“Trauma tends to either lead us into blind alleys or to open up new vistas. Kelly Standing’s story—spiritually and pragmatically—is a shining example of the posttraumatic growth that can result from the most terrible traumas. What she
ultimately teaches is the attitude of resilience. All of us, survivors and non-survivors alike, have something to learn from her remarkable story and the amazing fact that she’s still standing.”

Don R. Catherall, Ph.D.
Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University
Editor (2004), The Handbook of Stress, Trauma and the Family, New York: Routledge 
Books to Know & Love…”I’m Still Standing”

Books to Know & Love…”I’m Still Standing”

“In the spirit of full disclosure, I know Kelly Standing…at least in small measure. She and I were cohorts at Speaker University, a wonderful series produced by the Illinois Chapter of the National Speakers Association. For that, the keen observer will note my name in Kelly’s acknowledgement of “Supportive Colleagues” near the end of the book. I was surprised and humbled by the undeserved citation.

Having said that, I am often biased against books written by people I know. The reasons for that vary, but I had no difficulty overcoming my negative tendencies the moment I opened Kelly’s work and entered her world. Her writing is engaging and playful, her stories are well-told and extraordinary, and her wisdom is deep and thought-provoking. I cannot imagine what more I might demand from such a work of love.

The phrase “consider the source” comes to mind as I contemplate ways to describe this volume. We often use that phrase to dismiss insights and wisdom that make us uncomfortable, or those with which we disagree. But, because our worldviews emerge so intimately from whence we have come, I often long for deeper insight into an author than a few cryptic sentences crammed on the back flap of a book’s cover.

While any autobiography should offer such an “inside-out” view, I thought—or rather felt—that Kelly let us into her world in as unblemished a way as any author could. She is funny and self-deprecating. She is loving towards those in her life when they are deserving and brutally honest in those moments her relationships fell short. She accepts responsibility for her shortfalls and gently requests others in her life to examine theirs.

As for insights and wisdom…they are embedded in every page, paragraph and sentence. If her work made me uncomfortable, it was when I had the courage to allow her wisdom to call into question my life, and how I often fall short of the bars she raises by which I might measure my own struggles.

And while her wisdom and insights are everywhere in this work, my world shifted most dramatically near the end. Kelly tells of a young girl in Guatemala who became a beacon for her life, and she challenges us to find such a source of inspiration in our own. As I read those words, I recalled many young people who have inspired me. But one in particular came immediately to mind; one whose light was, as was the beacon in Kelly’s life, extinguished far too soon.

Thank you, Kelly, for your wisdom, insights and profound challenge. And thank you for allowing me to “consider the source.” “

Posted by Roger E. Breisch on his blog: “Oops…There Goes My Worldview


Reviews of: I’m Still Standing: How One Woman’s Brushes with Death Taught Her How to Live (Hardcover)

★★★★★ OUT-Standing, January 3, 2012 By Roger -

Read it and then read it (or listen to it) again….If this story doesn’t move you, then you can’t be moved. a Story of Perseverance, a message of coping with adversity, a success story, a story of eternal optimism and a story of faith all rolled into one lady’s life.

I can’t wait to send copies to my friends who will love this message as much as I do.

Once the unique literary style grabs you (about chapter two) you will love it. The Introduction prepares you for one great reading experience, so like the book tells you on the intro page “Don’t skip this!! IT’S IMPORTANT!”

I am a book junkie, and I am sure glad my instincts lead me to this one.

Catherine Bailey comments:

I know the author, personally. She is exactly the person described in the previous comment. She has faced diversity, after diversity…Horror, after horror. Her faith and her experiences have gotten her through adversities that would cause many of us to give up on life altogether.

★★★★★ I’m Finished Reading and I’m Still Enjoying!, January 17, 2012 By Mary -

Great lessons in how to live your life. I laughed out loud, I cried out loud, I had so many memories flash by and I knew that this book touched me on so many levels. Kelly Standing has a great way of making one be at peace with adversity by her example of the way she has lead her life……… always smiling! What a joyous,inspirational,yet fun read! Loved every minute of it. To all my friends dealing with life problems……..you are reading the review of your next gift from me! It will be your best gift yet!!!!

★★★★★ An enjoyable and inspirational read, January 13, 2012 By Patricia -

I loved this book. Kelly is a gifted writer – witty, funny and she knows how to tell a story. It’s a fun read and inspirational at the same time.

★★★★★ Inspiring book!, January 11, 2012 By Patricia A Walters -

Easy to read. Very few of us have experienced the hurdles Kelly has had in her life BUT she has gotten over them by leaps and bounds. Wonderful book!



“You combined humor with realistic expectations.  No ‘psycho-speak’ — no trite catch phrases.  I love you.  Can I be your new best friend?”

“I liked Kelly’s honesty and her ability to relate everyday experiences to the ‘big picture.’

An hour was too short.  I could have listened for hours.  A great, interesting, thought-provoking speaker and presentation!”

“You thought of everything.  I liked all of it!  You’re a wonderful, enjoyable speaker.  You made me think!”

“You are a delight to listen to.  I think everyone can relate to you.”

“Very informative, entertaining and enjoyable!!!  I loved the real examples given and Kelly’s personal triumphs and mistakes or lessons.”

” We needed concrete items and ideas. You presented the information in a humorous, non-lecturing way.  Very interactive.  Thank you for not ‘talking down’ to us.”

“It was inspiring, interesting, humorous!  I have heard Kelly a number of times — always amused and often spellbound.”

“Wish it could have been longer.  Kelly is the highlight of our programs.”

“Factual information presented in an amazing, entertaining manner.  I loved everything — the time flew by!  What a wonderful talent you have, Kelly.” 

“Ms. Standing has done her homework.  I like her sincerity.  I recommend her speech to all staff.  Everyone needs it.”

“Kelly, you are wonderful!  I am moved and motivated.”

“Such a great storyteller.  You paint very vivid pictures out of both ordinary and extraordinary experiences.”

“The spontaneity was great.  Thank you.  You are energizing to us — it was perfect!”

“When I saw you sitting there waiting to speak, I thought you might be one of those school teacher types who wouldn’t say ‘boo’ if her life depended on it.  Then you stood up to speak, and you were the most animated person I’ve ever met.”

Thank you for the outstanding performance you presented.  Those attending really enjoyed the afternoon.  You either kept us in tears or stitches.  All went great and you left us with food for thought.”

“Great length of program.  I laughed, shed a tear and totally related to the entire program.  Thank you soooo much.”

“I wish you could have spoken longer — it was totally refreshing!”

“It was perfect.  I wouldn’t change a thing.”

“You show speaking the way it needs to be done to capture your audience, hold them, entertain them and make them think.  Thank you.”

“Excellent, Kelly!  You never disappoint.”

“You couldn’t give a bad speech if you tried.”

“You are the best storyteller I have ever heard.”

“You are the best!  When I grow up, I want to be like you!”

“WOW!  Very dynamic — great introduction to your topic and a rousing conclusion.  You never cease to amaze this crowd.  Great, great job!”

“Thank you so much for sharing your presentation with us tonight.  Your message — by itself — is so practical and helpful.  But in addition, your style and delivery are so energetic and enthusiastic, you are a living example of how to give a speech!  I grabbed a couple of ideas for myself, too.”


“You and the other instructors combined for the best quality and best participation that I’ve had in 25 years of doing adult education programs!!!  The early Friday sessions were so important to set the stage for the rest.  On Saturday morning, we had 59 out of 59 participants in class!”


“I liked your consideration and honesty toward our industry.  You taught me how to be aware of my audience.  Keep helping people do exactly what you did today.  Thank you!”

“I have something concrete to take home and put to practice.  Very informative!!”

“You have a very conversational way of keeping the session rolling.  You made the suggestion of using 15 minutes of outside brainstorming to improve your speeches — I liked that best.”

“She knew her topic and loved it.  And the presentation made me want to know it, as well.  The hour flew.  I can’t believe I’m saying this, but longer would be great!”

“She used props and personal experiences, great energy and enthusiasm.  One of the best presentations on this topic [STANDING at the Microphone]!”

“Speaker was really excited about presentation.  The time went too fast.  Keep it up.  You did great!”

“Fast paced but easy to follow; kept it interesting and kept our attention.  You seem to enjoy what you are doing.”

“Animation, content, props — great.  Best one hour on public speaking I’ve been to and I’ve been to a lot of them.”

“The pace and the personality helped tremendously.  I could have listened for another hour.  Great job.  You make speechwriting and speaking seem easy, almost effortless.”

“I think the presentation was one of the best seminars I’ve attended.”



“I am so pleased that you spoke to our group.  You were a hit!  We have speakers on a regular basis on various topics.  None were as well received as you, or as interesting. … Thanks again.  You’re the best! “


“Kelly told us if we needed her [speechwriting/coaching] expertise during the course of the next six months she would be glad to help us free for the first time.  … [Before I led a seminar] I took her up on her offer.  To say the least she was great.  She helped a bunch and things went well.  Thanks!”


“I appreciate your thoughts.  Kelly has had a chance to speak to our representatives several times, and I only have great feedback.  I am glad you felt she added value to your business.”


“Congratulations on a fine presentation!  The entire show was both interesting and informative.” 

“Enjoyed your presentation last week in Chicago.  Your emphasis on thinking of the other person and not being self-centered [when you speak or make conversation] was exactly what that group needed to hear.”

“They loved you!!  You are delightful!  Lots of useful information and you made me feel good about myself!”

“Your energy is amazing!  I was spellbound — and I got the message!”

“Outstanding — wish I’d heard you years ago!”

“Great handling of audience participation.”

“I really learned things I will use!”

“Energy!  You are amazing!!  Your two-sided handout was very readable and packed full of great ideas!”


“What a terrific presentation you made to the spouses!  Thank you for sharing your considerable expertise in such an entertaining and informative way.”

“The raves about your workshop are still coming in — I cannot thank you enough.”

“Bravo!  You were magnificent.  I can honestly say that I have never enjoyed one of the spouses sessions more.  You were so informative and entertaining.  Truly delightful.  Thank you and congratulations on a job well done.”

“I just wanted to thank you for your presentation during our spouses’ meeting.  It was great!  We all talked about it the whole weekend. This was the best spouses’ meeting we have had in a very long time!!!!!  Thank you again!”

“I just wanted you to know that your presentation was very well received.  Once again, you gave a great talk and had the audience entertained and very interested.”

“I really enjoyed all the tips you talked about and have put some of them to good use.  I am a spouse and being male makes it a little more difficult for me to join the conversations, but, with your help, I will be fine.”


“Great presentation — live discussion/interactive.”

“It was informative and concise.  I picked up numerous pointers that will be useful for me.”

“Kept me interested.  I like the basic motto, ‘It ain’t about you.’  That is what I needed.”

“fun attitude, excellent presentation of material with practical hints, kept attention of audience.  What a joy.  I found Kelly’s approach so practical.  I can’t wait to share what I learned.”

“I always say, if I can go to a seminar, whether it’s two hours, a half-day or a whole day, and come away with one idea I can apply right away, it was worth my time.  You only talked for an hour, but if anyone walks away from this session without at least five ideas they can implement right away, they weren’t listening!”

“Thanks for your presentation this morning!  I had a lot of fun with your topics and believe there were some things I can implement right away.”

“Thanks for your presentation yesterday.  It was informative, engaging and to the point.  I left with several important points that will help me help my clients more effectively.”


“I learned some wonderful tips for conversation and public speaking.”

“It was fun and up-beat.  Very good for audience involvement.”

“You are so impressive!!  You truly had the audience 100% involved in the presentation.  It was marvelous.”


“Thanks so much for giving a great presentation to my business communications class last night.  They were very impressed, as was I.  You clearly and concisely told about your topic and it related so well to our coursework.”

“Tons of great information.”

“Very interactive, answered a lot of questions.”

“I have trouble using props because they take so much time.  Your presentation convinced me to try them more because I may be trying to say too much.  Let the stories make my point.”

“I learned a lot and appreciate your great effort.  This was one of the best presentations I have ever attended.  Thank you so much!!”

“Great speaker with great tactics and ideas to use.  Thanks so much.  You made it fun and informative.”

“Good info — very helpful and concrete — delivered with energy, humor, enthusiasm and audience participation.  I thoroughly enjoyed your presentation.”

“On behalf of our Center I would like to give you a big thank you for your great presentation!  Everyone enjoyed it so much and learned from it also.  You have so much to offer.”


“Great presentation!  You have the ability to tell your story in a manner that makes the audience think about their own lives.”

“You bring your audience from laughter to tears … and they learn something in between.  You are awesome.”

“It doesn’t get any better than this!”

“Awesome — as smooth as silk — flawless.  What an example!  Kelly, you are a fantastic speaker.”

“Great material.  Great message.”

“You nailed it!  Good job, wonderful ideas, superb development, original material.”

“Opening very interesting — made your point.  Accent and body language were great!  Thank you!”

“Great original story and delivery.  You go, girl!”

“Kelly, you will be great in this business.  I mean great!!”

“You and your message are DELIGHTFUL!!!”


“I enjoyed being able to share our opinions and thoughts with you and interact with the presentation instead of just being lectured to.  Everything was very interesting, informative and, most importantly, fun!  Thank you for taking your time to make us better leaders!”


“I liked the activities and the way the material was presented.  It wasn’t one of those long, boring speeches.”

“I liked the way you integrated ideas with fun, candy and learning experiences.  Everything was very interesting.  I would say make your presentation longer because you have many things to say that are useful to us, and we could learn so much more.”

“She was very entertaining and captured the audience’s attention.  There was interaction with the audience, as well.  The pace was pleasant.  She was good.  Thanks!”

“You had a lot of audience interaction which is hard to do.  It helped keep things interesting.  It was great!  You were very enthusiastic and original.”



Thank you for your help with both our regional meetings and the national broadcast.  Both were unqualified successes due in no small part to your efforts.  We appreciate the very high quality work and enthusiasm you bring to the projects.

 Dear Kelly,

The graduation speech I gave last Thursday was absolutely awesome!  … I overheard some of the faculty talking afterwards — they didn’t know I was standing behind them — saying it was without a doubt the best commencement talk they’d ever heard.  WOW! 

I got so many compliments I felt guilty passing it off as my own.  Granted, I provided the thoughts but it was so well crafted — thoughtful and sensitive, with just the right balance of humor — everything I hoped it would be.  The audience was with me the whole time and, because of the ease I felt, I could really speak to them and make good eye contact the whole time. 

 Your “trick” with the blue beads is masterful.  By the time I got to the red bead I was more than “reddy.”  Practicing as much as I did made the delivery so easy.  I could speak almost a whole page without looking and, when I needed to look, knew exactly where on the page I was.  Your layout, pausing reminders and underscoring were perfect.

I could not have done this without your help and I hope you know how grateful I am.  You captured exactly the message I wanted to convey. 

Kelly, you were wonderful to work with.  One of the things I appreciated so much was how quickly you responded to anything I asked.  Sometimes it was only minutes until I had an answer from you.  Do you ever sleep?

 One of the members of the commencement speaker’s audience wrote:

“As a member of a large family, I am sure you can imagine that I have had the occasion to attend many, many commencement ceremonies.  As a result, I have also had the opportunity to hear many, many commencement addresses.  I wanted you to know, however, that I have never heard a finer commencement address than the one you delivered last night … your words were thought-provoking and inspiring … thank you very much.”

 Dear Kelly,

[CLIENT NAME AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST] has informed me of your assistance throughout this past year in helping her craft several excellent speeches to the various constituencies of [ORGANIZATION].

[ORGANIZATION NAME] has exceeded its very challenging goal of $10.3 million by more than $500,000.  Much of the Campaign’s extraordinary success resulted from [CLIENT’S] exceptional leadership.  [CLIENT], however, is the first to admit your professional speechwriting skills helped her to be very effective in motivating our major donors, campaign leaders and our many volunteers.

On behalf of the more than 600,000 individuals who are assisted by [ORGANIZATION], I thank you. With your help [ORGANIZATION] this year will empower thousands of individuals through many educational opportunities …“


“You are a very brave lady.  I like everything you spoke about.  We really need more people like you.”

“thought provoking … best speaker I’ve ever heard.”

“excellent examples of problems and responses.”

“You were focused, informed, enthusiastic.  Stated problems and solutions.  Motivated us to become more informed and involved.  Great presentation!”

“It was wonderful, very fresh and spontaneous.”

“Very interesting and dynamic presentation.”

“Seemed so spontaneous — not canned.”

“Her humorous yet deeply sincere style inspired the audience to be more aware of our impact on others.  Kelly is sincere and inspiring.  She is able to share what is in her heart in a memorable yet humorous manner, so it seems more like a personal conversation than a speech.”

“I enjoyed every minute!  Enthusiasm !!! Humor! Sincerity, sharing personal experiences — body language.  I would have enjoyed listening to Kelly much, much longer!  She nourishes me — spiritually and mentally!”

“Lively presentation one could relate to many situations.  Interest never lagged during speech — vivacious, smiling speaker — best ever seen!!”

“Kelly’s talk was very appropriate for our group and the season.  She was an inspiration and gave us solid small steps to improve our lives.”


American Soybean Association

Assistance League of St. Louis

Boy & Girls Town of Missouri

Boston Market/St. Louis Rams

Chartered Professional Casualty Underwriters

Clark Refining & Marketing

            Convenience Store News Top 50 Forum

ConAgra Frozen Foods/Healthy Choice


American Dietetic Association

Continental Baking Company



Edward Jones Investments

The Impact Group

The Institute of Internal Auditors, Inc.

International Association for Near-Death Studies, Inc.

Junior League of St. Louis


Missouri Bone & Joint


National Speakers Association – National Convention & St. Louis & Illinois chapters

Northwestern Memorial Hospital – Chicago, IL

Regional Chamber and Growth Association

Technology Gateway Alliance

            Breakfast With the Gazelles

Realtors Land Institute

Renaissance Financial

SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives)

American Business Women’s Association

National Center for Nonprofit Boards

St. Louis District Dairy Council

St. Louis Equity Fund

Standing Partnership

SOAR – Streeterville Organization of Active Residents – Chicago, IL

Thomas Marketing, Inc.

Bank Investment Rep Magazine

Commerce Bank

First Interstate Bank

First Union Bank

Magna Bank

University Club of Chicago


Affton Lindbergh Early Childhood Education (Professional Development)

Archdiocesan Development Appeal

Belleville Area College

The Christian Coalition

Eden Theological Seminary – Webster Groves, MO

Episcopal City Mission

DuPage Center for Spiritual Living – Carol Stream, IL

First Congregational Church — Webster Groves, MO

Lindbergh School District

Lindenwood University

McCormick Theological Seminary – Chicago, IL

Mehlville School District

Opus Dei/The Lindell Study Center

Rockwood School District

Southminster Presbyterian Church — Crestwood, MO

St. Joseph’s Academy — St. Louis, MO

St. Louis University

Third Baptist Church — St. Louis, MO

Webster Hills Methodist Church — Webster Groves, MO

William Rainey Harper College – Palatine, IL


Book Kelly Standing for your next meeting >

Schedule a “STANDING Appointment” for one-on-one coaching >