Serial Adventurer, Motivational Speaker and Scouting Ambassador.
James Ketchell > Speaker

Adventurer, Speaker, Author

James was first ask to speak about his adventures on his return from rowing across the Atlantic Ocean in 2010, at the time he did not know that ten years later he would end up becoming a top international speaker, enthralling audiences with his stories and lessons learned with thousands of people around the world at any one time.

Rowing oceans, climbing mountains, setting aviation records and surviving mid ocean rescues have far more in common with high performing companies than it might initially appear.

James is often asked to share his values and beliefs with many of the words leading organisations, including eBay, PWC, GSK and leadership establishments such as Sand Hurst Royal Military Academy.


  • 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.

    Royal Bank of Scotland
    Paul Brosnahan, Head of Portfolio Management Royal 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.

    Ismael de los Mozos, GSK Aranda Site Director
  • 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
    Major MT Cansdale MBE PARA|SO2, Leadership RMA Sandhurst 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!

    Avis UK
    Anthony Ainsworth, Commercial Director, Avis 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!

    Wipro Technologies
    Ravi Prakash, General Manager, Wipro 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.

    The Scout Association
    Simon Carter, Assistant Director, The Scout Association
  • James has an amazing story to tell. Listening to the challenges he’s faced and how he overcame them is truly inspirational. In a really engaging manner, he manages to relate his outstanding achievements to a broad audience, giving them real food for thought on how to go about far less daunting challenges themselves. His enthusiasm was infectious and the feedback from our team was excellent.

    Ian Morrison, Yorkshire & North East Regional Leader, PwC
  • James was fantastic choice for a guest speaker at our annual business kick-off. His story was a wonderfully inspiring reminder of what we are all truly capable of when we have a dream and simply put one foot in front of the other to start and make things happen!

    Phuong Nguyen GM eBay Advertising EMEA

An Inspirational Message

James talks with candour and enthusiasm about his approach to taking on challenges and “without doing anything special” the way he has tackled physical adventures that most of us have only imagined experiencing.

He describes how he set incremental and achievable goals, how he secured sponsorship and support, how he physically prepared himself, and what experiences these challenges threw at him. As James tells his story, the listener will believe that they too could achieve the extraordinary.



Why do it? What motivates James? What could motivate you to set your own challenging goals and achieve them.


How to develop a strong consistent mindset? Turn your brain into your greatest ally, as opposed to your worst enemy.

Organising and logistics

The importance of a network; the value of persistence. How to set intermediate goals and push the boundaries.

Setting the context

How hard is it to row across the Atlantic ocean, summit Mt Everest & cycle around the world? How is it done? How to step outside your comfort zone.

Dealing with adversity & setbacks

How to overcome adversity and build resilience, turning negatives into positive opportunities and driving for results.

The rewards

What it feels like to achieve your goals and how to create a performance culture. Supported by stunning pictures & video captured throughout James’ career.

Places and people

It’s an immensely fascinating world out there and there is nothing better than personal experience. How to make friends & build a support network?

Helping others

What others can learn from this and how James looks to support others through his endeavours.

Risk management

How does James mitigate the risks associated with his expeditions, and how that relates to the corporate world.


How it is changing adventure and exploration. How the planet is changing.

James is an accomplished presenter and regularly speaks at events and conferences around the world including, US, India, Europe and the Middle East.

James’ book ‘The Ultimate Triathlon’ was launched in April 2016 and has been endorsed by Bear Grylls.

James’ second book, ‘Chasing Extremes’ is due for release in November 2020.

James’ key message is that we can all set ourselves inspirational goals and achieve them:
the capability to succeed lies within.

His practical and pragmatic learning includes:

  • The importance of setting interim goals
  • Breaking tasks down into 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.