Testimonies for schools

John Quinn
Director of Wellbeing and Positive Education – Christ’s College

We have Isaac come into College and speak several times to our students as well as at conferences we have run. He has spoken to whole year groups as well as classes at College. We have run two student conferences this year with a Leadership and Wellbeing conference with up to 600 students attending and Isaac also spoke at these events.

He has an excellent message to the students about following your passion and finding an adventure top go on. He presents his messages about:

  • setting goals
  • perseverance
  • mental health
  • adventures
  • grit
  • following your passion
  • standing up for something you

In a way that students can relate and understand. His 8 lessons for life are simple yet powerful for our young people to take on board and start straight away.

I would highly recommend Isaac and his messages any audience

Darrell Thatcher
Christ’s College

“Isaac spoke at our Year 12 Emerging Leaders’ Conference, a conference for Year 12 students around Canterbury. He talked about the life lessons he learnt about himself and how to keep healthy throughout any storms that life may throw at you, as well as his eight lessons for life. His story and the down to earth presentation of it, resinated with the students in terms of setting a challenge and working hard to achieve it – a case of anything is possible. Having his boat there for the students to see reaffirmed the enormity of the journey he undertook. I would recommend Isaac as an ideal presenter to any school looking for someone to speak to its students on goal setting, resilience and life lessons moving forward”

Lisa Ponweiser
Acting Assistant Principal – Mount Hutt College

Isaac Giesen is an emerging inspirational speaker with phenomenal energy and insight into what holds us back from doing what we want, and what drives us forward and liberates us from fear. In a series of engaging, well constructed and age appropriate presentations to Mount Hutt College students in Years 11-13, and Years 9 and 10, Isaac’s passion, his unique experiences on the ocean and infectious humour captured and connected with his audiences. His message and his delivery is positive, pragmatic and his props and strategies are genuine and clever, delivering simple and effective ideas and techniques that students and adults can walk away with, knowing they can practise these anywhere, anytime. Our students and staff left the presentation already starting to feel less stressed, more relaxed, ready to take responsibility and ready for adventure!

I would recommend Isaac Giesen without reservation as a motivational speaker and presenter.

Jonathan Bierworth
Deputy Rector
St Andrews College Principal of Prepartory School

It is my pleasure to write in support of Isaac Giesen, the Blue Rower, and his remarkable achievement. To row solo across the Atlantic is quite something.

As an ex-student of St Andrew’s College, the children and staff were very keen to follow Isaac’s journey. It was a highlight to be able to speak with him via satellite phone, in the middle of the ocean.

Of course, the true highlight was when Isaac visited the College, with his boat, and talked to the children and staff. Seeing Isaac captivate the children as he told his story was something special. This was 450 children aged 5 to 13, and every one of them intently listened to every word. His presentation also prompted many thoughtful questions which clearly showed how enthralled the children were.

Isaac’s down to earth and calm approach allowed him to present his story in a meaningful and real way. He was able to cover everything from the day to day ways to cope with his personal needs to how he coped with the immense time of being along in what could be, at times, a very scary and lonely place.

It is without reservation that I recommend Isaac and his remarkable story to audiences of any age.

Jeremy Nurse
Managing Trustee – 180 Degrees Trust

Thank you for your time last week addressing the young people here at 180 Degrees. As you know, our students struggle with education, self-esteem, self-control and often have little support from family and friends. It was inspirational for them to hear you recount your journey rowing singlehandedly for 70 days across the Atlantic. They heard of the way you kept your spirits up, handled moments of self-doubt but most of all had faith in your ability to complete a project. At a time when teenagers are bombarded with fears of climate change, global warming and a crowded planet it was great to hear some positivity.

They also heard how you have a regime of punctuality, personal hygiene and high moral values. These are the hallmarks of success which we strive to convey to the teenagers with whom we work. Your story was a working example.

And of course to actually see your boat really brought the reality of your feat home to us all.

Thank you again for a very stimulating address.

Scott Liddell
Deputy Principle – Kaiapoi High School

Earlier this year our Year 10 Sport Performance Students were fortunate enough to have Isaac Giesen come and speak to them. Isaac delivered a slick and well-directed presentation covering a range of topics.

Speaking to around 60 students and staff in two sessions Isaac was able to captivate, educate and inspire the audience. The presentations linked in aspects of motivation, wellbeing and how we all need to care for our environment.

To finish off Isaac was able to answer a wide range of student questions as they were eager to find out more. These ranged from “are you Aquaman” to “what was the first thing you ate when you landed”.

I will gladly recommend Isaac to speak not just in schools but in all areas of society as his messages are clear, wide-ranging and valuable. I will for sure be looking at getting Isaac back to speak at Kaiapoi High School

Wendy Crossen
Catholic Cathedral College

It gives me great pleasure in writing to recommend Isaac Giesen “The Blue Rower” as a speaker for your work facility, community organisation or school.

I first heard Isaac at a Wellbeing Conference held at Christs College. He was engaging, motivating and was able to hold the audience with his easy going rapport. Following this I made contact with Isaac and he quick to respond with his availability.

Catholic Cathedral College had the privilege to hear Isaac speak last week. The students and Staff were engaged in his story and focused on his rules for good life. Mental Health and talking about mental health important, Isaac’s guide was relatable and the students were able to grasp the concepts well.

Isaac has a great skill, his journey and his message is important for all people to take away. His presentation is not just for schools but I would encourage workplaces, community organisations to hear what he has to say.

E hoa ma, ina te ora o te tangata

My friends, this is the essence of life

Yours sincerely

Liam Foley
St Bede’s College

“Staff and students at St Bede’s College enjoyed the Blue Rower presentation. It was an inspiring story of overcoming challenges and setting your sights high. The well-being tips Isaac imparted were practical and useful for students and staff alike. It was great he brought his boat along so the boys could see this. The presentation is well worth listening to!”

Dave Bone
Assistant Principal Head of Junior School – Christchurch Boys High

We recently had Isaac present to our Year 9, 10 and 11 students. With just under 900 hundred students present Isaac gave an informative and entertaining presentation.

He touched on several issues including Mental Health, coping strategies and goal setting. The pitch of his message was at the right level and interactive with the students. After the presentation Isaac also met with various students to show off his boat and again interacted with them in an informal but informative way.

We have invited Isaac back to present to our Senior school as we felt that the message was both relevant and valuable.

Penny Mossman
Acting Principal – Amuri Area School

Today we were lucky enough to have Isaac Giesen – The Blue Rower – present to our Year 9-13 students. Isaac’s amazing feat of becoming the first New Zealander to row solo the Atlantic Ocean, 70 days, 19 hours and 37 minutes at sea was an extraordinary feat achieved by an ordinary guy to raise awareness of mental health and depression. A clear message for our students was that in all that you think and do, when things are going well or not so well you just ‘keep rowing’. Isaac had an 8 step plan which included taking control of your emotional and physical health and keeping things simple. Whatever your circumstances it is important to talk about feelings and it is OK to ask for help. Isaac is a great role model for our young people who found him easy to relate to and able to speak with honesty and humour about his journey, his life and challenges and tell it in a way they understood. Having his boat ‘The Bonnie Lass’ on site for the students to look over generated many questions and illustrated well the courage and determination required to undertake such a daunting feat. Keep rowing Isaac and thank you for sharing your incredible story and reminding us that life is for living not existing.