Nando Parrado: Celebrating 50 Years of Influential Impact

Gail Davis, 14 December 2022

As 2022 comes to a close, I am feeling grateful, energized and maybe just a tad bit validated - now let me tell you why!

If you know me, then you most likely know the story of how GDA Speakers was born. In 1994 (before Google), I tracked down Nando Parrado while I was still a corporate event planner. I convinced him to speak at a conference in Maui to share his story of surviving the infamous Uruguayan Air Force Flight 751 crash in the Andes Mountains in 1972. It was such a success that I left my 20-year corporate career and started GDA Speakers. For over 27 years I have been continuously blown away by his story and am passionate about sharing the impact with people around the world.

December 22, 2022 will mark the 50th anniversary of the rescue. I still get chills thinking about it! For me, it is not only the greatest survival story of all time but also a story that everyone can relate to on some level. As Nando says, “we all have our own Andes.” People take his message and apply it to whatever mountain they are currently climbing - whether it is a cancer diagnosis, the loss of a loved one, or a career challenge.

We’re thrilled to announce that an ABC News primetime special is currently in the works for 2023 along with a new Netflix film directed by the Oscar nominated director J.A. Bayona. In the midst of such exciting news what really blew me away was the recent reaction to Nando’s speech from experienced climber and professional speaker Alison Levine. Sitting in Nando’s audience at a conference in November, she took to the social media channels with this jaw-dropping post. 

In addition to the post, she must have called me at least five times. Every time I smiled hearing the enthusiasm in her voice as it reminded me of myself when I first heard Nando speak in 1995.

This raw feedback from Alison as a first time listener is especially impactful as she also happens to be someone who has summited Everest, having firsthand experience of the danger of the elements, and has spoken to over 1,500 audiences. THIS is what makes me grateful, energized, and well just a tad bit validated as we launch into an exciting year of inspirational impact for our clients.


Contact our team to inquire about booking Nando Parrado for your next event.