Ellen MacArthur

World class sailor – Fastest woman around the world

After setting a record for sailing around the world, Dame Ellen MacArthur has turned her attention toward creating a more “circular” economy — where resources and power recirculate and regenerate.

It’s a tradition among British citizens: If you circumnavigate the globe by sail, you’ll earn royal honors. Ellen MacArthur was made a dame in 2005 after the fastest solo sail around the world. But when you sail alone around the world, things come into focus. Dame Ellen, at the top of her sailing career, had become acutely aware of the finite nature of the resources our linear economy relies on.

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.

In 2010, she launched the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, which works with education and business to accelerate the transition to a regenerative circular economy. She also runs the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust, using sailing to build confidence for kids following cancer treatment.

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.

“Inspired by living alone on her yacht for more than two months, she found herself nagged by the question: how can our world continue to function with the economic model we’ve been living with for two centuries?” — Peter Day, BBC News Business

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