I hadn’t advertised a situation vacant, but if I had it might have been similar to Ernest Shackleton’s 1914 advert:


My version would have been: “Extra pair of hands needed: job security non-existent, boss excessively demanding. Those needing stability – geographical, financial or otherwise – need not apply.”

Many times over the last few years I have wished that I could clone myself. Organizing a 2,500 mile ocean row takes a staggering amount of organization, plus there are all the other activities that go on around it – writing books and articles, giving presentations, film-making, raising sponsorship, designing and maintaining the website – plus the time-consuming social media habit which helps me share my adventures with people all around the world who are kind enough to take an interest in the life of a nomadic ocean rower.

But technology has not obliged. There remains just the one of me – which some might argue is more than enough…

But short of a clone I now have the next best thing – or actually, an even better thing, because she’s smarter than me – a new right hand woman who is intelligent, business-minded, and uniquely qualified to help me out.

As of yesterday Nicole Bilodeau (pictured) is going to be my PR agent/ sponsorship manager/ speaker agent/ all-round Woman Friday. She used to work for Ogilvy PR, and did a great job on my account in 2007 when Ogilvy were working for my title sponsors Brocade. It was a small miracle that our paths crossed. Nicole had only just joined Ogilvy, Ogilvy had only just been taken on by Brocade to manage their PR (and are now no longer working on that account), and Brocade had only just come on board as my title sponsors. In the sliding doors of life, things could easily have been very different.

Originally from Massachussetts, Nicole has also lived in Britain (during which time she was involved with the ocean rowing scene), Ireland, Belgium, Canada and South Africa, so she’s comfortable with the global perspective. Since leaving Ogilvy last year she has done a stint at MySpace, and moves confidently through the world of social media. And as you can tell from the photo, we are also both Mac girls. Technological compatibility may not be essential, but it certainly helps.

In the UK Daisy Hampton and my mother both continue to provide indispensable support – although with Daisy expecting her first baby in a couple of weeks, and Mum going into hospital for a hip replacement, they are going to have other things on their minds for a while.

Nicole and I have hit the ground running, with a hectic program for the remaining 3 months between now and my May 15 launch.

I am delighted to welcome Nicole to the team. And so far, one day into the job, she seems pretty happy to be here – bringing a new recruit out to Hawaii as a first assignment might prove to be a smart move on my part. Job satisfaction is definitely enhanced by warm weather and tropical office environment. We are pictured here in our two places of work, both of which have free broadband and convenient access to food. Nicole is shown in our “uptown” office on the North Shore (the Coffee Gallery in Haleiwa) and I am in our “downtown” office at the Waikiki Yacht Club.

No grey office cubicles for Team Savage!


  • That’s great news! Sounds like Nicole is perfect for the job. I guess the rowing is the “easiest” part of the whole expedition, it’s amazing what has go into this expedition! Thanks for sharing the experience, it’s a lot of fun to learn about what it takes to achieve this dream. This is where technology shines, I think, it’s cool that we can follow along with you through the blogs and podcasts. Welcome Nicole!

  • “Chatting with Ollie the ex-stuntman. Quote: “I’ve been a woman 4 times”…”

    How weird is that. Who’s Ollie anyway?

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