Jim McNeill, explorer

Jim McNeill

One of the world's most experienced and respected explorers

Jim McNeill has 38 years of creating expeditions, including 33 years of Polar expeditions. As a professional explorer he has worked with and advised many organisations including the UK Ministry of Defence and the Royal Scottish Geographical Society.

Videos of Jim McNeill

Jim on Ice Warrier

Speaker Profile

About Jim McNeill

Jim has clocked up over 30 years of polar expeditioning; thousands of miles mostly on skis and dragging his world behind him, which has given him a huge breadth and depth of experience in surviving and working in extreme environments.

In 2001, Jim founded the "Ice Warrior Project" that gives "ordinary" people the chance to become polar explorers, achieving extraordinary feats of endurance for the betterment of humankind. His aim is to develop people, discover change and deliver it to global audiences in a way that engages others; fostering a better understanding of the world we live in.

Expert Areas

  • Extreme Environment Safety
  • Leadership
  • Training and Performance
  • Team building and motivation
  • Team Training
  • Expeditions
  • Survival
  • Logistics
  • Climate and other changes in the Polar Regions
  • Emergency Planning
  • Risk Management
  • Sponsorship from the property side of things

Organisations Jim has worked with

  • Consultant and Mentor to UK Ministry Of Defence
  • Elected as Fellow Royal Geographical Society, FRGS – 1992
  • Former Chair of the British & Western Europe Chapter of The Explorers Club
  • Member of the American Polar Society
  • Member of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society
  • Ambassador for Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme since 2000
  • Member of the Society for Human Performance in Extreme Environments
  • VP Arctic Expeditions for the Sea Research Society
  • Director of Arctic Expeditions for the Frozen Isthmuses Protection Campaign
  • Member of the Captain Scott Society
  • Friend of the Scott Polar Research Institute
  • Ambassador for Hauser Bears charity
  • Ambassador for Wolf Conservation
  • Role Model for Inspired Life Organisation

Speaking Topics


Leadership is all about the individual. Effective leadership is all about that individual performing. World-renowned explorer Jim McNeill has been developing and leading teams for the last 35 years, not only in the most extreme environments on earth but also in commerce, the military and the emergency services. Throughout his career, Jim has selected trained & led teams in situations where lives can be saved and lost and businesses succeed or fail on the quality of leadership and calibre of the team.


Jim describes himself as having a passion for getting the very best performance out of everyone; individually or collectively as a team. Through his inspirational project, Ice Warrior Jim has trained many people from all walks of life and every echelon of society to become competent sea ice travellers and go on to accomplish extraordinary expeditionary feats. Combine this experience with his fire & rescue and his corporate training it is easy to see that he certainly has something more than useful to offer on the subject.


Jim has only ever had one real fear in life, and that is wasting it! Speaking passionately, amusingly & completely openly, he takes his audience through his amazing adventures so far: from high powered business executive, scientist & cold war military man to the Royal Household & current modern day explorer. He is involved in many current BBC productions, including Frozen Planet and is founder of the inspirational Ice Warrior Project. Jim shares life-changing and amazing journeys of discovery from the most extreme environments on earth.


When facing the most extreme conditions Mother Nature can deliver and your team are at the absolute limits of human endurance, physically & mentally shattered, how can you ask them for more and get it? As a renowned explorer and BBC guide, Jim knows a great deal about motivation, teamwork & pushing the boundaries of performance. He draws on 35 years of experience from the boardroom to the Polar Regions with some harrowing and some funny anecdotes to share his lessons on how to achieve optimum engagement and performance, whatever the external conditions.

Climate Change

The subject of global climate change has moved on. It’s clear, it’s here! The Arctic has long been recognised as a barometer of what is going on and Jim’s Ice Warrior Project plays a crucial role in gathering the scientific raw data and in delivering the reality of climate change to its audiences around the globe. Having started his working life in 1980 measuring the environmental impact of agricultural practices, which included ground-breaking work on the depletion of the ozone layer, Jim has had an extraordinarily close relationship with the Arctic Region over the past quarter of a century and is exceptionally well qualified to talk first-hand about the changes he has seen. With reference to the repair of the ozone layer over Antarctica, Jim leaves us with a powerful message of hope and even a call to action!

Lighter Notes


Being able to select suitable candidates to become polar explorers from a public call for volunteers demands that you are pretty observant and it is these observations of human behaviour that Jim recounts in an almost stand-up comedic style. Great for the after dinner chortle!

Things that go wrong - A humorous collection of mishaps, failures, accidents and near disasters, Jim is the master of all with polished and accomplished experience in fire and rescue, business and expeditionary fields.

Life on Expedition……in the freezer!

Over the thirty years of Jim’s Polar expeditions, there must be only a few questions left that Jim hasn’t answered about what it is really like on a seriously extreme expedition. Having spent so much time in incredibly adverse conditions, Jim challenges the audience to come up with a novel one whilst flitting through an array of humorous mishaps, failures, accidents, near disasters and strange happenings.


“By reducing the time for real syndicate formation by at least four days (according to the instructors), Jim McNeill and Ice Warrior made a profoundly positive impact on the Strategic Command Course at Bramshill. So much so that even seven weeks after the event the participants are still talking about it. We will be booking Jim and his team in the future.” - Dr Mark Kilgallon, Consultant to The National Police Training College
“Nothing less than inspirational... an authoritative blend of raw experience with practical coaching... energised an already highly motivated group of senior executives.”  - PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP
‘We were delighted when Jim agreed to speak to our Executive Team and we were completely gripped when he shared experiences from his truly-remarkable career, from funny and emotive to absolutely terrifying. Jim has a wonderful insight into people and how to motivate them which coupled with his strong determination to succeed makes him an excellent leader. He was an inspiration to all of the team and certainly put into perspective how minor our challenges are when compared to the challenges of surviving a polar exploration.’ - Emma Clancy, CEO, Certsure
“I cannot recommend involvement with Ice Warrior highly enough. This is an extremely professional, committed and driven organisation which has much to teach people about how to achieve their personal and business goals”  - Jonathan Geldart, Global Director Marketing Communications, Grant Thornton International Limited
“Can you pass on our thanks to Jim for giving us such an entertaining and fascinating account of his remarkable adventures.  He is an excellent speaker and engaged with our audience throughout the whole of his talk.  He was very friendly and amenable to work with and I really appreciated his patience in meeting our sponsors, committee and members.  It was a pleasure to have him with us and I hope he enjoyed his time with us too.  Over 750 of our members were in the audience and I think they all thoroughly enjoyed the evening.” -  Arts and Literature Society
“Excellent – very engaging, very relaxed style, with a good level of humour.  Jim talked about overcoming adversity by working a as a team, but also respecting each other as individuals and working with their strengths to help them and the team achieve why this was important.  The audience were very captivated and energised – lots of questions at the end and I’m sure the questions would have kept coming if we had the time.  Jim was very happy to stay and chat to people at the end, a very approachable person who is obviously very passionate about what he does which very much came across in his presentation.  I think a few people were even tempted to find out how to be part of one of his expeditions.” - Pfizer
"An excellent presentation and content to his talks. Unfortunately this voyage has only allowed for 2 talks to be held due to so many additional lectures with the Trunk show & port talks etc, but I believe Jim would also hold an excellent Q&A which I would be keen to include next time. I received only really positive feedback in regards to Jim’s talks." - Cunard – RMS Queen Victoria
"Considering the extreme danger inherent in the environments in which Jim McNeill is required to work he calmly turns his experiences into an enthralling, engaging and often very amusing talk which had everyone on the front of their seats throughout – most of whom were surely thinking “I’m glad it was Jim out there, not me”.  Jim is evidently very skilled and very brave and he reached both the young and adults in the audience." -  Event Organiser, The Binfield Winfield and Warfield Arts Week
"Jim McNeill offers his audience an entertaining and fascinating insight into his truly remarkable adventures. His courage, unyielding determination and dedication to achieving the seemingly impossible left all those in the room feeling humbled and inspired. Any business serious about success should hear his message." -  MD, TV
"The children thought that you were brilliant - the best yet - and there has been some tough competition!  I always think that even if you only change one persons life for the better and set them on the right path, then it is worthwhile." - Head Teacher
"The tales of Jim’s many Arctic expeditions are unique and thrilling. They are relevant to everyone that has undertaken a personal challenge, the fear of failure or the sacrifice for success each connect very powerfully with the audience.  There are some powerful learning’s for the commercial world." - Chairman
"Jim proved a highly amusing and engaging speaker who enthralled our audience with his tales of modern adventure. His personal insights into the effects of climate change were delivered with passion and detail. Everyone was both entertained and educated; we will definitely use him again." -  Chairman - Sign-Up.To 
“Jim has an incredible knowledge and understanding of how to survive and work in extreme climates, which he is able to communicate very effectively” - Mark Beaumont Explorer, Super Cyclist and BBC Scotland Expedition Cameraman
“Many thanks for the wonderful lecture you gave to the Friends of the Scott Polar Research Institute. It was fascinating to learn so much about Sir Hubert Wilkins and all of his achievements” - Celene Pickard, Secretary Friends of the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge University.
“Your thought provoking contribution has been greatly appreciated and enjoyed by all and, without question, helped make the event the success it was.” - Rhonda Bedford, Business Director, Chief Fire Officers Association
"Absolutely brilliant" - Clacton Arts

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