Neal Petersen

Transform your business by turning set-backs and barriers into opportunities and cultivate a mind-set that focuses on No Barriers ~ Only Solutions!


Associations, Corporate


Adventurers, Diversity, Empowerment, Leadership, Motivation, Vision/Purpose

Full Bio

How do you navigate forward, deal with constant wind shifts, sudden storms, conquer fear, isolation, while dealing with an ever present changing world?  Neal Petersen will take you on a personal journey and show you by example ~ There are No Barriers – Only Solutions!

Neal completed two amazing journeys in his life: a single-handed yacht race around the world, 27,000 miles, 9 months at sea, alone, round Cape Horn, and in the smallest, least funded yacht he designed and built himself. And an even more arduous and eventful trip of overcoming racial prejudice during the Apartheid era in South Africa, poverty, and a childhood physical disability, just to make it to the start line! While sharing his riveting life story, Neal's messages and unique delivery,  open the mind, with new hope and a determination to break down the barriers, real or perceived, that exist and to take adversity head on and demonstrate that with passion, determination and hard work you can achieve your goals.

An award-winning author and the subject of a PBS documentary, Neal has "wowed" international audiences with his riveting life story and ability to relate and connect it to audience challenges, resulting in consistent extraordinary reviews and rousing standing ovations.

Petersen carries a treasure chest on stage, and in it symbols of how he reached his dream by always turning barriers into opportunities, then into solutions. He empowers and challenges audiences to use their experience and treasures in navigating these economic challenging times to their advantage - it's an opportunity to excel by choosing a winning course.

Using examples of how he overcame insurmountable barriers is compelling and highly entertaining. Neal demonstrates how success is realized—through innovation, balancing risk against return and being flexible enough to adapt to constant shifting winds. In these challenging times of uncertainly, fear and insecurity, many feel like solo sailors, adrift, grasping for survival. Neal lays out the importance of a clearly communicated vision, followed by detailed planning, preparation, passion and then execution.

Neal uniquely delivers an extraordinary experience using a treasure chest (no podium), stunning imagery and lightening, thunder and  fog optional.     

Neal is sure to give your event the Wow it needs. His high energy, passion and uniquely delivered life-story are the perfect open or close for any event. Audiences are riveted the moment he steps on stage and remain glued until he exits. Neal can drive home any message seamlessly and will leave your audience contemplative, inspired and ready to tackle the challenges that lie ahead.

  • Neal's keynote is a powerful multi-sensory experience using a treasure chest with symbols of turning barriers into solutions and for larger productions thunder, lightning and fog.
  • USA fees are inclusive of travel -clients know all costs upfront.
  • Always mindful of client budgets, Neal never invoices for add-on expenses
    Neal's impact continues off stage, he remains is engaged with audience members attending social activities, book-signing, one-on-one conversations, group activities adding value for investment.
  • Having visited over 100 countries and lived in 5, Neal appeals to diverse audiences.
  • Neal is sure to give your event the WOW it needs. His passion and uniquely delivered life-story are the perfect open or close. Audiences are quickly riveted and remain so, until he exits. Neal can drive home any message seamlessly and will leave your audience refocused. reenergized and with a new mindset.

Having spoken at prisons, youth organizations, schools and /universities globally - Neal's story is very beneficial and powerful at family/spousal events. 

This story of hope, resilience, grit, and accomplishment is truly inspiring and reflects a powerful message that "in life there are no barriers ~ only solutions!"

As a world, we are facing our "Cape Horn". More than any other time in history, people must have the attitude to be open to finding the  ways to develop the systems that will bring optimum results. We need to be focused, have a solid strategy, create a dependable team, respect the competition and get to the finish line in the most efficient method. In this process, there will be headwinds of resistance, stormy seas of change, or just the immense challenges of having daunting objectives on a limited budget. Neal will help prepare audiences to tackle their set-backs and challenges and strive not only for success ~ but for significance!

"Neal is one of the most inspiring, dynamic and thought provoking speakers you will ever witness, he is mesmerizing."

Client testimonials:

"Neal Petersen delivered one of the most inspirational talks I ever heard at a corporate event.  He had the whole audience enthralled as he talked about his life and how he set himself what seemed to be an impossible challenge. Impossible that is, unless like Neal, you believe there are "No Barriers" Qlik

"Neal is so unique to other speakers as he is so much more than a keynote, he is the "best of the best. He is PREPARED! He digs deeper and goes out of his way - to gain an in-depth understanding of where we are as a group, where we want to be and what it will take to get there. Neal is truly a leader and teaches genuine leadership, by example in all aspects of what he represents. He hits it out of the park!" Axis Capital

"I have been very fortunate to work with Neal Petersen - we brought him in to speak to 3 of our top producer meetings. He is a great speaker and he has found ways to help financial advisors take Neal's experiences and to apply it to their practices in such a way to grow their businesses through the tough times and enjoy the good times." Larry Roth - CEO - Advisors Group, AIG

"evaluations forms all have marked Neal's presentation as exceptional." AIG

"It is rare that I am asked by my senior management at IBM to immediately hire a keynote speaker when he is barely off the stage to give another keynote speech the following week - but that is in fact what happened with you Neal. And I want to take this opportunity to thank you not only for the extraordinary presentation you gave in San Diego but for the follow up presentation you gave in Barcelona with virtually no prep time as well. I can tell you that you generated some of the highest ratings and most positive feedback I have seen in many years of running WW events in this division. When we first discussed your selling and autographing your books in our solution center - I anticipated a good turnout but happened was absolutely extraordinary and a testament to the success you received at this event.  I believe it was well over a thousand books.  That is a record at our events - even with some famous athletes we have used in the past." L. B. WW Events - IBM

I stepped into the General Session to listen to the featured speaker, Neal Petersen. Quickly, I was riveted to his dynamic delivery of inspiration, hope, and excitement. Neal is one of the most inspiring, dynamic and thought provoking speakers you will ever witness, he is mesmerizing.  -K Braaten, NACo Past President

 "Neal Petersen's powerful presentation was the perfect keynote for our Global Inclusion Summit!  His dramatic storytelling ignited and captivated our audience.  With high energy and fully engaging presentation style, Neal captured the audience's attention and left us with a fresh perspective on turning disadvantages into advantages.   Neal's inspirational "No Barriers" presentation brought our Summit theme to life!" D. J. Chief Diversity Officer – MasterCard   

Neal travels from Charleston, SC or the Caribbean.  US speaking fees are inclusive of air-fare and can offer travel buy-outs for international events. Clients always know all costs upfront.

On the Stage in Brazil Standing ovation in Brazil Interaction with the audience Neal Sailing In Brazil Neal behind wheel Neal behind wheel 2 Qlik Tech International sales kick-off

National Book Award Winner

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