As a motivational speaker, Martha creates dynamic audience experiences telling stories about her service as a US Coast Guard senior officer, spokesperson and emergency preparedness liaison leading teams at sea and ashore. She shares how companies can overcome risks and perform at a high level leading through a disaster. Martha has addressed corporate audiences, leadership symposiums, college students and young adults from coast to coast. Her motivational keynote programs and TED talk-style workshops inspire audiences to think bigger and equip them with actionable takeaways. Her presentation topics are empowering for women and men in business, teams and students of all ages and phases.
Passionate about making a difference, Captain Martha LaGuardia-Kotite, shares her journey from a teenager faced with the sudden loss of her older brother to survivor and senior officer in the U.S. Coast Guard, award-winning author and Harvard-trained journalist.
While her early struggle threatened to derail her future, Martha emerged from this low point to realize the fragility and shortness of life. Seeking to make a positive impact and save lives, she chose to serve, make a difference and graduated from the US Coast Guard Academy. Her 29-years of distinguished service included assignments at sea as one of the first women on her first ship and then executive officer and only woman aboard a 110’ patrol boat with a crew of 16 men. A trailblazer and maverick, Martha earned opportunities to serve as a spokesperson, an Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officer for nationally significant disasters and was hand-picked to serve as the Commandant’s Press Secretary in Washington, D.C..
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.
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!
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.
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.
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