A Reason to Stand’s next conference will be held April 24, 202 at Box Elder High School in Brigham City, Utah.
We are excited to announce our speaker line-up for our April Event! Read a little about each one and their stories below.
Kechi Okwuchi will join us, as well as our founder Ashlee Boyson. We hope look forward to reconnecting with old friends and meeting new ones!
“My name is Kechi Okwuchi and I am a Nigerian-born 27 year-old who loves to sing.
On December 10th 2005, I was headed home from boarding school for the Christmas holidays aboard a local airplane which crashed and killed 107 out of a 109 passengers, 60 of whom were fellow classmates and friends. I suffered third degree burns over 65% of my body, and I have had to undergo multiple intensive surgical procedures ever since.
Two years into my treatments in America, I decided I wanted to finish high school and enter into a good university by my own merit. I had a strong support system- my family, my friends and my faith- who believed that I would be able to overcome my physical, mental and emotional obstacles and achieve my goal. In 2015, I graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of St. Thomas with a 3.8 in Economics & Marketing (BBA). Afterwards, I was the market analyst for AFRICAN League of Legends, where I helped with the development of a marketing campaign for an award show hosted by the non-profit organization in July 2016.
I am currently a graduate student, earning an MBA in Economics at my alma mater, and I worked as a graduate assistant at the Cameron School of Business for a time. Before America’s Got Talent, my most immediate goal was to obtain a summer internship at the UNFPA, which works to expand the possibilities for women and young children to lead healthy and productive lives worldwide. AGT was a huge and miraculous opportunity, the kind I could only dream of in the past, and I still can’t believe I became a top 10 finalist on the show! AGT opened new paths for me, and more recently I was invited back to the show to compete in the spinoff, AGT:The Champions! Now I intend to forge forward in faith with music as my goal.”-Kechi
Ashlee (Birk) Boyson
Ashlee (Birk) Boyson is the founder of A Reason to Stand. She is the author of the blog and book series entitled The Moments We Stand. In them she tells of her personal journey of healing and seeking peace after the murder of her husband Emmett. On March 11, 2011 Emmett was shot and killed in a Walgreens parking lot in Meridian by the husband of a secret mistress. Ashlee was made a widow at the age of 28 with 5 children—the youngest being just six weeks old.
Her husband’s death left her with many messes to clean up—the hardest being her own broken soul as well as five others. She spent hours with detectives, Emmett’s business, a month long murder trial, and therapists . . . trying to piece together the broken pieces of the past. None of which helped her feel whole. Through her trials she has learned the importance of a personal relationship with her Heavenly Father. She has witnessed many miracles through the devastation of so much heartache. She has found light in the darkest of moments—and she has found hope when she thought it was lost. It is through Christ that true healing has come.
Ashlee’s story is very unique. As she has learned to embrace it, she has gained a greater testimony of hope and the strength it can be in her story. She has come to find that the grace of Christ is powerful—not only in sin—but also in forgiveness and carrying you through some of your darkest moments. She has felt the embrace of angels through every obstacle. The tender mercies have given her hope to stand tall and write a new story.
Ashlee believes that every day is a gift—and in each one, she has learned to stand.
Ashlee is married to Scott Boyson and they and their five kids live in Utah where they have learned to work hard, play hard, and make the most of every moment.
Ashlee continues to write, and share her story, but even more than the story of the past, Ashlee is enjoying teaching about hope for the future, helping others remember Christ’s role in their life and apply grace to their story.
Jennie Ashworth Taylor
“I have a really hard time watching the news. My heart aches every time I hear a story about a newly made widow, or another child who has lost a parent. The day I heard the news of the North Ogden Mayor getting shot—I could barely breathe as my thoughts turned to his little children and wife. I remembered the fear and the pain of another mans choices changing my world…and I could barely stand the thought that another woman was suffering such a day—and the journey that follows. I found her. And she was strong. Brave. Full of light. I cannot wait to have her stand on the stage on March 1st, and share that same light with all of us. A mother that has sacrificed much, endured the unthinkable, and is still standing beautiful and tall.” -Ashlee Birk Boyson (Founder of A Reason to Stand)
Her YouTube slogan, “You are beautiful, you are worth it and I am too” says it’s all.
In June 2015, after a 26 year battle with serious eating disorders, Shanny decided the best way to combat the eating disorders that were killing her was to put herself and her healing journey on YouTube. She has since gained nearly 65,000 subscribers from all over the world. Many have told her that her videos give them a reason to live. She feels a responsibility to warn people of the true dangers of eating disorders and self-harm as well as inviting anyone on her recovery journey.
As she has lived and preached she has also internalized and healed from her own messages. She is a survivor of childhood sexual, mental, physical and emotional abuse. She desperately wants people to know they are not alone.
Humor and sarcasm mixed with cold reality and warm candor are the life’s blood of her channel. She also shares the tools she’s learned in therapy and encourages people to seek professional help.
She attributes her success to being someone others relate to. She believes in healing through faith, positivity and sharing. She is not afraid to tackle the hard and uncomfortable stuff that nobody wants to talk about.
Eating disorders have the highest death rate of any psychiatric illness.
Shanny always says, “Eating disorders thrive off of secrecy and loneliness; so let’s bring them out of the dark together”
Shanny continues to fight “ED” (eating disorders) on a daily basis with her eternal sweetheart, Danny by her side as well as supportive family, friends and nearly 65,000 “Shanny Fannies” and counting. She refuses to ever give up!
Abby Stephens was raised in Cokeville, Wyoming, where she attended high school and was always a physically active young woman, and loved to sing and dance. She then attended BYU, where she planned to receive her BFA degree in Musical Dance Theater, but at the age of 23, her plans changed dramatically. One week before her wedding, she was in a car accident that left her paralyzed from the neck down. Doctors said she would never walk again, but with unwavering faith, determination, and a
positive attitude, she was able to walk just 3 months later! This was not the first, nor last, difficult challenge in Abby’s life.
She has been sharing her story for over 20 years as an Inspirational Speaker, Singer, and Humorist, inspiring others to Choose Happy and find a way to laugh through life’s toughest moments! Abby and her husband Cole live in Kaysville, Utah and have 4 amazing children, including twins!
Our next conference will be held April 24, 2020 at Box Elder High School in Brigham City, Utah.
Come be inspired to find hope on your healing journey. As we gather together, we find strength from each other, a sense of community, and a hope for something greater than ourselves giving us faith to write a new story. We cannot wait to have you become a part of this family, be empowered with truth, and take the next step to owning the past and believing in the future. A story full of grace and light.
We hope to have you join us for an evening of healing, purchase tickets here: http://bit.ly/361kzCk