Speaking – Caryn M Sullivan 2017-08-11T20:03:36+00:00

Life struggles are universal.
What defines us – distinguishes us – is how we respond to them.

Caryn Sullivan is no stranger to challenges. Starting at an early age she powered through family crises and health challenges with a stoic resolve. When her son was diagnosed with autism she left her law career to be his advocate. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer she declared, “I’m not going to die from this.”

But when her husband’s heart failed, Caryn’s resilience was put to the test. Would she bend or break?

The answer came unexpectedly from a priest she met at a social function. His response to questions such as “Why me?” and “Why my family?” offered her a lifeline.

“We can’t control what happens to us. But when adversity strikes, we have a choice. We can be bitter. Or we can be better.”

Caryn chose better. She garnered strength and wisdom from people who confronted adversity with grace and courage, many of them subjects of her newspaper columns. She stumbled upon a new purpose: to illuminate the choice for others. Drawing upon stories in her award-winning memoir, Bitter or Better, Caryn offers audiences a roadmap to resilience.

Caryn has shared her Roadmap to Resilience with:

“Caryn told her inspirational story of courage with warmth and humor, and won the hearts of the audience in seconds. She crafted her message of “the only certainty in life is life’s uncertainties” to underscore the importance of financial planning. I highly recommend Caryn.”

– Christopher Bentley, CFP, Ameriprise Financial

I wanted to let you know how grateful I was to hear you speak last night. Not only is your life story so remarkable, but even more so your courage and strength in facing it all and remaining such a bright light for your family and others. Your message really touched me. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself.”

Lauri Badar, Convent of the Visitation School

Engage Caryn to Share Her Roadmap to Resilience

ARRM Conference

Caryn Offers Audiences a Roadmap to Resilience


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Bitter or Better: It’s a Choice

Everyone has a story. What defines us – distinguishes us – is how we respond. While living the choice to be “better” isn’t easy, it leads to greater joy and satisfaction in our personal and professional lives. Caryn offers audiences a roadmap to living the “better” choice, marked with examples of others who have faced adversity, made the choice, and inspired her to do the same. 

Perfecting the Pivot

From attorney to stay-at-home mom to award-winning author and columnist, Caryn has perfected the pivot by embracing opportunities and overcoming obstacles. Marked by footprints of individuals and organizations that have inspired her, Caryn offers audiences tools and strategies to identify their gifts, adapt to change, and support others who are grappling with adversity, both personally and professionally.

Owning Your Legacy

Though she’d navigated life and death challenges, when Caryn became a widow and single mother of a blended family of four, she was woefully ill prepared. Now keenly aware that life is temporary, she not only offers tools to help audiences plan for the inevitable, she urges them to evaluate whether they are living the legacy they hope to leave. 


“Caryn gave a wonderful and heartfelt presentation to our Rotary Club of Edina. Her inspirational thoughts were very well-received by our membership, both young and old. I highly recommend other organizations have her share her history and recommendations on what people need to do in planning for their future – one of the most important transactions in a lifetime for all families.” 

– Bradley J. Hepp, CPCU, ARM, Hepp Risk Consultants