Simone Knego

In my early years, I earned a Master of Accounting from the University of Florida and began my professional career as a Certified Public Accountant. But I soon realized that my passion wasn’t numbers—it was helping people. This led me to become an elementary and exceptional education teacher to work with children. Today, my desire to help people has expanded into sharing my story and experiences to inspire and motivate others to make a difference in this world. I’ve done some pretty remarkable things in my life—I’ve climbed Mount Kilimanjaro to raise funds and awareness for the Livestrong Foundation, served 6 years (including one year as co-chair) in the National Young Leadership Cabinet for the Jewish Federations of North America, birthed three children, and adopted three more from South Korea and Ethiopia. I’ve authored a book and shared my story nationally as a motivational keynote speaker. And I’ve travelled the world on many philanthropic missions, including medical missions with my Neurosurgeon husband, Rob, who I’ve been married to for nearly 30 years. Every choice I’ve made is a part of my story. I’ve made some really big life choices, but it’s the small things that have impacted my life the most. For example, the familiar Jewish phrase I learned in my youth, Tikkun Olam—repair the world—has been the driving force of everything I do. It has changed my perspective on life and inspired me to write my book the Extraordinary UnOrdinary You to share the important message that what you do matters. We are—in essence—repairing the world with our small acts of kindness by simply being who we are. Each of us is unique and UnOrdinary. But sometimes we need to be reminded how Extraordinary we truly are.

I want to help you impact the world the way you were created to!

I believe in making the world a better place for all people. This means that we each need to do our part to repair the world. Through my volunteer work, I’ve witnessed the difference that extraordinary people can make both locally and across the globe. Wanting to do my part in the important work of repairing the world, I’ve made it my mission to do all that I can to be the good in the world. Whether it’s serving as a board member for the Jewish Federation, walking alongside my husband during international philanthropic missions, climbing a towering mountain, or teaching my own children the importance of being the good in the world, I’m constantly looking for ways to make a difference.

Photo of Simone speaking at a conference of Jewish Federations

Regardless of my audience, I have learned that when we recognize that what we do matters, there is no limit to what we can do together to change the world.

My volunteer work, philanthropic missions, and experience with international adoptions has helped me recognize that I am in a unique position where I can inspire others to dedicate time and resources to projects, both personal and charitable, that have the potential to make a difference in people’s lives. I continue to share this message with numerous audiences as I follow my passion of changing the world through the avenue of public speaking.

Raising Self-Advocating Kids

I’m certain that many people will look at our family and see black, white, and Asian. But we don’t see ourselves that way. We see our family as our family, and it’s diverse because of what each person brings to the family, how we interact and respect one another. Our diversity isn’t only because of the color of our skin. I’m not saying that we’re colorblind, because we’re not. We see color, and we appreciate the color, but that’s just one part of our diversity.

Photo of Simone's children

We’re diverse because of our thoughts, our ideas, our characteristics, our qualities, our likes, and our dislikes. In that sense, every family is diverse, and each family member is a unique and necessary part of the family. Families don’t have to match. They just have to love each other and sometimes drive each other crazy. I believe this is part of the dictionary definition of family. I see our world as diverse, and it’s the acceptance of that diversity that’s so important to me. It’s not about pointing out how we’re different—it’s about realizing that, despite our differences, our value is always the same.

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