Adventure-racing champion Robyn Benincasa visits UM

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Adventure-racing world champion and keynote speaker Robyn Benincasa was in the BankUnited Center Fieldhouse Tuesday to discuss the key elements of successful leadership and teamwork.

Benincasa and her team won the 2006 Eco-Challenge, a trek of hundreds of miles through the jungles of Borneo, the third-largest island in the world, in addition to numerous other adventure races. Through these experiences, she learned the value of teamwork and leadership, and was passing on her lesson to an audience at UM.

“The secret to long-term success is to work as a team,” Benincasa said. “The greatest results happen when people connect.”

After going through a total of six hip replacements, Benincasa retired from her adventure-racing career and founded Project Athena, an organization which encourages women who have gone through life-altering medical setbacks to “live their adventurous dream.” She takes survivors of medical trauma on adventures such as hiking through the Grand Canyon, running a marathon on the Great Wall of China, and her upcoming 120-mile hiking, cycling and kayaking trip from Key Largo to Key West. Benincasa was featured as a 2014 CNN Hero for her work.

Benincasa was speaking as part of UM’s Week of Well-Being, a week dedicated to encouraging focus on physical, psychological, interpersonal and occupational wellness in the community.

“Great leaders embrace their setbacks as a chance to learn,” Benincasa said.

Benincasa is also a New York Times best-selling author with her 2012 book “How Winning Works,” and a top-rated keynote speaker. She holds three world records, including greatest distance on a stand up paddleboard on flat water in 24 hours.

The speaker encouraged teamwork throughout the event.

“We don’t achieve the greatest heights by stepping on the backs of our opponents, but rather by putting our teammates on our shoulders.”

 Feature photo courtesy Robyn Benincasa
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