Keynotes & Motivational


Encouraging all to stand in their truths un-apologetically; this is Bernadine’s signature keynote/motivational speaking address! As citizens of this world, often times who people truly are is compromised in order to fit a status quo within their personal, professional, cultural, and social identities. Tailored to the needs of the audience, within this address, Bernadine will discuss the importance of identifying what one believes to be their truths and share her approach to standing in one’s truth in a way that empowers people to confidently be proud of who they are; without fear.



Women of color are often faced with the challenges of providing for their family, maintaining a particular professional image with decorum, and being the backbone of their racial identities among many other expectations–all while society downplays the many roles women of color must execute on a regular basis. Imagine the challenges women of color face when they are full of ambition! Within this address, Bernadine will speak of her first-hand experiences as a black woman with ambition and highlight the experiences of professional women of color she has engaged with to continue to empower women of color to look past the negativity, believe in themselves, support other women of color, and truly continue to be the powerful women they are.


Experiencing sexual assault is a difficult reality for victims to encounter, as ones life changes the moment the sexual assault takes place. Constantly engaging in occasions in life filled with highs and lows, it can be easy to lose oneself in the crowd as one silences their trauma in order to push through life. Speaking from her own experiences as a sexual assault survivor who in-turn has undergone challenges within her own cultural identity, Bernadine will address her audience by sharing her life’s transition from living in this world as a victim of sexual assault, to existing in this world as a survivor.



Transitions are not always easy to experience, but they are part of life’s journey as people are constantly undergoing transitions in their lives. Whether one is transitioning from secondary school to college or the workforce, college to full-time employment, climbing the professional ladder, encountering a moment of doubt in one’s self-efficacy and life’s purpose, experiencing environmental changes, or anything in between; ones experience with transitions is significant! In this address, Bernadine will acknowledge the transition that one is experiencing; focusing on the emotions, the excitement, and the fear associated with the distinctive transitions. In addition, tangible takeaways will be shared to ensure that one is ready to take on their particular transition with confidence.


Not seeing the keynote/motivational address you are looking for or are you interested in a combination of keynote topics? Contact Bernadine directly and share your vision with her and together, you will both stand in your truths to determine if Bernadine can deliver the address you are envisioning!


  • “ I've heard Bernadine on two different occasions and each time I've been so impressed with her public speaking. The first time was when she participated on the opening general session panel for the National Partnership for Educational Access (NPEA) national conference in Boston in April, 2017. Bernadine was part of a panel of alumni from various academic enrichment nonprofits who shared their experiences with an audience of 475 educators from across the country. The panel is one of the most popular events of the conference and sets the tone for the full event. For Bernadine, it's not just that she is a strong speaker, which she is, but it's also her positive energy, powerful messages and personal story, and her ability to draw in the audience so you are hanging on her every word. She is so committed to her work with students and to the field of education and this dedication permeates the room and leaves the audience with renewed hope and energy to do all they can in their own professional and personal settings. I enthusiastically recommend Bernadine as a speaker/presenter for any event! I would be happy to speak with anyone considering Bernadine for an event. ”

    Karin Elliott Executive Director, National Partnership for Educational Access
  • “ I first listened to Bernadine engage an audience of 500+ high school seniors at a college send-off event in Boston. She truly engaged the students with her passion and by sharing her story and a powerful message about agency. I was so impressed that I asked her to speak at an event with high school students and their extended families. She engaged this audience on the topic of discovering dreams and overcoming challenges. Bernadine’s personal stories and her unique way of identifying with the audience are truly inspiring. Whether she’s engaged in a one-on-one conversation or speaking to a large group she is able to listen, identify and inspire. She’s great! ”

    Spencer Blasdale Executive Director, Academy of the Pacific Rim
  • “ Bernadine Desanges is an engaging facilitator and inspirational speaker. Always prepared, always professional, Bernadine draws in an audience with her authenticity, insightfulness and humanity. Ms. Desanges is a perfect choice for a workshop, retreat or keynote address. ”

    Patricia A. Rissmeyer, Ph.D. Vice President for Student Affairs, Emmanuel College Boston
  • “ Thank you for speaking to us at Steppingstone! I am a rising senior. Your passion reminded me of how much my teachers shaped me, and how I need to give back to my community. Secondly, I am interested in strengthening my learning skills, experiencing different cultures, and connecting my talents to my motivations. You help students accomplish these goals; therefore, I hope that you can mentor me and help me find opportunities to practice guiding others. ”

    Senior Student Steppingstone Foundation
  • “ Bernadine Desanges was the perfect choice as a keynote speaker for our students at our Boarding School Workshop this past year. In her presentations, she gives practical, relevant advice for student success in a way that is engaging for both students and parents. Bernadine’s unique combination of passion for students and openness with her own life experiences make for a substantive presentation that will make any event more impactful. We can’t wait for her to join us again! ”

    Keith Wilkerson Senior Program Manager, A Better Chance
  • “ As an alumni panelist at the National Partnership for Educational Access (NPEA) conference, Bernadine Desanges shared a powerful and honest perspective on her personal journey to and through college, highlighting the critical mentors, life experiences, and supports that helped her realize her potential and achieve her educational and professional goals. Bernadine is dynamic, authentic, and passionate. For educators, practitioners, and student audiences alike, her story will inspire you and her delivery will move you. ”

    Carrie Tate Assistant Director, National Partnership for Educational Access
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