Biography

Hufsa (pronounced Huff-suh) Ahmad, ACSW, is a Pakistani-American public speaker, therapist, social worker, standup comedian, and Muslim woman with Bipolar Disorder. Her life is dedicated to helping individuals develop the tools and support they need in order to thrive and maximize their wellness.

Hufsa offers unique and funny presentations, workshops, and groups that educate and enrapture audiences. Audiences walk away with new tools, motivation, and hope to overcome their own challenges and achieve their goals.

She has delivered over 200 presentations and speeches on mental health, including two TEDx talks: “Relapse is Part of Recovery” and “How to Share You Have Mental Illness (and How to Listen).” She has performed comedy all over the world and her show “Same Shiite, Different Day” is on Spotify.

She has worked in the mental health field for 12 years.

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Relapse is Part of Recovery: Mental Illness in College

Through this hour-long storytelling and presentation, attendees will learn about the signs of mental illness, mental health resources, and self-care strategies and leave with hope and empowerment. Hufsa shares her recovery from co-occurring mental illness and alcohol abuse to demonstrate that the lowest points in our lives are opportunities for growth and not times to be ashamed of. Her story applies to all college students given that she developed mental illness while she was at Harvey Mudd College pursuing her Bachelors of Chemistry. She details the trials of being a college student while experiencing mental health challenges and how she transformed from being a victim of her illness to a champion of recovery. This powerful presentation
is followed by a Q&A presentation.

Stigma Smash!: Eliminating the Shame Surrounding Mental Illness

Mental illness is not the end-all. It is not something to be ashamed of. Most of all, recovery is possible. Attendees will walk away feeling empowered with a better understanding of mental illness, more positive views of people with mental illness, and knowledge of how to “stigma smash” (Hufsa’s signature phrase).
Much like racism, sexism, transphobia, and Islamophobia, “stigma” is the mental health community’s word for the shame and discrimination associated with mental health challenges. In this hour-long interactive workshop, Hufsa teaches audiences how to combat stigma. She explains the Recovery Model, a new paradigm of viewing mental illness in a positive, hopeful, and empowering light. She describes Recovery Language, a way
to actively change our language and shift our perceptions of people with mental illness. She shares her powerful story of overcoming self-stigma to view mental illness not as a deficit, but as a strength.

How to Share You Have Mental Illness (and How to Listen)

Attendees will learn how to self-disclose and how to respond when someone is self-disclosing. They will also learn the process for deciding whether to self-disclose. In this 30-60 minute workshop, Hufsa shares her personal experiences with self-disclosure and offers practical tips and guidance for the process of deciding whether to self-disclose (and to what degree). Conversely, Hufsa also discusses how to appropriately receive
this information and be supportive. This program is perfect for Individuals with mental health conditions, friends and family members of individuals with mental health conditions, and anyone who is not sure how to have a conversation about mental health.

Stigma Smash for Peer Specialists!

Peer specialists are unique workers in the mental health field, who use their lived experience with mental illness to connect and educate. As someone who has done peer work for 7 years, Hufsa carries a special insight into what the position entails and what strikes this population the most. Attendees will walk away feeling
empowered, understand self-stigma, learn how to combat burnout and obtain knowledge of how to “stigma smash” (Hufsa’s signature phrase). She describes Recovery Language as a way to actively change our language and shift our perceptions of people with mental illness. Lastly, she shares her powerful story of overcoming self-stigma to view mental illness not as a deficit, but as a strength.

Testimonials

For the past 19 years I’ve had the honor of hosting the event and the highlight of the event is the keynote speaker who has both personal and professional knowledge of the multiple challenges in the recovery process. Hufsa Ahmad was our keynote speaker this year and bottom-line is that she was the most skilled, passionate, inspirational and entertaining speaker we have had during those years. Her articulate, wise, and compassionate presentation of her story resulted in a well-deserved standing ovation. I would recommend her as a speaker without hesitation and we hope to have her speak again in the future.
– Jeff Thrash, CEO of Mental Health Association, Orange County
Hufsa first made her presence known seven years ago as a volunteer for the NAMI Walk committee. Hufsa has made countless speeches advocating for those living with mental illness and has played an important role in destigmatizing mental illness here in Orange County. Hufsa’s quick wit and candid conversation makes her relatable to audiences regardless of their composition; family members, peers, providers, and friends in the community! Hufsa is just an excellent example of one person making a difference.
– Steve Pitman, President of the NAMI-OC, former President of NAMI National
Hufsa Ahmad was the keynote speaker for Anaheim High School’s inaugural Unity Week celebration, which was put on in collaboration by different clubs on campus. On Thursday, Women’s Rights Day, she gave a 90-minute keynote speech that was interactive and inspiring. She carried a powerful message of recovery that resonated with the audience and she also served as a strong, female role model for our students. She was truly an inspiration for everyone and her humor kept the students alert and engaged throughout the presentation. Overall, I highly recommend Hufsa as a speaker and look forward to seeing her speaking career grow further. We need her and her message in the world!
– Antonio Benitez, Client
I invited Hufsa Ahmad to be the keynote speaker at a Mental Health Awareness Event I hosted on September 19, 2015. She presented her story in a way that was sensitive to others who might have been experiencing challenges of their own at the time. Her story made clear the realities of mental illness, while emphasizing the importance of continuously working toward recovery and appreciating one’s own mind. The presentation was remarkable and uplifting, demonstrating that one can accomplish their goals and move forward in their life in spite of mental illness, as the illness is not what defines the person. I would strongly recommend Hufsa as a presenter—she shows an incredible capability to connect with her audience and deliver a message of hope and strength.
– Sophia Luzzi, Girl Scouts of Orange County
Hufsa is a member of the county’s MHSA Steering Committee, a Peer to Peer mentor at NAMI, a board member with the Dayle McIntosh Center, and has her own mental health blog. Hufsa devotes much of her time advocating for clients and changing how people perceive individuals with mental illness. She has received numerous awards and honors for her work in the community as well as for her personal resiliency in her recovery journey. Hufsa is described as Empowering.
– Mental Health Association, Orange County when delivering the Hope & Courage Award

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Reviews & Ratings

Waldo Waldman
Waldo Waldman
May 19, 2024
I’ve been Speaking professionally for 21 years and work with the largest agencies in the world. I’m a Hall of Fame keynote speaker and a New York Times best selling Author. I have can honestly say in full confidence that Seth Dechtman and his team at Keynote Curator is the best agency I have been honored to work with. I’ve witnessed Seth’s client focused relationship skills On multiple occasions. His clients love him and he’s detail oriented and has great communication skillls. But most importantly, I’ve been on the receiving side of his servant, focused leadership style. He treats me like a valued partner and emulates everything a wingman is.
David Allison
David Allison
May 17, 2024
Seth and the Keynote Curators team are tenacious and determined to do right by their clients and their speakers. I appreciate our relationship so much, and highly reccomend this group to anyone looking to book a speaker for an event.
Meir Statman
Meir Statman
May 10, 2024
It is wonderful to join Seth in helping people reflect on their financial and life well-being and enhance them.
Trevor Wilde
Trevor Wilde
April 24, 2024
This was an amazing experience. the Keynote Speaker we had was perfect for our event and will definitely be having another for our next one!
Sandro Forte
Sandro Forte
March 22, 2024
Brilliantly hosted, with great content. An absolute ‘must add’ to any podcast list!
Jon VanDeventer
Jon VanDeventer
November 18, 2023
I've been working with Seth at The Keynote Curators for over 3 years. I always look forward to our meetings because of both his professional expertise and his enjoyable, engaging personality. We have fun during our virtual meetings while developing innovative strategies and accomplishing goals. It's obvious from working with Seth over a number of years that he is always making event planning and booking services an easy process and providing responsiveness that sets him apart. He's an excellent partner who gets invested in your business and collaborates through every step of a process that can sometimes feel overwhelming.
Jason Galaska
Jason Galaska
November 7, 2023
Seth and his team were fantastic to work with in 2023 and we look forward to working with Keynote Curators to find potential speaker matches for our events in the future. Thank you, Seth, for your professionalism!
Hailey Wilson
Hailey Wilson
October 23, 2023
A Treasure Trove for Anyone Involved in Speaker Selection! As someone deeply involved in the intersection of marketing and technology at AImpact, I find the process of selecting the right keynote speaker to be a critical part of any successful event. Seth Dechtman's "The Keynote Curators" podcast is nothing short of a godsend for anyone facing the challenges and opportunities that come with this task. Seth brings an almost poetic understanding to the power of words, acknowledging that a speech isn't just a scheduled event but a transformative experience that can change the dynamics of an entire room. His enthusiasm for the craft is contagious, making each episode a joy to listen to.
Nicole
Nicole
September 14, 2023
Seth is super knowledgeable about the needs of meeting planners to have a successful event and partners with you to find just that right fit!
Duncan Sigurdsson
Duncan Sigurdsson
August 28, 2023
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Working with Seth Dechtman and The Keynote Curators is always true partnership. In the three plus years that we have been involved in various projects, I can tell you that they always deliver. We have done some really cool stuff together. Any meeting professional, conference planner or event producer will greatly benefit from partnering with The Keynote Curators. High praise to Seth and his team.

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Blog Posts

 

Stop Stressing! Find Your Perfect Stress Management Style

✨ Eliz Greene addresses the complexities of stress management, highlighting the importance of recognizing and...

Read More

Why Do People Get Harley-Davidson Tattoos? Building Unwavering Brand Loyalty

🏍️ In a world where brand loyalty can seem fleeting, Ken Schmidt, former Director of...

Read More

Achieving 3 Daily Wins: Leadership Lessons with Lt. Col. Waldo Waldman

🎧 Tune in my conversation with Lt. Col. Waldo Waldman to become the person that...

Read More

Train Like You Fight: How To Take Pride in Your Preparation

How to handle unexpected challenges during high-stakes situations? Mistakes can be costly, but meticulous preparation...

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Honoring Memorial Day and Inspirational Veteran Speakers

🎖️ In this week's newsletter, we honor those who sacrificed and those who continue to...

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MPI’s World Education Congress (WEC) in Louisville, KY

🤩 The Keynote Curators was thrilled to participate in Meeting Professionals International World Education Congress...

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