© 2016 — Top Story Leadership

Ria’s story

Like many, I faced adversity in life. Raised on an isolated farm in Alabama, I was sexually abused by my father from age 12 – 19. Desperate to escape, I left home at 19 without a job, a car, or even a high school diploma. I went on to thrive. I worked my way through school, an MBA, and a successful career in the corporate world of administrative healthcare. 

Mark Twain said, “The two greatest days in your life are the day you are born and the day you discover why.” 13 years after leaving home, I discovered my “why.”

My “why” is to share my story and inspire you to to reach your potential, regardless of your past or present circumstances. 

About Ria: Ria’s background includes more than ten years in administrative healthcare, including several years in management and later, Director of Compliance and Regulatory Affairs for a large healthcare organization.  Ria’s responsibilities included oversight of thousands of organizational policies, organizational compliance with all State and Federal regulations, and responsibility for several million dollars in Medicare appeals. 

Now a motivational speaker, coach, and author of 9 books, she co-founded Top Story Leadership, which offers leadership development, speaking, training, coaching, and consulting. Ria also coaches authors and speakers on writing, speaking, and more.  Learn more about Ria’s story of overcoming in her books, Beyond Bound and Broken and Ria’s Story From Ashes to Beauty. 


Here’s what others have to say…

  • “Ria, I am using your material to empower myself and my female clients. Thanks for sharing your story and a wonderful journey of growth.”

  • “You influenced me big time in following my dreams! So I just wanted to say than you so much! Success can come from tragedy and I am grateful for your journey teaching me that!”

  • Thank you for sharing your story and reminding us to do the right thing for the right reason for the right people.

  • “Ria was very inspiring. She gave the 2015 Graduating Class quality and truth at their Baccalaureate Service. Even though her past was one of tragedy, she delivered with such grace and poise. She sent out a clarion call for the students to be tenacious and have a positive attitude.”

  • “We SOOOO  enjoyed your testimony Tuesday night.  I saw several people at church last night that made a point to stop and tell me how much they enjoyed you and your inspiration!!”

  • It’s possible you will change the world!

    Donovan Weldon
    Owner, Donovan Industrial
  • “You gave me wings and I will fly! Thanks my friend!”

  • Thank you Ria for bringing our conference to a close. You were definitely an inspiration to all of us! Awesome Job!

    Melinda, President
    Alabama Gerontological Society
  • “Thank you for coming to speak to Christian Women’s Job Corp. You have a winning personality and thank you for the strong influence you have been in my life.”

    CWJC Lee County
  • I truly enjoyed the encouraging words you had to share. I admire you so much and you are such a dynamic and motivational speaker. You are a true inspiration.

    Laura, attendee
    Auburn Women's Club
  • “Your story is so inspiring, and I find it so amazing to see what you have done with your life! You are truly an inspiration to me, and for other young women like me who have also overcome struggles…You are living proof that no matter where you come from, or what has happened in your past, it does NOT define you, and it does not define your future.”

    Emma A.
  • “Too much to write here. Absolutely phenomenal. PLEASE give us more of (Mack and Ria) them and leadership training!”

    West Georgia Technical College
    Adult Education Program Instructor
  • ….it was awesome! Ria has a real gift. I came away with so many helpful tools! Thank you Ria.

  • “….Ria, I really enjoyed your class this morning. It provided some new perspectives for me and several ideas from which I can benefit….I will look forward to joining you for another class!

  • Thank you for making a difference!

  • “(Working with you in the Storyteller Program) ….It is one of the smartest things I have done for myself – personally and professionally! Thank you!”

    Sherina Hill
    Author and Speaker
  • “My first words are, GET SIGNED UP! This training is not, and I stress, not your everyday leadership seminar! I have never been a part of anything like it. After 30 years in technology and two years in Concrete Construction, I have attended dozens and sent hundreds to the so-called ‘Leadership-Training.’ I can tell you that while all of the courses, classes, webinars, and seminars, had good intentions, nothing can touch what Mack and Ria Story provide. I just wish I had it 20 years ago…I could go on-and-on…100% of the team that attended said that they were ‘blown-away, they did not see that conviction and passion coming.’ Many thanks, Mack and Ria!”

    Sam M.
    VP & COO, CMP
  • You don’t know me but reading your story has changed my life forever and though it has been a slow on going process, I am seeing it was much needed !!

    I just wanted to say thank you !!

    Lisa M.
    Blog subscriber
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