Speaking Engagements

 


Latitude 35’s President and Co-Founder Jason Caldwell is a genuine leader. He believes that while the study of leadership and high-performance is a good foundation, the best leaders are ones that went out there and did it. The ones that went out and lead teams that failed, learned from their experiences, and then tried again. Jason personifies these very beliefs by the creation of Latitude 35’s Racing Team. Over the years Jason has built and led Latitude 35 teams that have entered in the world’s toughest races to challenge his own leadership philosophies and bring his stories to the rest of the world through key-note speeches. 

His most recent example lies in The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge - a rowing race 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean, and considered by many to be the toughest race in the world. It’s competitors are in four-person teams representing countries from around the world. Starting in the Canary Islands, off the coast of West Africa, teams race southwest across the mid-Atlantic toward Antigua, the Caribbean finish line.

Teams competing for the coveted title of winner of the Atlantic Challenge must endure grueling, if not seemingly impossible conditions for over 30 days without leaving their boat or taking assistance from another vessel. Athletes row two hours on, two hours off, for 24 hours a day, throughout the entire 3,000 mile race. During this time teams suffer from dehydration, malnourishment, sleep deprivation, infection, broken bones, and loss of weight, not to mention the physical/mental toll that rowing 12-16 hours a day will take on the mind and body. Just to complete this race takes incredible fortitude and tenacity. To date, less than 500 people have ever successfully rowed across any ocean - less than the amount of people who have been to space and far less than those who have summited Everest.

In 2015 Jason captained an All-American four-man crew to take on this race, and spent the prior year and a half training mentally, physically, and emotionally. At just 600 miles into this 3,000 mile journey, two of Jason’s teammates were evacuated by sailboat due to illness and injury.  Jason and remaining teammate Tom Magarov made the decision to continue this quest to represent their family, sponsors, and country. The adversity and odds continued to pile up against these two friends as they faced power failures, a shortage of drinkable water, and storms producing 30-foot waves. Undeterred, Jason and Tom tenaciously continued their effort moving from 24th place all the way up to 11th during the remaining 2,400 miles whilst rowing a boat designed for four people.  51 days later, Latitude 35, in many ways a strikingly different crew than the one that had started the race, crossed the finish line not only completing the epic race but setting the American Record for the fastest four-man crossing in the process.

One year later, proud of his and Tom’s achievements but unsatisfied with their race finish position, Jason re-entered the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, again as Latitude 35 but with a new crew. Learning form the mistakes he made in the past year, Jason worked hard to recruit and train a new crop of adventure athletes for the purpose of not only winning the race but setting the World Record. As captain and Skipper Jason continuously engaged and empowered his crew to row with a selfless ambition, and give up the individual ego for the collective.

The Ocean battered Latitude 35 for the first 500 miles causing sea sickness and injury early on.  A lost gamble on routing also resulted in the crew struggling to acquire the lead. However, by 1,500 miles in, the team was at full strength and rowing well
together, executing their race plan seamlessly despite constantly challenging and changing conditions of the ocean. With a thousand miles to go, Latitude 35 was in first place and the World Record well in sight.

But the Ocean would not simply hand them the most coveted record, and with 500 miles left in the race, a large storm battered the crew for two full days. As they battled the storm and struggled to make progress against the maelstrom, Jason and his crew watched the World Record slowly slip away. Once the storm had lifted the objective became clear: 400 miles left to go with only 5 days before the World Record expired. The crew was being asked to row five straight 80-mile days, an unprecedented feat since the races’ inception in 1996.  But, with herculean determination and tenacity to match, Latitude 35 averaged 85 miles over the next five days, crossing the finish line in 35 days, 14 hours, and 3 minutes, a new World Record by 11 hours. This crew’s portrayal of high-performance and selfless determination toward a common goal defied the odds and placed them in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Jason Caldwell is an authentic and captivating story-teller who brings the above story as well as many other stories of his races throughout the world to life. Please contact us for further information on Jason as a key-note speaker for your group and his availability.