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Speaker From

United States



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Speaker Bio

At first glance Melissa Stockwell may appear to be the quintessential Mid-western All-American girl, but she is far more. She is an American war hero who has triumphed over personal tragedy to achieve greatness, World Champion status, and she has dedicated her life to chasing remarkable accomplishments while giving back to others, particularly those who face challenges similar to her own.


In 2002, Melissa graduated from the University of Colorado and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army. In March 2004, she deployed to Baghdad, Iraq. Just three weeks later, a blast from a roadside bomb struck Melissa’s Humvee causing the loss of her left leg above the knee.


After enduring numerous infections and surgeries, Melissa was medically retired from the Army. She is the first female soldier to ever lose a limb in active combat and has been awarded both The Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart.


Following her accident, sport become the road to recovery for Melissa. In April of 2008, she became the first Iraqi War Veteran to qualify for the Beijing Paralympics.


She competed in three swimming events and  After Beijing, Melissa turned to the sport of Paratriathlon and is now a three-time World Champion.


She was named USA Triathlon’s female Paratriathlete Of The Year for two consecutive years and was twice nominated for an ESPY award.


On September 11, 2016 Melissa raced in honor of her fellow soldiers and their families who had given the ultimate sacrifice serving and protecting America.


After a grueling race, the day ended on the podium, draped in the American Flag, as the newly crowned Paralympic Bronze Medalist.

Keynote Topic #1

Baghdad to Beijing and Beyond

If you ask Melissa Stockwell to describe herself one of the first things you’ll hear is, “I am a Patriot, a lover of the red, the white and the blue.” So much so that she had an American flag stitched to the inside of her wedding dress.

Melissa proudly wore the uniform of the United States Army, where she very nearly made the ultimate sacrifice for her country. Today, she proudly wears the uniform of Team USA as a World Champion athlete.


Melissa shares her remarkable story, from the battlefields of Bagdad to the Paralympic Games, in an emotionally powerful presentation that leaves audiences inspired to see ability not disability, to maximize what you do have and forget about what you don’t and to apply, as she details, “…the amazing power of choice.”

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  • Global Military
    05/24/2022 at 3:08 pm

    Nearly every ALA Convention attendee made it a point to share that your speech was the highlight of the entire week. All were inspired by your story and the courage and determination you have demonstrated as the life of Melissa 2.0 unfolds. Every Speaker for the remainder of the Convention referenced your Speech. Honestly, Melissa, folks simply couldn’t stop raving about you and P&G benefited by association.

    Personally, it was an absolute honor and pleasure to meet you. I had high expectations… exceeded mine as both a Speaker and an Individual. The quality (intellect, poise, humor) in which you conduct yourself is very impressive Melissa.

    –Global Military Team Procter & Gamble

    Keynote Talk - Live

  • Nancy Livingston
    05/24/2022 at 3:08 pm

    Melissa Stockwell tells an American story that is all about inspiration and not at all about self-pity. I have seen her bring a whole roomful of legislators to tears with her straight talk and sincere patriotism.

    –Nancy Livingston, Director of Community Relations and Outreach Century College

    Keynote Talk - Live

  • Harold P. Jones
    05/24/2022 at 3:07 pm

    Melissa’s story and message to our health professional graduates was inspiring, challenging and encouraged each of us to live bold and full lives. It moved, not only our graduates, but the 1600 family members and friends in attendance. It was the first time in my 25 years of academics to see an entire audience spontaneously rise to give a commencement speaker a standing ovation…and that ovation was well-deserved.

    –Harold P. Jones Dean and Professor, School of Health professions University of Alabama at Birmingham

    Keynote Talk - Live

  • Chicago Bears
    05/24/2022 at 3:07 pm

    Melissa’s story inspires and drives home an important message fitting for any audience: success is driven by focusing on what you do have as opposed to what you don’t. What Melissa has already accomplished in her life is remarkable and it is clear her best is yet to come.

    –Chicago Bears

    Keynote Talk - Live

  • Ann Dodelin
    05/24/2022 at 3:07 pm

    Thank you again for being our keynote speaker. The sharing of your experience gave all present, a new heightened sense of our mission. You truly delivered a ‘gold- medal’ message that set a can- do, must- do direction. Thank you.

    –Ann Dodelin, Consumer Reviewer Administrator Global Health Sector, SRA

    Keynote Talk - Live

  • Kelcey Liverpool
    05/24/2022 at 3:07 pm

    The guests at our Kids Rank: Ribbons of Character Benefit were completely engaged and inspired by our honoree Melissa Stockwell. Her story of determination and perseverance all with an optimistic attitude were exactly why she was chosen for our annual award. Beyond her incredible combat story, it is her continuing life’s journey and her ability to make a human connection with people which made her time with us an unforgettable experience.

    –Kelcey Liverpool, Founder and Creator Kids Rank

    Keynote Talk - Live

  • WeSpeak Global
    05/24/2022 at 3:07 pm

    We were so happy to have Melissa speak at our Sales and Marketing Offsite. There was not a dry eye in the audience and she left us all feeling inspired, motivated and incredibly proud to have her on our team.

    –Peter McGuinness, CMO Chobani

  • WeSpeak Global
    05/24/2022 at 3:06 pm

    Melissa, you forced us to take stock of how we view our own lives with your TEDxVail Talk, “Choose Your Story.” We laughed when you flipped your leg completely around to show off your sweet new dance move. You stand on one leg with more courage and grace than many of us do on two. You moved hundreds to tears in the audience. Thanks, Melissa, for your powerful idea! You entice us all to choose life stories worth repeating.

    –Kat Haber TEDx Vail

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