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Debra Searle

Debra Searle
Debra Searle
Debra Searle
Debra Searle
Debra Searle

Best known for:

Debra Searle MVO, MBE is a Motivational Keynote Speaker, Gender Diversity Ambassador and Professional Adventurer, best known for being the third and youngest woman to row the Atlantic solo.

Summary:

Debra Searle MVO, MBE is a professional adventurer and serial entrepreneur. Her expeditions have included rowing solo across the Atlantic and sailing around Antarctica. She has also launched four companies, is a published author, has worked as a presenter for the BBC and is a trusted corporate speaker. Debra’s spirit of adventure gained her an MBE from Her Majesty the Queen and a place on the board of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. She was later awarded an MVO in the 2014 New Year’s Honours. In Spring 2015, Debra and her company combined her two passions for adventure and gender equality by organising and leading an all-female team on an expedition in the Arctic Circle. The movie of Debra’s Atlantic story is currently in development in Hollywood.

Biography:

Debra Searle MVO, MBE is a truly inspirational woman. A professional adventurer, author, BBC presenter and serial entrepreneur, 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 ½ months at sea alone, encountering 30' waves, sharks, and force 8 squalls in her 23 foot plywood boat. 

Debra Searle’s 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. She 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. In Spring 2015, Debra and her company combined her two passions for adventure and gender equality by organising and leading an all-female team on an expedition in the Arctic Circle. She has also represented Great Britain at European and World Championship level in Dragon Boat Racing winning bronze, silver and gold medals.

Despite poor performance at school, Debra found a way to tap into her potential and graduated from university with 1st Class Honours, going on to found four companies.  She started her first company, a dot-com, at the age of 23 and second at 27. More recently Debra founded MIX Diversity Developers - a Diversity and Inclusion consultancy. She was also a founding member of the Women’s Business Network Forum, which gathers together Heads of Women’s Networks from across major corporations in order to share best practice in D&I, meeting at Buckingham Palace.

Debra has regularly presented for the BBC, with credits including Grandstand, Extreme Lives, and Builders, Sweat and Tears. She is now one of the most prolific female speakers on the European circuit and has spoken worldwide to over 1000 companies, as well as speaking at events such as TEDx. She has also published two books and is an occasional newspaper feature writer. 

Debra’s 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 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. 

In 2018 and 2019 Debra will be making frequent trips to Hollywood as the movie telling the story of her Atlantic row is currently in development.

Debra is renowned for her ability to tailor her speeches to clients’ needs. Having spoken across every major industry including banking, consultancy, direct sales, healthcare and retail she has the expertise to understand the specifics of your industry and to craft her speech accordingly. Debra powerfully illustrates her message with slides and stunning video footage, leaving her audience in no doubt of their own ability to achieve the extraordinary.

Speech topics include: 

  • Choose your attitude! It's not magic: it's mindset
  • Teamwork & Positive Relationships
  • Strategies for not just coping but excelling during times of change
  • Leading through change

Fee range:

Up to 5,000 GBP

Testimonials:

Debra not only has a great story to tell, but she uses her experiences to support real business situations and bring alive those everyday moments faced by leaders. She clearly understood our organisation and within an hour had totally transformed the mindset of some of the most 'fixed' people in this intimate audience.

Anthony Price, Global Head of Talent Developments, TMF Group

There are good speakers, there are great speakers, and then there is Debra Searle. I've never seen an audience so engaged, inspired and in touch with the messages that she shared.

Matt Schofield, People Leader and Business Partner, Auto Traders UK

“A big thank you for your talks today as part of our Build your Potential week. It was an inspirational ending to the week and employees took away many positive messages about opportunities for self-development both on a personal and work level. Feedback was great.”

JP Morgan

“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!"

Client Director, IBM UK Ltd