07 Nov 2013

Katie Spotz – TEDxSMU 2013

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24-year old Katie Spotz, from Mentor, Ohio, describes herself as having been the “benchwarmer” throughout her life. However, there came a time when she made a discovery: you don’t have to be extraordinary to achieve incredible things. And she set about achieving them, one by one.

The list of accomplishments to her name is long, and includes a half-ironman triathlon, an ultramarathon in Australia, cycling across the country, a 325-mile river swim, running across deserts and a solo row across the Atlantic Ocean. But this wasn’t just any row; when Katie arrived in Guyana, South America, after 70 days at sea, she set a world record for the youngest ever solo ocean rower, one of many records to her name.

Throughout her row, Katie wasn’t just seeking to make history. She was also raising money, for the Blue Planet Network, a San Francisco-based non-profit funding safe drinking water projects around the world. As interest grew in Katie’s amazing exploits, donations came flooding in and, at the moment, the total stands at over $150,000.

Katie is continuing to raise awareness of the plight of the billions around the world suffering from a lack of safe drinking water, giving talks to groups and organizations around the country. Along the way, she can’t help but inspire all who come to see her speak, as they realize that extraordinary achievements are within everyone’s grasp.

Katie’s story has been featured on CBS Morning Show, CBS Evening News, World News with Diane Sawyer, Anderson Cooper 360, New York Times, NPR, PBS News Hour, and the Discovery Channel. In 2010, Katie was honored by Glamour Magazine as one of their “Women of the Year”, alongside people like Julia Roberts, Cher and Queen Rania of Jordan.


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