the ground.
While enrolled as a Vocal Music Education major at Colorado State University, Mandy lost her hearing at age 18 and was forced to leave the program. She pursued several career options, including education, but returned to music in 2008. She is now an acclaimed performer with multiple albums, and has maintained perfect pitch despite her complete hearing loss.
Creator of The Conscious Cleanse & Partner of Zeal Restaurant in Boulder, CO, Jo has focused her energies on teaching the importance of mindful eating and using food to heal. A former State Champion Gymnast and National Level Diver, Jo became focused on the healing power of food after she was hit by a car while leading a biking tour across the country for at-risk high school students. Forced out of her traditional healthcare path due to her pain, Jo focused her energies on helping people heal through her personal experiences. .
An award winning filmmaker and climber, Michael has conquered Mt. Everest 6 times and currently leads Outside Adventure Film School in Boulder, CO. His inspiring films, “Further Than The Eye Can See” and “High Ground” highlight the power of the human spirit.
“The Higher Purpose Project was very different than anything I have experienced and I really enjoyed being part of it. I had the opportunity to do things I have never done before and meet interesting people from around the world. I definitely gained some new perspectives about my role as a mom in this next stage of my life.”
“After my fourth Summit Weekend, I can say with 100% confidence that The Higher Purpose Project continues to reach new heights and create profound change in my attitudes, beliefs, and confidence in the future. Through the power of an open, honest, and compassionate community, HPP is not only creating a support system, it’s accelerating a shift in social consciousness.”
|“The Higher Purpose Project challenged me in ways I have never been challenged before. This experience has helped me build a stronger foundation mentally and physically that I believe will pay huge dividends in my career and personal life. I definitely look forward to coming back and am excited to be part of the community.”—Chandler Fenner, Superbowl Champion, Current NFL Player|
|“I had such an incredible weekend at HPP. It was more than I could have hoped for and came at a perfect time in my life. The energy, the people and the community that The Higher Purpose Project has created is so special and unique and I am so grateful to be part of it.The Higher Purpose Project is changing people’s lives and I really look forward to the next one!”—Asha Mevlana, Lead Violinist for Trans-Siberian Orchestra|
|“Throughout my four days at the HPP I met tons of unbelievably unique people, all with immense passions for their interests. I engaged in a lot of activities that were new and previously unknown to me, and had a blast!! Some of the people I met here will be lifelong friends.” —Cam Perron, Featured on HBO RealSports w/ Bryan Gumbell|
|“During my 4 days at the Summit, I was able to take a step back from my busy schedule and re-evaluate my current focuses with people that have experienced first hand, the light and dark of different pursuits. As a result of my experience, I feel much more grounded in approaching large scale projects, knowing I have the support of people that understand me.—Woodrow “Pack” Landfair, Award Winning Author and NCAA National Champion|
|“HPP takes you into a collaborative community to explore your internal world to create magic in your external world. This weekend was pivotal for me. I have never felt more open, centered, and connected. These are incredibly difficult for me and I am amazed at how I was able to jump in. I can’t wait for the next Summit! “
—Tara Carignan Huffman, Actress & Small Business Owner
|“It was great to have an opportunity to meet so many interesting people in one location. I really enjoyed connecting with people through fun, outdoor challenges and look forward to building upon these relationships as I pursue adventures in a new state.” -Jordan Romero, Youngest Person to Summit Mt. Everest and Complete The Seven Summits|
|“The Higher Purpose Project changed the course of my life. It bonded me with a group of badass, loving people; opened my eyes to new ways of thinking/opportunities, and forced me to take action in the direction of who I truly want to be. I’m forever bonded to the HPP community!” -Sam Solie, NCAA National Champion|
|“The Higher Purpose Project was exactly what I knew it would be: powerful. I’ve been a part of many different personal development retreats and what sets the HPP apart is the authenticity it lives by. In personal development circles it’s easy to get caught up in the idea of living a kickass life of your dreams without taking any action. HPP lives by example. At HPP you are constantly surrounded by people doing amazing things, regardless of what field they fall into, and that inspires you to back up what you say and kick ass yourself, without the intimidating factor because you have the encouragement and support you need to see it through. It’s a true honor to be a part of the HPP and I couldn’t recommend it more honestly.” -Cam Adair, Successful Entrepreneur & Speaker|
|“There are no words for the brilliance and love shared this weekend at The Higher Purpose Project Summit. A weekend I’ll never forget and relationships that will continue to make a difference.”
-Monique Evans, Contributor to MTV’s Summit On The Summit
|“The Higher Purpose Project taught me strategies to be engaged in my life and to not be afraid to take risks and to fail. I have been inspired not just in the things I have learned but the people that I was able to connect with. We have in just a short time become a supportive family that believes in living the life of your choosing.”
-Molly Levitt, Founder of BrightLoop & Harvard Graduate
|“The Higher Purpose Project is an incredible experience that holds space for individuals to explore their internal world, goals, ambitions, values, beliefs and dreams while cultivating it into a reality through sharing it with others. The relationships created over the weekend allow people to share their truths, while discovering others who honor and respect those truths. The best part is the community that is created over the weekend continues to grow into life-lasting friendships beyond the weekend. Some of my greatest supports in my personal journey were found through the Higher Purpose Project..” -Laura Louise Persichetti, Author and Small Business Owner|
|“The Higher Purpose Project has provided a fundamental shift in the way that I approach my work and family life. Before, I was so focused on systems, strategy, and logical approaches to problems in my life. Now, I’m thinking like a leader. Everyone challenge I face, now, I seem to take a leadership bias, which is making all the difference. It’s what’s quickly making my vision board goal of $20,000/month in personal income a reality. It’s also what’s making me see far beyond simple business success. The attitude of my flight has shifted. I’m aiming much higher, and I know how to get there. Thank you, truly.” -Austin Szelkowski, Creator of FreedomSkate and Small Business Owner|
|“I would say that signing on with the Higher Purpose Project was the best decision I have ever made hands down. Not only do I feel like I learned so much from all the speakers and workshops and going to such a beautiful place, but I know that I have made some lifelong connections with people who have the same feelings and desires that I do. I would not have been able to do this without signing onto this group, and fully committing to doing whatever it takes and whatever is asked of me along the way. I feel like everyone who joined had the same mentality, and it created such an open and inviting culture of acceptance and love. The Higher Purpose Project created something transformative, something greater than my expectations when hearing about the initiative, and they were pretty high expectations. I can’t thank everyone enough.” -Brian McLain, Former NCAA Athlete & CrossFit Trainer|
|“When people ask me about The Higher Purpose Project I tell them it’s an intimate TED conference in the mountains…in addition to being pure rocket fuel for the soul. The combination of heightened energy, exercises to uplift the body, mind, soul and spirit, as well as business strategies, combined with networking with the movers and shakers of the world is a full pallet, life-changing experience.” —Kelly Sullivan Walden, NY Times Best Selling Author|
|“Imagine going to the mountains and being placed under one roof with “strangers” for four days. In these four days you embark upon what would turn out to be one of the most transformative four days of your life. Each workshop is designed for physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional evolution. These people open up their hearts, their minds, their souls to you and everyone else. And you do the same, these people become family. And after four days of mind and soul expansion, no matter where you all go back to or wander about, this experience, this family, these days of evolution is imprinted in you. This is The Higher Purpose Project.” —Stephanie Dandan, Photographer & Founder of InfiniteSatori.org|
|“To say that I was deeply impacted [by HPP] would be diminishing. Right when I walked in I could feel the energy bounding from each of the participants, each one of them embracing the overall vibe and enhancing it. I spent the entire day finding new expressions of good living, learning, absorbing and doing my best to give it all back in return. I walked away feeling like I had been plugged into a life outlet and wanted nothing more than to keep paying it forward. Thanks to The Higher Purpose Project and I look forward to the next Summit!”—Jeff Evans, Expedition Guide, Reality TV Star, and Owner of MountainVision Inc.|
|“During the Summit, I got to lead a workshop on moving from Head to Heart. What I initially entered as a cool speaking opportunity was essentially one of the best weekends of my life. I got to participate in all aspects of what HPP offered and I made lifelong friendships, broke through layers of myself that I didn’t even realize I could go deeper into, and got back to the basics of LOVE. I’m so grateful for everything that took place at The Higher Purpose Project. My workshop title proved to be prophetic… My heart exploded with love!!” —Alexi Panos, Former HGTV and History Channel Host|
|“The Higher Purpose Project is Alchemy. The type of transformations that have happened for me and those around me at HPP are truly beyond what one could ever describe without witnessing it firsthand. The HPP Team creates an environment I have never experienced anywhere else. I always leave having truly fallen in love with life more each time I attend. If you are a human being, then I can not recommend HPP highly enough. Just do it, and you’ll quickly see what I’m talking about.”—Eric James, Award winning photographer, technology entrepreneur, pilot, and adventure seeker|
|“If you need a change, a spiritual boost, and time with positive leaders, then a Higher Purpose Project Summit is for you. After experiencing 3 Summits, I’ve witnessed strangers become the closest of friends and stay connected, spurring powerful collaborations. Over the last decade, I have spoken to over a million people, mostly teenagers, in hundreds of conferences across the country. The Higher Purpose Project provided me a place to get away and better understand my strengths. It is truly a unique experience out of all the conferences I’ve attended. “—Craig Scott, Filmmaker, Speaker, Survivor of the Columbine Shooting, Contributor to Rachel’s Challenge|
Olympic Gold Medalist, Kerri Strug, joins the 2015 Summit outside of Atlanta and shares some insight.
Ryan Van Duzer discusses his experience on the Discovery show, “Out of Venezuela”
In this episode, we interview Erik Stolhanske a writer, actor, and stand up comedian best known for co-creating and starring as “Rabbit” in the 2001 comedy, Super Troopers. A founding member of the production company, Broken Lizard, Erik and his team have taken an unconventional route to build their own path in the film industry. […]
March 19-22, 2015- Our first summit of the year took place outside of Atlanta, GA in the Cherokee National Forest, bringing together 32 selected applicants from 6 different countries. Highlights Welcome Dinner With an emphasis placed on developing a welcoming environment, we customized our dining experience for each attendee to enjoy and remember. Outdoor Challenges […]
In this episode, we interview Coach Bill Yoast who served as the real life inspiration behind the award winning film, “Remember The Titans”. In his 90th year, we discuss his memories from coaching and teaching, his experience being part of the making of the film, and the insights he has gained from adversity in different […]
In this episode, we interview Olympic Gold Medalist, Kerri Strug, who came into the national spotlight following her success in gymnastics at the ’96 Summer Olympic Games. We discuss obstacles Kerri overcame in preparation for the Olympics, transitioning her success in athletics to other aspects of her life, overcoming body issues & eating struggles, and […]
Have you ever made a poor decision in your life that felt would ruin your future? We interview physicist, Thad Roberts, who was sentenced to 8 years in prison at the age of 23 for stealing moon rocks to impress a girl while working as a NASA employee. Taking accountability for his actions, Thad found […]
A graduate of Boston College, Mike gained notoriety for his role in helping a bombing victim at the Boston Marathon receive medical attention. His love of the Boston community has led to the formation of Dudesday, an initiative that provides value to a male audience through creative events and a weekly podcast. 1. How did […]
Yes, all accepted members are required to attend the ENTIRE Summit experience. This is non-negotiable. Attendance of the entire experience is needed to obtain the full value of the program.
The goal with the HPP Summit is to get attendees outside of their traditional routine and reconnect with nature, however, you will not have to be an Eagle Scout to enjoy this experience. No previous outdoor experience is required to succeed in this intimate event.
All resort locations will provide Wi-Fi, hot showers, central heating, prepared meals, warm beds, and many of the basic amenities that you enjoy at home.
The Higher Purpose Project will provide 10 needs based scholarships to accepted applicants, covering up to 50% of tuition costs. Applicants that qualify for a scholarship will be required to fill out an additional application once accepted.
Please be mindful. Every year we get more scholarship applications than we are able to fulfill, and we have to turn away many deserving candidates. Please only apply for a scholarship if you truly need financial assistance in order to attend the The Higher Purpose Project.
Scholarships are awarded based on two criteria:
The Summit experience is kept as intimate as possible with 25 applicants selected from around the world. 15 spots are usually kept available for returning members, bringing the total number of Summit participants to 40 each quarter.
Despite conducting Summits at different locations around the World, we strive to keep costs around $1500 for attendees. Summit costs are determined by a host of factors and scholarships are awarded based upon financial need.
Yes, attendees of all fitness levels can enjoy the Summit. That being said, we ask that each member come in the best shape possible to maximize the experience. Why not take accountability for your physical health while participating in this program?
The Higher Purpose Project encourages attendees to take control of their physical health. At the Summit, we will provide healthy, organic menu options for each prepared meal. Attendees have the option to choose between many hearty vegetables, fruits, lean protein sources, and gluten free options to ensure all dietary needs are met.
Yes. If you do not feel that the program is a good fit, we will gladly refund your money prior to the departure for the HPP Summit. Refund requests must be made at least 30 days prior to the Summit to ensure it can be processed before reservations are finalized.
We strive for a 50/50 breakdown between male and female attendees, incorporating people from many different industries. Our median age for the Summit experience is 35, however, we have accepted attendees ranging from 18 to 65.
After applying, a member of our team will contact you to ask additional questions about your application. If we feel that you are a good fit for the program structure, a call with be set up with a member of The Higher Purpose Project Leadership Team.
The HPP Summit will take place at various locations around the World and each site is intentionally chosen. Since 2013, The Higher Purpose Project has led Summits in California, Massachusetts, Colorado, Georgia, and Tennessee.
Yes, attendees will have access to Wi-Fi and cell reception at the Summit location. We strongly encourage attendees to disconnect from electronic devices to maximize the experience, however, understand different needs may arise. Attendees will be given free time during the day and at night, to handle these responsibilities without disrupting the experience.
The Summit experience provides opportunities for attendees to hike, climb, swim, row, and participate in various outdoor challenges that will elevate the heart rate. If attendees feel that their needs are not met, additional opportunities will be provided during breaks in scheduling. The Higher Purpose Project is an active experience and we will customize to the needs of each attendee.
The Higher Purpose Project focuses on the principles of love, compassion, and acceptance without emphasizing specific religious beliefs. We have attendees from all around the world that adhere to different perspectives and we aim to create a safe environment in a natural setting to re-evaluate ways to provide value and improve quality of life.