Shirrell Heath, Southampton, Hampshire, SO32 2JY

Sean Chapple

Consultant And Motivational Speaker

HPD Consultant, Sean Chapple combines over 20 years of practical experience of leadership in challenging situations as both an Officer in the Royal Marines and an expedition leader to the North and South Poles. The valuable insights he has gained into how individuals and teams function from a lifetime at the edge of human endurance provide a powerful dimension to our development programmes.

In 2006/07 Sean planned and led one of the longest unassisted polar journeys in history. Remarkably, Sean had just returned from leading another team to the North Pole earlier in the year. After hauling to the South Pole and raising the Union Flag, Sean and his team then retraced their steps, and in doing so completed the longest military overland journey in Antarctic history and, for Sean the first Royal Marines Commando to walk unaided to the pole. His team faced near starvation, suffered from frostbite and snow blindness and during the return leg Sean fell and dislocated his shoulder whilst using one of the giant kites that provided wind traction. Committed to success Sean continued to motivate and lead his team, and through determination and exceptional teamwork they completed the gruelling 2,200 km journey in 71-days. Live updates broadcast direct from the ice engaged a global audience attracting international media interest, and generating 2 million pounds in advertising for the commercial backers of the expedition. 

Leaving school at seventeen, Sean joined the elite Royal Marines, successfully completing commando training, the longest and toughest training course in the world. Sean soon displayed a natural talent for leadership and was swiftly promoted through the rank and file, receiving a commission into the Officer Corps. During Sean’s extensive career he has been deployed on active service across the globe, becoming a specialist in mountain, Arctic and desert operations. Parallel to his military career Sean has forged a record breaking expedition career, becoming a pioneering figure in pushing the envelope of military polar exploration setting world records in the process and earning himself the nickname ‘Ice Man’ along the way. 

This unique career is a testament to his ability to motivate and inspire those around him, even under the most demanding circumstances. Sean’s belief is that we each have the spirit of adventure coursing through our bodies and by tapping into this energy the seemingly impossible becomes possible. Combining 20 years of leadership and team working skills, Sean really does ‘walk the talk’, with his keynotes bringing home the real challenges of leadership and team development. 

Walking the Talk
Sean has planned, managed and led over twenty high risk and remote expeditions which include:

  • First Successful Winter Crossing of Iceland. Deemed to be uncrossable, Sean took up the challenge and led his team through Arctic blizzard conditions to complete the 500mile crossing in 47 days. Receiving the Keeling Award for leadership, Sean was personally congratulated by Diana,  the Princess of Wales, for his charity fundraising associated with the crossing. 
  • 3-Month Ski of the Northwest Passage. Hauling all essential supplies, Sean spent 3-months skiing the Northwest Passage facing temperatures of -50 º C, during which his team were stalked by a polar bear for three days. 
  • First attempt by the Royal Marines to Walk the North Pole. After two years planning, Sean led a Royal Marines attempt to walk to the North Pole, the first officially endorsed naval expedition to attempt such a feat since 1875. Unfortunately, after crucial safety equipment failed Sean aborted the attempt, later receiving a message from Buckingham Palace that said ‘Discretion is better than Disaster’. In recognition of his spirit of adventure Sean was invited to Buckingham Palace for a Royal Audience on his return. 
  • In the Footsteps of Parry – the Magnetic North Pole. Venturing deep into the Arctic Sean retraced the footsteps of Lieutenant Parry RN, leader of the first overland journey by the Navy in 1918. After several setbacks, the loss of a team member due to frostbite, and some of the worst weather on record, the team reached the magnetic North Pole. The 35-day journey demanded all of Sean’s energy to keep his team of novices focused and aligned as they battled a 6-day blizzard with diminishing food and fuel supplies. 
  • Youth to the North Pole. Selected and trained by Sean, eight students aged 14 to 18, travelled to the Arctic to participate in cultural and adventurous activities that included living in an Inuit community, polar bear watching, survival training, scientific research and a trip to the North Pole. Capitalising on communications technologies, student experiences were shared globally through an interactive Internet presence. 

Sean is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, and an accredited TMSDI practitioner in the Team Management Profile, Linking Skills Profile and Team Performance Profile, City & Guilds Graduateship in Leadership & Management and Associate of the Professional Speakers Association. As a professional speaker Sean interweaves his lifetime of extreme adventure with a coherent message to businesses and he has spoken to audiences ranging from primary schools to board-level directors of multi-nationals, focusing on self-motivation, team dynamics, leadership, risk-assessment and tackling seemingly overwhelming challenges. 

‘Sean brought a fresh, inspiring dimension to the leadership discussion at the conference. The challenges of the expedition connected well to the audience – facing leadership challenges of their own.’ 

‘His session was the highlight of the day. An engaging speaker, he gave a most informative talk. Relevant to all types of organisations in the public and private sectors, I recommend Sean without hesitation.’ 

‘Powerful lessons that will have a real impact on our business. I recommend the iceman for any organisation looking to get the edge on team performance.’