Jill Heinerth

Explorer-in-Residence, The Royal Canadian Geographical Society

More people have walked on the moon than have visited many of the places that Jill Heinerth has seen on Earth. From the most dangerous technical dives deep inside underwater caves, to searching for never-before-seen ecosystems inside giant Antarctic icebergs, Heinerth’s curiosity and passion about our watery planet is the driving force in her life. In her visually stunning presentations, she encourages audiences to reach beyond their limitations, challenge the unknown, and overcome their fears, while sharing practical lessons on risk management, discovery learning, failure, and collaboration.

From desert oases of the Sahara to Baffin Bay’s cold waters, Heinerth has been the hands and eyes for climatologists, archaeologists, and engineers worldwide. She led the first dives into underwater caves inside Antarctica’s massive B-15 iceberg and was a lead diver on a ground-breaking US Deep Caving Team project, piloting the first accurate 3D cave mapping device using tech that’s now bound for space.

Heinerth was named the first Explorer-in-Residence of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society in 2016. She was the 2021 recipient of the Explorer’s Club Stefansson Medal for her lifetime of work in exploration. In recognition of her lifetime achievement, Heinerth also received the Wyland ICON Award, an honour she shares with several of her underwater heroes including Jacques Cousteau, Robert Ballard, and Dr. Sylvia Earle. She was also awarded the inaugural Sir Christopher Ondaatje Medal for Exploration, which recognizes singular achievements and the pursuit of excellence by an outstanding Canadian explorer.

A bestselling author, Heinerth’s first book Into the Planet, was lauded by the Wall Street Journal, Oprah Magazine, and the New York Times. Her children’s book, The Aquanut, is a Blue Ribbon Selection for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Heinerth is a fellow of the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame, Underwater Academy of Arts and Sciences, Women Divers Hall of Fame, and the Explorers Club, which also awarded her with the William Beebe Award.

Explorations in Excellence

More people have walked on the moon than have been to the places Jill Heinerth has explored right here on earth. Instead of following maps, she has blazed a trail into the planet exploring lava tubes beneath the ocean floor, submerged caves inside icebergs, and the deepest recesses of the world’s oceans.

Heinerth’s dynamic multimedia presentation will inspire audiences to reach beyond their limitations, challenge the unknown, and overcome their fears. She shares remarkable experiences and lessons learned in the deadly arena of extreme underwater exploration and adventure filmmaking, applying her practical knowledge to share lessons on risk management, discovery learning, failure, and collaboration strategies.

Improving the Culture of Safety in High Risk Environments

Good leaders create a safe culture in the workplace, but how is it accomplished? Jill Heinerth addresses three primary categories that relate to risk assessment, leadership, and safety culture, including strategies and tactics for reaching a sustainable, incident-free workplace. By drawing on her experiences cave diving into some of the most dangerous places on earth, listeners will learn how to apply universal risk management strategies in their own teams and organizations.

The Explorer's Mindset: A Cave Diver's Guide to Fear, Isolation, and Change

There are no handbooks for trailblazers, and too often we allow fear of the unknown to limit us from trying new things. Fear is a survival instinct that helps us avoid danger, but it may also freeze us in our tracks or cause us to run away.

As a cave diving explorer, Jill Heinerth’s work takes her to the most remote corners of the planet. Frequently out of touch for weeks or even months at a time, her job is to capture images in the claustrophobic blackness of water-filled caves, where an error on the job may determine her chance of survival. To excel in this work, Heinerth has had to learn how to master fear like no other.

The lessons Heinerth has learned about risk assessment from over 30 years of expeditions offer an edge of your seat thrill woven together with important messages about how to transcend fear and achieve success.

Dive into The Life You Want to Lead

Jill Heinerth leverages her adventurous life experiences to empower every woman to take on new challenges with confidence. Early in her career in advertising, Heinerth shifted gears, pivoting to a remarkable career as a creative professional in the underwater world. But it was not an easy path. Battling misogyny, financial ruin, and a devastating diving accident, she emerged to build a successful life on a road less traveled.

In this presentation, she shares her original vision about mapping a path to success in a non-traditional role while sharing heartwarming human stories about the challenges she encountered and overcame along her journey.

We Are All Interconnected: Protecting Our Planet

Once thought to be infinitely resilient, our water planet is in trouble, and therefore, so are we. With equal parts warning and hope, Jill Heinerth shows us how our lives are interconnected with our water systems and how we can protect them for future generations.