From rowing singlehandedly across oceans – to gathering life-changing ideas in Stroud

Written by: Simon Hacker | Posted 14 July 2020 7:55

From rowing singlehandedly across oceans – to gathering life-changing ideas in Stroud

Roz Savage’s Twitter profile introduces her as an author, speaker and Yale lecturer – impressive enough on its own - then chips in that she is also the first woman to row solo across three oceans. 

Now a resident of Gloucestershire she is also an avid convert of the world-wide movement that is TED – the not-for-profit organisation which seeks to introduce the world to incredible ideas through ever-new speakers. 

Post conquering the oceans (with no support vessel shadowing) – a feat it seems ridiculous to just gloss over here – she was instantly plunged into more deep water. That being facing up to the fear of public speaking, something she found herself in demand for when she found dry land.

We will go back over some of that story, but to fast-forward to the present, as a now accomplished speaker, she finds herself the face of a small team searching for speakers for an even called TEDxStroudWomen. 

“Earlier this year I was listening to a podcast with Chris Anderson global curator for Ted, and something just clicked. 

“I thought, wouldn’t it be an amazing opportunity to curate an event,” said the woman whose life took a dramatic turn when she decided a high-flying career in the City was not for her – a journey still underway and which has earned her an MBE. 

Her search for her true self began with the dramatic life-changing decision to row the Atlantic and from then on her journey has been as much about finding new challenges as it has been new adventures. 

It was a connection to Polly Higgins, the barrister and environmental campaigner, which drew her attention to Gloucestershire and saw her relocate here a year ago. Her own passion for the environment has been a constant companion since it joined her on that first ocean voyage.

Her own earliest Ted talk is available on-line, and is worth viewing – although for Roz herself the memories are mixed. She explains how, overcome with the nerves of it all, she could not recall the words she planned to wrap up proceedings with. You cannot tell from the footage. 

It is clear that since then – not least as a lecturer in America and successful author (her latest book is a reflection on how lockdown compares to her days and days alone on board her rowing boat)- she has learned to thrive on stage. 

Those who step forward for TEDxStroudWomen need not be women, she said, and within reason can be any age. It is the idea they want to get across and the passion they have within that are key.  

“I am really, really hoping that come November we will have a full TEDx experience, even if it is to a socially distanced audience,” said Roz, adding that coaching will be made available for anyone who wants to step forward.Naturally good speakers, she said, did not always deliver the best TED experiences. 

“The best ted talks are grounded in someone’s experience. They have factual knowledge of their particular field – they have lived it. Their message is usually about their own journey. It will be unusual, and it will be inspiring,” said Roz, whose words mirror her own journey. 

“We are looking for nine speakers – from diverse backgrounds. We are hoping for difference topics, different genders, abilities, ethnicity, ages and they do not have to be from Stroud – anywhere in Gloucestershire and we would consider people from further afield.”

While she is about empowering the voice of women, TEDxStroudWomen’sremit is broad, its ambitions bold and it promises to be fascinating. Much like the woman who has become the face of this year’s event, who will also be fronting proceedings when the curtains go up in November. 

To find out more visit TEDxStroudWomen and follow the links. Applications close at the end of July. 

For more information contact: Roz Savage and follow TEDxStroudWomen on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for news and updates. 

The event is to be held at the Subscription Rooms in Stroud on Sunday, November 29.