Debra Searle MVO MBE is a professional adventurer and serial entrepreneur. Her expeditions have taken her across the Atlantic, around Antarctica, up to the Arctic Circle and everywhere in between. She has also launched five companies, is a published author, has presented over 40 programme for the BBC and is a trusted corporate speaker. The movie of Debra’s story of rowing solo across the Atlantic after her husband was rescued is currently in development in Hollywood.
Debra Searle MVO MBE has an extraordinary story! She first hit the headlines when she set out to row across the Atlantic with her husband–a 6’5” international oarsman. Unfortunately, he had to be rescued so Debra, a novice rower, continued alone without a support boat and rowed 3300 miles from Tenerife to Barbados. It should have taken them six weeks, but Debra ended up spending 3½ months at sea alone and unsupported, encountering 30' waves, sharks, and force 8 squalls in her 23-foot plywood boat. Since returning from this adventure, Debra has undertaken solo and team expeditions across the globe. She has also represented Great Britain at European and World Championship level in Dragon Boat Racing winning bronze, silver and gold medals.
Debra has spoken at over 1100 events across the globe and a range if industry sectors. Debra has founded 5 companies including MIX Diversity, a Diversity &Inclusion consultancy, so is able to speak with authenticity about what it takes to succeed in business. She has presented 40 programmes for the BBC and had 3 books published. Her spirit of adventure gained her a Member of The British Empire (MBE)from Her Majesty The Queen and she spent 10 years on the board of a charity with two members of the Royal Family, so has great board-level experience to share. Debra was further appointed a Member of The Victorian Order (MVO) for her services to the Royal Family.
In 2022, Debra was ranked no.3 in the World’s Top 30 Motivational Speakers, after Simon Sinek at no.1 and Tony Robbins at no.2, making her the highest ranking female motivational speaker in the world. In 2023, a British newspaper listed Debra as one of the World’s Top 50 Inspirational Leaders. The movie of Debra’s solo Atlantic row is currently in development in Hollywood.
CHOOSE YOUR ATTITUDE: IT’S NOT MAGIC, IT’S MINDSET
Research shows that 75% of a top performer’s success can be attributed to positive attitude traits, with only 25% of their success attributed to their skillset.
Debra helps people tap into that 75% by sharing her amazing personal story of rowing the Atlantic solo after her husband was rescued from their small boat. In her speech, Debra shares the attitude enhancing tools she relied on during those 111 days alone at sea and how she now uses them in her business life.
More than just an inspiring story teller, Debra leaves her audiences with practical and actionable golden nuggets for work and life success, and ideas around how to stay connected as a team.
Her ‘Choose Your Attitude Toolkit’ helps leaders and individuals to support themselves, rather than sabotaging themselves mentally when the pressure is on, so they can show up well for their colleagues and clients.
PRACTICAL TOOLS TO STAY MOTIVATED AND BUILD RESILIENCE
There aren’t many people in the world who have spent more than 100 days totally alone at sea, and there are probably even fewer who could say that they thrived during those 100 days. Debra Searle MBE spent 3.5 months unexpectedly rowing the Atlantic solo after her husband and rowing partner developed a crippling phobia of open ocean and had to be rescued from their tiny plywood boat. You don’t survive an experience like that without clear strategies for remaining resilient and carefully guarding your mental and physical wellbeing. In these challenging times of high inflation, hybrid working and geopolitical unrest, Debra presents the mindset and wellbeing strategies she has adapted from her time at sea and that she has successfully brought into daily life. This session is about hearing an inspirational story of resilience and the practical ways to stay positive and productive during times of adversity. The audience will leave re-energized and ready to go again.
CHOOSE TO CHALLENGE
(Ideal for International Women’s Day/Women in Leadership Events or Female Talent Development Programmes)
Debra took on her first board position at 27 years old, working with members of the British Royal Family. As the youngest and only woman on the Board, it challenged her confidence and courage to speak up and be heard.
But Debra is no stranger to challenging herself! She has founded five businesses, has completed expeditions all around the world, and co-founded The Businesswomen’s Network Forum based out of Buckingham Palace. In this inspiring talk for women and male allies, Debra uses storytelling to demonstrate how to choose to challenge yourself, how to challenge unconscious bias and how to challenge imposter syndrome to push yourself outside your comfort zone to make major step changes in your career and confidence. This talk is a rare combination of high adventure, while communicating important messages around the value of inclusion and how we can all play our part to overcome bias
DEBRA’S CONTENT & THE BENEFIT TO YOUR CLIENT
Debra is renowned for her ability to tailor her keynotes to clients’ needs. Having been trained by the BBC and spoken across every major industry including banking, tech, direct sales, health care and retail, she has the expertise to understand the specifics of that industry and to craft her speech accordingly.
Debra combines the strategies she has used at sea and in her own businesses with the latest neuroscience and positive psychology research to demonstrate, in a highly practical way, how to profit from a positive attitude.
Debra powerfully illustrates her mindset and motivational tools with slides and video footage, leaving her audience in no doubt of their own ability to achieve the extraordinary and how to be resilient to the challenges. Debra tailors every speech to ensure that it meets the objectives for the audience. She does this using a pre-event questionnaire, which she follows up with an in-depth briefing call with the client and their production company.
Debra SEARLE has been a popular choice for
Internal Restructure Meetings/ Managing Change
Leadership Development-International Women’s Day-
Women’s Network/Female Talent Development-
Client / Partner events
WORKSHOPS- Case Study
2023 RBC Global People Manager’s Forum–London-New York-Toronto RBC invited Debra to design a half day keynote and workshop for their People Managers’ Forum series with the goal of enabling their managers to be better leaders, and to continue to drive inspiration from their teams. Approximately 2,500people managers and executive leaders from around the globe attended one of the six events. Debra constructed a3-hour session comprising of a keynote, breakout sessions and table work on leadership, navigating change, resilience, and empathy. Re-energizing and building team culture and enabling better habits for higher productivity were also a focus
“Of all the keynote workshops I have ever done, this was the best. The exercises were fun and practical. The people at my table really took these exercises seriously and we had constructive dialogue”
International Women’s Day Speech Testimonial: “Your story was deeply inspirational to both women andmen. We received hundreds of positive comments from individuals across the globe.
“Her feedback scores were phenomenal–the highest ever. Her slides were the earliest we’ve ever received. She was dressed impeccably. She stayed for the entire event and even incorporated what she’d heard earlier in the sessions making it totally relevant. The most professional speaker we’ve ever booked!”
"She scored 5 out of 5 from every one of the 170 delegates. This is unheard of at an IBM event!”
“The way you translated your experience into actionable day to day practices to change behaviour and get into a positive mindset is very powerful.”
"Your insights have certainly inspired the team to challenge the status quo and dig deep within, to achieve what feels like the impossible.”
“You were a HUGE hit. The sessions have been littered with references to choosing our words, our attitude and extending our comfort zone! So many of the delegates came to find me to tell me hoe moved and in spired they were by your story and to congratulate me on my choice if external speaker”
“We have lost that precious ability to connect and yet you managed to have us all gripped in a virtual world.”
“I cannot tell you the texts, IMs, emails and calls I got afterward. Not only the story, but the tips and the way you pulled your story into the Choose to Challenge and do you have the courage themes.
“I had really good feedback from one of our senior male members who raved about your presentation and how impactful it was so that really made my day!”