Keynote Speaker, Award-winning Author Captain U.S. Coast Guard (ret.)
Theme: Building Bridges, Changing Cultures
A graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and Harvard University, Martha served 29-years in the U.S. Coast Guard at sea and ashore. She rose to the senior officer rank of captain, earning many personal and team awards. An experienced motivational speaker for corporations including GE, Jacobs Engineering, a top pharmaceutical company, colleges, schools and leadership symposiums, she also worked in New York, New York in public relations & as a spokesperson for clients like IBM. Martha lead the Coast Guard’s development of emergency crisis management liaisons and deployed on scene for significant national events like the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and numerous catastrophic hurricanes including Sandy and Maria. Hand-picked by the Commandant, she worked in Washington, D.C. as the Commandant’s Press Secretary and served at sea on a cutter sailing the Pacific Ocean and as executive officer of a patrol boat patrolling the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. Martha resides in Florida with her family.
Motivational speaker: empowers and inspires corporate leaders, students, and teams. Keynote speaker for national and regional events and leadership symposiums- let’s fire them up!
Martha’s presentations include these topics or a customized one:
We possess the unique opportunity to improve the quality of our life and make a difference for others and our world by striving for what we can be. Martha shares insights from her career in the U.S. Coast Guard and “sea stories” from her interviews with top leaders to help drive personal, business and cultural change. Facing our fears & taking risks requires courage. This inspiring presentation is relatable to audiences of all ages and phases. In 45-minutes, participants will rise up renewed and ready to: Believe Beyond. Lead Beyond and also know their own Dream Beyond… following four steps to seize it! Discover your beyond and have fun!
Martha is an experienced leader building teams in the Coast Guard at sea and ashore and in the corporate environment while working in New York City. Her presentation will give your team the insights to be ready to work through a crisis, identify goals for long term success while giving them tips to take the next step with courage.
Martha inspires audiences with her own “sea stories” and leadership insights from her interviews with inspirational change-makers, adding well placed humor to describe leadership lessons, tips and overcoming adversity from the deck plates to working with the White House. A maverick, she is an example of how to make positive change happen and earn respect in a male dominated military where women are 15% of the force.
Author of the award-winning book, So Others May Live: Coast Guard Rescue Swimmers Saving Lives, Defying Death, she published four other books on leadership, role-model women in the military and a collection of STEM stories for younger audiences.
Fostering unity and equality are active conversations in diversity and inclusion offices, by faculty, among students, military and business leaders. Yet in 2019, we’re still not there! I’ve learned behaviors I witnessed 30 years ago on my ship as one of the first two women assigned, are still taking place today. Achieving equity and unity across generations requires an understanding of the roots of inequality. Actions and accountability are still needed to change inappropriate, commonplace cultural or institutional norms and policies which support discrimination. Refining our awareness of practices, policies, comments & gestures is one of the first steps to stand-up to insensitive harassment and discrimination. In this presentation, I will talk about how we use our personal norms and policies for the good and sometimes, inadvertently perhaps, for the detriment or disparagement of others who are not like us because of their sex, color, age or beliefs. I have faith that small actions of equity and acceptance of others, mavericks, people who don’t look like our “norm” or talk like “us” or are from “that generation” can have positive consequences for teams, businesses, our military and our own happiness and fulfillment. I will help your audience build awareness. We will take a small step for change. Imagine, cumulatively, how many miles will be walked for progress.
A seemingly unremarkable, tiny animal, the coral, is declining all around the world’s oceans. Martha brings this reef creature into the light and focus as an example of why the coral’s decline directly relates to the ocean’s health and eventually the impact on communities who are sustained by them. She shares stories and illustrates how people are taking action to help the corals rebuild reefs and preserve sensitive marine ecosystems. By building awareness, this presentation will enable audiences to realize the danger of human impacts and improve the health of the ocean. We can win one for the corals who build our ocean’s forests.Photo by National Geographic
From her own experience with the loss of a loved one due to suicide and her work producing and directing a suicide prevention training video for the military, Martha can testify as to why the aftermath matters. Building awareness of the aftermath she believes will build prevention. Trained in Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST), Martha’s mission since she experienced the aftermath of suicide as a teenager has driven her to publically speak about her loss and what she has learned in an effort to eliminate suicide as a consideration. Suicide is a permanent action for a temporary situation.
Faced with adversity, we all feel afraid. Martha provides insights to avoid paralysis that prevents productive responses. She shares insights on how to build solutions to bring to the fight in business or in life. Utilizing her own experiences working through the chaos of a national crisis, helping build solutions, she provides insights on leading teams and individuals.
Certified as Type 1, the most complex Incident Command System level for a national incident, Liaison Officer and Public Information Officer, her experience working with corporations, state and local leaders brings value to this presentation.
Hand-picked to serve as the US Coast Guard Commandant’s Press Secretary in Washington D.C., Martha worked as a Coast Guard spokesperson with the White House, Department of Homeland Security and international media through the bookends of this assignment: the Haitian earthquake in 2010 and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. From this experience and her work at sea on two ships or during major national disasters like Hurricane Sandy’s strike on the Northeast seaboard and the triple Gulf Coast hurricanes of 2017, Martha knows that being resilient and working through the aftermath of a crisis is the only option for success in any business.
Nationally certified and experienced managing major disasters and incidents of the highest level (Type 1) as a Public Information Officer and Liaison Officer, Martha responded to the aftermath and destruction of national disasters including hurricanes Irma/Maria, Sandy, Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Exxon Valdez Oil Spill in Alaska.
She brings her experience working and leading with teams at the national, state and local level to audiences to help your team optimize their performance.
“The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” – Apple’s Think Different commercial, 1997
Who are the most successful innovators of our time? Many would put Steve Jobs near the top of the list. When he was 21, he co-founded Apple Computer with his high school classmate in his parent’s garage. The effects of his legacy continue today. He’s an example of the amazing things women and men can do when they use their imagination and creativity while mixing art with technology. For this presentation, I tell the stories of women and men featured in my book, Innovators Rock Stars of STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Medicine and Math) to illustrate how they found rewarding careers, in one case, without a college degree. Each were driven to find a better way. Each scientist took a spark – an idea- and shaped it into reality. And sometimes, even changed the way we live and think.
- Why we should talk: I deliver life-changing stories. I create relatable presentations enriched by hard-earned wisdom and my belief that no matter your age or experience, we can be bold; we can achieve our daring dreams or mission, having fun along the way.
- What I can do for you: I like making a difference, helping people overcome their fears, take risks to achieve their bigger dreams by giving them tools to discover their own beyond. This is a great way to spend the day.
- Ready to go: Achieving a senior officer rank in the U.S. Coast Guard taught me a thing or two about getting along with people from all sorts of places and points of view, managing their different leadership styles and, being always ready to go, even if it meant deploying for a national disaster or shipboard patrol – that said, I can travel to work with your team or be your speaker.