When Susan Retik’s husband was killed during the terrorist attacks on September 11th, she could have been paralyzed by loss. Instead, at seven months pregnant with their 3rd child, Susan acted on a simple impulse to counter hatred with outreach. Susan is Co-Founder and President of Beyond the 11th, a non-profit dedicated to empowering Afghan widows. She has received many awards for her work including the Presidential Citizen’s Medal, which was awarded by President Obama in 2010. Susan’s work has been featured in numerous news outlets including Oprah, The Today Show, CNN, The NY Times, and People Magazine. Susan is the subject of the award-winning documentary film Beyond Belief, which details her work with Beyond the 11th, including a 2006 trip to Afghanistan.
The Transformative Power of Small Choices
“Susan Retik’s message was so inspirational that I can’t imagine anyone left the event without feeling personally transformed. Her story calls us all to reflect on how we can make a difference in the world, just one person at a time. Retik’s message of social justice and generosity of the human spirit, even following personal tragedy, resonated with everyone in the room. We were proud to bring Susan to our signature event in 2011.”
“We look for someone to be a keynote speaker who can inspire us in the work that we all do in support of philanthropy and creating philanthropic legacies. You did that in spades! I was really moved by your story and how you transformed tragedy and devastation in your personal life into motivation to help others. Wow. And you did a fantastic job tying it all together for the audience members by sharing how you use your story as a tool to build rapport with potential supporters and create a bridge into the mission of Beyond the 11th.
You are truly an amazing person, Susan. On behalf of all of us at PGGNE, thank you for sharing your time, your expertise, and your spirit with us. We deeply appreciate it.”
“From your first words to your last, the entire room was mesmerized. Thank you for not only sharing your inspirational story but also for reminding us that we can’t always control the circumstances of our lives but we can control how we react to them.”
“Thank you, once again, for a most moving presentation and sharing with us your personal experience. Your documentary, “Beyond Belief,” is a powerful testimony to the incredible human capacity of forgiveness and reconciliation.”