Jessica Smith, OAM
Jessica Smith is a former Australian Paralympic Swimmer, the COO at TOUCH Talent Management and Consultancy, a public & motivational speaker and children’s author.
This is the start of her journey with the COVVI Hand.
She has an incredible story of triumphs and tribulations. Born missing her left arm, then suffered a horrific accident when she was a toddler where she sustained burns to 15% of her body. She defied the odds and went on to represent her country in the sport of swimming for seven years, culminating in her selection onto the Australian Paralympic team in 2004.
Sport gave Jessica ambition and focus while she tried to confront societal obstacles around body image and disability acceptance. She was able to eventually break free from personal struggles with depression and eating disorders in her 20s. Since retiring from her international swimming career Jessica has gone on to become an internationally recognised advocate for positive body image, diversity & inclusion, and disability awareness.
As an accomplished speaker, Jessica has taken the stage at schools, universities, major corporations and community organisations – including the UN, where she shares her personal journey and expertise on diversity, inclusion & equality.
Jessica is continually acknowledged for her incredible advocacy work; awarded ‘Emerging Leader’ by the Australian Government at the Positive Body Image awards, as well as being awarded a Pride of Australia Medal. In 2015 Jessica was a state finalist for ‘Young Australian of The Year’ and in 2017 she was named Cosmopolitan Magazine ‘Woman of The Year’ in the category of Game Changer.
Most recently, Jessica was awarded one of Australia’s highest honours, the ‘Medal of the Order of Australia’ for a number of roles within the community, and dedication to sport.
Jessica is also the mother of three young children. Her journey into motherhood inspired her to write a series of children’s books about disability and acceptance. After growing up with limited resources on these topics, Jessica wanted to create characters that represent what kids see in every day life. Her book series ‘Just Jessica” is about a young girl with one hand on her first day at school, where she learns that being ‘different’ is OK.
Jessica has recently relocated from Australia to Dubai, where she is working as a speaker and advisor on the topics of diversity and inclusion.