Peggy Bouchet – First female solo Atlantic crossing

Inspirational Keynote Speaker -

  • Sailor, adventurer, and first woman to do a solo crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in a rowboat
  • Survived her boat capsizing in shark-infested waters
  • Jury member for various competitions
  • Bestselling author

Upon completing her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in France and England, Peggy Bouchet started working for Alcatel in Paris as an export financial engineer.

She was 23 years old at the time. She resigned from Alcatel in 1997 to join a team sailing across the Atlantic Ocean because she wanted to gain more experience of the sea.

Upon returning to Brest, she invested in a rowing boat that met her requirements. After being recruited to a logistics management role by 3M France, she spent her weekends working on her project.

Peggy secured her first sponsorship by the end of 1997, and January the next year saw her resign from her job and create her own company to manage her expedition.

In March 1998, Peggy left the Canary Islands and rowed alone for 79 days across 5,500 km, 10 hours a day.

However, one day before arriving in Guadeloupe, her boat capsized in a raging sea with 7/8-meter-high waves. She endured nine long hours straddled on the hull of her boat. She was surrounded by four-meter sharks.

Her last-minute rescue, however, ensured her survival. Peggy became the first woman to row across the Atlantic and swore to do it again.

A short 18 months later, Peggy left the Cape Verde Islands and arrived in Martinique in January 2000.

Her accomplishments generated many partnership/advertising contracts with major French and international brands.

These included the likes of Peugeot, Citroën, BMW, SFR, and Roxy Quicksilver.

Peggy Bouchet has over 500 talks to her credit in France and Europe and was a jury member of the 2016/2017 ” Prix des Femmes d’influence.” She was also the Godmother of “Prix des Voyages extraordinaires” and “Libres ensemble” events, which encourage curiosity, adventure, and entrepreneurial spirit.

Peggy gave a TEDX Talk at the London School of Economics in London in 2016 on the theme “Be an Adventurer In Your Life” and a talk at the plenary of the “Women’s Forum” in November 2018 in Paris on the theme “Be the bridge and dare!“.

A bestselling author, she is currently working on a new book and an original training program for young project leaders that focus on strong values such as entrepreneurial spirit, daring, courage, enthusiasm, will, and curiosity.

The recipient of various awards, she counts among these the following:

  • Adventurer of the Year by the European Guild of Raid.
  • La Toison d’Or de l’Aventure by International Adventure Film Festival International in Dijon.
  • La Borne de l’Aventure de l’IGN, by a national jury composed of journalists, explorers.
  • Femme en or 2001 in Sport/Adventure category with awards for the 7 most deserving women of the year.

Speaker Topics

Always dare, sometimes give in, never give up: An inspiring talk based on human factors and soft skills. Being an adventurer means above all being a company manager:

Recruiting a team, managing it.

Being able to prepare and manage a project from the idea to its realization. Succeeding in raising the necessary financing.

Being able to manage the communication/marketing part of a project and to ensure the best return on investment to the clients (the sponsors in my case) while respecting the budget and deadlines. But it also means making decisions and managing constraints, obstacles, and risks.

Many values and points are common to a company and an adventure.

Strengthen your audacity, courage, and commitment: From idea to realization, it seems to be full of obstacles. “It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, but because we do not dare that they are difficult.” Seneca. Tenacity and audacity are muscles, the more we use them, the stronger they become. Just like courage, audacity increases with daring and fear with hesitation.

Obstacles and failures Management/ Cultivate risk-taking: Consider each experience and obstacle as a springboard. Highlight the virtues of failure. Transforming obstacles and failures into learning opportunities and positive factors for change. Without risk-taking, there is no innovation, no change, no creativity.

Develop adaptation and resilience capacities. Understand that it is more useful to spend time adjusting rather than wanting to feel ready. Remember that the unexpected and headwinds can stimulate our creativity and resources.

Always see yourself as a winner: Act as if it were impossible to fail. The repetition of the visualization will generate a programming of the action and reinforce it in the field.

The importance of weight and choice of words in team management: Use a vocabulary and an attitude based on what we can win and not on what we can lose, on what we want and not on what we fear.

Learn to say “Thank You” to a collaborator or a team: Being grateful enables recognition of the quality of the work carried out but also encourages the tasks to come, which contributes to developing mutual confidence during the different stages of a company project. Being capable of pushing them forward and rewarding them for their contribution all throughout the project to develop individual talents, will contribute to the development of mutual trust during the different stages.

Demonstrate the importance of preparation in a project during the different phases, each specificity has its importance in the success of a project: technical, managerial (recruitment and management of team members, qualities required), communication, marketing, the satisfaction of the sponsors (identified as the Client), etc. Learn how to take advantage of previous experiences. Ensure the synergy of the team, as would the conductor of an orchestra, where each person has a role to play. The success of the project depends on each actor’s work, and on compliance with rules and ethics. Unify team spirit, listening to its employees both in victory and in adversity.

Client feedback

Not just existing but living even more in this gloomy climate”. Thank you Peggy Bouchet for this exchange full of wisdom and optimism with the teams of Zurich Insurance France. This crisis is our crossing of the Atlantic. invites us to reconnect with the essentials and resume them time of wonder.

Florence Tondu-Mélique, CEO of Zurich Insurance France