Widely considered an industry expert and innovator, Joe DeRing is the Founder and President of Empower. Joe’s passion for leadership stems from his time in the military serving as an Infantry Officer in the US Army from 2000 to 2008. During that time Joe led units overseas in Afghanistan and Iraq. Working alongside prominent leaders such as Generals David Petraeus, Joe Anderson and Bill Hickman, Joe learned that the most important form of leadership is leadership of self. That is, one’s own ability to coach themselves through challenge, adversity, fear and temptation.
Since opening Empower in 2009, Joe and his teams have worked with over 2500 groups and organizations and facilitated leadership and personal development for over 160,000 individuals. Personally, Joe has facilitated team development for the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the US Marines, US Treasury, FBI, Fairfax County Virginia Government, University of Connecticut, University of Hartford, Yale University, University of Tampa, University of South Florida and others
Joe dreams of a world where the skills of self-coaching and personal leadership are taught and prioritized just as much as reading, writing and math. That is why Joe is leading Empower on a 10-year mission to inspire leadership in 1 million people. Through adventure, experiential education, training and development and coaching, Joe believes Empower can fill this void for so many in communities across the country. By reaching out to CEOs, HR professionals and culture committees, coaches, teachers and administrators, pastors, youth ministers and religious leaders, we believe we can bring leadership and personal development to the forefront of the conversation when talking about how we can achieve our true potential as work teams and sports teams, husbands and wives, students and athletes and ultimately as humans who value one another.
Dev has owned, operated, and overseen the opening of more than 40 challenge courses, zip line courses, and adventure-based operations, and his consulting and management companies have directed the planning and management of hundreds of community-based recreation and sports complexes in locations around the world.
Dev has led adventure expeditions in the Amazon, Vietnam, Patagonia, the American West, Thailand and numerous other locations. Dev brought the excitement from his adventures to the courses at Empower Adventures and expertise to the services at Empower Leadership.
Dan graduated from Springfield College, where he developed a great passion for teaching leadership, team building, and interpersonal skills through adventure. Dan worked alongside Dr. Ted France to lead adventure-based team building and leadership development experiences at Springfield College’s outdoor adventure learning laboratory, East Campus.
Jaskot has over 19 years of experience designing and leading experiential adventures for corporate teams, school groups, and athletic teams. In addition to overseeing recreation at the Empower facility in Middletown, CT from 2009 through 2019, Dan has helped to develop the team building and leadership development services across all Empower Adventures locations.
VP of Marketing
Sara graduated from the University of Florida in 2009 and spent nearly a decade in live entertainment marketing working on brands like Monster Jam, Disney On Ice, and the Harlem Globetrotters.
Sara joined Empower in 2018 while looking for an opportunity that aligned with her deeply-rooted passion for leadership. Overseeing the marketing for all four brand in the Empower family, she is a master multi-tasker with drive to consistently innovate. Shortly after joining the team, she jumped into action to help Empower in their mission to create more leaders, helping make Empower Leadership a reality.
Empower Leadership, Florida
Calvin graduated with a degree in Sports Management from Calvin University, where he grew to love both team sports and outdoor adventure and the real-world connections that can be made through each.
Calvin has been in the outdoor adventure industry since 2013, as well as coached both youth soccer and lacrosse. He as run team building programs for many groups, including the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida, University of Minnesota Women’s Track and Field team, Nielsen, Lockheed Martin, and the Tampa Bay Lightning. Calvin helped open and oversee recreation at the Empower facility in Tampa Bay, Florida starting in 2016, with his strengths leading to this new role of providing leadership development and team building programs.