Jordán attended The Grange School in Santiago, Chile, where he graduated in 1976, after earning the “Best Student of the Class” distinction and the “García Oldini Cup” for the best student in mathematics and physics. In 1983, he graduated as an Industrial Engineer from Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, where he received the distinction “Roberto Ovalle Aguirre” for the best engineer thesis awarded by the Chilean Engineers Institute. He also graduated from Oxford University, United Kingdom, where he earned his Ph.D. for his thesis on Innovation and Urban Poverty. He has been a professor at the School of Engineering of Pontifical Catholic University of Chile. Parallel to his academic formation, Jordán has developed a sports career that began with rugby, which he practiced during his schooling becoming part of the national youth team. During university he began his career as mountain climber, by taking courses and climbing high mountains in Chile, Argentina, Alaska, Peru and Bolivia. From the beginning he stood out in this activity and gained the distinction for the “Best Athlete in Climbing”, awarded by the Sports Journalists Circle of Chile.
Back in Chile after finishing his Ph.D. in the United Kingdom, he was Director of the Directorate of Distance Education (Dirección de Educación a Distancia) of Pontifical Catholic University of Chile –TELEDUC- between 1990 y 1994. He also worked as Executive Secretary of the President’s Advisory Council of the Republic of Chile for Sport and Recreation (Consejo Asesor del Presidente de la República de Chile para el Deporte y la Recreación). In 1994, he created two pillars for what was going to be his further development. Vertical S.A., company focused on the formation of excellence teams, and Vertical Foundation (Fundación Vertical), that develops educational programs and leadership trainee, social skills and organizational development to institutions, companies and marginal social sectors. Between 1998 and 2000 he was Executive Director of the TV Corporation of the Catholic University of Chile. Rodrigo Jordán is often invited to give seminars and courses of leadership and development of high performance teams among different countries, working actively with several corporations, universities and nonprofit organizations to develop their leadership qualities. In June 1994 he joined the National Foundation for Overcoming Poverty (Fundación Nacional para la Superación de la Pobreza) in Chile as director, whose mission is to contribute to overcoming poverty by promoting greater levels of equity and social integration in the country to ensure the sustainable human development of people who live today in poverty and social exclusion. In 2010 he undertook a new challenge, the creation of Vertical Professional Institute (Instituto Profesional Vertical), an educational organization that trains and forms nature professionals through the careers of Tourism in the Nature and Adventure Sports.
In addition to developing his Ph.D thesis in Oxford he specialized as mountain instructor at the National School for Outdoor Activities of Great Britain. The expedition to Kenya and Kilimanjaro mountains in Tanzania, Africa, gained him the “Irvine Travel Award” by Oxford University to the best expedition of the year. On May 15, 1992, he led the first South American group who reached the peak of Everest (8,848 m / 29,029 ft), the highest mountain in the world. This experience was vital on his professional development, since the idea of creating Vertical S.A. was born there. Later, in May 2004, he led his fourth expedition to Everest guiding it by the Khumbu Glaciar route and placing nine climbers on the peak. Among the members of that team stands Andrónico Luksic Craig, one of the owners of the Luksic group, a leading business conglomerate in Latin America. In 1996 he led another successful Chilean expedition, this time to the K2 (8,611 m / 28,251 ft), the second highest mountain in the world, located in the Karakoram. Between November 2002 and January 2003 Jordán led the scientific-sport expedition Antarctic 2002-03. In 54 days and without external support they traveled 400 km of unexplored mountainous territory and collected various geological and glaciological samples for several scientific studies on Antarctic. In 2003 he developed the first educational expedition to Patagonia for the members of the MBA program of Wharton School of Business. In May 2006 he conducted another successful expedition to the fourth highest mountain in the world, Lhotse ( 8,516 m / 27,940 ft) He placed eleven climbers on the peak and aimed to celebrate the contribution of Professor Claudio Lucero to the development of mountaineering and outdoor education in Chile. In January 2008 he participated in the expedition of National Geographic Society and the New York´s Explorer Club to Antarctic. During six weeks they traveled by kayak the western slope of Antarctic Peninsula to assess and document the effects of climate change on the continent. The same year, he led an expedition that included kayaking and trekking in Greenland also to document the effects of climate change on the north ice.
Throughout his career Rodrigo Jordán has received several awards and distinctions. Time magazine cataloged him in 1995 as one of the leaders of the “next millennium”. He has been a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society of the United Kingdom and also honorary Vice-president of the International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation (UIAA). He was selected as Endeavor Entrepreneur in the United States for his work of giving back to community in a creative and meaningful way. In recognition to his initiative and entrepreneur spirit he was invited in 2000 and 2008 by Rolex Awards for Enterprise as a jury to define the award Rolex to the Initiative Spirit. In September 2004 he was honored by the Education Ministry of Chile with the Educational and Cultural Merit Order “Gabriela Mistral” with the rank of Knight, distinction that is given to national and foreign personalities who have rendered outstanding services in benefit of education, culture and the enhancement of the teaching function. In 2008 he was distinguished by the Gilbert Grosvenor Center for Geographical Education of Texas State University with the medal Gilbert M. Grosvenor (President of the Board of Directors of the National Geographic). It is the first time that this distinction, given to those who stand for their contributions to the education of geography, lies in a non-American citizen. The National Advisors Association of Chile gave him the award ANDA 2010, in recognition to his significant contributions to the development and enhancement of marketing and communication. Rodrigo Jordán is currently the Executive Vice-president of Vertical S.A., President of the National Foundation for Overcoming Poverty in Chile (Fundación Nacional para la Superación de la Pobreza), President of Vertical Foundation (Fundación Vertical), President of Sendero de Chile, Professor at the Administration School of Pontifical Catholic University of Chile and at the Engineering Faculty of Adolfo Ibáñez University.
Much of the material collected on expeditions led by Rodrigo Jordán has been published in: