Lewis Pugh

The only person to have completed a long-distance swim in every ocean, extreme adventurer and record-breaking swimmer Lewis Pugh talks about pushing yourself beyond 'the possible' into new realms of achievement.

Most recently during 2018's summer, Lewis swam the 530km length of the English Channel in just 49 days, starting at Land's End and finishing in Dover.

In 2016 he helped negotiate the creation of the biggest protected area in the world in the Ross Sea off Antarctica. The negotiations required consensus among 25 countries, a number of which had long standing disputes with one another. The media dubbed his efforts as "Speedo diplomacy" after Lewis took on the challenge of swimming 5 swims in freezing Antarctic waters, wearing just speedos and a swim hat.

As a motivational and keynote speaker, he puts businesses at every level worldwide through their paces with vital messages and strategies for surviving and thriving in a fragile economic climate.

To be the first human to  swim  across the Arctic waters (a mean minus 1.7°C!) requires a shift in mind-set when dealing with a dramatic drop in body temperature and the dangers of killer sea-animals: one must conjure up and maintain a constant focus and flexibility—crucial elements of business management.

Lewis has lived through the repercussions of change and their contributing factors and, a passionate voice for conservation, has been busy honing his front crawl technique in vulnerable ecosystems to raise awareness about their plight.

For example, in 2010, he completed a swim across a glacial lake on Mount Everest to draw attention to the melting glaciers in the Himalayas and the impact the reduced water supply will have on peace in the region. He has now pioneered more swims around famous landmarks than any other swimmer in history!

Teamwork is also vital to the success of his exploits. Lauded as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, Lewis’ influence and endurance was enabled by those around him. His crack teams are always made of those completely committed to excellence and leaders in their field.

Through his adventures, he dreams of making a significant difference. In 2015, Lewis undertook five swims in Antarctica to campaign for a large Marine Protected Area in the Ross Sea - one of the most incredible and diverse areas left on earth – which is now threatened by overfishing and climate change. The media have dubbed his efforts as ‘Speedo diplomacy’.

One of Lewis’ keynote speeches on leadership was voted one of the ‘7 Most Inspiring Videos on the Web’, and TED have described him as a ‘master story-teller’. He has also appeared on various international TV news channels, and his autobiography ‘Achieving the Impossible’ was selected for Oprah’s Exclusive Book List.

Along with the Freedom of the City of London, Lewis has been bestowed with South Africa and France’s highest honours.

Lewis addresses audiences on; Business management and teamwork, surviving and thriving in challenging times, achieving the impossible, change and its repercussions and the plight of vulnerable ecosystems. Lewis has been invited to speak at both the Conservative and Labour Party 2018 conferences, and co-hosting the Panda Awards, otherwise known as the Oscars of the wildlife and environmental film and TV awards.

Megan Reitz

Megan Reitz is a facilitator, teacher, speaker, executive coach, researcher and author dedicated to exploring and finding ways to improve the way we interact with one another in the workplace.

Her passion and curiosity centres around the quality of how we meet, see, hear, speak, learn with and encounter one another in organisational systems and how we might encourage dialogue which is more humane and which enables us, our colleagues and our society to flourish.

Working at the intersection of leadership, change, dialogue and mindfulness, she has presented her research to audiences throughout the world and she is listed on the Thinkers50 Radar of global management thinkers and on the 2019 HR Most Influential list of Thinkers.

Her recent research with John Higgins on ‘Speaking truth to Power’ – examining how perceptions of power enable and silence others – has been featured in five articles in Harvard Business Review. It is the subject of her TEDx talk and their new book, 'Speak Up: Say what needs to be said and hear what needs to be heard', with Financial Times Publishing, which was shortlisted for the CMI Management Book of the Year 2020.

With Michael Chaskalson she has been examining mindful leadership and their research has been published by Harvard Business Review (Nov, Dec 2016 and Aug 2020), featured in Forbes Magazine and their book, Mind Time: How Ten Mindful Minutes can enhance your work, health and happiness, (Harper Thorsons, 2018). She is also the author of Dialogue in Organizations; Developing Relational Leadership (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015).

As well as running her own business, she is Professor of Leadership and Dialogue at Ashridge Executive Education – part of Hult International Business School. She supervises students undertaking their PhD on the Executive Doctorate in Organisational Change and she also teaches on a wide range of open and custom programmes. Her particular interest is in action inquiry based research – research which is participatory and dedicated to initiating generative change through cycles of action, inquiry and reflection – however, Megan's own research includes a broad range of methodological approaches.

Before joining Ashridge, she was a consultant with Deloitte; surfed the dot-com boom with boo.com; and worked in strategy consulting for The Kalchas Group, now the strategic arm of Computer Science Corporation.

She was educated at Cambridge University gaining an MA in Land Economy. She received a Masters in Change Agent Skills and Strategies at Surrey University and a Masters in Research at Cranfield School of Management where she was also awarded her PhD.

She is an accredited executive coach with Ashridge and The School of Coaching and she is qualified with the British Psychological Society to deliver and feedback a range of psychometric instruments. As a mindfulness teacher, she has studied with Bangor University’s Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice and she is an Associate at Mindfulness Works with Michael Chaskalson.

She is mother to two wonderful daughters who test her regularly on my powers of mindfulness and dialogue. Her favourite pastimes are to hike in beautiful countryside with her family and to cycle through the forest at Ashridge.

Doug Manuel

Doug Manuel is a motivational speaker, workshop leader and musician with a deep understanding of business processes and dynamics and a special talent for bringing people together, fostering connections and establishing true collaboration. To meet the challenges of our times, his impact talks and interactive experiences are designed to energize and keep people connected at both virtual or hybrid as well as live events.

He has an extraordinary ability to read and feel into his audiences and connect with them even from afar. With his natural empathy and deep understanding of the human being, he guides them to a place of active listening, building up emotions and energy: the ideal opener to any event format and the perfect re-energizer and connector throughout the programme.

Creator of the internationally acclaimed ‘Djembe! The Show’ nominated for two JEFF awards, for over more than 20 years, Doug Manuel has collaborated with multinationals, sports teams, leading business schools and NGOs - not to mention TEDx, TED Global and Oprah Winfrey. In his keynote speeches, workshops and breakout sessions he uses stories, music, and rhythm to boost energy, break down barriers and create an interactive, multi-sensory experience. Delivered in his native English or fluent French, Doug Manuel’s presentations have a lasting impact on audiences large or small.

In 1995, Doug Manuel attended a drumming workshop and his love of Africa was born. The following year he set off for the mother continent to film elephants for a BBC documentary, and to West Africa to study the music of the Djembe. He eventually gave up his career as a BBC documentary producer to pursue and share his passion for the Djembe, and to focus on his personal development work and extensive coaching. During this journey, he acquired the skills, insights and understanding which today enable him to empower people to connect with themselves, each other and their work.

With a strong focus on empathy, his topics range from resilience to help embrace change, enhancing purpose and collaboration to drive success, developing leadership and personal growth to expand careers, through to mindfulness and managing stress to overcome challenges.

Delivered in leading business schools and Fortune 500 companies, Leadership Development and Team Building are the focus of Doug’s much-praised interactive workshops and live learning laboratories. Leading by example, he generously shares his expertise and personal techniques to bring out the best in teams and put leadership theory into action.

Doug also leads his charity ‘Lighting Up Lives’, whose pilot project partners with the villagers of Abéné in Senegal, inspiring and supporting local action to solve local problems such as energy, health, sanitation and education. The charity builds bridges between Africa and the occident, fostering collaboration and putting words into action.