We were delighted to see Kiko Matthews yesterday morning as she squeezed a quick visit to the Skarbek offices on Chancery Lane into a schedule that has proved non-stop since she became the fastest woman to cross the Atlantic by rowing solo and unsupported some 3000 nautical miles in 49 days. Despite having her second brain tumour operated on less than a year ago the effect of her incredible ordeal has left her feeling and looking healthier than ever.
There is no lack of energy as Kiko, straight from the ITV studios, told us of the thrill of launching up the face of waves the same height as three upended double-decker buses stacked on top of each other. Of course, breaking world records does not come easy and Kiko also described the mental effort required to recommit herself to the immense physical challenge day in and day out. This was at its hardest when the wind turned directly on her and progress seemed impossible. Nevertheless what shines through at every encounter with Kiko is her determination to complete the task, her belief and her optimism – qualities we also find pretty useful in business.
One of the most interesting developments Kiko described during her 49-day trial was the unerring focus that she found as she closed in on her goal. Having started her transit with the comfort of music and podcasts she started to forego all distractions. By the end she had allowed herself to become entirely absorbed in the task at hand, relishing the clarity of purpose that was driving her to the finish – at one with the ocean.
We asked Kiko what was next on her agenda. She is mulling over the myriad of opportunities that her fantastic achievement has opened up. At her core she wants to continue to inspire young people – especially women – and one thing is for sure with her humour, unquenchable spirit and appetite for the toughest challenges we know she will do just that. At Skarbek, we take our name from another woman who was a force of nature and who achieved the seemingly impossible with great vivacity. We look forward to watching in admiration as Kiko’s journey continues and helping where we can.
Kiko has already raised £100k for the hospital she credits with saving her life, Kings College Hospital and aims to add at least another £50k to her total. Find out more about donating at http://www.kikomatthews.co.uk/