2013 SME Women in Business
Keynote Speaker: Elizabeth Smart
The abduction of Elizabeth Smart was one of the most followed child abduction cases of our time. Elizabeth was abducted on June 5, 2002 and her captors had controlled her by threatening to kill her and her family if she tried to escape. Fortunately, the police safely returned Elizabeth back to her family on March 12, 2003 after being held prisoner for 9 months. Through this traumatic experience Elizabeth has become an advocate for change related to child abduction, recovery programs and National legislation. Elizabeth triumphantly testified before her captor and the world about the very private nightmare she suffered during her abduction, which lead to conviction. Elizabeth is currently involved in the “Elizabeth Smart Foundation”, and she has helped promote The National AMBER Alert, The Adam Walsh Child Protection & Safety Act and other safety legislation to help prevent abductions. Elizabeth is also a News Correspondent for ABC News.
Elizabeth’s abduction and recovery has motivated and continues to motivate parents, law enforcement and leaders worldwide to focus on children’s safety. Emphasizing the vigilance of everyday people in finding missing children and the belief that there is always hope and we can never stop searching for each and every missing child. Two years ago, Elizabeth worked with the Department of Justice and four other recovered young adults in creating a survivors guide, entitled – “You’re Not Alone: The Journey From Abduction to Empowerment.” This guide is meant to encourage children who have gone through similar experiences to not give up and know that there is life after tragic events.
Elizabeth’s example and life now is a daily demonstration that there really is life after a tragic event. Her speech not only tells her story, but also discusses topics such as overcoming extreme adversity and not allowing your past to dictate your life’s future.
Elizabeth is studying music at Brigham Young University with an emphasis on harp performance.
Lots of great photos from the 2012 event at: http://www.facebook.com/smesiouxfalls