Empower Leadership is a collection of leadership experts who share a passion for adventure and helping others.

We design & deliver leadership development and team building experiences, leveraging traditional and non-traditional adventures to help participants elevate their group together.

Our programs:

  • Get people out of their comfort zones and create opportunities for growth.

  • Help teams achieve extraordinary results through improvement of their interpersonal relations.

  • Are affordable and accessible for groups and teams of all types.


Our mission is to help groups and individuals find the best versions of themselves through facilitated experiential adventures.

Our programs:

  • Individuals and groups are capable of extraordinary achievements.

  • Without struggle, there is no progress.

  • The single most important skill we can learn as humans is the ability to coach ourselves through challenge, adversity, fear and temptation.

  • Inquiry is a way of being.  The depth of our inquiry determines the depth of our relationships.

Our Vision

Our vision is to lead the way when it comes to leadership development and team building; to provide experiences during which individuals and groups can take on a safe adventure while simultaneously exploring their individual and group leadership dynamics.


The Why

We are passionate about our WHY and it is what drives us to win.

What’s the WHY at Empower Leadership? We’re passionate about adventure and pushing ourselves to be our best. We know that it takes a strong self-coach to effectively manage stress, fatigue, negativity, fear and other potentially negative emotions. Adventures give us these opportunities and the choice is ours to make it a productive learning experience. We believe you and your group will see the benefits of our experiences and that they will positively impact your life going forward. Whether it’s making an effort to grow collectively as leaders or helping create the leaders of tomorrow, we get excited about the unlimited possibilities.

We all wake up with a desire to be successful. We also know there is room for improvement in how we handle our emotions, feelings and communications. It takes self coaching, and an understanding of human effectiveness along with patience to learn to do these things well. This is called level 1 leadership – leadership of self –  and the process of becoming a good coach to oneself can be the start of becoming an extraordinary team.


Joe DeRing


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 Pathik


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 Jaskot


Dan developed a great passion for teaching leadership, team building, and interpersonal skills through adventure during his time as a student at Springfield College and as an educator in Springfield, MA. Dan worked alongside Dr. Ted France to lead adventure programming for a variety of youth and adult groups at Springfield College prior to joining Empower in 2009.

Jaskot has over 20 years of experience designing and leading experiential adventures for corporate teams, youth groups, and athletic teams. In addition to overseeing recreation at the Empower facility in Connecticut from 2009 through 2019, Dan has helped to enhance the team building and leadership development services across all Empower Adventures locations.

Sara Stirling

Marketing Consultant

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.  Sara he 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. Sara continues to aid in the development of Empower Leadership through engaging and exciting consulting and training programs!

Calvin Joustra

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 has 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.



Everything starts with trust.

It is the bedrock of extraordinary teams. And building this trust with others is essential for strong leadership. 


Get out of your comfort zone.

Adventures that get you out of your daily routine, and into an all-new experience, are a catalyst for growth.


Hold yourself accountable.

Integrity builds trust and respect within teams. It’s holding yourself accountable to doing the right thing, even if it isn’t the easiest thing.


Set a goal, and stick to it.

When we focus on what is possible, we can all show up and be our absolute best.


Kindness goes a long way.

The best leaders show compassion for others throughout their daily experiences.


Coaching through adversity.

It’s important to coach ourselves and others through challenge and adversity in order to overcome challenges.


Empower others to be their best.

By empowering others to be their best, everyone is given a clear path to succeed.


Be yourself, always.

Having honest & authentic interactions with your team, colleagues, and customers leads to success.


Give respect, get respect.

Mutual respect drives teams to perform better and stronger together.


It all started in 2006. While preparing for deployment to Afghanistan Joe took the first step in planning Empower when he reached out to Dev Pathik and his firm Sports Facilities Advisory. Following a successful deployment and ultimate retirement from service in 2008, Joe DeRing returned home to Middletown, CT.  Using his Army leadership training and combat experiences, Empower Leadership Sports & Adventure Center was born in 2009. This unique facility features zip lines, rope obstacles, tree climbs, and other adventures in a setting designed to empower its guests.  Originally forecasted to be for “groups” only, Empower experienced overwhelming demand for family-friendly, recreational adventures.  By their first summer, Empower was running a full schedule of recreational zip line canopy tours as well as booking private group experiences.

Joe’s leadership experience in the Army, as well as his passion for creating new leaders, would create the vision for what is now Empower Leadership. Dan Jaskot joined Joe in Middletown to help open Empower Leadership Sports & Adventure Center. With nearly a decade of successful leadership experience in education and coaching, Jaskot worked with Joe to build team building & leadership development programs to align with the adventure facility.

The success of this facility would lead to DeRing partnering with Dev Pathik and Jason Clement to build two additional zip line adventure facilities under the Empower umbrella – one in Middleburg, VA in 2014 and one in Tampa, FL in 2016.

At each Empower property, it is the intention to empower guests and groups through adventure experiences.  That means to give participants an experience that will help them to feel stronger and more confident about who they are, improve their ability to face their fears and overcome challenges in their lives and to feel energized to make bold decisions towards living their best life.

In 2019, Empower partnered with Nomads Entertainment in South Windsor, CT to take over management of their aerial adventure park, Nomads Outdoor Adventure.  This unique self-guided experience, based entirely in the treetops with over 80 obstacles, creates a new and  different product offering for Empower and allows our team to find new ways to help participants become their best selves.

Between the four adventure facilities, as well with programs on location for clients via our Mobile Training Team, Empower has empowered nearly 200,000 participants in over 3,000 engagements since 2009 with adventure-style leadership experiences.  Through that process and the relentless desire to go farther, the dream to create One Million Leaders was born.

Empower Leadership is that dream in action. It’s our goal to provide fun, productive, and accessible leadership adventures & team building programs for as many people as possible. We want to share what we love, which is helping people find the leaders within themselves through challenging adventure experiences.  Will you adventure with us?


We’re here to help you with all of your leadership development and team building needs. To learn more, or book a program with us, contact us today.

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