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Open Right

Melissa Benson

Inspirational Speaker, Personal Development

After losing her sight in her early twenties, Melissa began a unique journey towards independence and resilience. In her sessions, Melissa addresses issues like teamwork, problem solving, leadership, discrimination, courage, decision making, goalsetting and overcoming adversity.

Melissa is incredibly open in sharing her life experiences and how each day brings new challenges. Melissa encourages her audience to gain perspective on her way of life and realize what potential for ones future.

Consumed by new found challenges after losing the ability to see, Melissa learnt to live one day at a time. Relearning everyday tasks through organisation and structure she began to map out intricate details in her mind. With no white stick or guide dog, she derived a system of practical problem solving and began navigating her way through life.

At twenty she became a volunteer speaker for the Association for the Blind and sharing her life experiences with primary school children. She also worked in her father’s company, impressing workers as she walked into the boardroom with a tray full of hot drinks, asking everyone to guide her to where they were seated. This enabled her to deal with her blindness and helped rebuild her self-worth and purpose.

Melissa believes that extracurricular activities are, without question, imperative to the development of people with disabilities. Melissa started horseriding with The Riding for the Disable Association of Victoria once a week at the South Melbourne Centre. She found the controlled environment of the indoor arena perfect for her particular disability. After riding for some time, Melissa started competing again and has regained complete confidence in herself and her ability to ride. It is Melissa’s dream to become the first totally blind rider to represent Australia.

Where were you born?

Stottsdale, Arizona, USA

What other jobs have you had?

Personal secretary at investment banking corporation

What themes are recurring in your work?

Acceptance and realising ones possibilities

What have been the highlights of your career?

By speaking about myself with others it has allowed me to accept who I am and how important I am as a part of society. Addressing a charity function for Ride Ability Victoria.

What are you passionate about?

Horse-riding, Cooking and the importance of friendship

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

It has been a long-term goal of mine to be the first totally blind equestrian rider, to represent Australia.

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