Who We Are

- passionate. determined. -

Edit_KHJump_HPotosiBack-portrait

We are Karen and Helene, the driving force behind live it up!

We are two fiercely passionate women with a shared love of high-altitude mountaineering and outdoor adventure. We have an unwavering commitment to live life with passion and purpose.

Our passion: pushing limits through outdoor adventure. Our purpose: using our passion to advance young women’s leadership.

“These two women are strong, determined and competent. I am overall impressed by their perseverance and adventurous spirit.”

Michael Hamillworld-class mountaineer and acclaimed author of “Climbing the Seven Summits

“We believe in the

human spirit and

its ability to

accomplish the

wildest of dreams.”

meet the team

Karen Holst

Co-Founder

Helene Nilsson

Co-Founder

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Karen, the mastermind behind live it up!, grew up with one thing on her mind: live, live, live without delay! She is a recognized journalist and photographer, and holds a Master’s degree in International Development and Program Management. Watch her recent TEDx talk.

From
A modern nomad without fixed roots, I grew up in six different countries.

Favorite summit
Yikes! This is hard! Kilimanjaro most fun. Bhutan most mesmerizing. Nepal most epic. Pequeño Alpamayo most exciting.

Favorite mountain snack
Mix of dark chocolate-covered cashews, salted cashews and dried cranberries or dried mango.

You would never know that
I lose an obnoxious amount of hair every time I climb a major mountain.

Wildest dream
To hike, paddle, climb, bike through every country in South America.

Inspired by
The power of the human spirit.

Goal one
Advance live it up! into self-sustainability by Dec. 2019

Goal two
Summit an 8,000m mountain by 2020

Goal three
Commit to next phase

Full background

Karen grew up with one thing on her mind: live, live, live without delay! She is a recognized journalist and photographer, and holds a Master’s degree in International Development and Program Management.

The mastermind behind live it up!, Karen, cultivates an unbeatable and contagious determination to live, serve and inspire. Her greatest thrill is the moment when young women truly discover and begin to believe in all that they are in fact capable of achieving – owning their lives with meaning, passion and purpose.

Summits: Ancascocha, Peru; Kilimanjaro, Tanzania; peak climbing, Bhutan; Huangshan, China; Mont Blanc, France; Aconcagua, Argentina; rock climbing, Railay, Thailand; Mera, Pokalde, Kala Patthar, Nepal; Toubkal, Morocco; Pequeño Alpamayo, Huanyi Potosi, Illimani (attempt), Bolivia

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A former ski-instructor, Helene has worked for almost 10 years in product development and marketing for the outdoor industry. It was her love of long distance running that propelled her into high-altitude mountaineering.

From
Malmö, Sweden

Favorite summit
Kilimanjaro, my first big mountain!, with its amazing journey through five different eco-zones.

Favorite mountain snack
Dried peaches (works even when freezing cold!).

You would never know that
I am addicted to chapstick! It’s always, always in my pocket.

Wildest dream
To travel around the world without any type of engine.

Inspired by
Energy and laughter.

Goal one
Spread the live it up! program to other nations by 2020.

Goal two
Climb an 8,000 m peak by 2019.

Goal three
Move out of the city and into a house surrounded by nature by 2019.

Full background
A former ski-instructor, Helene has worked for almost ten years in product development and marketing for the outdoor industry. It was her love of long distance running that propelled her into high-altitude mountaineering.

While Helene enjoys the simplicity of life in the planet’s great outdoors, she believes witnessing young women’s personal growth when they push themselves in ways they never thought possible surpasses any and all summits in the world.

Summits: Kilimanjaro, Tanzania; Marmolejo attempt, Chile; Aconcagua, Argentina; peak climbing, Alps; Mera, Island Peak, Pokalde, KhalaPatthar, Nepal; Pequeño Alpamayo, Huayna Potosi, Illimani (attempt), Bolivia; Kang Yatse, India

advisory board

Daniel Arenrius

Strategic Advisor

Rachna Kalia

Leadership Development Advisor

Claes Håkansson

Economic Advisor

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Being a member of the board for live it up! provides me, as a strategic advisor, the opportunity to use my professional and personal experiences to support the development of future female leadership. To me, live it up! provides an excellent platform for young women to develop their leadership skills and strengthen their sense of equal opportunity.

Wildest dream
To drive through the African continent, sail around the world or venture into outer space.

Inspired by
Nature. And individuals who have risen above and beyond their limits.

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live it up! represents everything I believe in: sharing knowledge, empowering others and making a positive difference.

I currently serve as the Management & Leadership Development Specialist at the Sidra Medical & Research Centre in Qatar. I have worked around the globe including the UK and India and hold an Honors Bachelor of Arts degree in International Business and a Masters of Science degree in Cross Cultural Psychology.

Wildest dream
To make the most of every opportunity that comes my way.

Inspired by
Ordinary people inspiring others in extraordinary ways and care about making a difference.

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After 35 years in the banking and finance industry, I understand, more than even, today’s need to encourage young women to stand tall, take risks, develop as leaders and reach for the goals they envision.

live it up! is an exceptional opportunity for young women to get comfortable outside of their comfort zones, to experience firsthand what they can achieve if they dare to do something outside of their normal lives.

I am so proud to lend my expertise to live it up! and serve on its board. It’s a way for me to give back and play an active role in helping young women understand their full potential.

Wildest dream
To bike across a continent – whether it’s north to south Africa or east to west United States. I’m not picky just happy to pedal!

Inspired by the quotes:

“Only dead fish float downstream.” For me, it says get busy and DO! and

“To dare is to lose one’s footing for a moment. To not dare is to lose oneself.” Need I say more?!

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