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Brenda Combs

Inspirational Educator & Survivor
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Biography

Living proof that the human spirit can overcome the toughest of obstacles, Dr. Brenda Combs's motto is: "If I can do it, anybody can do it." With a life story dubbed "from homeless to hero" by the media, Dr. Combs overcame a cocaine addiction and an unrelenting life on the streets to attain a master's degree in special education, earn a doctorate in organizational leadership, and become a teacher of at-risk youth – all while raising a young son on her own.

Growing up as part of a religious suburban Arizona family, Dr. Combs fell in with a bad crowd following high school, and her partying quickly became a gateway to drug use. Her cocaine addiction led to a life of petty crime and prison time, but those were the least severe consequences she faced. While homeless, she was raped, overdosed multiple times, and nearly lost her ankle in a shooting. It was when she woke up one morning on the street to find her shoes were stolen that she decided it was time to rebuild her life.

Dr. Combs entered rehab and began working three jobs. After removing herself from an abusive marriage, she found her calling as an educator and pursued a degree in human services from the University of Phoenix. Upon receiving her master's degree, former First Lady Laura Bush personally congratulated her. Known for her interactive lesson plans that combine music with learning, Dr. Combs's encouraging attitude and unique teaching style continues to inspire her students. One of her former pupils states, "Miss Brenda made me see that wherever you come from, you can do something great."

Dr. Combs has been listed in Who's Who Among America's Teachers and featured in Reader's Digest, and has appeared on CNN News and The Today Show. She created the Finding My Shoes event in Phoenix to help the city's homeless during the winter, and is an advocate for domestic violence awareness.

She received her PhD in organizational leadership at Grand Canyon University, where she was the school's "Ambassador of Inspiration and Achievement," sharing her story with youth groups, churches, and professional organizations nationwide. Says Dr. Combs, "I believe in myself and my ability to do my best. I'm intelligent and I'm capable of achieving greatness. I think every person has inside of them what it takes to succeed."

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Topics

From Homeless to Hero: Overcoming Trauma & Changing Your Life

A little over a decade ago, speaker Dr. Brenda Combs was a homeless crack addict and criminal who had been shot, beaten, and raped. Today, having completely turned her life around, the media has lauded her journey as being "from homeless to hero." A single mother who successfully obtained a doctorate in organizational leadership, Dr. Combs motivates others with her inspirational story of perseverance. "If I can do it anybody can do it," she says. "I think every person has inside of them what it takes to succeed."

I Believe in Myself

A dynamic keynote speaker, Dr. Brenda Combs addresses larger groups in this one-hour presentation on self-esteem and motivation to turn any life around.

Dr. Combs can also facilitate a 45-minute interactive program designed for smaller groups, in which she works individually with each person to help create a vision and life goals.

Maximize Your Net Worth

In "Maximize Your Net Worth," speaker Dr. Brenda Combs provides an inspirational talk on how to use one's gifts and talents to create your own success.

Dr. Combs can also facilitate a 45-minute interactive program designed for smaller groups, in which she works individually with each person to help create a vision and life goals.

From Rags to Enrichment

"From Rags to Enrichment" is Dr. Brenda Combs' personal story, which can touch on such topics as domestic violence, the importance of education, stroke awareness and prevention, rebounding from divorce, single parenting, and drug and alcohol abuse and recovery.

Dr. Combs can also facilitate a 45-minute interactive program designed for smaller groups, in which she works individually with each person to help create a vision and life goals.

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