Heather Hurst


It is my pleasure to give a personal testimony of Heather's speaking ability.  It was an honour to meet her and to hear her story.  Heather is a grounded, intuitive and intelligent communicator.  She has great courage and wisdom to impart.  She does so with patience and a lovely tone of voice.  It is a pleasure to call her a friend and colleague.  I learned a great deal from Heather.  Thank you

/  jean stilwell, toronto/



I have had a rich and varied experience over several years as a coach and mentor of public speakers. It is in this role that I met and worked with Heather Hurst.

Heather’s life experience is the most extraordinary example of PTG – post-traumatic growth – that I have ever known. PTG is positive psychological change experienced as a result of adversity and other challenges in order to rise to a higher level of functioning. Anyone who is welcomed by Heather into her aura of maternity and sorority, generosity and courage, comes away restored and indeed brought to a higher level of functioning themselves.

My work with Heather involved several months of mentoring her in telling her story at The Winter Garden Theatre in Toronto in April of 2017. The event is called Songs Of The City. It is a thank you to United Way Toronto & York Region’s major individual donors. The path we took together was, for me, inspirational. Heather is more than a remarkable public speaker. She is also a teacher and she is also a mentor and I am proud to say she is also a dear friend.

In our all too brief work together Heather provided me with far more than I provided her. I believe that whatever path one might travel with Heather, it will be full of learning and much joy.

/ Michael James /
United Way Toronto & York Region speaker and speakers’ coach
Creative Director – Songs Of The City



I’m a composer/lyricist who was asked by The United Way to write a song for and about Heather Hurst for a function designed to thank their donors.  In order to fulfill this request, I spent quite a bit of time with Heather, listening to her story, becoming familiar with her remarkable journey, and getting to know her personally.  I was mightily impressed with her resilience, determination, intelligence, and her spirit of forgiveness and positivity.  Heather’s is quite the success story, and her story is worth telling.  She is determined to help others struggling with many of the same issues she has overcome in the past, and I’m quite sure she’s fully capable of doing so.

Before my song was presented at the function, Heather spoke to the large audience at length about her personal journey, and how she finally emerged as the successful, positive person she has become.  She was eloquent, informative, and encouraging, and the entire audience was greatly moved.  I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t benefit from hearing Heather speak, whether one’s life bears a similarity to Heather’s or not.  I can only hope that Heather has more opportunities to share her story with people, and to help them on their own difficult journeys.

/ LEslie Arden /

leading Canadian composer, lyricist & librettist



There is a strength Heather exhibits which belies her life experience.  When you meet this exceptional, outgoing, joyous woman, there is a natural assumption that this is the person she has always been. When you discover the truth about what she has experienced, and what she ultimately had to overcome, it is difficult to process.  Admiration turns to awe.
Instead of allowing herself to remain the victim, she has found a way to turn fear and loathing into invincibility and love. In the process, she has turned herself into a true force of nature, determined to be at the leading edge of dealing with society’s attitude towards abusive behavior.
Our city, our country, our world requires leaders such as Heather to overcome ignorance, and replace it with determination to look after the vulnerable amongst us, whatever their age or situation.
My admiration for this woman is immense, and I will be fascinated to continue to follow her journey.  It is with great pride that I call her my friend.

/ David Warrack /

renowned canadian composer, conductor, musical director