John Blashford-Snell


Mentoring, inspiring and influencing adventurers and explorers for several generations, Colonel John Blashford-Snell is one of the true legends of exploration. John’s career has allowed him to lead over a hundred expeditions, whilst developing the leadership and potential in others, both in a military and civilian environment. John inspires others as a motivational speaker to ‘dare to achieve’.

John enjoyed a career as a Royal Engineer leading multiple expeditions, most notably selecting sixty servicemen and scientists, training and guiding them down the deadly Blue Nile, known for its savage rapids and relentless pace. This expedition marked the first ever journey of this waterway. Delivering anecdotal tales as an after dinner speaker, John is an intriguing and engaging personality with a wealth of experience from around the globe.

Leading vehicular crossings of the Darien Gap and navigating almost all of the 2,700 miles of the Zaire River, John’s expeditions have always had a strong environmental, medical and scientific objectives. John’s extensive and varied set of life experiences are ideal for providing wonderful talks as an after dinner speaker, captivating audiences whilst emphasising the benefits of hard work to achieve your goals and hit your targets.

John Blashford-Snell has been involved with Sandhurst for many years, lecturing on leadership whilst developing an innovative programme of exploration to teach young officers leadership, resilience and the ability to overcome adversity. JBS has also ran experimental and highly successful leadership programmes Operation Drake, and Operation Raleigh, between 1978-91, under the patronage of HRH The Prince of Wales, it gave young people an opportunity to explore the world no matter of their background.

The success of Operation Raleigh has helped thousands of young people across the globe, their participation in a 3-month expedition developed key skills of leadership, teamwork and communication, whilst boosting self confidence and belief. The journeys also travel across difficult terrain and in order for these organised explorations to be as helpful to others as possible, the participants are expected to take part in community, science and environmental projects. Relaying the importance of development from an early ages as a motivational speaker, Blashford-Snell is a firm believer in inspiring the next generation.

John continues to lead expeditions through the Scientific Exploration Society, an organisation he founded in 1969. In recognition of his leadership of the Blue Nile, British Trans-American and Zaire River expeditions, John was awarded the prestigious Livingstone Medal by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society.

To book John Blashford-Snell as the motivational speaker for your corporate event, function or conference, simply contact the Champions Speakers agency by emailing or by calling a booking agent directly on 0207 1010 553.

When at corporate events, John is known to cover the following topics:

  • Motivational Speaker
  • Exploration
  • Overcoming Adversity
  • Risk Consideration
  • Travel
  • Leadership
  • Team Building
  • Communication & Inspiration

“John has had a profound influence on generations of explorers. He is highly respected not just for leading innovative expeditions but for founding Operation Drake and Operation Raleigh with Prince Charles and encouraging thousands of young people worldwide to face challenges and believe in themselves. His vision, inspirational leadership, compassion and courage continue to inspire me. And he is a wonderful storyteller with some extraordinary experiences to share.” – Sir Ranulph Fiennes

“A leader in the best of moulds – he cares for those he leads.” – Bear Grylls