Alicia "Kozak" Kozakiewicz, M.A.
Alicia Kozak is an internationally-acclaimed and highly sought-after motivational speaker, actress, and author, who has inspired millions through her powerful on-screen and in-person appearances. Passionate and straight-from-the-heart, Alicia motivates her audiences to transcend life’s challenges, pursue their passions, and discover their purpose. Alicia’s extraordinary life story exemplifies the strength of the human spirit’s ability to overcome adversity and to deny defeat.
She has been featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show, Dr. Phil, Fox & Friends, Good Morning America, Anderson Live, Investigation Discovery (ID), The CW, ABC, BBC, A&E, CNN, MSNBC, and many others, as well as in international publications such as People Magazine and Cosmopolitan.
Internet safety expert and founder of The Alicia Project, for the past 15 years she has pioneered insightful Internet safety and sexual exploitation awareness presentations to children and adults. One of the most vocal and outspoken advocates for child safety legislation, Alicia has testified before Congress and works alongside Protect (www.protect.org) to pass Alicia’s Law, her namesake, which provides funding to the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force enabling them to rescue endangered children.
At the age of 13, Alicia “Kozak” Kozakiewicz became the first widely reported Internet-related child abduction victim. The abduction took place on January 1, 2002, when Alicia was kidnapped outside of her Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania home after having been groomed online and lured by an Internet predator. The 38-year-old man transported Alicia by car to his Herndon, Virginia home where she was held captive in his basement dungeon. Throughout her captivity, Alicia was chained by the neck, sexually assaulted, and her torture was live-streamed. Terrified, knowing that the man would soon kill her, Alicia struggled to maintain hope that she would be found. Unbeknownst to her, the FBI received a tip from an online informant who had seen the livestream video. Following digital footprints, law enforcement stormed the captor’s home and discovered the petrified 13-year-old girl chained to the floor. Cutting the chain from around her neck, Alicia was set free.
Following a period of counseling and healing, at just 14 years old, Alicia made the choice to fight back. Refusing to let her traumatic experience define her, but rather, choosing to define it, Alicia began to share her story and motivational message through The Alicia Project. Age appropriate, but never sugar-coated, she continues to educate families and children of all ages, and with presentations tailored to fit each specific audience, Alicia astounds communities, corporations, law enforcement, as well as social and governmental agencies. Alicia has been honored to present at corporations such as JPMorgan Chase Bank, FedEx, Mayo Clinic, Caterpillar, RSA, Australia Information Security Association, among others, providing both employee motivation and awareness. She has traveled to Canada and Australia to share her story and inspirational message, and is looking to forward to further international presentations.
Entertaining, uplifting, and inspiring, whether keynote, workshop, or onscreen, Alicia’s message empowers her audiences to maintain hope, aim high, and achieve their goals.
Alicia’s documentaries include the multiple award-winning PBS film, Alicia’s Message: I’m Here to Save Your Life and Enough is Enough’s Emmy award-winning, Alicia’s Story. Alicia has also been featured in industrial Internet safety films and PSAs for Investigation Discovery (ID), the FBI, Office of the Attorney General, Protect, and the National Center for Missing Exploited Children, among others. Directly sharing her inspirational message with surviving abductees, Alicia has co-authored a Department of Justice OJJDP publication, You’re Not Alone: The Journey from Abduction to Empowerment. Engaged by the FBI, Alicia has trained the National Academy as part of the “Youth Violence: Victims and Perpetrators” program. Additionally, she is an Airline Ambassador International representative, spokesperson, and Human Trafficking Awareness Trainer.
To provide deeper understanding of victimology and predatory crime, Alicia has earned a Master’s Degree in Forensic Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She has been invited to share her journey as part of the Clinton School of Public Service Distinguished Speaker Series. For her contributions to society, Alicia was honored to receive the Courage Award from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, a Jefferson Award, and U.S. Presidential recognition.
Through motivational speaking and onscreen appearances, Alicia has discovered that while her mission is protecting children, her passion is acting for film and television. She has trained at Acting Studio Chicago and Donna Belajac Actors Studio in her hometown of Pittsburgh, PA. Alicia weaves talent, training, and life experience to give added depth to each of her character roles. Additionally, Alicia works as a consultant for various projects, including the upcoming NBC television series, "GONE,” lending unique insight and her expertise to the cast. Alicia has been cast as the lead in an upcoming independent film due to be released next Fall.
Recently, Alicia has moved to New York City, NY to both continue her motivational speaking and to better pursue her acting career. She lives happily with her husband, and her two dogs,a Chihuahua and an Italian Greyhound. Alicia’s life, mission, and passion prove that she – that all of us – are more than our stories.
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