Georgina Miranda ’05 Takes Fearlessness to a Whole New Level
***This article originally published in 2013. Georgina continues to run Altitude Seven and still has her sights set on Antarctica.***
In the summer of 2012, Georgina Miranda MBA ’05 was mountain climbing with friends in the French Alps when she took a bad fall that nearly cost her her life. Miraculously, her backpack got wedged between two rocks which was the only thing preventing her from going over the edge. Now, for most people, that experience would have been enough to keep them off steep climbs for the foreseeable future. But Georgina Miranda isn’t most people. She continued her love of mountain climbing and a year later, in May 2013, triumphantly stood atop the summit of earth’s highest peak, Mt. Everest.
Before you start assuming that Georgina must have superhuman powers, it’s important to know that climbing Mt. Everest was a three year process that took two separate attempts. It was the most physically and mentally challenging thing she’d ever done, and it was all for a great cause. In 2007, Georgina founded “Climb Take Action,” a campaign dedicated to empowering women in war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with the goal of raising funds and awareness by climbing the seven summits, a challenge consisting of climbing the highest mountain on each of the seven continents. To date, she’s reached six of the seven, with Antarctica’s Mt. Vinson remaining.
“You really push your body to a point you’ve never pushed it before,” said Georgina. “With that comes self-awareness. I get asked all the time if I’m scared of heights and the answer is no. The topic of fear also comes up a lot but I always say life is way scarier sometimes.”
Born and raised in Glendale, Calif., Georgina currently works as a management consultant for Slalom Consulting based in San Francisco. She’s also an accomplished business woman and budding entrepreneur who’s working on the launch of her own company, Altitude Seven. Georgina has never let obstacles get in the way of her dreams, which was a mindset that came in handy during her MBA studies at LMU.
“The dream of having my own business was always there and LMU had an emphasis in entrepreneurship which drew me to the school,” said Georgina. “I made such a great decision by attending LMU. The connections I made in the program opened doors to new job opportunities and helped me realize my full potential as an entrepreneur.”
Business Matters couldn’t wait to chat with Georgina about her incredible life journey so far. Here are some highlights from the conversation…
Have you always had this fearless, adventurous spirit inside you?
Not really, life just sort of happens. I always say “Have a plan, but let the universe have a bigger plan for you.” That’s the beauty of life. I was certainly not athletic growing up; in fact, I was usually voted “Most Improved”. The awesome thing about climbing is it’s really mental. It’s your mind that gets you up the mountain.
What were some of the most valuable skills you picked up in the MBA program?
The MBA program opened the door for me to entrepreneurship. Dr. Kiesner was especially amazing and he taught me that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. The program gave me the tools to be successful and introduced me to incredible people. Thanks to Dr. Choi, I’m going to be involved in the Incubator as an advisor. Entrepreneurship students will also be working on the launch of my new company, Altitude Seven.
What was the motivation to start this company?
I came up with the idea for Altitude Seven back in 2010. As a female mountaineer, you can find gear that’s functional but not gear that makes you look and feel your best. I set out to make gear that was more feminine. I took bits and pieces from my favorite gear and my designer took my vision and went from there. I currently have some prototypes and the goal is to launch by January 2014. Right now I’m looking to raise capital and generate interest from investors.
You’ve completed six of the seven summits. How do you mentally and physically prepare for a climb?
I took a mountaineering course in 2008 on Mt. Rainier and was hooked. My first climb for “Climb Take Action” was Mt. Elbrus in Russia. I’m always focused on my next goal so never really stop training…it’s become a lifestyle. After my first attempt at Mt. Everest, I came home feeling defeated so now I try not to focus so much on the outcome. I try and apply the same thought process to business as well. There are no guarantees. I’m still looking for a sponsor for Antarctica but I’m hoping to do that sometime next year.
Which was your favorite climb?
My favorite climb was Mt. McKinley in Alaska. It was absolutely gorgeous and out in the middle of nowhere. There weren’t as many people on the climb and it was unlike anything I’d ever seen or done. It’s a self-supporting climb and was good prep for Everest. I was carrying 100 pounds for three weeks!
Which was the hardest climb?
Definitely Mt. Everest. It took me two times to reach the top and was a three year process. The first attempt I had to turn back because of hypoxia which is when the body starts to shut down because it thinks it’s suffocating. My entire digestive system shut down. It wasn’t just physically straining but mentally exhausting. It was also quite expensive.
Why is the humanitarian crisis in the Congo so near and dear to your heart?
I would honestly say the cause found me. I came across an article in Glamour magazine and it was so raw and impactful. I felt so ignorant at that moment and thought, why am I reading about this is a women’s magazine and it’s not being talked about in mainstream media? I started doing a lot of research and found a humanitarian report for the DRC which was absolutely appalling. Statistically, rape in the Eastern Congo is considered to be the worst in the world. I knew I had to do something.
You’re an inspiration to so many people. Who inspires you?
It’s a compilation of several things. I went to an all-girls high school that promoted speaking up and voicing your opinion so it was ingrained at an early age. I was always grateful for that experience and it really shaped who I am today. I’m also inspired by people like Eve Ensler who work at charities and dedicate their entire lives to a cause.
What’s the next big thing (besides Antarctica) you want to accomplish?
More than anything I want to be self-employed. Whether it’s Altitude Seven or some other venture. I’m also really enjoying writing and speaking about my experiences. Perhaps down the road that could lead to a book deal. I’ve always been a huge advocate for women leadership and entrepreneurship so I’ll definitely continue dedicating my life and career to the empowerment of women and social responsibility.