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Brenda Combs      

Inspirational Educator & Survivor; Founder of Finding My Shoes

Dr. Brenda Combs is a symbol of inspiration and perseverance to all who meet her. 20 years ago, she was a homeless crack addict, a petty criminal, a gaunt and hopeless wreck who had been shot, beaten and raped during the endless years when she lived under a bridge in the worst part of Phoenix. It took hitting rock bottom for Combs to find the strength to turn her life around, on a blistering summer day.

As a woman, who at one time could not help herself, Combs now spreads a message of hope wherever she goes. Her journey, which has been called “From Homeless to Hero” by local and national media, has received tremendous coverage, including acknowledgement by “theGrio 100” as one of the most influential African-Americans, an article in Reader’s Digest and interviews on The Today Show and on CNN. She has also appeared on radio talk shows across the country, and accepted invitations to sing and share her message on stages across the globe, including the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

Combs continued to pursue her education at Grand Canyon University (GCU), where she earned a master’s degree in Special Education in 2007. And in May 2011, Brenda earned a doctorate degree in Organizational Leadership with an emphasis in Education after receiving a full scholarship grant presented to her by GCU. Professor Combs is now a full-time member of GCU’s faculty.

Dr. Combs is the founder of Finding My Shoes, a charitable organization that serves the homeless and underserved communities. Additionally, she and her husband run Making Things Better Sober Living, a transitional program for women who have been incarcerated. Her success rate for this program is an astounding 99%. She also serves as an advocate for Domestic Violence Awareness and, in 2009, Combs was named a National Ambassador for the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association's "Power to End Stroke" campaign.

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Speech Topics


From Homeless to Hero: Overcoming Trauma & Changing Your Life

A little over a decade ago, speaker Dr. Brenda Combs was a homeless crack addict and criminal who had been shot, beaten, and raped. Today, having completely turned her life around, the media has lauded her journey as being "from homeless to hero." A single mother who successfully obtained a doctorate in organizational leadership, Dr. Combs motivates others with her inspirational story of perseverance. "If I can do it anybody can do it," she says. "I think every person has inside of them what it takes to succeed."

I Believe in Myself

A dynamic keynote speaker, Dr. Brenda Combs addresses larger groups in this one-hour presentation on self-esteem and motivation to turn any life around.

Dr. Combs can also facilitate a 45-minute interactive program designed for smaller groups, in which she works individually with each person to help create a vision and life goals.

Maximize Your Net Worth

In "Maximize Your Net Worth," speaker Dr. Brenda Combs provides an inspirational talk on how to use one's gifts and talents to create your own success.

Dr. Combs can also facilitate a 45-minute interactive program designed for smaller groups, in which she works individually with each person to help create a vision and life goals.

From Rags to Enrichment

"From Rags to Enrichment" is Dr. Brenda Combs' personal story, which can touch on such topics as domestic violence, the importance of education, stroke awareness and prevention, rebounding from divorce, single parenting, and drug and alcohol abuse and recovery.

Dr. Combs can also facilitate a 45-minute interactive program designed for smaller groups, in which she works individually with each person to help create a vision and life goals.

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