Kathy Eldon’s life has been, and continues to be, one of reinvention and transformation. Leaving behind her conservative Iowa roots, Kathy graduated from Wellesley College, married an Englishman and moved to London. Ten years later, with her husband and two children, she flew to Kenya where she entered a tumultuous and exciting world as a journalist and writer in an emerging new nation. In 1988 she returned to London to begin a new career as the head of Creative Visions Productions, committed to making social impact entertainment. The tragic death in 1993 of Kathy’s son Dan, a 22-year-old Reuters’ photojournalist, stoned to death in Somalia, was to change her life again. Aware that her very survival depended upon transforming the horror of Dan’s death into a force for good, she moved to Hollywood, hoping to convince a studio to take on a feature about Dan’s life. Although relieved when she and her 22-year old daughter managed to produce an Emmy-nominated documentary, “Dying to tell the Story,” about journalists at risk, she was determined to make a feature—a mission that would take 23 years (“The Journey is the Destination,” a film about Dan’s life, is now available on Netflix.) Realizing how difficult it is to create social impact media, Kathy and Amy launched Creative Visions Foundation in 1998 to support creative activists like Dan who use media and the arts to ignite positive change.
Now two decades later, CVF has incubated more than 400 projects and productions on five continents, impacting more than 100 million people. Kathy, who has authored 17 books, including “In the Heart of Life,” a memoir about her colorful life, is a popular speaker, and continues to write books, while playing an active role Creative Visions, located in the Dan Eldon Center for Creative Activism in Malibu. Kathy lives next door with her husband, renown hospitality designer Michael Bedner.
“The Journey is the Destination: A Traveler’s Guide”
Explorer, adventurer, humanitarian and young Reuter’s war photographer, Dan Eldon lived life to the fullest having traveled to more than 40 countries, attending four colleges and studying five languages - all by the age of 22. Stoned to death by an angry mob while on assignment in Somalia, Dan left behind 17 bulging black bound books detailing his many adventures. Kathy collected pages of his journals and transformed them into a book and a feature film, both entitled The Journey is the Destination, inspiring millions around the world In a stunning media-rich presentation, she tells his story and explains how each of us can live more fully, while impacting ourselves and others positively.
Audience: keynote speeches for corporations, foundations, university convocations, middle and high schools, conferences and motivational events
“Living a First-Hand Life”
I wonder how many of us are living first hand now? How much of our modern existence is hands on, in your face life? Not processed by a machine or another person’s interpretation of what we should be doing - not our partners or parents, our professors nor bosses, no matter how engaging that vision of us may be. We are excited to get hand-me down clothes or shoes - so why would we want a hand me down, second-hand life?
This is the time to ask yourself what you really want to do for ourselves - and our world - then make a plan to do, to be, to experience, to accomplish - to give, to share, to learn, to grow.
Audience: women’s groups, corporate retreats, writers’ conventions and students
“Never Give In! Creating the Life of your Choice”
Winston Churchill’s immortal words provided inspiration for Great Britain during World War II. They also supported Kathy during major crisis in her life - a divorce, a devastating illness and the tragic murder of her son. In a moving speech illustrated with drawings, photos and film clips, illuminated with humor and laced with wisdom, Kathy, now an acclaimed filmmaker and best selling author, tells her remarkable story, inspiring audiences to believe there is nothing they can’t do.
Audience: women’s groups, students, authors, artists, educators, entrepreneurs, community organizations, business leaders and travelers
“The Gift of Grieving: Transforming Pain to Purpose”
We are all affected by loss. We lose a job, our kids leave home, parents pass on and friends move away. Kathy tells the story of how she transformed her loss into a powerful force that energized both her personal and professional life. Using clips from her award-winning films and images from her best-selling Angel Catcher guided journal, Kathy captivates audiences with her compelling message of hope and inspiration, and offers an entertaining and enlightening look at our never-ending potential for joy.
Audience: corporate retreats, women’s groups, grief gatherings, support groups
“The Art of Life: Journaling your Way to Success”
When Kathy was faced with hardships in her life, she journaled her hopes and dreams and discovered a seemingly limitless source of creativity and courage within her. Her collection of black bound journals became the foundation for an abundant and joyous life, as well as a series of documentaries and best-selling guided journals, Soul Catcher, Angel Catcher and Love Catcher. In a lively speech packed with film clips, drawings and doodles, Kathy offers insight and practical tools for anyone interested in achieving his, or her potential, both for ourselves as individuals - and for the world as a whole.
Audience: keynote speeches for corporations, foundations, universities, schools and motivational events
“Beyond My Wildest Dreams: Living in the Heart of Life”
In a vibrant multi-media presentation laced with wit, wisdom and film clips, Kathy Eldon describes her extraordinary journey from a small town in Iowa to an exotic life in England, Africa, Hollywood and now Malibu. Kathy tells how she transformed the challenging obstacles she met along the way, (including the horrific murder of her son), into opportunities for creative growth and new purpose. Her remarkable story of triumph over tragedy offers hope and encouragement to all who yearn to transform their lives into an exciting “safari of the soul.”
Audience: women’s groups, keynote speeches for corporations, foundations, universities, middle and high schools and motivational events
“Transforming Yourself and the World Around You - the Creative Activist’s Journey”
Kathy takes audiences on a rollicking journey that brings life to her remarkable story of transformation. It depicts how she worked with others whom she supported through her foundation to impact the world around them. The presentation can include a workshop that will share the principles embodied in the “Creative Activist’s Toolkit,” that has determined the basis of countless successful projects launched by individuals who believe in the “Power of One” to create positive change.
Audience: This inspiring speech is appropriate for all audiences.
“Taking the Leap: Inspiring You to Live Fully and Love Much”
Have you ever felt drawn to change the world or change yourself, but never felt brave enough to take the leap to actually make it happen? Have you ever felt inspired to make a difference, but have no idea where to start? In this compelling speech, Kathy teaches us how to take flight and how testing her limits, acting courageously, and taking responsibility revitalized her life.
Audience: motivational events, middle and high school students, those looking for a change, for the young and the young at heart
Creating the Lfe of your Choice: Turning Pain into Purpose
When you’re feeling down, it’s hard to imagine that you can ever feel up again - much less believe that you could ever transform yourself - and the world around you. But you can. I know, because I’ve done it. More than once!
Like anyone, I’ve had my share of heartbreaks and disappointments: Eating disorders. Falling in and out of love. Losing all that I held dear. Starting over. Getting deathly ill. Just as I was getting back on my feet, my 22-year-old son Dan was killed. Broken open, I had to start all over again. Slowly, I found new purpose and a wonderful new husband. Then he nearly died from cancer. But I am at peace again, during long and sometimes tortuous journeys, I learned that I could do more than simply survive. I could thrive.
Over the years I’ve been lucky to have teachers, both visible and invisible, who have shown me how to transform challenging experiences and heartbreaking losses into opportunities for transforming myself - and the world around me. Now, I want to share what I’ve learned about turning pain into purpose - and how you can too.
Audience: women’s groups, keynote speeches for corporations, foundations & universities
About Rock Your World - Creative Vision's Middle & HS Curriculum for becoming a creative activist
Kathy Eldon speaks about her life and the inspiration behind Creative Visions.
Amy & Kathy speaking on Safari as a way of life (19:46)
Oprah highlights photojournalist Dan Eldon's journey and how mom, Kathy Eldon, and sister, Amy Eldon Turteltaub keep his legacy alive.
Kathy Eldon on The F Word Revolution
The co-founder of Creative Visions Foundation speaks about creative activism & inspiring small acts that create change