NSB Logo Lesra Martin Lesra Martin

Lesra Martin


Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Acclaimed Lawyer Who Helped Bring About the Release of Rubin "Hurricane" Carter

Lesra Martin is an inspiring example of the power in each of us to make a difference. Functionally illiterate, Lesra realized that in order to achieve his dream of attending university, he would need to learn to read and write.

Keynote Speeches

In The Spirit of Kindness: Lend a Hand When You Can

We are often told that the best way to succeed in life is to create a plan or to adopt a formula.

This adage may be true.  My life experience, however, also compels me to share with you the importance of simply lending a hand when you can. I grew up in an inner-city ghetto of New York. Unable to read or write at the age of 15, my future, no doubt, looked very bleak. Yet, when strangers came into my life and didn’t look the other way, everything changed.  They offered me a hand.  I took it. Like a butterfly effect, the moment I grabbed hold of that hand, I would rise above difficult challenges and succeed. 

My life is an example of what can happen when simple kindness is our guide. I want to share this journey with you.

-Lesra Martin

The Global Citizen: The Power of One

Life can present us with many challenges, testing our strength and inner capacity for growth. 

One thing I know for sure is that universally we all want to make a difference, a contribution, and we all wonder if ever we can. Often, we think that in making a real difference means doing something “BIG”.  We think that the individual small impact we can have doesn’t really matter.

I don’t believe this. I believe that in each of us, there is the power of one, and it is this power that gives us the greatest ability to have a ripple effect to make a difference.

Engaging the power of one, means putting yourself in the picture and recognizing that individually you have a role to play and an ability to make your community the best it can be. The power to make a difference exists in each of us. Activating this ability starts with embracing hope, having heart, and believing in the strength of the human spirit to keep on trying. When you allow yourself to imagine you can, when you imagine the best, you put yourself in the picture and you come to realize that you can’t spell success with “you”. Embrace the power of one.

Start that change with me today. 

-Lesra Martin

Audience reviews:

  • Lesra was a fantastic speaker, and did a great job ending our PD session with his engaging, thought-provoking presentation. The feedback we had from our attendees was that he was an outstanding speaker for our event. We also really appreciated the opportunity he provided both at the end of his session and afterwards for people to ask him questions and to talk with him on a one-on-one basis.

    - SAIT Polytechnic
  • By speaking to others about your life experiences, you not only proved that anything is possible with the right mindset, but also your stories and examples inspired students to follow their dreams and stand by their values.

    - Indiana University of Pennsylvania's Six O'Clock Series
  • Thank you so much for the wonderful presentation. You gave an inspiring speech and people are still talking about it.

    - Ottawa Life Sciences Council
  • His unique and poised public speaking style was a pleasure to listen to. Anyone can stand in front of a podium and preach about commitment and success, but it isn't every day that someone like Lesra comes along with his story... effective and inspiring

    - Atlanta International School, Georgia Student
  • Lesra did a great job, very authentic and he certainly connected with our group.

    - Marketing Chair, Recreation Facilities Association of British Columbia

Speaker Biography

Lesra Martin is an inspiring example of the power in each of us to make a difference. Martin was once an inner city kid dismissed by society, yet his heart carried hope and courage. He effected profound change in the lives of many, including his own. Lesra Martin’s heartrending story has mesmerized and inspired millions through the major Hollywood feature The Hurricane. Its star, Denzel Washington, marvelled over Lesra’s real life odyssey from a poorly educated Brooklyn teen to a respected prosecutor with university degrees. “What a journey!” Washington told Reuters.

He was invited to speak before the General Assembly delegates at the United Nations, where he gave an impassioned speech about the devastating effects of literacy and poverty. He has been featured on countless television and radio shows, most notably as a special guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show and Larry King Live. Dozens of newspaper and magazines articles from The New York Times and The Washington Post to Sports Illustrated and Reader’s Digest Magazine have chronicled aspects of Lesra’s life.

Lesra spreads his message of hope to thousands, appearing before corporate groups, community organizations, schools and universities. He has appeared as a keynote speaker for a wide variety of companies and organizations, including IBM, General Motors, Hewlett-Packard and the International Subway Corporation. He has delivered his heart felt message to Piney Woods School (Mississippi), Atlanta International School, Boston College, Baylor University and Dartmouth, as well appearing before the Mel Goldberg Symposium on Justice (Minnesota), Council of Exceptional Children (Child Development Institute, Early Literacy), and the YMCA (Ohio) among many others. Through his inspiring presentations, Lesra shows audiences that the power to make a difference exists in each of us.