Ria Story
“Bridges Out of the Past”
Bridge Builder
Thursday November 2nd 2017
The Mill Auditorium  MORE INFO

Years ago, my mentor Les Brown told me that the best speakers make the fewest words go the farthest. He challenged those of us who were there to learn from him to deliver a compelling speech in 60 seconds or less. I spent most of that night working on it. It was an agonizing process of choosing words very carefully to make a powerful point and removing anything that wasn’t absolutely necessary. The following morning, I delivered a 47 second speech that changed my life because it put me on the path to become a motivational speaker and author – someone charged with changing the lives of others with her words. It’s a responsibility I don’t take lightly.

The invitation to present at TEDxWilmintgonWomen offers a tremendous opportunity to share an idea worth spreading. It also offers a tremendous responsibility to create a compelling talk around my idea worth sharing and deliver it in a presentation worth listening to.

With only four weeks to go before the event, I’m working on the final draft for my TEDxWilmingtonWomen talk. I’ve written, rewritten, scrapped it entirely, and started over again. It’s the same agonizing process creating that 47 second speech was years ago. It’s a process of starting with an idea worth sharing and chiseling away anything that gets in the way of presenting that idea clearly to the audience. It’s a process of stripping away the good, the bad, and the average, so what’s left is great. But, this time I feel more pressure. Because on November 2, I won’t be trying to deliver a compelling speech in 60 seconds or less. I will be trying to change the lives of others for the better. Seven minutes never felt so short.


Like many, Ria faced adversity in life. Raised on an isolated farm in Alabama, she was sexually abused by her father from age 12 – 19. Desperate to escape, she left home at 19 without a job, a car, or even a high school diploma. Ria learned to be resilient, not only surviving, but thriving. She worked her way through college, earning her MBA with a cumulative 4.0 GPA, and had a successful career in the corporate world of administrative healthcare. Today, Ria is a motivational leadership speaker and author of 9 books. Ria was selected three times to speak on stage at International John Maxwell Certification Events. Motivational speaker Les Brown also invited Ria to share the stage with him in Los Angeles, CA. Ria and her husband, Mack Story, co-founded Top Story Leadership which offers motivational speaking, leadership training, coaching, and consulting. READ MORE

2nd Annual TEDxWilmington Women :: Bridge Builder :: Thursday Nov. 2nd 2017 :: The Mill Auditorium ::  MORE INFO