Lesley Rochat, also known as the Shark Warrior for her passionate efforts in shark conservation, is a multi-talented woman who has been referred to as a dynamo and someone who “takes ideas and gives them wings”. She wears many hats as an accomplished marine and shark conservationist and Founder and Executive Director of AfriOceans Conservation Alliance, a non-profit organisation leading shark conservation and marine environmental education in South Africa. Before dedicating her life to marine conservation she had a high profile career as a model and professional actress and TV presenter. She later diversified into the corporate world and became a successful financial advisor, but the oceans called and led her to her true vocation. Lesley is a visionary, an award winning and internationally recognized filmmaker, photographer, campaigner, public speaker, author and environmental writer. An avid diver and a PADI Dive Master with over 1000 dives, she is the Principal Photographer of AfriOceans, traveling worldwide to capture the wonders of the oceans. She is the author of several children's books and educational books, and the creative director of countless educational and awareness initiatives. Last but not least, Lesley is an activist, filled with passion to help save the life support system upon which all of humanity depends, the oceans. Her passion and energy is contagious, rubbing off on her dynamic and dedicated team, and all those whose lives she touches. Lesley has earned a respected reputation for her efforts and is considered an important role player in marine and shark conservation. Her efforts are recognized worldwide resulting in an international following, becoming an inductee of the Women Divers Hall of Fame and the International League of Conservation Photographers. As a woman who has succeeded in a diverse range of careers that span across the arts, the corporate market, and now the challenging non-profit sector, Lesley brings a unique combination and understanding of what it takes to succeed against all odds. Her background as an actress and TV presenter makes her at home in front of groups of executives, professionals or students. She has addressed groups from as small as 20 people to crowds as large as 3000 people.
TopicsDare to Swim with Sharks! One of the biggest obstacles in realizing our dreams and reaching our full potential whether in business or as an individual is fear. It affects us all. But F.E.A.R. is an acronym for False Evidence Appearing Real, merely the boogieman under the bed, which we empower and entertain in its many shapes and forms, allowing it to cripple our ability to reach the top. Lesley, a woman once nicknamed ‘Shark Bait’ by her dive buddies because of her inherent fear of sharks, shares her unique perspective of overcoming fear in pursuit of one’s dreams. She challenges, and motivates audiences with an emotionally charged multimedia presentation, which includes her compelling video footage and world-class photography that has documented her work with the oceans and sharks over more than a decade. She not only shares her intimate knowledge of one of the most misunderstood and feared animals on Earth, but also her journey to success, one fraught with many difficulties, but conquered with determination, passion and inner conviction. Lesley inspires the audience into action by providing powerful and practical tools she has used to overcome fear in her climb to success as a world respected shark conservationist. “Dreams we secretly fantasize about can become our reality if we’re prepared to take risks and confront our worst fears, even if it means we must swim with sharks.” - Lesley Rochat Baitball, the New Business Model A new challenge facing business today is the shift to recognizing and incorporating the Big Picture into their strategies, unless they are willing to be literally left behind in the dust, or floods. The Big Picture is the environmental crisis facing Earth brought on by global warming, loss of biodiversity and natural resources. It cannot be ignored as it represents a real threat to the future survival of all businesses, large or small. Turning a shade of green is smart business, but how does one do this effectively? Holding the belief that Nature is our greatest teacher, in this entertaining, thought provoking and visually stimulating presentation, Lesley shares strategies for businesses, which she has drawn from hours spent observing the animals of the oceans. Using the analogy of the spectacular sardine run, the natural phenomenon that occurs along the South African coast annually, she challenges a paradigm shift from old sustainability business models to seeing business as an interconnected and interdependent ecosystem that is no different to the sardine run and its thousands of predators and prey. Is your business a helpless sardine, an opportunistic shark, or a smart dolphin creating the baitball?
Winner: Sunday Times/Johnnie Walker Nation’s Greatest Awards – there were 7 categories, thousands of nominations – I won the Nation’s Greatest Challenger Award for 2013. Was awarded at Cradle of Human Kind and thereafter honoured at the Top 100 Companies event in JHB. Finalist: Africa’s most Influential Women in Business and Government Awards 2013 – non profit sector – 7 stage selection process so very honoured to be recognised Selected: 1 of 50 successful women to appear in Mail & Guardian’s Book of Women 2013 Selected: O Magazine as one of 15 women globally who’ve consistently displayed authenticity, innovation and leadership Inducted: into the USA Global Oceans Society.