Jessica Buchanan Profile

In the summer of 2006, Jessica Buchanan followed her dream and left for Africa. She traveled through areas of South Sudan, Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda, volunteering in different capacities, and then was fortunate enough to secure a student teaching position at an international school based in Nairobi, Kenya, the Rosslyn Academy. She was eventually offered a full-time teaching position and in 2009, she married Erik Landemalm, a native Swede she had met while working in Nairobi, who worked with strengthening judiciary and legislative institutions in East Africa. After a beautiful celebration, Jessica left her teaching position and relocated to Hargeisa, Somaliland to join her new husband and begin her next adventure. Jessica eventually took on the role as the Regional Education Adviser for the Danish Demining Group, the mine action unit of the Danish Refugee Council, and worked with issues related to Armed Violence Reduction and community safety in areas of Somaliland, Somalia, Uganda, and South Sudan.

On October 25, 2011, while on a routine field mission in Somalia, Jessica, along with a colleague, were abducted at gunpoint and held for ransom by a group of Somali land pirates for 93 days. Jessica was held outdoors in deplorable conditions, starved, and terrorized by more than two dozen gangsters. As her health steadily deteriorated and ransom negotiations dragged on, her captors grew increasingly impatient. Her liberation came on January 25, 2012, when the Navy’s elite SEAL Team Six heroically parachuted into the desert and successfully rescued her, along with her colleague.

The ordeal is detailed through the perspective of Jessica, and her husband, Erik in their New York Times bestselling book, Impossible Odds: The Kidnapping of Jessica Buchanan and her Dramatic Rescue by SEAL Team Six.

Jessica and her husband have since relocated to the United States and now reside in the Washington DC area with their two children. Erik continues to work in the international development sector, and Jessica travels the country speaking about her experience as a hostage to a wide range of audiences. She is a board member for the non-profit organization, Hostage US, that seeks to support former hostages and their families. She also continues to serve as a dedicated Ambassador for the Navy SEAL Foundation, which works to support families of fallen SEALs.

In her spare time, Jessica will most likely be found outdoors, usually up in the mountains, hiking with her family. She is committed to teaching her children the necessity of being outside, the importance of remaining in awe of creation, and most significantly, how lucky she is to be free.

Jessica Buchanan Speaking Videos

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Jessica Buchanan's Speech Descriptions

Impossible Odds: A Story of Strength and Survival
Jessica Buchanan shares her story of the impossible odds facing her during her 93 days of captivity by Somali land pirates and her determination and efforts to survive the harrowing and most painful experience of her life. In sharing her story with audiences she provides to use in everyday life to help find strength in any situation or challenge. They will be surprised to find that you can scrape out just enough to get through that day. It may not be more than enough—but just enough has got to be ok, and as Buchanan experienced day after day after day—just enough will do just fine.

What People are Saying about Seeing Jessica Speak

Rating Entries

Jessica was an EXCELLENT guest speaker for our spouses breakfast event at the Broadmoor. I was fortunate to meet with her personally before the event and she shared so much about her life, both before and after such a harrowing experience. She graciously allowed questions from the audience, and everyone I spoke to afterwards was very moved by her story and her ability to relive that nightmare.
– Beth Szymczak – Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors’ Association

Jessica Buchanan was the very best! Her gripping story kept the ACE Summit audience hanging on every word. Beyond her story is a great person who will provide a rich experience for all who come in contact with her. It was an honor to meet and become friends with Jessica.
– John Kelly, CEO – Bluegrass Business Media

Jessica Buchanan was truly an awesome guest speaker for our annual fundraising luncheon this year! She touched the hearts of all in attendance and showed through faith and God-inspired determination that you can, in fact, defy Impossible Odds. Our guests are still talking about her presentation and many have graciously given to support the important nonprofit work we do in our community. Thank you, Jessica, for making this year’s event so special!
– Jubilee Jobs of Lexington

Thank you for participating as a guest speaker at our Navy SEAL Tribute event. I have never seen a room filled with hundreds of people who were so simply put, spellbound. Your dedication and love for each other, your courage to survive given such impossible odds and your strength to share your story with such dignity and grace was inspirational to all who attended.
– Mark Kendall, Navy SEAL Tribute Chairman, President – Kenmark/Half Moon Bay Golf Resort

The presentation was fantastic. Jess (and Erik) were very engaging and their story is nothing short of amazing.
– Veronica Riberio, VP Specialty Underwriting – HCC Specialty

We were so impressed by the perseverance and faith you demonstrated in overcoming such a significant ordeal. You have an important message that carries hope and grace from your heart that is an inspiration and needs to be heard across this earth.
– Anita and Roger Bollier – Southeast Family Office Forum

The event was a true success! Jessica and Erik are lovely and everyone fell in love with them.
– Isabelle Panelli, Office of the Pres.& CEO – GARDAWORLD

Can I tell you, we absolutely loved Jessica. She was such an amazing speaker who held the entire audience in her hand. Aside from the professional she was, she too was very personable. We all felt such a connection with her and were extremely proud for Lamar State College-Orange to bring in such a dynamic speaker who also is an amazing humanitarian.
– Phyllis Ford – Lamar State College

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