Kristin’s inspirational and humorous style leaves audiences of all sizes wanting to hear more. Kristin is available for in person or virtual Keynote Speaker, Session Leader, Panelist, Moderator, and Emcee. all types of events! Contact us at Kristin@ThrivingBlindAcademy.org or click on the Speaker Kit for more info. Kristin and our entire team cannot wait to chat with you!
Kristin Smedley is the Best Selling author of Thriving Blind: Stories of Real People Succeeding Without Sight and Brilliantly Resilient: Reset, Rise and Reveal Your Brilliance. A recognized
expert in the blindness and rare disease communities, Kristin won the highly regarded Champion of Hope Award and was named an Ambassador for the National Organization of
Rare Disorders. Kristin is a popular, in demand speaker who has been invited to share her message internationally.
Although Kristin had no idea how to raise her two blind sons, Michael and Mitchell, to thrive, she quickly learned that the world’s negative bias about blindness was the only thing holding them back. Kristin set new expectations for her sons and holds schools and communities accountable to do the same for her boys and all people living with a disability. Kristin’s speeches and programs regarding true Equity, Inclusion and ACCESS are popular with education, DEI, and workforce audiences.
As CEO of a global patient organization, Kristin coordinated legislation (H.R. #625) that became the first in US history to be submitted in Braille. Kristin spoke at the FDA to help achieve the first ever FDA approved gene therapy to treat an inherited retinal disease in the United States. Her TEDx Talk, book and international summit change perceptions of blindness, and sparked a global movement that connects families living with blindness to each other and to resources to thrive.
“Life is funny… sort of.” That’s Kristin’s way of looking at the world! Kristin Smedley is an award winning non profit leader, speaker, and author – but she never planned on any of that. Kristin did plan to be a great third grade teacher… but her personal path to greatness took an unexpected turn when two of her three children were diagnosed as blind.
Kristin’s two blind sons, Michael and Mitchell, are now thriving. Her boys have achieved great things in blind skills as well as in the sighted world with highlights including baseball championships on “sighted” neighborhood teams, Distinguished Honors in “regular” public school, and finalists in an International Braille competition.
In 2011, Kristin co-founded the Curing Retinal Blindness Foundation, the only patient organization in the world for CRB1-LCA/RP, the rare eye disease that affects her boys and thousands of others. In less than five years Kristin led the CRBF to raise over $1 million, introduced the first ever legislation in the United States Congress in Braille, and has moved rare eye diseases from rarely talked about to being top of mind and talked about in key circles.