Our series adVenture of Entrepreneurship highlights our heroes, those who embrace and embody the spirit of adventure throughout the journey of entrepreneurship – the highs and lows, successes and adversity. Those who see a problem or need as an opportunity, who work tirelessly to transform “impossible” to “possible,” “dream” to “reality.” When we think of the adVenture of Entrepreneurship, one of our heroes comes immediately to mind, for she has transformed adventure into entrepreneurship – and vice versa: Georgina Miranda of Altitude Seven. Georgina, entrepreneur, mountaineer, champion of human rights and environmental conservation. Her journey has taken her from corporate management consultant to fierce woman entrepreneur and from barely being able to run a mile to summiting six of the highest mountains in the world.
Georgina knows what it takes to achieve the unthinkable and prevail in the face of adversity – in both adventure and entrepreneurship.
The journey that lead her to today began in 2007 when she read an article about the Democratic Republic of Congo where a shocking 420,000 women are raped each year. She wanted to take action and do something to raise awareness. She knew that to make a meaningful impact, she must do something beyond what most would think was possible. To effectively address such an egregious violation of human rights, she needed to raise awareness in a big way. Far beyond her comfort zone. Though she was not a climber (yet), she developed and launched a campaign called Climb Take Action, in which she would climb the highest peak on each continent to raise funds and awareness for the survivors of these rampant atrocities. Keep in mind, she was not a professional mountaineer. She set her sights on the highest summits – very literally – to build a movement to address these horrific atrocities.
Fast-forward to 2010 when she on her way to the fifth of seven summits and her gear simply wasn’t working. Her climbing boots fit so badly that she ended up with duct-tape around her feet for 20 days so she could complete the climb. She had blisters almost to the bone, but she knew she had to just keep going. Persisting. Focusing on the goal. “I mean what a silly thing to give up Denali and raising awareness for Climb Take Action because of blisters.” She made it to the summit, in spite of incredible pain.
She didn’t quite know it at the time, but this gear mishap was the foundation for her current venture Altitude Seven. What began as a concept while climbing Denali in 2010 turned into a marketplace for female adventurers of all ages and abilities that launched on October 31, 2014. Continuing her journey to address the needs of millions of people who are just like her, Altitude Seven today continues to thrive and grow as an adventure lifestyle media platform that helps a global community of women adventurers and travelers discover the best outdoor and adventure travel products, experiences, stories, inspiration, and community.
Her experience climbing Denali did much more than inspire her business, it started to reshape her mindset in ways that have been essential in her life as an entrepreneur. How? “You just have to be in the mindset to make things happen, she says (tweet), “I put everything I have into the company and you hit dark moments sometimes when you go down a path and it doesn’t work. Now what? This is where grit comes in – you have no choice; you must go on.”
And go on, she did.
As Altitude Seven grew so did her understanding that her community’s needs extended far beyond gear. Not only did women have a hard time finding products for their adventure needs, there is little to no visibility of women adventurers in the industry. From this realization, She Ventures was born. She Ventures are national events that celebrate women leading the most adventurous versions of their lives. Upcoming events are in Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, NYC and Boulder.
Another important lesson about entrepreneurship that Georgina has learned from her time climbing monumental mountains? “It is important to hold on to the vision, because how you’re going to achieve it will change. You may have to try things and they may not work and have to reinvent yourself and try again. Altitude Seven has hands down been my longest, hardest “expedition” and I am still on the climb, what keeps me climbing is hearing from my customers and women all around the world thanking me for what I am building and sharing their stories how adventure makes their life better.”
Georgina’s passion for women’s empowerment of all kinds is profound and permeates through everything she does. Notably, all of Georgina’s ventures have stemmed from identifying a need that wasn’t being met for women and setting out to create a solution. Why? Women are the key to a brighter future, a truth that she wishes more investors would see. “The biggest untapped resource in the world right now is women,” says Georgina. “The more we can have visibility, opportunities and resources equal to those of men, economies will grow, and massive global issues will be chipped away at.”
Some final advice for budding women entrepreneurs?
“Find your champions, but never forget to be your own champion. As women, we can tend to be overly self-critical. Startup life is tough and beating yourself up isn’t going to make it any better. Celebrate your strength and ability to bounce back from setbacks or mistakes that just come with the territory.”
A thought to reflect upon from georginamiranda.com
“The mountains have shaped the woman I have become and for that I am eternally grateful. They have taught me lessons no textbook or job ever could. They have shown me a world I never imagined I would see. They have made me authentic, humble, resilient, fearless, respectful, and filled with gratitude for life and the ability to dream. They have proven that the extraordinary is always possible and that I should never limit myself or life’s potential.”