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Debra Searle – Keynote Speaker

Determined Atlantic rower and entrepreneur

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Debra Searle Profile Picture

Specialist Subjects

  • Motivation
  • Attitude
  • Risk
  • Goal-setting



  • English

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Debra Searle was heralded “…Britain’s latest sporting heroine.” (The Times) when the the media reported the story of the 5ft 5” young lady who carried on rowing alone when her then husband, a 6ft 5” experienced oarsman, left the boat after developing an uncontrollable fear of the ocean. Debra, who was loving life at sea in a 23 foot plywood boat, saw no reason to stop and rowed on to become the youngest and only the third woman in the world to have rowed an ocean solo.


The 3000 mile journey that was initially supposed to take 6 weeks took Debra Searle a staggering 3 ½ months and saw her battling with 30 foot waves, force 8 squalls and sharks, while having to dodge tankers that came too close for comfort on more than a few occasions. Worse than all of this, however, was dealing with the loneliness and solitude, but focussing on one motto kept Debra going: Choose your attitude!


Not just a woman with an interesting story, Debra Searle is a successful businesswoman in her own right. Debra Searle became Managing Director of her first company at the age of 23 and today manages to combine business with her life-long ambition to be a professional adventurer. Other adventures have included sailing around Antarctica, the longest canoe race in the world, L’Etape du Tour, and setting a new world record for crossing the channel. Debra is the author of two books and is a regular presenter for the BBC with credits including Grandstand and Extreme Lives. Debra is the youngest and only female board member of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.


Debra’s overwhelming positivity and ‘go for it’ attitude are contagious, while her modesty is endearing. She uses her story to powerfully but subtly draw out key business and interpersonal lessons. Companies have benefited from Debra’s delivery of themes such as ‘mind tricks for success’, ‘goal setting and rewards’, ‘using visualisation to succeed’, change management’, ‘excelling as an individual whilst working in a team’, ‘personal brand values’, ‘stepping out of your comfort zone’ and how to ‘choose your attitude’ no matter how impossible the end goal may seem.

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