APB is a Global Speaker, Celebrity & Entertainment Agency

Speaking to the World

Boston | Chicago | San Diego | Atlanta

Marisa Renee Lee

Marisa Renee Lee

Grief Advocate, Entrepreneur & Bestselling Author of Grief is Love: Living with Loss


Marisa Renee Lee is a called upon grief advocate, entrepreneur, and bestselling author of Grief is Love: Living with Loss. Deemed "the friend we all wish we had in times of need" by Elaine Welteroth, Marisa is able to utilize research-based advice and wisdom to help others navigate the complicated and dark emotions we face when experiencing loss, offering unique insights for women and Black communities. Read More >

In addition to her work in the grief space, Lee is a former appointee in the Obama White House and CEO of Beacon Advisors, a mission-driven consulting firm primarily focused on racial equity.

She is a rabble-rouser of social healing: former managing director of My Brother's Keeper Alliance;co-founder of the digital platform Supportal; and founder of The Pink Agenda, a national organization dedicated to raising money for breast cancer care, research, and awareness.

Lee also regularly contributes to The Atlantic, Glamour, Vogue, MSNBC, CNN and serves as an expert for Ritual's wellbeing app.

She is a Harvard graduate and an avid home cook. Marisa lives in Virginia with her husband Matt, their newborn son Bennett, and their dog, Sadie. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

Grief and Loss

Speech Topics

Resilience: It's Not About Lemonade

So often we are told that the key to resilience, to overcoming obstacles, to moving from surviving to thriving is that we should simply make the best of the situation we are handed and keep moving forward until the hard part is behind us. But what do you do when "powering through" is just that - movement without purpose or learning or healing? In reality true resilience is about learning how to face your pains, to accept them as a part of who you are, and then to incorporate the struggles into your life in a way that is meaningful to you. It is about not getting over the things that hurt us, but finding a way to let them transform us. You can live a big and beautiful life even after experiencing immense sorrow. You don't move on from the hard stuff, you move through it and you learn how to live with life's challenges. While the path through pain is individual to us all, there are common techniques that we can all apply to the situations we face; techniques that allow us to purposefully and thoughtfully embrace the things that challenge us the most and to incorporate them into the balance of our life. So if that means forgetting the lemonade and making a cocktail, going to therapy, climbing a mountain, building a tiny house, or just sitting quietly and breathing deeply - we all have the capacity and the power to figure out how to thrive in this miserable, broken, beautiful and meaningful world.

Grief is Love

Marisa is a highly sought after speaker on a variety of topics: racial equity, social entrepreneurship, infertility; but is most often called upon to speak about grief and its impact on us. Marisa defines grief as the repeated experience of learning to live in the midst of a significant loss. She believes we don’t have to, and shouldn’t even try to “get over” the loss of a loved one, but we instead need to work on deciding how we live our lives in a way that honors our grief, but doesn’t deny us access to joy. You need joy in order to heal, and while grief is full of limitless amounts of pain, it needn’t be absent of joy. After losing a mother and a pregnancy Marisa shows people what it looks like to live joyfully and fully, after experiencing a loss. At its core, Marisa has learned that grief is love.

Racism & Grief

As a result of her experience with grief, Marisa views racism as another form of grief, one that is written on the souls of Black folks. James Baldwin once famously said, “[t]o be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time.” Marisa believes that rage is actually misplaced grief. Black people grieve because they know even if they are “twice as good,” they still aren’t good enough. Black grief is rooted in the pain that comes when you are not only a part of a country, but when you’ve built a country that doesn’t truly love or value you. In addition to addressing racism as grief, Marisa discusses what effective allyship actually is and how white Americans can combat racism beyond simply posting a black square on Instagram.