A native Sicilian-Italian speaker, Mariagrazia Buttitta is a National Certified Counselor (NCC), author, motivational speaker, career coach, wellness and health enthusiast, and a passionate mental health and disability advocate. Mariagrazia holds a Master’s Degree of Arts in Counseling: Clinical Mental Health Counseling from The College of New Jersey.

Along the way, Mariagrazia has been recognized for her tremendous hard work and dedication. In May of 2019, she was inducted into Chi Sigma Iota, a Counseling Honor Society, at The College of New Jersey where she was also awarded the Douglas Burroughs Professional Commitment Award by the Counseling Department. In 2020, Mariagrazia received the Career Convergence Recognition Award from the National Career Development Association for her publication, “Using Adlerian Counseling Strategies to help Career Clients Design their Futures.”

Mariagrazia is the author of Now I SEE: How I Battled Blindness, Mental Illness, an Espresso Habit and Lived to Tell the Tale. Her story has also been featured on the Huffington PostMediumWriters Digest, and Counseling Today (a publication of the American Counseling Association), to name only a few outlets.

Mariagrazia, the 2011 winner of the Speech Competition Award, at Bergen Community College, regularly speaks to college students and organizations about her blindness and her battle with depression and anxiety.

In 2015, Mariagrazia founded an Instagram social media campaign, the (#YSS) Your Sunglass Selfie Project, using the hashtag #eye4acure in an effort to tear down stigma and negative assumptions held about the many different types of blindness that exist, including her cone dystrophy diagnosis.

Mariagrazia is a tireless advocate who aims to address and end the stigma that surrounds both mental and physical disabilities through speaking engagements, writing, and advocacy work. Her website, the cornerstone of her advocacy efforts, is also designed to help people who face the often-crushing burdens of disability and stigma to face adversity, connect with professionals, and embrace their differences.

When not working, Mariagrazia loves spending quality time with her mother, family and friends, meditating, hiking, exercising, shopping, and hanging out with her two therapy dogs, Happy and Lucky. Her one true weakness—espresso … and lots of it.

“My ability is stronger than my disability.” — Luke Watson

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2011 – Present

  • Career Convergence Recognition Award, January 2020 (Awarded by the National Career Development Association, NCDA).  
  • Douglas Burroughs Professional Commitment Award, May 2019 (Awarded by the Counseling Department at The College of New Jersey).
  • Speech Competition—Best-Speaker—Award, Spring 2011 (Awarded by Bergen Community College1).


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