While rowing across the Atlantic in a boat, Debra Searle (Nee Veal)had the extraordinary courage to continue the journey alone, when her rowing-partner husband was unable to continue, struck by fear. Debra faced the terror of 30ft waves, looming large tankers and circling sharks during her 3000 mile and 3 month trip. Now a successful TV presenter, author, entrepreneur, and motivational speaker, Debra has an inspirational and entertaining story.
Debra Searle speaks on the following topics:
Debra Searle MVO, MBE is a truly inspirational woman. A professional adventurer, author and BBC presenter, Debra first hit the headlines when she set out to row across the Atlantic with her husband. Unfortunately he had to be rescued so Debra, a novice rower, continued alone and rowed 3000 miles from Tenerife to Barbados. It should have taken them six weeks but, to achieve her goal, Debra ended up spending 3 1/2 months at sea alone, encountering 30′ waves, sharks, and force 8 squalls in her 23 foot plywood boat.
Her recent expeditions have included sailing around Antarctica, racing in the Monte Carlo Rally in a 1957 Alfa Romeo, various L’Etape du Tours, The Vogalonga in Venice, and becoming the first Briton to complete the gruelling Yukon River Quest with good friend Bruce Parry. Debra went on to lead a group of women known as The Sisterhood to a new World Record for Dragon Boating across the English Channel. This particular adventure created huge media interest in the UK due to a rather famous teammate – Kate Middleton, now the Duchess of Cambridge.
A specialist in corporate gender diversity and cultural change, Debra has worked with over 1,000 companies helping to inspire and shape their workforces. In 2015, she is combining her two passions for adventure and diversity and taking a group of businesswomen on an expedition to the Arctic Circle as part of a wider corporate diversity programme. She is also the co-chair of the Women’s Business Forum based out of Buckingham Palace.
Debra is a regular presenter for the BBC, with credits including Grandstand, Extreme Lives, and Builders, Sweat and Tears. Her spirit of adventure gained her an MBE from Her Majesty the Queen and she was delighted to be appointed a trustee of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme in 2003, the youngest and only female trustee working alongside His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh and His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex. Debra has been appointed Member of the Victorian Order (MVO) for her services to the Award.
“Debra used the briefing call and materials provided to help build a clear link from her own experience to our business. During her speech she gave the strong impression of being emotionally connected to the content “as if it was very recent”. As a small audience this gave a very strong impression and made the experience very powerful. Debra was a fantastic guest; she chatted to people afterwards over lunch and made a brilliant and lasting impression. Her speech had a huge impact, Debra was a powerful, compelling storyteller, personal, open, inspiring, humble = Fantastic!” Managing Director, Bahlsen LLP
“Debra was really approachable and endearing, she put her experiences into practical solution and kept the audience fully engaged, captivated and inspired. We have recommended Debra to our colleagues, she was excellent!” Arcadia Group PLC
“I just wanted to say what a pleasure it was to have met you last week. Your story about the Atlantic row is so inspiring. I have so much admiration for you. You have an incredible strength and determination that most people could only dream of having and yet you are so ‘normal’, personable, intelligent, funny… the list goes on. I have had so many comments from colleagues about your speech saying how much they enjoyed, what an incredible achievement it was and how inspirational they found it. I think it fitted perfectly with what we were trying to achieve at the meeting and sent out a very strong, positive message.” HSO
“We provided feedback forms to all participants and asked for a rating between 1 (poor) and 5 (excellent). We received 170 completed forms and Debra scored a '5' from every single respondent. This is unheard of! The comments were all super, for example – ' Best speaker I've heard at an IBM event – outstanding!” IBM UK Ltd.
“Very many thanks for your fantastic after dinner speech. Aside from the laughter, for the majority of the time that you were speaking you could have heard a pin drop! To get insurance brokers and insurer company salesman to keep quiet is no mean feat! The feedback I got on the evening was extremely positive and many felt that the move away from our traditional type of male speakers was a vast improvement.” Insurance Institute of Reading
“I was impressed both by the way you facilitated the conference throughout the three days and also in the way you shared your own experiences towards developing the right attitude and taking action. Your rapport with the audience and other guest speakers was also very special. Your input was absolutely instrumental in the successful outcome of this conference.” BT Global Services
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