How To Find Your Kilimanjaro

When Simone Knego left her sea-level home in Florida to climb Africa’s Mount Kilimanjaro, she had an epiphany: Only when we stop living for who we think we should be can we become free to reach our own personal summits.

As a mom of six children, she climbed up Mount Kilimanjaro full of self-doubt and came down as a confident woman.

From the great heights of Africa to deep in our hearts, she addresses the pressures of social conformity, fear of failure, and imposter syndrome.


Having addressed numerous audiences of all sizes for both companies and nonprofits — including serving as keynote — get in touch to arrange for Simone Knego to bring her uplifting insights and message to your next gathering
Simone smiling for the camera. She is an entrepreneur, motivational speaker and new author
Simone Knego
We All Have a Story

When I started this journey, I had no idea where my stories would take me. From learning to understand and appreciate entirely different cultures through our international adoptions to a rat totaling my minivan, I have thoroughly enjoyed the trips down memory lane that have helped me source stories and bits of wisdom to help others in their own journey. Though my kids may find my stories about their lives embarrassing, it all comes with the territory of honestly exploring motherhood, life, and a constantly-evolving purpose. My stories define me, just as your stories define you. By sharing our stories, we learn, grow, and learn to laugh at ourselves while inspiring others to do the same.

My Roots

I’m proud to be part of the Jewish community, whose fundamental values are centered around family and making the world a better place for everyone in it. These are the values I grew up with, and the values that I have passed down to my own children. For me, it’s a culture that is rooted in kindness, generosity, and human decency. It’s about being the good in the world, and being the good for the world. These values have helped to define my journey.

Simone speaking at a conference with a group in a restaurant
Photo of Simone at a conference of Jewish Federations
The Power of One

We often think we’re too insignificant or too unimportant to make a difference. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Take the time to do something that will make a difference in someone else’s life. It doesn’t have to be much—smile at a stranger, laugh with a friend, give to those in need, speak to the silent and lonely. The little things you do every day have the power to inspire and impact the people around you. Just take a moment. Do something special. Make a difference.

Raising Self-Advocating Kids

I’m certain that many people will look at our family and see black, white, and Asian. But we don’t see ourselves that way. We see our family as our family, and it’s diverse because of what each person brings to the family, how we interact and respect one another. Our diversity isn’t only because of the color of our skin. I’m not saying that we’re colorblind, because we’re not. We see color, and we appreciate the color, but that’s just one part of our diversity.

Photo of Simone's children

We’re diverse because of our thoughts, our ideas, our characteristics, our qualities, our likes, and our dislikes. In that sense, every family is diverse, and each family member is a unique and necessary part of the family. Families don’t have to match. They just have to love each other and sometimes drive each other crazy. I believe this is part of the dictionary definition of family. I see our world as diverse, and it’s the acceptance of that diversity that’s so important to me. It’s not about pointing out how we’re different—it’s about realizing that, despite our differences, our value is always the same.

Simone’s story is compellingly inspirational and deeply moving.

Eric Fingerhut, President & CEO The Jewish Federations of North America

Simone’s ability to connect - really connect - whether you are an audience of one or thousands - is unparalleled. She is not merely willing to share her journey, but thrilled to. Simone’s passion is contagious - how often do you meet someone who inspires you, energizes you, reassures you, teaches you and challenges you.

Jenna Corman Mandel, Associate Vice President, National Women’s Philanthropy Jewish Federations of North America

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