Holly Budge

Adventurer, Conservationist & Keynote Speaker

Holly Budge is a multi-award winning adventurer and conservationist. She has summited, and was the first woman to sky dive, Mount Everest, and she holds the world record for having raced 1000kms across Mongolia on horseback.

The founder of How Many Elephants, Holly has educated people around the world about the devastating impacts of the elephant ivory trade and has raised over AU$500,000 for charitable initiatives. She has been at the front line of the Black Mambas anti-poaching unit, a mostly female ranger unit founded in 2013 with the purpose of protecting wildlife in South Africa. British Airways has called her, "one of the UK's most accomplished female adventurers".

An energetic and engaging motivational speaker, Holly's mission is "to inspire others to daydream, meander, run, climb and jump into their own adventures."

More about Holly Budge:

At the age of 21, Holly threw herself out of a perfectly good aeroplane for the first time in New Zealand. That sixty seconds of adrenaline (and sheer terror) changed the course of her life forever. It hadn't occurred to her that people were getting paid to jump out of aeroplanes for a living! Funnily enough Holly's school career's advisor hadn't mentioned this! Holly decided that was the job she wanted. Six months later, with lots of training, dedication and hard work, she achieved her rather far-fetched goal. On reflection, she refers to this as the ‘boldness' of youth as when she set herself that goal, she knew nobody in NZ, she knew nothing about skydiving or filming but none of that mattered because she knew she could learn those skills or at least try. Achieving this goal gave Holly immense confidence and self-belief that she could achieve whatever she set her mind too.

Following on with this positive mindset, Holly became the first woman to skydive Everest and race semi-wild horses 1000 kms across Mongolia in just nine days. Additionally, she graduated with a masters in Sustainable Design, which opened up a world of possibility, knowledge and passion for her. Her award-winning charity ‘How Many Elephants' was born. Holly's adventures moving forward have a strong social and environmental purpose. She summited Mount Everest to raise awareness and funds for ‘How Many Elephants'.

Holly immersed herself with the Black Mambas, an all female, front-line, anti poaching team in South Africa and she documented their work on film. Holly aims to inspire women globally by showing real life examples of ordinary women who achieve extraordinary things. The Black Mambas are a great example of this and are one of the projects ‘How Many Elephants' is supporting.

She shares her personal stories, from reaching the summit of Everest to immersing herself with the Black Mambas with passion, humour and humility. Having to regain composure after forward propelling herself accidentally from a plane at 29,500ft above Mount Everest to working with an all female front line anti poaching team, Holly has first-hand experience of testing her limits and overcoming challenges with skill, confidence and good judgement. Even in times of great adversity, she reinforces the importance of having a positive mindset. Her presentations incorporate a powerful collection of photographs and video from previous expeditions.

Holly's audiences have included Eton College, JP Morgan, BBC News, University of Oxford, Shell, The North Face and TedX Brighton.

Holly speaks about:

Self-belief and determination - Life can teach us to limit our self-belief. We need to think big, dream bigger, and surround ourselves with like-minded others.

Nurturing passion - Passion is the golden key to success and fulfilment. It drives us to achieve our biggest dreams.

Positive active thinking - Dance to the beat of your own drum. We are in control of our mindsets. This is one of the only things we truly do have control of.

Good decision making - On a mountain, good decision making could be the difference between life and death. It is important to back yourself to make good solid decisions in the outdoors and in life.

Dreams are real - There is power and magic in turning your ambitions into destinations, starting with learning how to break down big ideas into bite-sized, manageable chunks and act on them.

Pushing your limits - To push your limits you first have to test your limits. It is truly exhilarating to push yourself harder than ever before and discover you have more stamina, determination and resilience than you ever would have thought.

Client testimonials

A talk laced with danger, high drama and humour, and accompanied by a slide show that had the audience gripping the edge of their seats and my palms sweating.

Brighton Chamber of Commerce.

Holly has a very fresh approach, with high impact.

Natural World Safaris

Polished and professional, I loved the crazy mix of three totally different genres of adventure, all squeezed into six minutes. Not easy, but you did it well.

Night of Adventure