Nando Parrado: Biography highlights

Now a successful businessman and one of the world’s top motivational speakers, Nando Parrado was a survivor of a plane crash 11,800 feet into the Andes Mountains.

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Based in:

South / Latin America

Full biography of Nando Parrado

Nando Parrado’s background

Faced with adverse weather and starvation Parrado and his fellow survivors had to make tough decisions in order to keep themselves alive. He now aims to inspire others and to help others apply the lessons he learned in the wilderness to everyday scenarios; as he says, “It is better to decide and make a mistake, that not to decide. There is always time to turn back”.

Nando Parrado was born in Uruguay and had a keen interest in sport as a child. It was this love of sport which ultimately led to his involvement in one of the most astounding survival stories in living memory; on October 13th 1972, the plane carrying Parrado and his rugby teammates and family crashed at 18,000 feet in the Andes Mountains. For two months, Parrado and his fellow survivors battled the elements and a lack of provisions, spirit and ingenuity helping them to remain alive in the harsh conditions. Despite their best efforts, members of their group were dying and supplies were running low, so on December 12, Parrado and two others set off to cross the mountains in order to find civilization and help. Due to diminishing resources, only Parrado and Roberto Canessa were able to continue with the mission, trekking for eleven days through snow and ice and eventually finding help, guiding a rescue party back to the survivors still trapped in the mountains. The story of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 inspired the 1993 feature film Alive: Miracle in The Andes, in which Parrado was played by Ethan Hawke.

Following the rescue, Parrado was forced to come to terms with the incident which had taken place and the loss of his mother and sister Susy, who had died in the crash. He initially struggled, uncertain which path to follow in life, realising the importance of living in the moment. He enrolled in business school on the advice of his father and eventually took on the responsibility for the family hardware stores. Now a successful businessman, Parrado also owns six cable TV channels and produces a number of TV shows in his native Uruguay.

The story of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 had both captivated and shocked people around the world and as time went by, Parrado saw the importance of sharing his experiences and the way in which they had shaped his life. He began working as a motivational speaker and his stories of teamwork, friendship, willpower and endurance continue to inspire all who listen; so much so that Parrado has a list of satisfied high profile clients from all over the world, including The Wall Street Journal, Disney, Dell, Hewlett Packard, Saatchi & Saatchi and numerous other high profile organisations.

Awards, Accolades, Achievements, Honours

  • Nando closed the XP Investment event in Sao Paulo, for 7.500 persons. Bill Clinton opened it (September 2018).
  • Nando spoke for 12.500 persons at the Dallas Convention Center (April 2018).
  • Nando spoke for the Private Banking event for Credit Suisse in Zurich (June 2018).
  • Nando closed the leadership GILD seminar in California, for the fifteenth year in a row! (October 2018).
  • Nando Parrado has been elected as “Global Leadership Advisor”, for Telefónica, one of the global leaders in communications and digital services. This is a very highly regarded position and Nando advices during the year, several Telefónica enterprises around the world.
  • James Quincy, the new CEO of Coca-cola worldwide, has asked Nando to be the speaker at the Coca Cola worldwide event in Budapest on May 23 of 2017. Mr. Quincy saw Nando ten years ago on a keynote and said he wanted him at the most important event of the company.
  • Chosen to speak to the MBA of the Harvard Business School in Boston in 2014 and 2017.
  • Chosen by Carlos Slim(the richest businessman in the world), for his annual event in Mexico City. Previous speakers were Tony Blair and Brazil ex-president Lula.
  • Chosen as the “Company´s Best Speaker Ever”, by Hewlett Packard, Coca Cola, NCR, IBA(International Barristers Association, the most important lawyers’ organization in the world), Yahoo, IBM, etc…
  • The only speaker ever chosen by the Barcelona Football Club, to speak to their top team, before the Champions Cup.
  • Best Speaker of the New York World Business Forum, where twenty of the top world speakers were presenting.
  • Chosen by the NSA(National Speakers Association), to open their annual event. This is the Oscar of the speaking industry.
  • Nando closed the HSRM event at the Moscone Center in San Francisco for 22.000 persons.
  • Chosen by the IASB(International Association of Speakers Bureaus), as top 2009 speaker.
  • Nando has been contracted fifteen years in a row, by GILD (Global Institute for Leadership Development), of California, for their leadership annual events. In 2015, he has been contracted for five more years until 2020. Unprecedented for a speaker. Their CEO, Dr. Philip Harkins, says :”I could not find any speaker in the world, with the perfect message that Nando has, to close our annual meetings.”
  • Chosen as the “Most Valuable Speaker”, of the Cambridge Speakers Series, the most prestigious speaking series in the USA. In this series Presidents, Ex-Presidents, Prime Ministers, politicians, explorers, astronauts, Olympic champions, celebrities and stars speak regularly.
  • Most valuable speaker for Crystal Cruises. Only speaks for this company.
  • Presented his keynote speech “How Rugby saved my Life”, at the Barbican Hall in London, with the Rugby legends. During the Rugby World Cup 2015.
  • Best Speaker in the World – World Business Forum (2010)
  • Keynote and closing speaker – NSA (National Speakers Association) (2009)
  • Keynote speaker – IASB (International Association of Speakers Bureaus) (2007)
  • President – Seler Parrado S.A

Current/Past Roles and Positions

  • Survivor of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571’s crash in the Andes
  • Internationally renowned speaker
  • Bestselling author of ‘Miracle in the Andes’

Speaking Style

With an honest and emotionally open style, Nando Parrado shares details of his survival in the Andes and the ways in which the experience has impacted upon his life. He explains how abilities such as decision making and team work can be vital in life and death situations and how these skills can be applied to day to day living.


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Available for:

After Dinner Engagement
Panel Participation

Watch Nando in action

1/1 videos
Nando Parrado: Alive, Miracles of Leadership
Nando Parrado: Alive, Miracles of Leadership
Linkage Inc.

The best speaker in the 30 years of the company.it says it all - Hewlett Packard Your speech was riveting. Your impact on the audience not to be forgotten. Most importantly, your presence all around us was felt'

The Guardian

Testimonial for Miracle in the Andes: 'The horses mouth account of one of the most incredible and inspiring survival stories of modern times'


'Your courage is something most of us will never know. I will definitely take to heart the message about family.'

Robert Wisnack

Nando's speaking topics

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