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Carlos Acosta is one of the greatest ballet dancers of all time, alongside Nureyev and Baryshnikov. One of 11 children born into poverty in back street Havana, his father hoped dance might provide the discipline to keep him away from trouble. He rose to become Principal Guest Artist at The Royal Ballet and has since realised his dream of setting up a company in Cuba. Reaching beyond dance enthusiasts, Carlos encourages all delegates to harness their strengths.

Nicola is the first female Olympic boxing champion and the first Brit to successfully defend an Olympic boxing title. Along with themes of dedication and focusing on goals, she considers the isolation of facing an opponent one on one.

After being afflicted with polio as a youngster, Ade refused to let disability get in the way of his love for sport and became ‘the Michael Jordan of wheelchair basketball.’ He represented GB at the European and World Championships, and won Paralympic bronze. He has since trekked through rainforests and hauled himself to the top of a 5,000’ volcano. Ade describes how he realised his condition wasn’t a big obstacle, and how we can all set our own boundaries.

Arguably one of the greatest tennis players of all time, eight-time grand slam winner and Olympic gold medalist Andre speaks about philanthropy and the power to improve communities and the lives of others.

Ben is the first sailor to win medals at five Olympics. After seeing off the Danish boat in Weymouth Bay he masterminded tactics for the victorious US team in the America’s Cup - with his sights now firmly set on leading a British challenge. Ben demonstrates the physicality, techniques and strategic nous needed to compete at the highest level. He might also confess that his blocking tactics, now universally used, once led him to require police protection.

When Apollo 11 touched down in 1969, Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong became the first humans to set foot on the moon. After a worldwide goodwill tour Buzz was asked to lead NASA’s school for test pilots. He is now circling the globe encouraging scientists, politicians and businesspeople to collaborate in the quest to create a permanent colony on Mars: “It will be built by robots controlled from satellites. Every 26 months, new pioneers will take a one-way trip!”

At the age of 21 Pedro lived through the horrifying plane crash in the Andes, in which 30 lost their lives. With his rugby teammates he survived for 70 days in the middle of snow-capped mountains. They had no food, equipment or climbing expertise. After finally being rescued, Pedro studied economics and rose to CEO of Argentina’s biggest brewery. He now shares a remarkable story of human strength, showing how we can all influence outcomes at work and in life.

Benedict has lived in the Siberian wilds, survived the Skeleton Coast and crossed the Gobi. More recently he’s written novel based in the Congo and returned to the Arctic, desert and swamp to see how they’re coping with a changing world. During his speech Benedict shows off the scars from a Niowra initiation ceremony.

John was the first Brit to play at the top level of US basketball, once declining a $17m transfer fee. He’s now a respected cognitive psychologist and founder of a major community sport initiative in Manchester. John brings his research and competitive experience to bear on the management challenges: how do you improve resilience, reduce stress and turn managers into coaches? And how do you distinguish between effective and ineffective motivational tactics?

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