James Ketchell

Serial Adventurer & Excellent Motivational Speaker

James Ketchell is a serial adventurer, motivational speaker and Scouting ambassador. On 1st February 2014, James became the first and only person to have rowed across the Atlantic Ocean, successfully summited Mount Everest and cycled 18,000 miles around the world.

Seven years prior to all this, he was recovering from a serious motorcycle accident that left him with broken legs as well as a severely broken and dislocated ankle. The prognosis was that he was likely to suffer a permanent walking impairment and would certainly not be able to continue the active physical lifestyle he had enjoyed up to that point.

Having also survived two mid ocean rescues, James found himself clinging to a rope ladder on the side of a 100,000-ton crude oil tanker as he climbed to safety in storm force winds. No stranger to overcoming adversity and dealing with setbacks, James’ lectures include the importance of risk management, personal resilience and dealing with setbacks. James talks with candour and enthusiasm about his response to that challenge and the way he has, in his words, ‘without doing anything special’, set about physical tasks that most of us can only imagine experiencing.

He describes his approach to these extraordinary tasks, how he continuously set incremental and achievable goals, how he drew upon a capacity for making and cementing contacts to secure the necessary support and how he prepared for and experienced the physical effort these challenges demand. As James tells his story, the listener will often find it easy to believe that they too could achieve the extraordinary.

James is also passionate about the places he has been and the people he has met and talks with knowledge and affection of their lives, culture and beliefs and of the debt he owes them. He is particularly grateful to the Sherpas who assisted him on Everest, as they were instrumental in helping him off the mountain when he succumbed to a severe lung infection on the descent.

The key message that James reveals is that we can all potentially set ourselves difficult goals and achieve them: the capability to succeed is within everyone. His practical and pragmatic lessons include the importance of interim goals, breaking the task down into small, achievable steps, each one of which increases the commitment to the overall goal; the need for self-belief; the willingness of others to help if only you dare to ask and finally, the value of persistence.

As he neared the summit of Everest, James learnt that the last few hundred metres are completed a mere ten steps at a time, until the summit is in reach. With hindsight, this has been the secret of his success to date and it is an approach that he continued to use throughout his professional career.

To book James Ketchell as the motivational speaker for your corporate event, function or conference, simply contact the Champions Speakers agency by using the contact details below:

When at corporate events, James is known to cover the following topics:

  • Motivation & Inspiration
  • Organising & Logistics
  • Setting The Context
  • Dealing With Adversity & Setbacks
  • The Rewards
  • Places & People
  • Helping Others
  • Risk Management

See what feedback James received from the corporate events that he appeared at:

“James was invited to speak at the bi-annual RBS Portfolio Management Conference and drawing upon his various experiences and challenges, James was able to relate his talk in a highly effective style to the conference theme. By using a visual presentation full of breathtaking photos and videos that really brought home the scale of the challenge that James undertook, combined with James’ natural, easy going style, he was able to establish a strong rapport with the audience and bring his experiences on Mount Everest to life. James’ journey from a serious motorbike accident to then becoming the first person to successfully row solo across the Atlantic Ocean, summit Mt Everest and cycle around the world is truly powerful and motivational. The focus drive and ambition that James exhibits is enormously inspiring”.
PaulRoyal Bank of Scotland

“James came to GSK and gave us the opportunity to enjoy and vibrate with his adventures and experiences. He really engaged GSK audience with his amazing story-telling which was perfectly synchronized with photos and videos. He is really an example of hard work and determination and has shown us that you can reach any goal you set, you just need to believe that you can and to go one step after the other and you will finally reach it”.

“James was asked to speak about leadership challenges he had experienced during his various expeditions. He delivered a well-structured presentation with enthusiasm and confidence and was able to draw the audience into the excitement of each of his adventures. James was very approachable throughout and was eager to engage with and answer questions from the audience during and after his presentation. His self-discipline and self- motivation was clear throughout and he is an inspiration to all who were present”.
Sandhurst Royal Military Academy

“James is an engaging and exciting speaker. His story is a unique one combining personal challenge, adventure, adversity and achievement. I can thoroughly recommend James as his story is authentic and relevant to a business audience, whether large or small. He leaves you to draw your own conclusions in a witty and often understated way, which makes it all the more appealing and different. James is not your typical motivational speaker, but rather a very motivated speaker!”
AnthonyAvis UK

“James Ketchell’s story is truly amazing – he captivated the audience of 300 IT professionals with his tales of dealing with the challenges of nature, self- determination and of course a little bit of danger thrown in. Much of what he talks about can be applied to the corporate world – 90 minutes have never gone so quickly!”.
RaviWipro Technologies

“The mark of a competent speaker is their ability to connect to their audience. I have seen James speak on two occasions to a mixed audience of adults and teenagers and he has a great ability to connect and inspire his audience. I was also impressed with James’s ability to work to the brief I gave him and use his words and style to meet my communication targets. Often speakers who are highly motivated are so focused and driven that they are not approachable and flexible. James has the unique trait of being motivated and focused but is also extremely approachable and personable”.
Simon The Scout Association