Be The Change
Successfully rowing solo across the Atlantic Ocean, Debra Searle MVO, MBE inspires all who meet her with her mental strength and determination - against all the odds.
A businesswoman, ‘professional adventurer’ and gender equality advocate, Debra Searle has launched three companies, won World Championship medals for Great Britain, presented several programmes for the BBC, been awarded a First Class Honours degree, and has had several books published.
When Debra's partner left her alone at sea, the sceptics gave her two days tops. Nonetheless, she dared to believe and, 111 days later, rowed into Port St Charles, Barbados to a rapturous welcome from friends, family, supporters and the world's media.
Considered the weakest competitor in the race, she overcame all the odds and her confident mental attitude pulled her through. Honest, open and funny, Debra's overwhelming positivity and 'go for it' attitude are contagious.
She regularly delivers both motivational presentations and after dinner speeches, using her journey of discovery during the race to powerfully, but subtly, draw out key business and personal lessons.
In her keynote ‘Choose Your Attitude!’, Debra shares the story of her remarkable row across the Atlantic, following her former husband’s premature departure from their small wooden boat, to demonstrate strategies for coping, and even excelling, during periods of change.
Her hard-hitting talk ‘Be The Change’ covers the topics of unconscious bias and diversity and inclusion, specifically focusing on gender balance in the workplace. She brings the topic to life with amusing anecdotes and gracious stories about her own struggles with stereotyping.
Debra is renowned for her ability to tailor her speeches to your needs, setting herself apart by her level of commitment to each project. 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 tailor her speech accordingly.
In 2002, HM 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 (she is its youngest ever trustee).
Not just a woman with an interesting story, Debra is a successful businesswoman in her own right. She became Managing Director of her first company at the age of 23 with the launch of The Well Hung Art Company. Today, she successfully runs two companies alongside a developing TV presenting career with the BBC.
She manages a diversity training and consultancy business called MIX Diversity Developers Ltd and is passionate about helping organisations maximise the opportunities present in a diverse workforce and customer base. In 2015, combining her two passions of adventure and gender diversity, Debra led an all-female team to the Arctic as a radical new approach to unconscious bias.
In recognition of her increasing expertise in the area of diversity and inclusion, Debra was appointed Co-Chair of the Women's Business Networks Forum at Buckingham Palace in 2014. She has been tasked with bringing together HR Directors and chairs of Women’s Networks from across the industry spectrum.
Speaking from the heart and with great humour and stunning video footage, Debra’s talks illustrate, in a very human way, what we are all capable of. Able to cover strategic change, personal motivation and choosing your own attitude, Debra’s lessons and wisdoms will stay with you long after her talk is over.
"I have never heard a better speech, anywhere, in any context." Alan Farnsworth, President Bausch & Lomb