The Advancing Leadership Blog

A view from the top

Recently I spoke with Ruth Douglas, a TEC member who was preparing for the trip of a lifetime – to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in hopes of raising funds for a women’s leadership centre on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya.

When TEC’s Chairman and CEO, Dr. Lynn Tanner, caught wind of Ruth’s plans to summit the world’s tallest free-standing mountain, he took exceptional interest in her vision of enhanced female leadership in Africa. In light of his own experience climbing Kilimanjaro, he also had some very important and thoughtful tips for Ruth in wishing her a successful ascent.

Scheduled to begin her nine-day climb tomorrow, I thought that sharing these tips with the TEC community was an appropriate and timely way to generate further support and positive thoughts for Ruth and her group’s safe journey to the top.

As well, it gives a chance to stop, reflect and reacquaint ourselves with the idea that in life, we all have mountains to climb. However insurmountable reaching your own ‘peak’ may be, consider Dr. Tanner’s tips below: getting to the top is always possible with enough preparation, determination, concentration, collaboration, appreciation, and perhaps a good pair of hiking boots too!

Thank you to both Dr. Tanner and Ruth for reminding us of this.


Dear Ruth,

Good luck on your trip! Everyone on our trip made it up a narrow steep approach, not the tourist trails. There were two members over 60, including me!

Here are some tips you might consider:

  • Be prepared – work out before you go.
  • Take 3-5 days to acclimatize.
  • Take plenty of fluid.
  • Don’t be in too much of a rush.
  • It is a mental game so be ready to deal with that!
  • Don’t buy into fear. It will defeat you.
  • Have some very good boots.
  • Push through headaches and any dizzy spells. Breathe and recover.
  • Be prepared for four different climates on the mountain. They change from wet to dry to cold to windy.
  • It can be very cold! It was -35 one day and our drinks froze solid so put them inside your coat.
  • And finally, have fun and support each other. Have a ritual for the top of the mountain to congratulate yourselves. Take flags, banners etc. and let the tears of joy and accomplishment flow!

Best Wishes,

W. Lynn Tanner, PhD
Chairman & CEO
TEC Canada

Read Ruth Douglas’ story

If you are interested in supporting Ruth Douglas’ climb up Mount Kilimanjaro and the Women’s Leadership Centre in Karen, Kenya, charitable tax receipts will be given for all donations. Please visit:

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