Jessica Buchanan | Kidnapping Survivor, Rescued by SEAL Team VI, New York Times Bestselling Author, voted one of the 150 Most Fearless Women Who Shake the World

Jessica Buchanan

Kidnapping Survivor, Rescued by SEAL Team VI, New York Times Bestselling Author, voted one of the 150 Most Fearless Women Who Shake the World

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Jessica Buchanan

On October 25, 2011, while on a routine field mission in Somalia, working as the Education Advisor for her non-governmental organization, Jessica was abducted at gunpoint and held for ransom by a group of Somali pirates for 93 days. Forced to live outdoors in deplorable conditions, starved, and terrorized by more than two dozen gangsters, Jessica’s health steadily deteriorated until, by order of President Obama, she was rescued by the elite SEAL Team VI on January 25, 2012.

Jessica’s ordeal is detailed in her New York Times bestselling book, Impossible Odds: The Kidnapping of Jessica Buchanan and Her Dramatic Rescue by SEAL Team Six. 

Jessica has been named one of the ‘150 Women Who will Shake the World’ by Newsweek, and her story has been one of the most highly viewed 60 Minutes episodes to air, to date. Jessica has shared her story of overcoming impossible odds on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Today Show, Stephen Colbert, The Unbeatable Mind with Navy SEAL Mark Divine, and All the Wiser with Kimi Culp, just to name a few. Jessica’s story was the subject of Wondery’s Season 2 Against The Odds and her TEDx Pearl Street talk, ‘Change is Your Proof of Life’ has been the foundation for which she travels the world, inspiring audiences to access their resilience by identifying their own autonomy and choice in the middle of their own life changing event, even when they feel they are out of options.

Jessica is the founder of Soul Speak Press, an imprint of Merack Publishing, where she supports women who are ready to share their stories through Memoir Manifestos- books that are one part memoir, one part self-help, and one part inspiration. Soul Speak Press’s inaugural book, Deserts to Mountaintops: Our Collective Journey to (re) Claiming Our Voice, an anthology of 25 inspiring women’s stories, reached bestseller status in 13 categories on Amazon during its debut in January 2023.

Jessica believes in giving back and so is actively committed to supporting The Navy SEAL Foundation, which works to support families of active duty and fallen SEALs as an ambassador and fundraising supporter. Jessica also acts as a family liaison volunteer for the non-profit organization, Hostage US, supporting former hostages and their families during captivity and eventual return. 

Jessica Buchanan
Featured Videos

Current: Speaking Reel

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More Videos From Jessica Buchanan

Speaking Reel
Time 04:39
TEDx: Change is Your Proof of Life
Time 16:39
Deserts to Mountaintops: Our Collective Journey to (re)Claiming Our Voice
Time 04:35
The Rescue of Jessica Buchanan
Time 15:46

Jessica Buchanan
Featured Keynote Programs

Opting to Choose
How to Choose Opportunity in the Impossible

Most of the time, when faced with difficulties, we feel we are backed into a corner, with no options. We will say to ourselves and to everyone around us, “I had no choice!” In this keynote presentation, Jessica breaks down the semantic differences between the state of OPTIONS as opposed to CHOICES, and through her dynamic teaching and storytelling, will show her audience that while they may have few options, they ALWAYS have a choice.

Jessica will walk her audience through five choices she made during captivity and illustrates how they too, can choose to find the opportunity in the impossible.

  1. Choose to listen: to the prompting of life and our gut.
  2. Choose to start: our circumstances don’t get the final say- we do.
  3. Choose a higher thought: reframe the impossible into an opportunity
  4. Choose to grow: are you the victor or the creator of your life?
  5. Choose gratitude above all else: what you appreciate, well, appreciates!

With each step, Jessica highlights her objective with examples of how she identified her choices when she had zero options during her 93-day captivity. This particular message can be broken down into a workshop format with corresponding companion guides and workbooks.

Deserts to Mountaintops
The Journey to Reclaiming My Voice

This keynote is crafted specifically for female audiences, and draws from Jessica’s latest bestselling book: Deserts to Mountaintops: Our Collective Journey to (re)Claiming Our Voice, an anthology of 25 women’s stories of how they have journeyed from their own desert and overcome incredibly daunting circumstances to reach their own mountaintops.

In this keynote, Jessica will offer her audience:

  • Tools for honing their intuition in every area of their lives
  • Real life examples that drive home the life and death situation that not listening to their intuition can cause
  • Exercises that will bring them into greater self-awareness and alignment into what they want for their future
  • Feelings of empowerment that will bring them to decisions more quickly, ultimately getting them to their next steps in an effective and efficient ways

Kidnappings, Ransoms, and the Security Sector

This keynote is specifically designed for the audience who works in the security space. With Jessica’s unique background in the INGO (International Non-Governmental Organizational) space combined with her professional training as a teacher, she is able to share lessons learned from before, during, and after her kidnapping experience to enable aid organizations and companies of all sizes and sectors to learn from her captivity account as both a cautionary tale and a story of survival success.

In this presentation, Jessica will offer her audience:

  • Practical takeaways and lessons learned from the unique perspective of a former hostage
  • An unforgettable and critical illustration of the importance of an organization’s Duty of Care
  • A renewed sense of purpose as to their WHY in supporting their mission
  • A commitment to their own personal security, and listening to their gut
  • An actual security checklist they may use prior to visiting project locations at home and abroad

For obvious reasons, personal security is one of Jessica’s greatest passions and a topic that needs to be spoken about more. Because of her unique and firsthand experience as a hostage, Jessica offers organizations and security companies an extremely unique model that brings their security lessons to life. Jessica’s concept connections to her real life experiences leave an unforgettable impression on any staff, and will inevitably leave them feeling more empowered to manage their own personal safety, ultimately creating a successful company culture that people feel safe working with.  

Impossible Odds
A Story of Strength and Survival

In this keynote, Jessica moves audiences from all backgrounds with the details of her 93-day captivity in the Somali desert, with how she managed to survive regular torture, starvation, and threats on her life, from a gang of pirates who wanted a 45-million-dollar ransom demand for her freedom.

If there is one thing Jessica understands, it is the impossible, as it doesn’t get much more impossible than being a woman, surrounded by armed men, who want tens of millions of dollars for your freedom, and living through the ordeal. 

Jessica, a teacher by profession and a humanitarian at heart, is a gifted storyteller who is able to lay out practical tools she used during her captivity in a way that can also be applied in one’s everyday challenges. Jessica will invite her audience to focus on their choices embedded within life’s options and call them to gratitude, all while demonstrating how one can find a commitment to purpose, even in the darkest moments of our lives. 

Jessica’s unwavering faith and ability to believe in hope are highlighted in her emotionally powerful retelling of a miracle of all miracles: Her successful rescue that took place on January 25, 2012 by The US military’s most elite special forces, SEAL Team VI.  

Jessica’s keynote offers her listeners the opportunity for real transformation as they take inventory of the goodness in their lives, are inspired and motivated to turn their pain into purpose by realizing no hardship is impossible to overcome.

Jessica Buchanan
Featured Book

Impossible Oddsby Jessica Buchanan

Impossible Odds

by Jessica Buchanan

Jessica Buchanan
Featured Reviews

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