We are grateful to our founders for their work and dedication
To help individuals unleash the power inside of them
get to know them
Co-Founder, No Barriers and Touch The Top
Erik has become a celebrated and accomplished athlete despite losing his vision at the age of 13. Redefining what it means to be blind, Erik has transformed the image of blindness and opened up the minds of people around the world.
On May 25, 2001, Erik became the first climber with blindness in history to reach the summit of the world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest. In 2008, he reached the summit of Carstensz Pyramid in Papua New Guinea completing his quest for the Seven Summits – the highest peaks on each of the seven continents.
Erik refuses to let blindness interfere with his passion for an exhilarating and fulfilling life and actively seeks opportunities to help others adopt a similar mindset. In 2004, Erik and his Everest teammates led a group of blind Tibetan teenagers to 21,000 feet on the north face of Everest as an educational outreach project. Their journey was documented in the film Blindsight. In 2010, Erik and his Everest team led the first Soldiers to Summits climb to the summit of Lobuche in the Himalayas, a quest documented in the film High Ground.
Erik’s No Barriers message is instrumental in the formation of the No Barriers Life elements, the foundation of our transformative work with youth, veterans and people with all types of challenges.
No Barriers Co-Founder & Board President
After losing his hiking boots to a hungry hyena on the Nyika Plateau of northern Malawi, Dave and his friends spent a few intense months backpacking across Southern Africa while crafting their personal visions for changing the world. Little could he have known that the vision he crafted would guide the next 15+ years of his life. Dave outlined a plan to create a thriving organization built on the belief that transformative experiences, delivered to those poised and ready to receive them, have the power to shift one’s life path forever. Just as important as the experiences provided, would be the community he believed the organization would create.
No Barriers is the result of that vision – Dave is the bestselling author of What’s Within You: Your Roadmap to Living a Life with No Barriers.
Dave has spent more than 20 years building strong nonprofit organizations. An innovative entrepreneur and seasoned educator, he has worked with such diverse organizations as the Catamount Institute, the World Wildlife Fund, Duke University, Island Press, The Nature Conservancy, and the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens.
Co-founder, No Barriers Youth
Julie has spent much of her life exploring the great outdoors in Colorado (her home state), around the United States and in as many faraway places as possible. Her first international travel experience to a remote community in the Fiji Islands at 13 years old was truly life altering. This initial international immersion experience as a teenager set the stage for Julie’s academic and professional interests. Since that time she has done all she can to learn about and enhance others’ understanding about the incredible richness and vulnerability of diversity around the globe.
Julie received her master’s in Environmental Management and her B.A. in Environmental Science and Policy from Duke University. She also holds a graduate certificate in Latin American Studies and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Duke.
In addition to her extensive travel experience, Julie’s service as a park ranger in Colorado, her work as a naturalist guide in the Ecuadorian Amazon and her six years at Children’s Environmental Trust Foundation International (CET) laid the groundwork for her to co-found Global Explorers, now No Barriers Youth.