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Debra Searle

Solo Atlantic rower. Speaker on motivation, achieving against the odds and dealing with change

Debra Searle Biography

Debra Searle MVO, MBE shot to fame after rowing the Atlantic solo. She is a sought after motivational speaker, entrepreneur and professional adventurer who is convinced that learning to choose the right attitude can transform our work lives and our personal lives.

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, she ended up spending 3 ½ months at sea alone, encountering 30′ waves, sharks, and force 8 squalls in her 23 foot plywood boat.

Since returning from this adventure, she has gone on to undertake solo & team expeditions across the globe, including canoeing the Yukon River for a BBC documentary with Bruce Parry, sailing the Southern Ocean, and racing in the Monte Carlo Rally in a 1957 Alfa Romeo.

Yet Debra is more than your usual sports speaker. She has founded 5 companies including MIX Diversity Developers, a diversity consultancy and training company which specialises in innovative corporate programmes such as the LeasePlan Women’s Arctic Challenge.

Her spirit of adventure gained her an MBE from Her Majesty the Queen and she was delighted to be appointed aa 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. Debra has been appointed a Member of the Victorian Order (MVO) for her services to the Award.

Debra is renowned for her ability to tailor her speeches to clients’ needs. Having spoken at 1,000 events across every major industry including banking, consultancy, direct sales, healthcare and retail she has the expertise to understand the specifics of any industry and to craft her speech accordingly. She powerfully illustrates her message leaving her audience in no doubt of their own ability to achieve the extraordinary.

Recent Engagements / Achievements

  • Broadcast to 40,000 people as part of John Maxwell’s Live2Lead event
  • Received an Honorary Masters degree from Plymouth Marjon University
  • Was ranked as one of the world’s top 30 Motivational Gurus

Current / Past Roles & Positions

  • Expert in resilience, leadership through change and motivation
  • Rowed the Atlantic single-handed
  • Served as a Trustee for The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for 10 years
  • Competed at World Championship Level for GB Dragon Boating
  • Founder of 5 companies, including MIX Diversity Developers Limited
  • Founding member of the Businesswomen’s Network Forum
  • Presented over 40 programmes for the BBC, including Grandstand.
  • Received an Honorary Masters degree from Plymouth Marjon University and De Montfort University

In the next few years, Debra will be making frequent trips to Hollywood as the movie telling the story of her Atlantic row is currently in development.

Debra Searle Videos

Testimonials for Debra Searle

“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 Trader UK

“Our guests really enjoyed listening to Debra’s story –  it was brilliant to see them all so engaged in the journey.” 

Sarah Folley

Senior Marketing Executive, Wolters Kluwer

“The way that Debra linked her story and her life lessons back to business helped to make the whole event feel very connected and so much more powerful.” 

Katie Patterson

Business Manager, Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions

​”The way that Debra translates her experience into actionable day to day practices to change behaviour and get into a positive mindset is very powerful.”

Dr. Katja Buller

Vice President, Head of Corporate Affairs, Biogen

“Debra Searle is honest, open, warm, funny and friendly. She has a mental strength and determination that inspires and motivates all who meet her.”

Mail on Sunday

We provided feedback forms to all participants and asked for a rating between 1 (poor) and 5 (excellent). We received 170 completed forms (60% of attendees) 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

Debra Searle‘s Topics

Choose Your Attitude! It’s not magic: it’s mindset

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Leading through change

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Mind tricks for success

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Strategies for not just coping but excelling during times of change

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Enhanced colleague relationships

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Using visualisation to succeed

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Teamwork & Positive Relationships

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How to achieve against the odds

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Goal setting and rewards

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Books by Debra Searle

Debra Searle book
Debra Searle book
Debra Searle book

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