Meet Candace Lightner

Founder and President, We Save Lives and Founder, MADD
Candace is an accomplished author and award-winning producer. She has gained a reputation as a passionate keynote speaker and a strategic change agent. In the course of revolutionizing public advocacy, Candace Lightner became a national phenomenon and recipient of the the Presidents Volunteer Action Award.
  • Rachel Johnson, CAE
    If you’re seeking a speaker who is not only dynamic, but also authentic, Candace Lightner accomplishes that and more. Not only does she draw from her personal experiences, but she does so in a way that the audience is moved and motivated to consider how to affect positive change in their own lives.
    Rachel Johnson, CAE
    former Executive Director, National Safe Boating Council
  • Shira Miller, M.D.
    Candace is a captivating and powerful speaker. She inspired our audience and attendees said she was the highlight of our event.
    Shira Miller, M.D.
    Founder and President, Physicians for Informed Consent
  • Ken Druck, Ph.D
    Candace Lightner turned her love for her daughter, Cari, into a gift for the world by founding MADD in 1980. Several years ago, she did it again by founding the award-winning non-profit, We Save Lives. When planning our conference, I couldn’t think of a better, more authentic and inspiring speaker. And I was right. Candace Lightner is the real deal. She was absolutely fantastic!
    Ken Druck, Ph.D
    Best-selling author and Founder of The Jenna Druck Center
  • Hitendra Wadhwa, Professor of Practice
    With every contribution, Candace lights a powerful fire in the hearts of those who hear her speak. I appreciate the example she continues to give to so many of us.
    Hitendra Wadhwa, Professor of Practice
    Columbia Business School & Founder of the Institute for Personal Leadership (IPL)
  • Dr. Julie Connor
    Her story is transformative. I was deeply moved and really appreciated her suggestion about supporting safety and the efforts we take to make our communities safer for our children.
    Dr. Julie Connor
    Forum Against Gun Violence

About Candace

Candace Lightner is an award-winning author, speaker, producer, consultant and creator of the international corporations Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and We Save Lives. She is credited with saving more than 400,000 lives since she became a highway safety activist, and throughout her career has continued to play vital roles inspiring others to begin countless life-transforming organizations.

After her 13-year-old daughter Cari, was killed by a multiple offender repeat drunk driver, Candace set out on a valiant personal mission to end impaired driving. People Magazine called her the “Conscience of a Nation” and thanks in large part to her efforts, drunk driving is no longer socially acceptable.

Today, she shares her leadership insight with world-renowned organizations that include the Franklin Covey Leadership Center, the Center for Creative Leadership and the Columbia Business School’s Institute for Personal Leadership. Candace is a master of teaching others how to transform passion into leadership. She not only understands issues that affect quality of life, but also leads others into meaningful action.

Candace's Awards and Honors

• 1982, Jaycees’ Five Outstanding Californians, and first woman to be honored       • 1983, Presidential Volunteer Action award       • 1983, Jefferson Award, American Institute for Public Service       • 1984, St. Francis College, Pennsylvania, Honorary Doctorate       • 1984, Epilepsy Foundation Award       • 1985, Time Magazine, One of Seven Who Succeeded       • 1985 Esquire Magazine, Register of America's New Leadership Class       • 1985, World Almanac and Book of Facts, "America's 25 Most Influential Women in 1985"       • 1986, Good Housekeeping Most Admired Women's poll       • 1986 YWCA, Women of the Year       • 1986 America’s Most Influential People World Almanac and Book of Facts, ranked in the top 25       • 1987, World Congress of Victimology, Distinguished Leadership award       • 1988, Women’s International Center Living Legacy award       • 1988, Association Childhood International, Friends of the Children Award       • 1990, Life Magazine Listed as One of the Original Thinkers of the Eighties       • 1999, Recipient, National Parent’s Day Award

As a Speaker

At the podium, Candace skillfully marries her personal story of grief and growth with timeless lessons applicable to anyone convicted to spearhead positive change. She has spoken to audiences around the world and is an undeniable force in empowering others how to transform protests into movements and elevate moral decision making.

Some of these topics include:

Leadership Lessons: Having the Courage and Language to Intervene
  • How can leaders empower others to step up and make a change? Candace shares her expert knowledge of human motivation, group dynamics and what’s required to break the bonds of complacency. Participants learn how to champion community involvement and empower others to action no matter the cause.
From Protest to Movement: How to Inspire Change
  • Do leaders have what it takes to move from a protest to a movement? Honest and inspiring, this presentation moves the audience from idea to action and addresses likely obstacles and opportunities along the way. Audiences leave with take-aways that are immediately applicable in their communities, for their causes and to the benefit of all.
Navigating the Road of Highway Safety
  • What benefits do these strategic relationships have for citizens, organizations and additional stakeholders? In this strategy-focused session, Candace outlines that while passion and dedication are important starting points, it’s our ability to understand others’ interests and motivations that effect permanent change.

As an Author

"This wonderfully readable and insightful book offers the reader so much freedom and permission for dealing with all aspects of grief. There is a courageousness in the way tough issues, like murder and suicide, are addressed. It is worth reading from cover to cover, for the book offers very genuine, specific, and honest advise from someone who knows about painful loss first hand." -- Judy Tatelbaum, author of The Courage To Grieve and You Don't Have To Suffer

"I had to learn how to grieve. I think that we have to be taught, and this book does that. It helps us not only with our own grief, but through example, it teaches us how to deal with others. It is an invaluable book. It is simply and clearly written, and an absolute necessity for everyone." -- Mariette Hartley, Emmy Award winning actress who portrayed Candy Lightner in the NBC docudrama: Mothers Against Drunk Drivers: The Candy Lightner Story

"(Lightner) offers an honest account of her progress through the grieving cycle, and sound, general advice on how to help the bereaved. She taps into the experience of others who have also suffered losses (the death of a spouse, a loved one's suicide, the death of a friend) for useful information about what to expect during the grieving process . . ." -- Kirkus Reviews

"In Giving Sorrow Words, Candy Lightner has provided us all with words that express our feelings when someone is taken away from us in death. This book will provide a source of comfort and understanding to those who must face the death of a loved one. It presents the need to explore and experience our grief, and in so doing, to grow and continue to live. This book will be a true source of comfort to all who read it." -- Dr. Dana Cable, Association for Death Education and Counseling