Corey Hester, Off-Grid Adventurer, Alaskan Geotourism Guide, and Former Aviation Executive on Transferable Skills and Using Your Imagination Within Confined Spaces, Episode 16

Corey Hester is an off-grid adventurer. Today, you’ll hear how Corey has been able to reimagine the mastering of his photography skills even given today’s pandemic constraints. His experiences help us to think about the skills we can continue to master in a new way from the comfort of our home. There is possibility even in a situation where you are limited. We also explore the idea of widening perspectives when it comes to career options and trajectory in the face of the unknown; what ways can you apply your existing knowledge and expertise to fill in the gaps? Finally, Corey reminds us of what life can be like if we use our imagination to explore new sights, sounds, and experiences that surround us. 

You can see some of Corey’s off-grid moments on Instagram. Just visit @ofalaska and you’ll see his enthusiasm for wild animals and sky light shows. Beyond his love of photography, Corey was once the Executive Director of the Alaska Airmen’s Association which is Alaska’s largest aviation non-profit organization. Did you know that Alaska has more licensed pilots per capita than any state in the U.S.? 

Seen here is one of many of Corey’s photographs of Aurora Borealis in Alaska. 

Earlier in his career, Corey co-pioneered the geotourism concept in Alaska and helped create the Alaska Geotourism Collaboration during which time he was invited to be the first person ever to do a TED talk on geotourism in the world back in 2015.

A self-described constant learning machine who is currently studying virtually in my alma mater, the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, Corey lives by this sentiment: if we were meant to stay in one place, we’d have roots instead of feet. If we can’t travel right now very far beyond our living rooms, then why not go on a virtual adventure. Listen to how Corey has added to his sense of adventure given today’s constraint of needing to be at home and out of the skies flying…

Tune in to hear Corey’s thoughts pertaining to:

  • How and when Corey began using a camera. (6:49)
  • Some tips to help you get better at photography in a very practical way. (8:00)
  • Given the current requirements to stay at home, hear how Corey has approached photography. (15:00)
  • You’ll hear the entertaining and creative way Corey’s friend has practiced his photography skills in an apartment along with his son’s participation by using Legos. (14:30)
  • His experiences in the aviation community in Alaska, how this pandemic eerily affects those over 60 and how that also happens to be the same demographics of most pilots today. (16:32)
  • How airplane mechanics skills can be reused or transferred into essential services. (24:00)
  • Geotourism and his experience doing the first TEDx Talk. (28:00)
  • Corey takes us on an audio ear-trip to the Northern Lights in Alaska on a cold and blustery day; so double-up on gloves (i.e. perfect excuse to shop for Freezy Freakies see Ep. 12)!

I ask Corey: When it comes to traveling to see the natural beauty around the world how can we balance our desire to hop on a flight to get to those places with our need to reduce our carbon footprint to ensure that those places will be around for generations to come?

Listen to hear how Corey answers this question, which includes thinking local rather than global. It truly is an insightful and thought-provoking answer!

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Melissa Llarena

Melissa helps movers and shakers up to those in the corner office rediscover what makes them unique so that they can land their dream job in a forward-thinking company where their ideas are listened to, valued, and supported.

She brings insights from having worked in 16-business units (including Human Resources) in NY, Paris, and London. Additionally, in her former corporate career, she worked on billion-dollar brands for P&G and on IBM for Ogilvy & Mather. Later, as the founder and CEO of Career Outcomes Matter, Melissa created a 3-step “sellable strengths” process which has been the centerpiece of her clients' results.

Melissa applies this method consistently to support mid-level professionals up to the c-suite to get into Fortune Global 500 organizations and agencies. She studied Psychology at NYU and earned her MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.

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