Ann Bancroft, founder, Ann Bancroft Foundation, St. Paul
A Mendota Heights native, Ann is an American author, teacher, adventurer and public speaker. Ann is one of the world’s preeminent polar explorers and an internationally recognized leader who is dedicated to inspiring women and girls around the world to unleash the power of their dreams.
Through her various roles as an explorer, educator, sought-after speaker and philanthropist, Ann believes that by sharing stories related to her dreams of outdoor adventure, she can help inspire a global audience to pursue their individual dreams. Ann’s teamwork and leadership skills have undergone severe tests during her polar expeditions and provided her with opportunities to shatter female stereotypes. Among her accomplishments, in February 2001 Ann and Norwegian polar explorer Liv Arnesen become the first women in history to sail and ski across Antarctica’s landmass, completing a 94-day, 1,717-mile (2,747 km) trek.
The judges commented, “Ann has made it clear that women have the courage and strength to challenge the way people view women.”