Have you ever wondered what it would be like to walk in the footsteps of a someone who has a disability or who is very different from everyone else? I know because that’s exactly what I do when I become my alter-ego, Sophie Longhoofer. For 40 years, Sophie has walked into restaurants, conferences and other venues where I was the keynote speaker. She wanders around, not speaking, making herself obvious. Before I am called upon to speak, Sophie changes into me. When I am introduced as the guest speaker, no one recognizes me as Sophie.
Then I talk about how we judge others and ourselves on the wrong criteria. Everyone in the room is confronted with the fact they treated Sophie very different than they treated me, totally based on how I am dressed.
It has been a valuable learning experience for me. I have learned how uncomfortable people are when someone who is different walks into the room. I have learned how important it is to welcome different people, regardless of how they look.
As a motivational speaker, I found Sophie to be an extremely valuable object lesson on how we treat others and how we treat ourselves, usually based on the wrong criteria. You can read more about my life as Sophie in my book, Two Faces of Me.
Keynotes & Workshops
Whether it is conducting fast-paced, interesting workshops for groups of all sizes and types, or key-note addresses at conferences, Marilyn Donnellan always surprises attendees with her knowledge and personal insights. The word “boring” has never be seen on an evaluation form from her workshops, webinars or speaking engagements.
Each speaking event is tailored to the needs of the group, with lots of ways for attendees to participate. “Fantastic” was the single-word response by one of the participants to a series of twelve webinars she is currently conducting for Nonprofit WebAdvisors for an executive director certification course.