Speakers for Change Opens to Tackle Addiction
A speaker bureau opens to serve East Coast communities with affordable, informed speakers to address the tough topic of addiction. Speakers for Change, www.speakersforchange.org will focus exclusively on bringing speakers on addiction, prevention, recovery, and advocacy into communities to educate others and inspire change.
Founder, Tracy Smith is a former sales executive with American Express and the mother of a daughter in recovery from addiction. Smith's daughter started drug use at a young age and was addicted to heroin by the age of 16. After years of advocating for more services, Smith launched the bureau to offer others affordable, informed speakers that can provide valuable, up-to-date information on topics surrounding addiction and recovery.
Smith resides in the epicenter of the opiate epidemic, New Jersey, where state wide the heroin related overdose death rate is more than triple that of the rest of the United States. She plans on offering speaker services to all states along the eastern shoreline.
Besides the focus on addiction, which is now one of the leading health concerns in the United States, the other attribute that sets this speaker bureau apart from others is the affordability factor. Fees for speakers start at just $350 and go up to about $7,500.
Smith explains, "Many of our speakers are passionate about educating others and reducing the stigma that is prevalent today, so they are committed to speaking at affordable price points. Our speakers truly care about these issues and desire to be part of a change process in this country which is gaining momentum."
Smith, who started speaking about addiction shortly after her daughter attained sobriety, found out that there were few speakers available at these price points. Traditional speaker bureaus typically will not even take on a speaker under $10,000. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Smith encountered speakers who were "fee free" and booked through word-of-mouth, but regrettably were often presenting old, outdated information to audiences.
She explains, "It is way too important of a topic to risk misinformation. We believe that there is great value in getting the right information from an interesting speaker at an affordable cost." It was vital to Smith, to be able to offer quality informed speakers at price points that communities could afford.
Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the United States and indicators from the Centers for Disease Control, and other health organizations show that the numbers are continuing to rise. Smith wants to be part of the solution, "Addiction is a complex topic to understand, so each of our speakers is properly vetted to ensure they are qualified to present." Smith makes sure speakers are up to date in stigma training and recognizing addiction as a disease, in line with policy set from both the US Surgeon General, Dr Vivek Murthy and the U.S. Director of National Drug Control, Michael Botticelli. Her vision is to eventually assemble and offer the largest and most diverse selection of speakers anywhere on these topics.
Speakers for Change offers well known advocacy speakers, like Greg Williams, who produced the award winning documentary, The Anonymous People and is Co-Founder of Facing Addiction. There are also school prevention presenters, recovery speakers, bestselling authors, former prosecutors, lobbyists, medical health professionals, criminal justice reform experts, and stigma and addiction educators.
Additional consulting services are offered to large corporations, health care systems, organizations, and unions who have a desire to support their workforce in recovery and to provide prevention strategies and additional supports for employees with addiction.
Smith states, "'We are a socially responsible company, with a mission to inspire change. Our hope is that more of main stream America will follow our lead and also develop a social conscience and an open mind to learn more about addiction, prevention, and different pathways to recovery. We are hoping that more leaders will turn to our website and book a speaker to try to educate others and support changing the current landscape that we find ourselves in today."