Ashley Rhodes-Courter

New York Times & International Bestselling author

  • Ashley Rhodes-Courter`s Keynote Speaker Fee This reflects Ashley Rhodes-Courter`s U.S. Speaking Fee

    $10,001 - $20,000

  • Languages Spoken

    English

  • Travels From

    Florida, USA

  • Ashley Rhodes-Courter`s Keynote Speaker Fee This reflects Ashley Rhodes-Courter`s U.S. Speaking Fee

    $10,001 - $20,000

  • Languages Spoken

    English

  • Travels From

    Florida, USA

Suggested Keynote Speaker Programs

Motivating Change in Three Little Words

Based on her award-winning International and New York Times Bestselling memoir, Three Little Words Born in 1985 to a single teen mother Ashley was placed in foster care at the age of 3. Most of her 14 placements were abusive and ...

Based on her award-winning International and New York Times Bestselling memoir, Three Little Words

Born in 1985 to a single teen mother Ashley was placed in foster care at the age of 3. Most of her 14 placements were abusive and overcrowded. In one home, 16 people lived in a small trailer where the children were regularly beaten, neglected, verbally assaulted, and starved. Another foster parent became a convicted pedophile. At one point, she was also placed with an alcoholic relative that was shot twice in front of her. 

After spending almost ten years in the system, Ashley was finally adopted from a group home when she was twelve. Instead of seeing herself as a victim, Ashley has used her experience to find the strength to accomplish incredible things. She became a New York Times Bestselling author by age 22, holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work, ran for Florida State Senate at age 26, created and heads a non-profit organization, and she has been a foster parent to more than 20 children. In this inspiring keynote, Ashley will show audiences how to overcome their own personal and professional challenges to accomplish more than they ever thought possible. She delivers her story with humor and grace, and attendees will leave energized and ready to take on the world! 

Partial List of Takeaways: 

  • Decode several key elements of resilience like: Accountability, optimism and openness, identifying constructive influences, and accepting and giving help 
  • Becoming a successful life strategist and overcoming fears or “failures” 
  • Impact positive thinking and introspection by turning set-backs into successes 
  • Give hope, inspiration, and motivation through a personal story of perseverance and determination 

Encourage community engagement

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Reframing Your Life and Leadership: What’s Good About Bad Experiences

“Instead of letting my past experiences cripple me, I was able to put a positive spin on my experiences.” A negative force can give someone a rallying point and lead them to not only find solutions to their dilemma, but also provide a new path to happiness. It is often our...

“Instead of letting my past experiences cripple me, I was able to put a positive spin on my experiences.” A negative force can give someone a rallying point and lead them to not only find solutions to their dilemma, but also provide a new path to happiness. It is often our adverse experiences that make us that much more capable of success. Ashley Rhodes-Courter grew up in an abusive foster care system but went on to become a New York Times Bestselling author by the age of 22, earn her Master’s Degree in Social Work, run for State Senate at 26, and start a non-profit organization. Reframing Your Life and Leadership helps both individuals and executives become better leaders by empowering them to embrace their life experiences and translate them into meaningful, productive contributions to business and community. In this humorous presentation, Ashley takes audiences through her personal story and highlights key elements of leadership and focus that allowed her to triumph despite initial tragedies.

Partial List of Takeaways:

  • Inspire compassion, motivation, self-confidence, and inner strength by exploring how our mistakes provide opportunity for personal growth
  • How to maintain a healthy attitude and workplace by seeing the positive side of a negative situation
  • Provide tips for self-care and burnout prevention
  • Move employees to be more productive at work, home, and in their communities
  • How to become the kind of leader others want to follow

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Four Letter Words & Three More Words: Finding Professional and Personal Balance

Ashley has been a mother to more than 20 foster children while maintaining a career as an international speaker, writer, and non-profit director. Often, people feel as though they must sacrifice or compromise their dreams for either their family or a job. Ashley knows first-...

Ashley has been a mother to more than 20 foster children while maintaining a career as an international speaker, writer, and non-profit director. Often, people feel as though they must sacrifice or compromise their dreams for either their family or a job. Ashley knows first-hand the delicate balance of navigating complicated family dynamics and successfully negotiating the unique demands in our daily lives. In this funny, riveting and inspirational keynote speech, Ashley encourages audiences to organize, prioritize, and sometimes, just enjoy. Ashley also pulls inspiration and anecdotes from her #1 award-winning memoir, Three More Words.

Partial List of Takeaways:

  • Maintaining focus in personal and professional environments filled with multiple, competing distractions
  • Creating a plan that bring focus, purpose, and passion to the things that matter most
  • Learn the power of saying “no”
  • How to rid yourself of toxic relationships

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Power of One Person and Making a Difference: How One Person Can Change the Life of Another

It takes only one person to change a life. We all know someone who has been ill, medically fragile, neglected, abused, impoverished, in foster care, or has a special need. As a foster child for almost a decade, Ashley had key teachers, workers, and volunteers that helped get ...

It takes only one person to change a life. We all know someone who has been ill, medically fragile, neglected, abused, impoverished, in foster care, or has a special need. As a foster child for almost a decade, Ashley had key teachers, workers, and volunteers that helped get her out of abusive situations and ultimately helped find her a loving adoptive family. Her story is an inspirational living example of what can happen when we give our voice to another. It only takes one person to change the life of another and Ashley’s story serves as a passionate example of triumph and inspiration. Sometimes, the biggest impact is being made when you’re not even trying! Heroes can be a mentor, nurse, teacher, foster or adoptive parent, CASA, relative, spiritual leader, peer, neighbor, sibling, counselor, community member, business owner, or friend. “Several people reached out to me and can be credited not only for my success, but my survival—and one was an unpaid volunteer.”

Partial List of Takeaways:

  • How to reengage or recruit employees, workers, or volunteers
  • Top 10 tips on engaging the local community
  • How to successfully raise funds for a non-profit organization or cause
  • Turn personal pain or tragedies into a powerful voice for others
  • How to help another while maintaining self-care and avoiding debilitating transference

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School as Sanctuary

Ashley attributes education as a key cornerstone of her success. In this presentation, Ashley talks about the importance of recognizing strengths, engaging students and youth, and reminds us that school may be the only sanctuary some children have. Ashley gives us a unique ...

Ashley attributes education as a key cornerstone of her success. In this presentation, Ashley talks about the importance of recognizing strengths, engaging students and youth, and reminds us that school may be the only sanctuary some children have. Ashley gives us a unique glimpse into the lives of children that may have abusive or troubled home lives, and discusses how that can translate in the classroom. Ashley also gives customized presentations to students and youth for schools, colleges, libraries, graduations, and student organizations. “I was lucky enough to have teachers who took a special interest in me—an uncertain foster child—and nurtured me in the classroom where I felt safe. They made me feel special, talented, and encouraged me to continue to excel academically. Teachers or administrators also called in abuse complaints and tried to protect me—even when they were ignored many times. One anonymous call probably saved my life.”

Partial List of Takeaways:

  • Tips for teaching through tough times or connecting with troubled or difficult students
  • Explore why some students act the way they do: the impact of coming from a broken home
  • How to engage beyond the textbooks
  • Provide potential assessment tools

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For YOUTH and STUDENTS

Breaking the cycle: moving beyond your circumstances in the short and long-term Setting and achieving goals: identifying individual strengths and next steps Finding outlets: how to express and share your own story in a healthy way Encouraging ...

  • Breaking the cycle: moving beyond your circumstances in the short and long-term
  • Setting and achieving goals: identifying individual strengths and next steps
  • Finding outlets: how to express and share your own story in a healthy way
  • Encouraging success inside and outside the classroom
  • Improve communication: what your verbal and non-verbal communication is saying
  • Taking responsibility and owning your life and experience
  • See beyond bullying

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About Keynote Speaker Ashley Rhodes-Courter

Ashley Rhodes-Courter, MSW is the quintessential American success story. Born to a single teen mother, by the age of 3 Ashley was in Florida’s foster care system where she spent almost ten years being shuttled between 14 homes—some quite abusive—before being adopted from a Children’s Home at the age of twelve. 

Despite her ordeal, she excelled in school because she believed that, “my education was the one thing nobody could take from me.” Early in her life she felt compelled to advocate for herself and the other children she lived with, particularly in the abusive foster homes. 

Her efforts and academic achievements landed her Eckerd College’s Trustee Scholarship—the school’s most prestigious full-tuition award. She graduated with honors and ahead of schedule earning a double major in Communications and Theater and a double minor in Political Science and Psychology. Ashley then went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Southern California. 

During her undergraduate studies, she was one of 20 college students selected for the USA Today All-USA Academic Team and was named one of GLAMOUR Magazine’s Top Ten College Women. Ashley was also chosen as one of the four Golden BR!CK Award winners for outstanding advocacy for community change by the national organization, Do Something. As part of their campaign, she was featured on 25 million bags of Cool Ranch Doritos. Her accomplishments advocating for children and families won her the Youth Advocate of the Year for the North American Council on Adoptable Children, the Kids to Kids National Service Award from the Child Welfare League of America, and two Angels in Adoption Awards from the Congressional Coalition on Adoption. 

How It All Started… 

On June 1, 2003, the New York Times Magazine published her grand prize winning essay about her adoption day. She expanded her essay into a memoir, Three Little Words, which was published by Simon & Schuster in January 2008 and quickly became a New York Times, then International bestseller. Her memoir is currently being made into a major motion picture. The book has been adopted by schools and communities as part of One School, One Book; and collegiate First Year Experience initiatives across the country. Ashley’s second book, Three More Words, debuted as a #1 Bestseller. 

In the Media 

Internationally recognized, Ashley has been featured on The Today Show, Good Morning America, Nightline, Nancy Grace, ABC Primetime, Montel Williams, and other national media outlets. She frequently appears in local television and newspaper markets when she travels for her speeches. She hosted a television program called “Explore Adoption” which was produced by the State of Florida to raise the public’s awareness of foster children in need of loving and permanent homes. This segment won an Emmy in 2009. 

In 2010, Ashley was selected to represent and mentor as part of Levi’s Shape What’s To Come campaign, an online, global community for women that offers opportunities to exchange ideas, collaborate, and provide support to one another. Her work with Levi’s was featured at the TED Women’s Conference in Washington, D.C. 

Ashley has spent time in Europe, South Africa, and China studying and advocating. In her local community, she has served as a volunteer Guardian ad Litem (or CASA) and as a foster parent has cared for more than 25 children. Her eldest son is adopted from foster care. Ashley is tremendously passionate about her non-profit organization, The Foundation 

for Sustainable Families, which provides direct services to children and families in high-risk and high-conflict situations. 

Her speaking career began at the age of fourteen as a child advocate. Since then, Ashley’s story has been shared with countless audiences. She has spoken on Capitol Hill, has been invited to the White House, and has taught at numerous colleges and conferences for businesses, health care professionals, educators, elected officials, judges, social workers, policy makers, teens, and families. 

Ashley has turned her pain into power and she has a passion to share her story with those who have experienced adversity. Ashley strives to encourage education, compassion, community involvement, and positive outcomes for individuals, youth, and families.

Ashley’s Achievements 

  • New York Times Magazine publishes Three Little Words Essay 
  • Youth Advocate of the Year, North American Council on Adoptable Children 
  • Kids to Kids National Service Award, Child Welfare League of America 
  • Eckerd College Trustee Scholarship 
  • USA Today All-USA Academic Team 
  • Awarded 1 of 4 Golden Brick Awards for Advocacy by DoSomething 
  • Top Ten College Women by Glamour Magazine 
  • Graduated with Honors, Eckerd College 
  • Three Little Words memoir becomes New York Times Bestseller 
  • Featured on Good Morning American with Diane Sawyer 
  • Ambassador, Levi’s Shape What’s To Come Campaign 
  • Masters of Social Work, University of Southern California 
  • International Woman of the Year, St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce 
  • Named Community Hero from Tampa Bay Lightning NHL team 
  • Ran for Florida State Senate at age 26 
  • Points of Light Award 
  • FCSW Florida Achievement Award 

Testimonials

“The buzz after the luncheon was palpable ~ our guests love Ashley! She is a brilliant speaker who tells a tragic story is a poignant way yet keeps you in stitches. Brilliant! And, on a personal level, I truly enjoyed meeting such a warm and engaging young woman. I so wish she lived closer ~ I’d love to take her to lunch to thank her, celebrate her and get to know her a little better.”

M.F., CHAIR, DALLAS CASA

 

“On behalf of all of us here at Pendleton Place, THANK YOU for being such an integral part of a very successful day! We’ve received so many compliments and messages of positive feedback about this morning’s benefit breakfast including high praise for your ability to share such a critical message in an accessible way (with plenty of humor inserted to keep us all smiling!). It was our honor to host you, and your words have already done much for the children and families we serve. If you are ever in our neighborhood in the future, we’d love for you to stop by our campus and check out what we’re up to!”

J.D.M.P., ASSOCIATE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, PENDLETON PLACE

 

“As one of the co-chairs of the event, and a board member of CAC, I wanted to reach out to say how truly amazing it was to have Ashley with us – without a doubt she MADE the luncheon! I have not stopped hearing from attendees about how much they enjoyed hearing her inspirational words, and I can honestly say that she was even more of a delight one on one. From the moment she arrived, until she said goodbye, she was a total delight to be around.”

K.O., CO-CHAIR, CAC

 

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