Ellen MacArthur captured the public’s attention when she took on The Vendée Globe - the toughest challenge the world's oceans have to offer. After spending 100 days alone at sea, battling against the elements and equipment failures, Ellen was inspired to start a new journey: working with local and national governments, scientists, and across key industry sectors to find solutions to an economy reliant on finite resources.
With a truly inspirational tale of courage and tenacity, Dame Ellen McArthur defied her youth and inexperience to become the youngest sailor to make it around the world in a yacht race, as well as being one of the youngest people to be awarded an MBE.
One of the UK’s best loved personalities, known for her charismatic personality, steely ambition and prized oratorial skills, Ellen is one of the most popular speakers on the corporate circuit, adept at turning lessons learned at sea into invaluable business messages.
Her innovative and determined approach to life, and her unparalleled success when it comes to overcoming obstacles are a true inspiration to those who hear her speak.
As a child Ellen was captivated by the sea, but it seemed a distant dream, until she had saved up enough money for a dinghy by the age of 11. By the time she was 18 she owned Iduna – her own 21-foot yacht, which took her around the UK alone, and garnered her the coveted title of British Young Sailor of the Year, and she also earned the Yachtmaster Offshore Qualification – the youngest person to do so.
In the year 2000 Ellen entered the Vendee Globe, coming in an incredible second place, after enduring 94 days in hostile seas. Two years later she won the Route de Rhum, and then paired up with Alain Gautier, for a round-the-world attempt, which was unsuccessful. Determined to reclaim her reputation she sailed solo around the world in 2008 in record time and was made a Dame.
Retirement from competitive sailing did not mean the end for Ellen. On a mission to spread her environmental messages, Ellen began to explore the real issues that sustainability was increasingly bringing to the fore.
Setting up the Ellen McArthur foundation in 2010, she aims to promote a circular economy that gives back to our planet. Working with business, government and academia, Ellen aims to catalyse change and communicate the importance of social responsibility to the environment.
On a mission to reduce her own energy and resource consumption, Ellen communicates with corporate audiences through her incredible story, and encourages environmental awareness with passion, determination and charm.