The Making of a Movement and Affecting Change

This year’s IBWSS Keynote Speaker Candace Lightner will introduce attendees to The Making of a Movement and Affecting Change on Monday, April 24, 2017.

How do you take a behavior that is socially acceptable and change decades old attitudes and a way of life for many?

Ms. Lightner will speak about the trials and tribulations, joys and victories of making impaired driving socially unacceptable and reducing death and injuries on our roadways. She will talk about overcoming the obstacles she faced including the prediction of many highway safety officials who said it couldn’t be done. She will address lessons learned and why partnerships and coalitions are so important.

Ms. Lightner will also talk about how she applied those lessons to her current organization, We Save Lives, a partnership organization that focuses on the 3 D’s (drunk, drugged and distracted driving) that includes all modes of transportation.

Candace Lightner, founder of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is recognized nationally and internationally as the moving force behind reshaping the nation’s attitude toward drunk driving.

As MADD’s Chief Executive Officer, President and Chairman of the Board, Lightner masterminded MADD from a small California grass roots organization into an international corporation with more than 400 chapters worldwide and an annual budget of over 12 million dollars. Under her leadership, MADD’s membership base grew to more than two million. She managed a staff of more than fifty employees and thousands of volunteers.

Her ability to empower people to move beyond their grief and make a difference in their community and state has earned her national acclaim. Equally important, Lightner provided the solution– vision, legislative strategy and consensus-building skills—necessary to move lawmakers into proactively changing the laws and saving lives. Ms. Lightner’s political acumen led to the successful passage of more than 500 bills at the state and national levels, including legislation raising the drinking age to 21 — a move credited with saving thousands of lives. She has testified before Congress, statehouses and committee hearings and has formed coalitions, such as SOS (Save Our Students) as powerful political tools. She also conceived, organized and implemented visionary national programs including: Project Graduation, the National Poster and Essay Contest, Victim Services, Alcohol Server Training, leadership conferences, volunteer recruitment and training, courtroom monitoring and speakers’ bureaus.

Lightner’s ability to empower people to move beyond their grief and make a difference in their community and state earned her national acclaim. Recognizing her years of dynamic leadership, the media voted Ms. Lightner as “one of the most influential American citizens of the twentieth century.” Her cutting-edge leadership ability has been recognized by the Franklin Covey Leadership Center and the Center for Creative Leadership.

Lightner founded, in 2013, as a representative voice on highway safety issues, focusing on the 3 D’s, drugged, drunk and distracted driving. We Save Lives works with more than 50 partners at the local, state, national and international levels, to reduce deaths and injuries on the highways.

Lightner has contributed knowledge, expertise and personal experience to virtually every newspaper and talk show in the country and was featured in a documentary, the Twentieth Century Project, by the famous Oscar winning director Bob Zemeckis. She has co- authored Giving Sorrow Words: How to Cope with Grief and Get On with Your Life (Warner Books) and she was the subject of a T.V. movie, entitled Mothers Against Drunk Drivers: the Candy Lightner Story.

Time honored Ms. Lightner as one of “Seven Who Succeeded;” Esquire picked her as one of “America’s New Leadership Class;” and Ladies Home Journal listed her as one of the “Top 100 Women in America. Her many other honors include: The Jefferson Award for Public Service, the President’s Volunteer Action Award, the YWCA “Woman of the Year” Award, The Patricia Neal Courage Award from the Women’s International Center, and the Film Advisory Board Award for Excellence and the Women’s Center Annual Leadership Award.

In addition, she was the first woman to be recognized as one of the “Five Outstanding Californians” by the California Jaycees. Ms. Lightner also has received Honorary Doctorates from Kutztown University, Marymount University and Saint Francis College. Recently, she joined a select group of participants in a groundbreaking global think tank, Filling Leadership Gaps in Health Promotion, Prevention and Care at Harvard University as a component of the Advanced Leadership Initiative co-chaired by Dr. Howard Koh, former Associate Dean for Public Health Practice.

Lightner’s lifetime of service to the community began in Okinawa, Japan where she assisted in establishing a drug program for heroin-addicted military personnel, a hotline for potential suicides and a rap center for troubled teens. She also worked with the American Red Cross, counseling military families experiencing personal and financial hardships.

Lightner’s interest in social activism continues with her participation as a judge for the Gleitzman Foundation honoring individuals who make a difference with cash awards. She has helped found numerous organizations, including, AirCraft Casualty Support Services and National Neighborhood Day. Also, she currently serves on several national and local Boards of Directors and Advisory Boards and believes strongly in active community participation.

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