Motivational Speaker Motivated by Spontaneous Generosity

Principal of Whitney Elementary School is grateful for an amazing gift from conference

Sherrie Gahn inspires group who in turn inspires her with donations for her school with 85% homeless kids

I love my job.  I get a chance to meet amazing people from all over the planet.  And as motivational speaker I never know if or when my words will have an impact. Well, four years ago I mentioned to an audience who was having their future conference in Vegas to consider having a community outreach project to support my friend Sherrie Gahn.  She is the principal of Whitney Elementary School where 85% of the kids are homeless.  She started collecting food for care-packages after she saw kids taking home catchup packs to make catchup soup for dinner.  I thought for sure this foodservice association would jump at the chance to help the kids while the convention was in Vegas.  Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.  However, there was someone in my audience who did remember. Sumi DeBenedittis remembered me talking about this school in Vegas and remembered me asking for her leftover PepsiCo products from a trade show for me to ship to Whitney for the kids’ care-packages.  Luckily, she was on the community outreach committee for another foodservice association having their conference in Las Vegas.  She got the ball rolling and showed some YouTube Videos of Sherrie Gahn talking about her kids at Whitney to the rest of the volunteers on the committee (


We only had an hour during the conference and attendees had to pay a fee to participate.  We wouldn’t be able to take everyone to the school, so they came up with a competition – a car race.  Actually, a Veggie race as the cars were assembled by teams with materials made up of wheels and vegetables!  What fun it was to see these foodservice executives of big companies crafting little cars out of eggplant, carrots, mushrooms and other edible delights!  We had so much fun.  We raised $5100 for Whitney elementary.  But, it gets better.  One woman said that we could do better than $5100. So, she offered to match any other donations that would come in.  I was confused as to what that would look like so I took the idea to my friend on the microphone.  I quickly learned how spontaneously generous people are!  He announced to the crowd that any additional donations would be matched and before he could finish the thought, people started pulling out $100’s, $50’s, $20’s and $10’s and suddenly we had $1020 in cash ready to go to Whitney Elementary school.  I was blown away by such generosity of people who didn’t need tax receipts, and didn’t really ask any questions.  They just knew the money was going to an amazing woman who would create care packages for these kids for their first week of school.

Generous foodservice executives raise money for hungry kids in Las Vegas

Generosity at it's finest with executives participating in an event to benefit hungry kids


As a motivational speaker, I don’t know how my presentations make a difference long term with my attendees.  But, this event came about by me talking about Whitney Elementary School over 4 years ago and someone was listening.  Wow.  I am truly inspired by seeing people embrace an idea, a cause, a person and then take action on the idea.

That’s why I do what I do.

From your continued-to-be-grateful motivational speaker, Marilyn Sherman



Marilyn Sherman, CSP is a Front-Row Leadership Expert helping people get out of the balcony and get a front-row seat in life. For over 20 years she has inspired audiences with topics on Visioning, Goal Achievement and having a No More Excuses attitude! Check out her fun, dynamic style at

Marilyn Sherman, Owner UpFront Presentations - Helping people get a Front-Row seat in their life!
9030 W. Sahara Ave #444
Las Vegas, NV 89117

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  1. Wow, that’s so great, Marilyn!  Can you even imagine how many little people’s lives will be changed? Yes because they might be able to eat, but also because they learned that there are people who do care. That’s a very big message.  Thank YOU for starting all that in motion!!!

  2. How incredible not only to be a catalyst of an incredible cause but to watch it continue to grow. Love those vege cars too!

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