Debra Searle


About Debra Searle - British Adventurer, Television Presenter, Author and Motivational Speaker: 

Debra Searle MVO, MBE is a truly inspirational woman; a professional adventurer, author, BBC presenter and gender equality advocate, Debra is also a keynote speaker par excellence who is trusted by the world’s top organisations such as IBM, Unilever, HSBC, UBS, Microsoft, Google and Pfizer. She has over 12 years’ experience and has addressed more than 800 corporate audiences, so you can be confident that your audience will be in safe hands.

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, Debra 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, Debra 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 graduated from university with 1st Class Honours, starting her first company, a dot-com, at the age of 23 and second at 27. More recently Debra founded a diversity consultancy and training company, which specialises in innovative corporate programmes, such as the LeasePlan Women’s Arctic Challenge. She is a founding member of the Women’s Business Network Forum, which gathers together Heads of Women’s Networks from across major corporations in order to share best practice in D&I.

Debra’s spirit of adventure gained her an MBE from Her Majesty the Queen and she was delighted to be appointed a trustee of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme in 2003, the youngest and only female trustee working alongside His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh and His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex. 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 across every major industry including banking, consultancy, direct sales, education, healthcare, franchises and retail she has the expertise to understand the specifics of your industry and to craft her speech accordingly. Debra powerfully illustrates her message with slides and stunning video footage, leaving her audience in no doubt of their own ability to achieve the extraordinary.

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What Debra Searle Talks About:

Choose Your Attitude!
This popular keynote shares the story of Debra’s remarkable row across the Atlantic following her former husband’s premature departure from their small wooden boat. She speaks from the heart and with great humour about her personal journey of discovery and the strategies she used to keep going and now uses in her business life to help illustrate, in a very human way, what we are all capable of. Messages include:

  • Strategies for not just coping but excelling during periods of change
  • Personal motivation and productivity
  • Team work and positive relationships
  • Achieving seemingly impossible goals
  • Commitment and perseverance
  • Personal performance when under pressure

Be The Change
In this hard-hitting keynote speech Debra covers the topics of unconscious bias and diversity and inclusion, specifically focusing on Gender Balance in the work place.

Diversity and Inclusion can be a very dry topic yet it is essential to best business practice. Debra brings the topic to life with amusing anecdotes and gracious stories about her own struggles with stereotyping. As founder of MIX Diversity Developers Ltd, Debra has worked with many organisations to create innovative programmes to increase diversity at all levels of the organisation. Debra helps delegates to understand:

  • What is unconscious bias
  • How we can recognize it in ourselves
  • How to build a more inclusive approach to work and recruitment
  • Why ‘difference’ is good in business
  • Steps to take to increase your gender intelligence as a manager
  • How to sensitively speak up for diversity

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 Recent Publications

  • debra searle motivational book - Debra Searle

Debra has the ‘human touch’ and connected well with everyone in the audience. She held the audience from start to finish and balanced humour with more serious messages.


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