Ashley Bendiksen

Advocating Strong Mental Health & Healthy Relationships

  • Topics:
  • Mental Health
  • Resilience
  • Social-Emotional Learning
  • Audiences:
  • Grade 6-12 Students
  • College Students
  • Educators & Staff
  • Fundraisers

Fee Range: $4K-7K

Invite Ashley

From Homeless to Valedictorian
Advocate for Mental Health & Healthy Relationships
Founder of the Blue Hearts Project

Ashley Bendiksen is an award-winning advocate and top motivational speaker for students and educators. She combines masterful storytelling with deep expertise and practical strategies that drive change.

From Homeless to Valedictorian

For more than a decade, Ashley has made a transformational impact on the lives of youth and the adults who serve them. Despite being homeless, a college dropout, and a victim of dating abuse, Ashley rose to achieve extraordinary success.

Defying the odds, Ashley became Class Valedictorian, an award-winning activist, and a nonprofit founder. She also discovered her purpose, becoming an acclaimed expert in mental health, resilience, healthy relationships, and leadership development.

Ashley is living proof that “anything is achievable.” Her powerful story motivates students of all backgrounds to aim high, believe in themselves, and achieve their dreams – from struggling at-risk students to motivated student leaders.

A Leading Voice on Mental Health and Healthy Relationships

Ashley’s personal experience is supported by 14 years of professional leadership in the fields of violence prevention, health and wellness, leadership development, and social justice across the education, nonprofit, civic, and government sectors. Ashley holds a B.A. in Administration of Justice from Salve Regina University, is certified in victim advocacy, and is a certified life empowerment coach. She is also extensively trained in trauma response, child trauma, cognitive behavioral therapy, and supporting LGBTQ+, BIPOC, and non-cis communities.


Founder of the Blue Hearts Project
Published best-selling author
Starred in award-winning #SHEROProject document
Recognized expert in teen dating violence prevention
Has pioneered hundreds of social change initiatives
Trains various branches of the military each year


“I have never heard a speaker's name mentioned so many times! ​We wanted our keynote speaker to start off the conference weekend strong and Ashley exceeded all of our expectations! Over the weekend, I heard her name mentioned over and over again.”
Nicole K, Massstar Youth Leadership Conference
“No one could believe that a woman so young, beautiful, and full of life had been through such a traumatic experience, and then gone on to find so much success. Our participants were so moved and touched by her story that they have asked her to come back and speak again.”
Gail F, Executive Director of YWCA
“Ashley has my highest endorsement! She has the ability to read audiences, create a safe environment for sharing ideas, and possesses the necessary personal skills, empathy and passion to engage any type of audience – even the most seasoned professionals.”
Eric B, Founder of Difference Makers
“From delivering the keynote address at our biggest event of the year, to running an effective workshop session for our students - I have seen firsthand why Ashley is a leading speaker for youth. She delivers a powerful message that engages students, is relevant and memorable, and just as important, compels them to take action afterwards.”
Jeffrey P, President Junior Achievement of Southeastern Massachusetts
“Ashley was a dynamite speaker and presenter whose passion for helping others is clearly evident. Our members were enlightened and motivated to continue their work across the state to assist and advocate on behalf of victims of domestic violence.”
Donna S, General Federation of Women's Clubs

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