Apart from her many accolades and international awards, in 2013 out of thousands of nominees and a grueling judging process, Lesley Rochat, also known as the Shark Warrior, won The Sunday Times/Johnnie Walker Nation’s Greatest Challenger Award, for which she was honoured at the Top 100 Companies annual event. She won because in her pursuit to make a difference she has sought excellence, bravely become the voice for those who cannot speak, refused to accept complacency or mediocrity, and above all, she has challenged conformities.
Multi-Talent. One Desire.
Before dedicating her life to conservation she had a high profile career as a model, 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.
In 2003 Lesley founded AfriOceans Conservation Alliance, a leading marine conservation organization, for which she is the CEO. She is also the CEO of Blue Pulse Pictures, her photography and documentary production company that sees her travelling to exotic and remote destinations worldwide.
This multitalented woman has been referred to as a dynamo and someone who “takes ideas and gives them wings”. Her titles include documentary filmmaker, author, campaigner, photographer and motivational speaker. Her work has captured the imagination of the world. Media love her, she’s been on shows such as CBS News USA, NBC New York, CNN Australia, Italian TV, SABC & E-TV news, News24, Carte Blanche, Top Billing, 50|50, and more, and appeared in countless international newspapers and magazines.
Through her dynamic leadership, the AfriOceans projects continue to reach millions worldwide. Her films and campaigns have won many prestigious awards while her work as an environmental photo-journalist has glossed countless publications. As a speaker she has addressed audiences in Indonesia, Malaysia, United States, Bahamas, United Kingdom, Mexico and South Africa.
As a photographic expedition leader, and through her thousands of hours spent underwater in often very challenging conditions, witnessing some of the most spectacular events in Nature, she has come to know that everything we want to learn, we can learn from Nature. She has one burning desire: to help conserve our natural environment.
Lesley goes to extremes: She trains mentally and physically in preparation for what others would never dare to do. She puts herself in unimaginable situations amongst the oceans top predators, sharks, to prove her point. She’s brave: Armed only with her camera she captures some of the most disturbing footage to raise awareness about critical marine issues. She’s the voice of our Oceans: on prime time TV News she regularly challenges policies and practices that threaten our oceans resources.
She’s respected: Trevor Manuel invited Lesley to contribute toward the Global Ocean Commission process.
Her award winning work as an extreme conservationist, combined with her diverse careers that span across the arts, the corporate market, and now the challenging nonprofit sector, allows her a unique understanding of what it takes to succeed against all odds.
Lesley challenges, inspires, 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 weaves her radical choices to put herself in potentially dangerous situations underwater into an awe-inspiring presentation.
Each of her talks focuses on a specific key topic linked to her intimate knowledge of one of the most misunderstood, yet simply awesome animals on our planet, and her journey to success, one fraught with many difficulties, but conquered with determination, passion and inner conviction.
The Art of Super Survival | Baitball the new Business Model | Dare to Swim (Naked) with Sharks |
Her passion is contagious. She knows how to inspire and motivate individuals and organizations to visualize, crystallize and become Super Survivors in our unpredictable, ever-changing world.
• Africa's Most Influential Women in Business and Government Awards: Nominee 2015
• South Africa's Most Influential Women in Business and Government Awards: Finalist in nonprofit sector 2013, nominated 2015
• Johnnie Walker & Sunday Times Nation’s Greatest Awards: Winner in ‘The Nation's Greatest Challenger’ category 2013
• Mail & Guardian Book of Women: 1 of 50 women featured 2013
• Oprah Magazine: 1 of 26 women selected worldwide for annual Women of Authentic Power 2013
• Global Oceans Society USA: Inductee 2013
• Women Divers Hall of Fame USA: Inductee 2010
• International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP): USA Inductee 2010
• See Lesley’s website for all her Film and Photography awards.