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Lee Vue - Paddling the Mississippi River (2,300+ miles) and her team winning first place

Renata Chlumska  - Adventure athlete who became the first Swedish and Czech woman to climb Mount Everest and in 2005 did a circumnavigate of the lower 48 States of the United States by her own power.

Lee Vue is a creative professional with deep knowledge in communications and digital strategy committed to social impact. She graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a degree in political science. Her professional career spans across multiple industries that include startups, academia, small businesses and nonprofit organizations.

As a current board member of Camp Menogyn, Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness and Building More Philanthropy with Purpose (BMPP) Giving Circle, she’s passionate about bringing the voices of underserved communities and communities of color to the climate, philanthropy and social justice movements.

When she’s not immersed in creative work and creating content, she’s exploring wild places.

Through YMCA Camp Mengoyn (2007), she spent 50 days paddling the Kazan River and Kunwak River in the arctic tundra of Canada.

In 2013, she paddled the entire Mississippi River (2,300+ miles) and then the following year, she paddled the Illinois River (200+ miles).

In 2016, her team won first place in the Women’s Voyageur Division in the Yukon River Quest, paddling 444 miles in 53 hours.

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Show notes

  • Her cultural background

  • Being a Hmong American

  • Working as a creative in the communication space

  • A personal family history

  • Not growing up with the outdoors

  • Going at a summer camp at 13 years old

  • Starting to love the outdoors

  • Sharmanism and how being in the woods can make you vulnerable to evil spirits

  • Managing suspicions while in the woods

  • Having 8 sisters and 4 brothers

  • Studying political science in college and going to explore South East Asia

  • Balancing the two cultures

  • Wanting to move the needle with regards to climate action

  • How the outdoors is dominated by white people

  • Being the only person of colour at summer camp

  • The flow to nature and how it does not discriminate

  • Paddling the Kazan River and Kunwak River in the arctic tundra of Canada.

  • Being dropped of in the middle of nowhere to start the adventure!

  • The magical moment on the river

  • Going on a once in a lifetime experience

  • Being young and reckless and feeling invincible

  • The possibility of youth

  • Taking on the Mississippi River in 2013

  • The North South divide in America

  • Feeling unsafe as a person of colour paddling on the river

  • The disconnect in environmental education

  • Spending 70 days on the water

  • Feeling unsafe and vulnerable

  • The team dynamics and only meeting people on the start day

  • Being the peace maker and being good in large groups

  • Handling stressful situations

  • Finding the positive twist on challenging situations

  • Getting into photography

  • The power of capturing imagery

  • Being fascinated with change and transformation

  • The Yukon River Quest, paddling 444 miles in 53 hours

  • To poop in the canoe or not?

  • Feeling angry and miserable during the Yukon River Quest

  • Reaching a low point on the trip

  • Ending up in hospital, not being able to breath

  • Paddling through the night and dealing with sleep hallucinations

  • Eating a lot of boiled eggs…

  • What adventure means to Lee

  • Words of advice to motivate and inspire women of colour to get outdoors

  • Privilege and sacrifice

  • Why you should create your own opportunities


Social Media

Instagram @lkvue

Twitter @leevue


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