Speaking Style; A passionate and honest speaker, Pugh’s inspirational speeches have met with widespread acclaim. A video recording of him speaking about leadership at Business Innovation Factory’s (BIF) annual conference has been voted one of the “Seven Most inspiring Videos on the Web” and he has helped motivate management teams from Coca-Cola and Lloyds insurance to find ways to implement their ‘greener’ future plans.
Read Lewis' Full Bio to find out more...
In 2007 Lewis Gordon Pugh became the first person to undertake a long distance swim at the North Pole. Swimming in waters at a temperature of -1.7 °C, he defied the conditions to achieve the distance of one kilometre in 18 minutes and 50 seconds. The purpose of the amazing feat was to draw attention to some shocking information – in the years running up to the swim, 23% of the Arctic ice had melted. The public needed to be made aware, and what better way than by achieving something which had never been achieved before? With the help and encouragement of a dedicated team, history was made.In 2010, his swim in Lake Pumori (a lake 5,200 metres up Mount Everest) drew attention to the fact that glaciers, which are an essential source of fresh water in many regions, are at risk due to climate change.This way of thinking is typical of Pugh; he has also set himself numerous similar challenges swimming both at sea and in internal waters. In 2006, he became the first person to swim in all five oceans. His endurance swimming feats are listed below:Arctic Ocean
Always an avid fan of adventure stories whilst growing up, Pugh was also academically capable. His family moved from Devon to Cape Town, South Africa when he was a child, and he studied Law and Politics at The University of Cape Town before attending Cambridge University’s Jesus College to read International Law. Despite successfully working as a maritime lawyer in London, Pugh felt that he did not want to spend all of his career in the city. A position in the British Special Air Service as a reservist also did not satisfy his craving for adventure. Having always enjoyed swimming, Pugh had already participated in some long distance challenges and decided that he wanted to try more. These swims would not just be for his own enjoyment, however – he would work as part of a team dedicated to raising awareness of environmental issues facing wildlife and humankind all over the globe. In order to devote more of his time to campaigning, he left his role as a maritime lawyer in 2003.Pugh has used his inner drive and sense of purpose to inspire others, becoming a highly successful motivational speaker. In this role he has worked with some of the world’s best known companies, including Coca-Cola, Mercedes, Nestle and BMW and has spoken at two TED Global Conferences. His desire to help companies and countries across the world improve their environmental credentials is evident and he is able to convey the urgency of action in a friendly, encouraging way, utilising his numerous experiences with nature to highlight its beauty and fragility.
His environmental campaigning is ongoing and in 2011, he was responsible for a campaign to protect a valuable ecosystem in Africa from a development proposed by an oil company. The media storm created saw the development prohibited. Pugh has also been outspoken about a number of other environmental issues and disasters and has appeared in the media numerous times, interviewed by the BBC, CNN, National Geographic and Sky News to name just a few.
Positions and honours
Praise for Lewis Pugh“Lewis Pugh doesn’t tell us what to do, he shows us what can be done.”
Bill Clinton“…riveting and passionate. He’s stunning!”
Archbishop Desmond Tutu“…a brave and courageous leader who adds a fresh perspective to climate change.”
Al Gore“Not many people can speak to a group of world leaders like (Pugh) did - with so much authority and passion. I could have heard a pin drop.”
Ted Turner, Founder of CNN“…the perfect TED talk: a little bit of action, some thinking outside the box, humbling words on the need to respect nature, a happy ending. A Hollywood scriptwriter could not have structured it better.”
The Financial Times