Episode 5:

After a fruitful and successful 23-year career in the computer software industry, a near-death experience inspired Jay Irwin to transform his life and make a difference in the world.

An adventurous soul who’s determined to inspire through wilderness experiences, Jay’s transition from the computer software industry to experiential leadership development didn’t happen overnight. While working with some of the largest computer software companies in the world, Jay started to realize his passion around wilderness adventure could enhance his experience leading and inspiring companies to increase their productivity and success via software solutions.

That realization almost never came to fruition. After a morning skiing in the backcountry of Colorado, Jay found himself in the wrath of an avalanche. During the 8-hour struggle in the snow and debris, visions of his family kept his heart warm and as he was pulled out of the snow and on his way to surgery, Jay knew that he wanted to make changes to his life to help make a positive impact in his children’s lives and on the world.

That determination stuck with Jay through his lengthy recovery, after which he set out on a year-long sabbatical to reconnect with the things in his life that mattered: his family and his love of adventure. A vision during a solo backpacking trip led Jay to start combining his love of adventure with the desire to make a positive difference in the lives of others. Jay now owns CBST Adventures, where he teaches audiences, from inner-city youth to C-suite executives, how to bring the gifts learned from wilderness experiences into daily life to create powerful and long-lasting change.

Jay is an avalanche survivor, Ironman finisher, avid skier and backpacker, and a foolhardy mountain biker, but his underlying passion is being a dedicated father. Jay is also a board member of cityWILD, a local nonprofit bringing adventure and leadership to culturally diverse inner-city youth.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Jay Irwin’s transition from the corporate world to the entrepreneurial side
  • Why Irwin chose to become an entrepreneur instead of taking another job in the software industry
  • Why everything Irwin wishes he had learned is centered on leadership and dealing with people
  • What is experiential leadership and how does Irwin implement it with CBST Adventures
  • How CBST Adventures facilitates transformational events with progressive team building scenarios
  • The types of teams that Jay Irwin works with, and how they are impacted by his programs
  • The biggest change that Irwin has seen in the NFP market in the last 5 years
  • Future challenges and opportunities that NFPs like cityWILD face

Additional resources: