Who I am
I am a speaker, an artist and an advocator for road safety and burn trauma. I was born in UK in 1978. I moved to my native Thessaloniki, Greece and since 2016 I have been travelling between Greece and Canada, where I happily live with my new husband, public speaker, workplace safety expert, burn survivor Dan Plexman. www.danplexman.com
I started my entrepreneurial journey at the age of 19 running my own pastry business that soon after blossomed in another business, promising me a prosperous and secure future ahead.
In 2001, happily married, having my own businesses, I watched my life change in a split second. Due to a horrific car accident, I lost my friends, and my husband at the time and I came out with burns. My body suffered 74% of burn injuries. When I finally beat the odds, after two long months in the ICU and countless surgeries, reality hit me hard. The news of my friends’ passing, devastated me.
Fragments of my old self while looking in the mirror shattered me. My rehabilitation required more surgeries, long hours of physiotherapy and a lot of determination to eventually win back my life.
Life followed with a difficult divorce from my first husband, who was unable to accept the new reality, my disfigured body and also cancer that eventually I managed to win too.
I consider myself a thriver and a survivor instead of a victim and I have been reinventing my life and self ever since my accident, appreciating every moment of it.
I enjoy life to its fullest, living by my motto “it only takes a split second for reality to change” and I challenge you to do the same.
During my recovery process I was introduced to painting as a way of physiotherapy by my mother, an artist herself that found my unique talent and encouraged me to explore it further.
From dealing with the possibility of amputations, to using my hands to create art, today I am counting numerous exhibitions in Greece, Europe and Canada. My work has been published in significant art magazines, winning awards and can be found in private collections all over Europe, US and Canada.
If you wish to see more about my art visit my webpage at www.nasiahouvarda.com
I have been collaborating with several institutions to encourage and motivate young generations to make the right choices when they are on the road. I have been delivering speeches in Greece and Canada to raise awareness on road safety and help burn survivors to find the confidence and courage to reinvent themselves.
My newest project is a podcast called “Crash Victim Life Survivor” where I am taking my listeners through my own experience of surviving a car crash but I will also have guests sharing their experience too.
Words are powerful and they can make a difference.
Advocator for Road Safety
I have listened to many speakers in my 34 years as a physiotherapist. Athanasia Houvarda is exceptional. She literally moved me to tears. Her message is both inspiring and educational, yet entertaining. How can one both laugh and cry at the same time? If you have the good fortune to listen to her speak....you will learn how. She has made me not only a better clinician, but a better person for listening to her message. She is a hero to me.
Traffic Police Officer
Ms Athanasia Houvarda, is a confident and relaxed speaker with a positive attitude in life.
During her presentation she describes her experience, enriching her speech with recommendations and thought-provoking questions sharing her own thoughts as a young girl before and after her accident. The students, teachers, parents and members of our team in the audience were captivated and deeply touched by her unique way of guiding them through the events of how her accident occurred.
I highly recommend Ms Houvarda for any speech related to road safety or topics about life and overcoming adversity.
Slow Tourism Consultant, MBA
I had the pleasure listening to Athanasia Houvarda deliver her keynote speech a few times over the last years, and each time it was a totally new experience for me. Although I consider myself to be aware of the dangers that we are facing due to unsafe driving, through her touching and heartbreaking story I realized that my approach was only superficial. She has a unique way to build up the content and context of her presentation that keeps her audience alert and leaves everyone feeling motivated to adopt a safety culture