LISA WILLIAMS is a thought leader, entrepreneur, survivor-thriver, marathoner, author, and influencer with more than 20 years of philanthropic service. A sought-after orator and trainer, Ms. Williams has been called upon to share her message on national and international platforms – from the White House to the United Nations to Guam to Italy to the U.S. Virgin Islands. Her keynote addresses include thought leadership on commercial sex trafficking and sexual exploitation, self-care for women leaders, community collaboration, and life transformation with hope. Her most recent national engagements were the 2018 Glamour Summit and the 2018 L’Oreal Paris Women of Worth Awards, both held in New York City, NY.
Before becoming a renowned advocate for women and girls, Ms. Williams served her country for 10 years in the U.S. military. After completing her military service with honor, Ms. Williams decided to focus her efforts on humanitarian work to serve U.S. women and girls who were victims of violence through sexual exploitation and trafficking. As the founder of Circle of Friends: Celebrating Life, Inc. in 1999, Lisa dedicated the next 20 years of her time, energy and resources to educating, equipping and empowering women to live their best life, free of violence, serving other women and girls, and dismantling the social injustices that render women and girls more susceptible to violence and the criminal justice system.
She established Living Water for Women, Living Water for Girls and the Living Water Learning Resource Center. Each program was opened as a beacon of hope. Ms. Williams developed what the Federal Bureau of Investigation called “one of the most comprehensive, rehabilitative programs for child victims of sex trafficking in the country,” and over the years, helped to spare and reclaim the lives of more than 244 children, including 14 boys, and countless young women.
Lisa and her work have been featured in numerous top publications, including: O Magazine, Essence, Ebony, Good Housekeeping, Woman’s Day, Cosmopolitan, and Seventeen. Her film and television credits include the award-winning CNN Special Report, Children for Sale: The Fight to End Human Trafficking, CNN International News, CNN Freedom Project, BBC Brazil and C-SPAN. Also, she has been featured on several local television and radio broadcasts.
Ms. Williams has been honored by numerous organizations, including the 2010 L’Oreal Paris Woman of Worth, the inaugural 2015 L’Oreal Paris Impact Award, the inaugural 2018 Glamour Women of The Year – The Hero Among Us, 2011 Points of Light Honoree, and the 2015 YWCA Woman of Achievement Award. She was nominated in 2014 and 2015 by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and in 2016 by both the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of State for the U.S. Presidential Award for Extraordinary Efforts to Combat Trafficking in Person.
Lisa’s best-selling book, Beautiful Layers: Stories from Those Who Survived the Life of Prostitution & Child Sexual Exploitation is a tribute to the survivors’ courage and strength to speak their truths. Her upcoming work, Uncomfortable Truth, will offer keen insight into the disproportionate overrepresentation of Black, Brown and Indigenous girls in the world of sex trafficking in America.
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