Like many, I faced adversity in life. Raised on an isolated farm in Alabama, I was sexually abused by my father from age 12 – 19. Forced to play the role of his wife, and even shared with other men at times, I was tied up, beaten, raped, and photographed. I was desperate to escape, and even considered ending my own life. With little sense of self-worth, I started down the wrong path, sneaking out of the house every night, meeting men off the internet, and searching for a “knight in shining armor” to rescue me.
God answers prayers, sometimes in ways we don’t expect. My “knight” was Mack Story. I left home at 19, soon after meeting him. I left home without a job, a car, or even a high school diploma. This was the third attempt at leaving I had made in a year and a half. I had a few pillow cases stuffed with some clothes, no money, and few options. Broken, and spiritually bound, I told very few people what I had gone through, seeking to simply move on with life. I went on to get a job, go to school, get married, become very successful, and survive, although I didn’t find complete healing.
In early 2013 I heard motivational speaker Les Brown speak. He said, “You have a story to tell and someone needs to hear your story. Only you can help that person.” He was speaking to a room of several hundred people but his words went straight to my heart. I knew I had a story to tell – but I didn’t want to tell it. I wasn’t sure I could.
Mark Twain said, “The two greatest days in your life are the day you are born and the day you discover why.” On August 14, 2013 I found my “why” and shared my story publicly for the first time. My “why” is to share my story and inspire you to reach your potential, regardless of your past or present circumstances. Because regardless of what happens to us in life, we can be bitter about it or better because of it. The choice is ours to make.
Ten days after discovering my “why” I resigned from my career to pursue my calling. Today, Mack and I are both full time speakers, traveling all over the U.S. and even internationally to inspire others. Watch a short video of us speaking together on growth and change here or visit our store to see our books and resources.
Ria’s background includes more than ten years in administrative healthcare, including several years in management and later, Director of Compliance and Regulatory Affairs for a large healthcare organization. Ria’s responsibilities included oversight of thousands of organizational policies, organizational compliance with all State and Federal regulations, and responsibility for several million dollars in Medicare appeals. She is certified as a speaker and has degrees in Human Resources and Management as well as an executive MBA.
Now a motivational speaker, coach, and author of 9 books, she co-founded Top Story Leadership with her husband Mack.
Ria and her husband Mack speak on leadership and personal growth topics such as:
- Leadership/Personal Growth
- Organizational Change/Transformation
- Time Management/Planning/Execution
Book Ria to speak at your event!