Jim Elzinga is something of a renaissance man; a leadership development and organizational culture strategist; a lifelong climber, (the only Canadian to lead an expedition in successfully pioneering a new route up Mt. Everest), a mentor of aspiring alpinists, an engaging public speaker. Jim’s unique combination of business experience, education in organizational effectiveness, and passion for adventure generates the Inspirational Edge that is the hallmark of his work. Unlike other organizational change approaches that merely focus on concepts, Jim has the history to imbue these concepts with meaningful experiences that impact people at a fundamental level. His passionate sincerity and his authentic and authoritative presence make Jim an inspiring and revelatory speaker. His lifetime of diverse employment experience from farm work, rail maintenance gang, oil rig roughneck, construction labourer, all the way to organizational development work with executives and teams from some of the world’s most respected companies – including Bayer, Mercedes Benz, Chevron, Oronite, TD Bank, Bank of Montreal and FAG/Schaeffler, equip him to meet any audience at their level. “I’m proud of the jobs I have had. . .I met many wonderful people and learned a lot from every job.” His practical knowledge and supportive disposition allow him to ensure his clients are well informed, comfortable and satisfied with their results.
Jim is the founder and President of HeroicHearts – an organizational development company that specializes in leadership, team effectiveness and safety.
Jim’s approach to organizational effectiveness combines the cultural and the personal. Leadership development and the evolution of organizational culture, including safety culture, all demand behavior change. As Jim likes to say, “Behaviour change without culture change does not last.”
Employing compelling stories and deeply engaging metaphors, Jim appears all over the world as a keynote speaker before a variety of audiences; business leaders, shop floor workers and adventure enthusiasts. His ability to connect with what is important to his audience, his authenticity, depth of experience and insight make every presentation a touchstone event. Jim’s audience-focused themes include Triumph and Tragedy on Everest: Safety Lessons from the Grand Arena, Path of the Heroic Hearts.
Safety Culture Consulting
A lifetime of surviving and thriving in extreme high-altitude environments has taught Jim many lessons in human behavior in challenging conditions. His uniquely effective approach in linking these experiences to safety can be experienced through his four-DVD set, Expedition to Safety.
TeamEverest Safety is an interactive simulation that takes participants along on a deeply engaging journey as they learn with Jim to navigate the shift from a culture of enforcement and compliance to a culture of commitment and collaboration.
Periodically Jim has a new story to tell, a lesson learned, the fresh dawning of a new insight to explore in the field of organizational culture and safety. His blog is where he shares what he has to report. He is hard at work completing his book about Everest and safety culture, Triumph and Tragedy on Mount Everest: Safety Lessons From the Grand Arena, Jim’s adventures from his two expeditions to Everest and the insights and lifelong lessons that still live for him. Here is a link to his Instagram page for his latest photos from the mountains.
Streets to Peaks
Jim’s personal choice for volunteer community service is a youth program called Streets to Peaks, a partnership between the University of Alberta, Jim, and Sharon Wood, another of Canada’s most famous mountaineers.
“The opportunity to make a contribution that so clearly makes a difference is incredibly satisfying. These are kids who have never before dared to dream. I see them facing challenges and responding to encouragement — one step at a time — as they begin to see a path forward in their lives.”
Alpinism is the art of climbing mountains by confronting the greatest danger with the greatest prudence. – René Daumal
Jim lives in Canmore, Alberta, the heart of the Canadian Rockies, one of the great mountain ranges of the world.
"For over 40 years I have been practicing that prudence Daumal was talking about! During this time I have pioneered new climbing routes all over the world and have taken part in over 20 expeditions including two to Mount Everest and recently Brahamasar II in Northwestern India.
"The Rockies, though, have been my mistress and I continue to explore and seek out unclimbed faces among them."