Larry Jacobson: Biography highlights

When it comes to overcoming tough challenges, rising to fearless leadership, and living a life filled with passion, Larry Jacobson hasn't just been around the block. He's been around the world.

Known for:

Adventurers and Explorers
TED Speakers

Based in:

North America

Languages spoken:


Full biography of Larry Jacobson

Larry Jacobson Leadership Speaker and Adventurer

Author of the Award-Winning Best-Seller The Boy Behind the Gate, Jacobson engages his audiences with vivid storytelling and exciting photos and video, placing them right in the center of the adventure… and illuminating valuable insights on how to set goals, persevere in the face of adversity, achieve new levels of personal success, and fulfill any dream, no matter how improbable or long-deferred.

Jacobson’s business acumen, his deep knowledge of sales and marketing, and his sense of humor are all on board in his keynote speeches. Energetic and upbeat, he not only shares his wisdom, wit, and charisma, he also draws powerful parallels to how participants can apply his lessons in their own personal and business lives.

On the topics of Leadership Development and Sales-Performance training, Larry Jacobson is the speaker of choice for many top organizations around the nation. His customized keynotes and hands-on training-workshops are crafted specifically to the goals, objectives, and needs of your event.

Jacobson’s leadership experience comes from experience. After a successful career in corporate America, Larry Jacobson fearlessly abandoned his financial security and comfort zone to fulfill a lifelong dream and sail around the world. During his six years circumnavigating the globe, he accumulated priceless, hard-won experiences and life-lessons: new insights on how to master your fears and limitations, persevere through the inevitable storms on the way to success, and live out your dreams against all odds.

After a successful career in corporate America, Larry Jacobson fearlessly abandoned his financial security and comfort zone to sail around the world and fulfill a lifelong dream. During his six years circumnavigating the globe, he accumulated priceless and hard-won leadership experiences – new insights on how to master your fears and limitations, persevere through the inevitable storms on the way to success, and live your dreams against all odds.

Larry’s dynamic recounting of his incredible journey, and the lessons he’s drawn from it, shine as a navigational beacon of inspiration for anyone who’s ever aspired to achieve great things in their business and personal life.



From the tsunami in Thailand to pirates in the Gulf of Aden, the six-year journey presented an astonishing number of life-threatening events, any one of which could derail such an undertaking. Instead, each challenge taught Jacobson his passion was what drove him through every obstacle put in his way. It’s this passion he inspires his audience to live with in their own lives.

A True Achiever with Outstanding Leadership Skills His Entire Life

A California native, Larry Jacobson grew up on the beaches of the Pacific Ocean. With degrees from the University of California Irvine and Berkeley, his entrepreneurial and adventurous spirit flourished when he started an adventure travel company leading whitewater-rafting explorations on then-unchartered rivers in New Zealand.

From Vice-President to President, to CEO – He Understands Business

  • Larry’s career in incentive travel began as the industry launched into hyper-growth.
  • After just five years, he founded World Class Incentives
  • As CEO, with active roles in sales and marketing, he led the company to a top leadership position in the incentive and meeting planning industry.
  • Jacobson expertly analyzed client distribution systems and applied performance-boosting incentives to increase sales, employee satisfaction, and dealer/distributor retention.
  • World Class produced memorable events recognized industry-wide as the gold standard.

Author of the Six-Time Award Winning Best Seller: The Boy Behind the Gate

After 20 years in business, he seized the opportunity to make his dream of a lifetime come true. The account of his adventures at sea is now published in the six-time Award-winning Best-seller, The Boy Behind the Gate. During his odyssey, Larry and his crew faced innumerable challenges, learned the true meaning of perseverance, and experienced first-hand why so few people who try to sail around the world, complete the journey.

Redefining Retirement

In addition to his inspirational and captivating messages promoting dream realization and pursuit of success in the midst of adversity, Larry is a leading authority in the field of redefining retirement. His books, videos courses, and keynotes address the all-important questions about non-financial retirement planning. What happens when you lose your lifelong identity from your career? What will be your encore? How do you make your transition a successful one to provide a continuous life of purpose and fulfillment? Company employees, association members, and financial planners all benefit from the practical wealth of tools and information Larry provides. Packed ballrooms and standing ovations are common for these speeches, as he speaks with authority from experience.


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Watch Larry in action

1/6 videos
Passion Trumps Fear: Larry Jacobson at TEDxGoldenGatePark (2D)
Passion Trumps Fear: Larry Jacobson at TEDxGoldenGatePark (2D)
How to Make Passion Your Priority! Larry Jacobson, Speaker
How to Make Passion Your Priority! Larry Jacobson, Speaker
How to Make Ideas Happen! ~ Larry Jacobson at TEDxYouth@MtDiablo
How to Make Ideas Happen! ~ Larry Jacobson at TEDxYouth@MtDiablo
Larry Jacobson Keynote at IWI Investment Professionals Conference
Larry Jacobson Keynote at IWI Investment Professionals Conference
How to live an Unstoppable Life
How to live an Unstoppable Life
The Greatness Machine Live - with  Larry Jacobson and Darius Mirshahzadeh
The Greatness Machine Live - with Larry Jacobson and Darius Mirshahzadeh
Asheville, NC

'Larry is one of the most entertaining and inspiring speakers I've ever worked with. His passion, dedication to the audience, and delivery style are unmatched.'

E.G. Sebastian
Marketing Manager
Long Beach Transit

'WOW! Larry just brought the entire world into our conference room!
He inspired our managers & directors to better handle challenges that
we face on a daily basis. I wholeheartedly recommend you invite Larry to present
at your next event, whether it's big or small. Let him share his message and story!'

Marcelle Epley
Senior VP
Investments and Wealth Institute

'Larry was a breeze to work with! He responded quickly to our initial request and really took the time to listen to what our group was about. He molded a fantastic, high energy and educational presentation that everyone loved. He is by far an amazing presenter! We really couldn’t have found a speaker that fit our theme any better!'

Kristen Newcomer
Director of Events
National Speaker Association

'Larry Jacobson is a captivating speaker. He has enjoyed a fascinating life of adventure and business success; which he combines with great delivery and practical advice.'

Patricia Fripp
Past President
Mayor of Sausalito, CA

'As Program Chair for the Golden Gate Breakfast Club in San Francisco, I can unconditionally say that you were absolutely one of the best speakers to appear at our club. Any group would find you tremendously interesting and inspirational. Your presentation was really quite exceptional, and combined with your engaging speaking style held the attention of all members, which is quite a feat given our diverse interests and age span. I had many members approach me with positive comments on how inspired they were by your speech. Please feel free to use me as a reference for any future speaking engagements.'

Jill Hoiffman
Case District VII Conference

'It was my pleasure to hear Larry Jacobson speak at the 2013 CASE District VII conference in March where his topic was "Make Passion Your Priority." He was one of our opening speakers and what a way to kick off our conference! The conference theme invited attendees to shake things up and reinvent themselves in order to better serve their institutions in an ever-changing environment. Embracing even minute change is not easy. However, after Larry's presentation, I felt like I should just go for it! Take on life and my work with all of the gusto I could muster. This speaker was inspiring, thought-provoking, and, frankly, fun! Larry helped to set the stage for the rest of our conference — he was exactly what we needed!'

Theresa Davis
Calcom Association

'Larry was a dynamic and inspirational speaker who captured the attention of our conference attendees with his incredible story and visual presentation. His message is universal, but he was able to tailor it to coincide with some of the challenges our industry is currently facing. "Take risks" and "be a strong leader" in these changing times really spoke to our crowd. The images he shared were breathtaking and his storytelling was unforgettable. I had the pleasure of working with Larry to coordinate the details of his speaking engagement, and everything ran as smoothly as possible. He makes it easy for groups to find the information we need on his website. Everything is laid out in a very organized and professional manner. Working with Larry is a great experience from start to finish.'

Lindsay Olson
Event Planner
San Francisco Police Officers Association

'Larry Jacobson, award winning author, speaker, and retirement transition coach, most successfully brought this SF Police Officers Association Retirement seminar to conclusion. Larry, president of Buoy Coaching, spoke eloquently about a transition into retirement with fulfillment and purpose. Thank you Larry. Your presentation, as the three others were before, was very well received!'

Mike Hebel
Program Chairman
The Henderson Group

'Larry Jacobson was the perfect wrap-up speaker at TEDx. We met him during an event we sponsored coaching and training TEDx speakers for their event in Golden Gate Park. His talk about the pursuit of passion hit home with the audience. You could see it in their eyes and hear it in their applause. Larry has a grasp of presentation skills reserved for those few professionals at the top. I would recommend him for any association or corporate event where leadership, risk, passion, sales, decision-making, attitude, and perseverance are even remotely related to the theme. His business knowledge and knowhow from sailing around the world give him a unique perspective and allow him to speak from experience. He's the real deal and his proficiency shows.'

Chuck Kuglen
Managing Partner / VP of Sales & Development

Larry's speaking topics

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