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Debra Searle

Adventurer & gender balance campaigner who rowed the Atlantic single-handed

Debra Searle Biography

Background / History

Debra Searle had achieved more by her mid 30s than most people would dream of achieving in a lifetime: She has been awarded a First Class Honours degree, launched two companies, won World Championship medals for Great Britain, presented over 40 programmes for the BBC, had two books published, become the youngest ever trustee of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and successfully rowed solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She is the founder of the Business Network Forum.

In 2002, the Queen awarded Debra an MBE for her achievements, and in 2014 she was appointed Member of the Royal Victorian Order MVO for her work with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

Debra hit the headlines when she set out to row across the Atlantic with her husband but was forced to continue alone when disaster struck. Despite being a novice rower she made it rowing 3,000 miles from Tenerife to Barbados, battling 30 foot waves, sharks and force 8 squalls along the way.

Today she sees her story as one about gender, resilience and determination which has inspired her to campaign against gender bias and to talk to audiences about inclusive leadership. Debra is a businesswoman in her own right, as well as being a trustee with an interest in diversity development. Highly experienced, she has delivered speeches to over 800 companies worldwide.

Current / Past Roles & Positions

  • Expert in gender balance, unconscious gender bias and inclusive leadership
  • Rowed the Atlantic single-handed
  • Sportswoman who has excelled at tennis, cycling, lacrosse, netball and rowing
  • Has worked with clients including IBM, Lloyds TSB, Mars, Nokia, RBS and BAE Systems

Debra Searle Videos

Testimonials for Debra Searle

“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!


Debra Searle‘s Topics

Using visualisation to succeed

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Mind tricks for success

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Enhanced colleague relationships

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Change management

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How to choose your attitude

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Goal setting and rewards

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Books by Debra Searle

Debra Searle book
Debra Searle book

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