Kia Urso is a Motivational/Inspirational speaker as well as a business and personal life coach who was born to business and personal growth work. A Jacksonville, Florida, native currently based in Tampa, she owns three companies: construction, property management and an online clothing store. But, she says, helping people overcome personal and professional obstacles is what she loves best. “I tell audiences all the nitty-gritty stories about my businesses,” she says, “because at one point in my life I felt that owning a business was too difficult, and I proved myself wrong.”
Her speaking work arose from a surprising direction: “I was at church one Sunday afternoon and saw interpreters using American Sign Language (ASL) for the deaf,” she says. Her imagination fired up, and she dug into a study of ASL. “As I became involved in the deaf community, my entire outlook on life and attitude changed,” she says. “I had always been a bit proud, thinking I was better than others. I began to look at people with more humility.” Her first signing gigs were at women’s conferences for the deaf, which inspired her own speaking career. Always an avid student, Kia received her BA in accounting in 2010.
Soon she added talks about self-esteem and personal growth to her repertoire. She had learned those lessons the hard way, having escaped an abusive marriage. “It’s so important that people understand abuse is not a form of love,” she says. “We all have to develop a sense of our own intrinsic value.” When she’s not managing her businesses or on a speaking gig, Kia assists local ministries with clothing and food giveaways. A single mom for years to three boys—twins now 19 and another who’s 13—she also volunteers at schools by chaperoning and teaching the kids about topics such as bullying and how to manage money. She’s also newly married.
“Reinvention is my middle name,” says Kia. “I live by the saying, “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”
□ Corporations, business groups, non-profits
□ Community organizations
□ Colleges, universities, schools, youth groups
□ Parents, educators
□ Entrepreneurs, small offices
□ Churches, synagogues, religious, Christian groups
□ Realtors, real estate associations, property owners
□ Rehab centers, recovery support groups
□ Women's groups, career women