This is my purpose. This is my day. I'm not afraid to WIN!
On August 2, 2012, Kayla Harrison became the first American in history to capture an Olympic Gold Medal in the sport of Judo. In doing so, she made history for her country and her sport.
As an individual, she climbed a personal peak that only a few years prior seemed insurmountable. At the age of 16, Kayla revealed that for years she had been sexually abused by her judo coach. Her revelation turned her world upside down. Kayla pressed charges and a federal criminal prosecution followed. Kayla moved from her home and family in Ohio to Massachusetts to live and train with Jimmy Pedro and his father “Big Jim.” They became her coaches and surrogate family. As a teenager, Kayla was made to rebuild her life in a new place surrounded by new people. Her Olympic Gold Medal represents the height of her athletic accomplishments, but doesn’t begin to tell Kayla’s story of personal triumph.
Kayla’s messages of belief in oneself, perseverance amidst obstacles, setting and reaching goals and peak performance have captivated audiences from community groups, to high schools and colleges, to women’s groups to Fortune 500 companies. Kayla is an especially sought after speaker on the topic of child sexual abuse, its warning signs and proof that with the right help, anything is possible.
Sample audiences to which Kayla has spoken:
The Florida Department of Child Welfare
Liberty Mutual Insurance
Maximized Living, Inc.
Big Sister Association of Massachusetts
The Ohio MED Foundation
Franklin & Marshall College
Massachusetts Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Children
Metropolitan State University Denver
Rosie’s Place Boston
The Haverhill Chamber of Comerce
Family Resources, Inc. of Pennsylvania
The Massachusetts Dental Society
Boston Children’s Hospital