Who is Lisa?

“While reporting for the Oprah Show, I called the Democratic Republic of the Congo the ‘worst place on earth.’ When Lisa Shannon saw my report, rather than turn her back, she took it on. Her commitment to the victims of one of the world’s greatest tragedies exemplifies the best in humanity. Her powerful story is an inspiration to all of those who think their voice is too small to change lives.” Lisa Ling, journalist


Lisa’s journey began in 2005, sprawled on the couch, where she saw Lisa Ling’s report on Oprah about the violence in Congo. She decided to run. Ever since, Lisa has been stepping up to end extreme threats to women’s security. She has founded and led multiple international campaigns, including Run for Congo Women and Sister Somalia, which have directly aided and empowered more than 100,000 women and children living through war. Today, Lisa is taking on women’s security worldwide through a campaign for a legally binding UN Convention on Violence Against Women. The bedrock of her work is an unshakable belief in everyone’s power to change the world. In Lisa’s own words, “There is no greater threat to human security than our well trained capacity to simply flip off our empathy switch. But if we can flip our empathy switch back on, and keep it on, we find a new power to speak up, step up, and do what we can to stop the violence. Not because we should, but because it’s happening to our friends.” Read more about Lisa’s campaigns here.

Lisa’s award-winning first book, A Thousand Sisters, details her journeys into war affected eastern Congo. Her upcoming book, Yes, You! Everywoman’s Guide to Becoming a World Leader, is a how-to guide on women’s leadership, based on interviews with hundreds of women change-makers around the globe. Lisa’s op-eds and essays have appeared in numerous publications, including The International Herald Tribune, The Guardian online and The New York Times online. Read more about Lisa’s writing here.

Lisa is a professional public speaker who resonates with diverse audiences, encouraging everyone to step up to change our world. Learn more about Lisa’s speaking here.

A graduate of Hampshire College, Lisa went on to study leadership and human rights as a fellow at Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership in 2012. In 2013, she earned her Masters in Public Administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Georgetown University.