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Debra Searle MBE

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.


About Debra Searle MBE

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 3 ½ 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 well over 1100 events around the world, across every industry sector but she is more than your usual sports speaker. 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 an 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. In 2023, a British newspaper listed Debra as one of the World’s Top 50 Inspirational Leaders.  Debra has been 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. The movie of Debra’s solo Atlantic row is currently in development in Hollywood.

Speech Topics
  • Choose Your Attitude! It’s not magic: it’s mindset.
  • Practical tools to stay motivated and build resilience.
  • Wellbeing techniques to expand our ability to tolerate the challenges.
  • How to keep going when the journey only seems to be getting harder.
  • Finding a way to innovate when pushed outside our comfort zones.
  • Taking personal ownership as an individual while performing as part of a team.
  • Leading through change / Strategies for not just coping but excelling during times of adversity.
  • Women In Leadership and how to manage Unconscious/Implicit Bias.
Booking Information


"Debra’s presentation was perfectly aligned to our event objectives. Clearly Debra’s achievements are amazing and interesting in themselves. More importantly, 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. She scored 5 out of 5 from every one of the 170 delegates. This is unheard of!"

Client Director, IBM (IBM have booked Debra a further 8 times)

"Debra was very motivational, great on goal setting and having the right attitude of mind. An inspirational story and a great role model particularly for women in our team."

Johnson & Johnson

"People in attendance were captivated by Debra's talk and a number were very keen to stay on beyond the scheduled hour to ask questions and talk some more. She definitely hit the spot and took us with her on her journey – I know for a fact there were more than a few tears in the room when she showed the video clip of her return to dry land."


"She was excellent. The time taken by Debra to understand our business really paid off. The best thing about her was her humility and also her willingness to stay and chat to the audience."


"We held a conference for 1400 business people with Mikhael Gorbachev, Rory Bremner, Nick Leeson, Murray Walker, John Simpson and Debra as the speakers, and the delegates voted Debra Veal the best."

Mike Firth, CE of The International Business Convention.

"Debra was excellent. The time taken by Debra to understand our business really paid off. The best thing about her was her humility and also her willingness to stay and chat to the audience."

Karen Allen, Head of Communications, Portman Building Society

"People really valued the fact that Debra is able to draw parallels between her adventure experiences and her working/daily life, having run her own companies - and that she does so in a way that is personal to her and offered simply as a thought to the group rather than drawing sweeping generalised conclusions and laying them down as law in the way some speakers do. She definitely hit the spot and took us with her all the way on her journey."

Debra Westlake, UBS Global Employee Communications Director

"Debra was excellent and very inspirational but not in a cheesy way. I really felt that I could relate her experiences to my working day."

Director, Ernst & Young

"I have never heard a better speech, anywhere, in any context."

Alan Farnsworth, President, Bausch & Lomb EMEA

"I have never heard a better speech, anywhere, in any context."

Bausch & Lomb EMEA

Debra Searle MBE News

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