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Described as a cross between Florence Nightingale and Indiana Jones, Linda Cruse is the ultimate humanitarian aid worker and author intent on changing the world forever.
Cruse delivers accelerated leadership programmes, dynamic workshops and keynote speeches around the world. Described as one-part pioneer, one-part entrepreneur, one-part leader and one-part magician, she inspires audiences by sharing experiences and insights from a life lived on the edge.
In 1996, Cruse, a stressed-out mum working in a job she hated, was driving along a motorway in the middle of the night when she suffered temporary blindness. This terrifying episode led to a blinding insight: what is the point of living if life has no point? Determined to make a difference, Linda started a new life. This was the start of a scary, lonely, but always emotionally fulfilling job: teaching skills and bringing aid – and, above all, love – to war-torn refugees, the poverty stricken and the victims of disaster.
Linda Cruse has fused her passion for adventure, an explorer’s spirit and a deep desire to make a difference to remote communities. To enable her to do this she has launched a unique concept, aptly named Be The Change.
Her trademark is her ability to broker powerful partnerships between large businesses who want to help stricken communities, but do not know how to go about it, and local charities. Fired by her determination and ethos of “A Hand Up not A Hand Out”, she takes very small groups of highly successful individuals - typically senior executives in global corporations, successful entrepreneurs – to some of the remotest parts of the world where communities struggle to either overcome natural, or man-made, disasters or to make the most of their existing resources. Be The Change leverages the potent capabilities of these individuals’ vision, know-how and ability to identify income streams, with Linda creating the bridge between entrepreneurs and the communities she has “adopted”.
In one tsunami-devastated area, she brought together, through sheer force of her personality, a panel of entrepreneurs to come up with an alternative to the largely destroyed tourist industry. The local community now makes a much more substantial living exploiting the rubber tree crops in the hinterland of the once thriving beach area.
Her style is maverick, but her unconventional toolbox, which includes magic tricks (she comes from a family of magicians) and a large dose of humour, has brought impressive changes to the communities in which she works. She has a natural ability to generate enthusiasm for her project and bring together people from completely different backgrounds to work together towards a common goal.
Linda Cruse has faced death on more than one occasion but she has never given up on her mission. Her ultimate aim is to inspire others to do what they can. Linda calls it the “Power of One”. Her 12 years of frontline humanitarian aid work has taken her to every continent in the world, where she has assisted in some of the world’s natural catastrophic natural disasters, such as the Asian tsunami, the Pakistani earthquake conflict zones, high mountain nomadic areas and refugee camps.
She has described her remarkable story in her first book “Marmalade and Machine Guns” published in August 2012, described as “10 countries, three continents, 12 years and one suitcase, one woman’s quest to help disaster-stricken communities back on their feet”.
“Linda makes in the impossible possible. What a great adventure!” Sir Richard Branson