31, Mar, 2015

Luke Blocher

312I write to wholeheartedly and enthusiastically recommend Marti MacGibbon as a speaker, panelist, or participant for events focused on the topic of human trafficking/modern slavery. I can speak to Marti’s power as a speaker firsthand: she delivered stirring and very powerful remarks in January of 2013 at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, where I direct all anti-human trafficking initiatives.

Marti spoke at the culmination of an evening that featured a tour of an exhibit based on Nick Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. She followed the very emotional testimony of a local survivor of trafficking. The capacity audience had already been through a deep and emotional experience – but Marti took all of us to another level of both understanding and hope.

First, she is an excellent story teller. The audience hung on her every word, both because her story was clearly so authentic, but also because she told it with such expert care. I would make this recommendation based on Marti’s storytelling ability alone.

In addition to this skill, though, Marti has a truly unique ability to find humor in the darkest of stories. This connects with audience in a way that few speakers on this topic can, and I believe makes for an even greater impact. When audiences are allowed to laugh, it opens them up to a deeper engagement with difficult topics like this. Marti provides this opportunity and it matters.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Marti’s story – and the way she tells it – is one of empowerment. As hard as it sometimes feels to make people aware of the scope and brutality of human trafficking today, it can be even harder to give those people hope that survivors can thrive, and that this evil can be arrested. Marti’s testimony, and her very being the way she is, is a smack in the face to this sense of hopelessness. I would argue it is very difficult to hear Marti’s presentation, and the confidence with which she makes it, and not be hopeful that things can change.

For all these reasons, I recommend Marti MacGibbon to your consideration. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions.

Luke BlocherDirector of National Strategic Initiatives

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