Running Towards Chaos


Natalie Stavas was born on a farm in Nebraska. She was once told that people from Nebraska don’t do well in places like Boston. 

She proved them wrong. 

Natalie was the first person from Nebraska to be accepted into the Harvard Pediatric Training program at Boston Children’s Hospital. 

One year after moving to Boston she received the Boston Foundation’s Change Maker award and in 2013 she received the Bostonian Of The Year Award. This award is given to Bostonians who impact their community in a remarkable way. 

An avid runner, Natalie’s philosophy for success is…. “You Run Towards.” 

This philosophy was never more apparent than on April 15th 2013. She had just run 26 miles and was about to finish the Boston marathon when the bombs detonated at the finish line. 

Instead of turning around and running away with the crowd, she ran towards the chaos and saved 4 lives that day. 

Natalie has been honored by President Obama, as well as featured on CNN, BBC, CBC, and Fox news. She has also appeared on the cover of Runner’s World Magazine and Sports Illustrated. 

Natalie Stavas attacks every obstacle with the same attitude: “You run towards that which you fear, that which challenges you, that which is oppositional.” 

Natalie speaks to audiences about her experience as a first responder and what ultimately led her to make that fateful decision to run into a terrorist attack. 


Natalie Stavas’ “Run Towards Chaos” Keynote Will... 

  • Begin by showing a challenging situation and posing a question 
  • Ask the audience to reflect on chaos in their own life and how they respond 
  • Incorporate Natalie’s humorous upbringing on a farm in Nebraska to demonstrate challenges we face 
  • Talk about real life chaos both internal and external
  • Discuss the ultimate decision of literally “running into chaos” and how to deal with the consequences 
  • Explore why we should all consider ourselves people who “run towards” 
  • Discuss how we find meaning in our chaotic lives

You Will Learn... 

  • That, although counter intuitive, running towards chaos actually makes chaos more manageable 
  • Why humans are genetically pre-disposed to be selfless and how to incorporate that into every day life
  • How internal chaos can paralyze us from achieving our full potential 
  • How we find meaning in the chaotic world that surrounds us