Jack Canfield Jack Canfield author. speaker. motivator.

Affectionately known as "America's #1 Success Coach," Jack Canfield is the originator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and a leading authority in the areas of self-esteem, achievement motivation, and peak performance. [www.jackcanfield.com]

 
Arianna Huffington Arianna Huffington political powerhouse. media mogul. author.

Arianna Huffington is the co-founder and Editor in Chief of the Huffington Post and the author of twelve books. [www.huffingtonpost.com]

 
Seth Godin Seth Godin author. speaker. linchpin.

Seth Godin is a prominent author, blogger and speaker. [www.squidoo.com/linchpin]

 
Krishna Kaur Krishna Kaur yogi. philanthropist. dynamic teacher.

Krishna Kaur is the founder of YOGA for Youth, a program that takes yoga, meditation, and stimulating discussions on the philosophy of yoga to urban youth. [www.yogaforyouth.org]

 
Norman Lear Norman Lear producer. philanthropist. tv legend.

Norman Lear has enjoyed a long career in television and film. He is also a political and social activist and philanthropist. [www.normanlear.com]

 
Leilani Münter Leilani Münter race car driver. activist. carbon free girl.

Leilani Münter is a professional race car driver and an environmental activist who uses her voice in the number one spectator sport in America as a catalyst for change. [www.leilanimunter.com]

 
Kevin Bales Kevin Bales Freedom Fighter. Philanthropist. Game Changer.

By going undercover to meet slaves and slaveholders, Kevin Bales exposed modern slavery's penetration into the global economy. He co-founded Free the Slaves, which has helped to liberate thousands of slaves. [www.freetheslaves.net]

 
Sophie Chiche Sophie Chiche mom. big dreamer. lady in red.

Sophie Chiche, lifebyme.com founder and curator, enjoys asking deep questions and living a life of meaning. Today she's launching Shape House, an urban sweat lodge, a place to melt away fears and fat. [www.shapehousela.com]

 
Mastin Kipp Mastin Kipp Writer. Entrepreneur. Daily Lover.

Entrepreneur and writer Mastin Kipp founded TheDailyLove.com, which merges pop culture with inspiration, and co-founded The Love Yourself Company, an apparel company that has started a global self-esteem movement. [www.TheDailyLove.com]

 
Liz Phair Liz Phair singer. musician. crier.

Liz Phair is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. [www.lizphair.com]

 
Desmond Tutu Desmond Tutu archbishop. author. peaceful leader.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu is Chairman of The Elders, a group of world leaders who address some of the world's most pressing problems. He works energetically for human-rights and in his ministry. [www.tutu.org]

 
Zainab Salbi Zainab Salbi author. ceo. humanitarian.

Zainab Salbi is the founder and CEO of Women for Women International, a group dedicated to helping women survivors of war rebuild their lives. [www.womenforwomen.org]

 
Sean Stephenson Sean Stephenson speaker. psychotherapist. life embracer.

Despite his physical challenges, Sean Stephenson has taken a stand for a quality of life that has inspired millions of people around the world. He's a professional speaker, psychotherapist, and author. [www.timetostand.com]

 
Kia Miller Kia Miller yogi. meditator. teacher.

Kia Miller teaches Yoga at Yoga Works in Los Angeles, leads teacher trainings, and runs retreats and workshops on meditation, chakras, pranayam, and mantras, and other practices. [www.kiamiller.com]

 
Simon Mainwaring Simon Mainwaring creator. writer. idea geek.

Simon Mainwaring is an ex-Nike/Wieden creative, former Worldwide Creative Director at Motorola/Ogilvy, branding/advertising writer, author/speaker/blogger, Australian, idea geek. [www.simonmainwaring.com]

 
Shannon Bindler Shannon Bindler Strategist. Writer. Life Coach.

Shannon Bindler is a style editor, life coach, and the co-founder of Get Up Girl, an empowerment company that inspires women to shine. [www.getupgirl.com]

 
Mathieu Bitton Mathieu Bitton Designer. Art Director. Passionate Creator.

Grammy-nominated art director/designer/photographer Mathieu Bitton has designed over 450 CDs and movie posters. He's a renowned collector of and authority on black films and their soundtracks. [www.candytangerine.com]

 
Jorge Perez Jorge Perez Agent. Producer. Photography Enthusiast.

Opus Reps founder and agent-producer Jorge Perez travels the world producing photo shoots with great photographers and celebrities. He's also very involved with Meals on Wheels in Los Angeles. www.opusreps.com

 

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Dawn Shaw Dawn Shaw insightful speaker. obstacle climber. destiny fulfiller.

Dawn Shaw authored her memoir Facing Up to It about living with a facial difference. This creation inspired her to become a speaker. She also raises and trains Icelandic horses. [www.facinguptoit.com]

It took seven years. Seven years on a project that brought joy, pain, catharsis, triumph, turmoil, self-scrutiny, discomfort, enlightenment, and acceptance. Ultimately morphing into my memoir. “Are you writing it for yourself?” people would ask.

“Partially,” I’d reply. “But mostly I’m writing it because I want to share my story with the rest of the world.” I hoped to make a difference in people’s lives. I never had any doubt I would finish it.

I was born with a tumor, the removal of which left my face half paralyzed. I’ve endured mockery, taunts, and bullying, as well as blatant or averted stares. Despite the physical and emotional scars left by surgery and experience, I’ve managed to live a healthy, enjoyable, and productive life. Even through less-than-ideal relationships, I held a deeply inset knowledge that I was capable of being loved. It was merely a matter of meeting the man who could see past my face. I met that man while doing an activity we both enjoy. And we’ve shared a long and happy marriage.

Writing my book helped me to better understand myself on a fundamental level. I dug to emotional depths I’d buried there for a reason. About halfway through, I realized that a logical next step would be speaking to others about my experiences and sharing my insights about accepting who you are.

I want everyone to understand that it’s OK to be themselves. Everyone is worthy of being loved regardless of what they look like or what others might say. I want people with physical differences to be better understood. By dispelling ignorance in favor of knowledge and understanding, we dissipate the fear and awkwardness often associated with strangeness. Curiosity is normal and should not be discouraged. Allow questions to be asked, and provide sincere and honest answers.

The start of a journey is always the most challenging. Obstacles leap out into the road to inhibit progress and test your mettle. It is too easy to stall or turn back when what you really need to do is jump or climb over them, or beat on them until they fall. When I’m in front of a group speaking, I am invigorated rather than drained. I have no fear, and my content flows. This is how I know I’m fulfilling my destiny.

– Dawn Shaw

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