Have You Met?

The result of being focused, organized and experienced is a successful event. Throw into the mix, a genuine and passionate interest in helping the community, and you come up with savvy woman, Marsha Temple – event manager extraordinaire. Whatever she does in this arena, she does with aplomb.

Marsha is the Executive Director of Augustana Arts (a charitable and cultural organization). She has served as interim Executive Director of the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association; she was the Executive Director of End-of-Life Choices; CEO and E.D. of Compassion and Choices; the Marketing Committee Chair for the Network for the Needy fundraising event - and now serves as a Kempe Alliance board member and a Wednesday's Child Guild board member for the Adoption Exchange

Ms.Temple is a past president of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of Meeting Professionals International and has chaired several national committees for them.  Adding to her impressive resume, Marsha was Director of Meetings and Conferences and Director of Community Relations for the Institute of Certified Financial Planners.

Aside from her sparkling dry wit, which must come from her charming Southern Belle roots, Ms. Temple is a compassionate advocate for children and is one of the first to remind us at meetings and fundraisers (especially when our mission gets slightly off-track) that we are there for the children.

Marsha Temple realized when she was a young girl that volunteering could make a big difference in the lives of people in need. Marsha says: “My passion for children and helping them to have a better life has always been at the forefront of my professional life - as well as in any of my charitable and philanthropic contributions. Giving back to the community was instilled in me at an early age and has always been a big part of my life.”

Marsha, you are and have been involved with several non-profit and corporate organizations and have helped plan many different events. Is there one event that especially stands out as a memorable one, and why?
It is hard to choose one favorite event, when you have managed as many as I have, but two come to mind: It is a toss-up between the 25th anniversary of the Institute of Certified Financial Planners at their annual conference. The celebration gala was incredibly complex. There were many activities…USC marching band, marching in on cue, special effects tightly scheduled, live performances happening at just the right moment, celebrity speakers, etc. Everything went off without a hitch (amazingly).

The second favorite was the 2009 “Salt on the Rim” Kempe Foundation fundraiser at the Crowe’s home last August. We completely raised the bar of this event, and a lot was at stake. Because of the fabulous team of dedicated committee members, the commitment of the restaurant vendors,  the seamless collaboration with Kempe staff, and the tireless efforts of Dinah Sink, we created an amazing experience for all those in attendance. We are still hearing about it. Success for events such as these is measured on several levels…financially, the experience of the attendees, and the experience of the volunteers and vendors involved. We nailed it on all levels. It was a great evening dedicated to a very important cause.

Who is the most interesting person you have ever met?
I have been fortunate to meet several interesting people in my life, but if I have to choose one, I would have to say my 85-year old neighbor when I was 25 and living in Houston. She had traveled the world, been loved by royalty on more than one occasion, was probably one of the wisest human beings I have ever met and lived several lifetimes in one short life. My only regret is that I did not record the hundreds of stories she shared with me.

What social or charitable event are you working on these days?  

Being the Executive Director of Augustana Arts, I have oversight for the City Strings Program which teaches subsidized music instruction to potentially at-risk children in low income neighborhoods.  It is a wonderful program that gives children a music education opportunity that they normally would not be able to afford.  I am also part of the Executive Committee for the Kempe summer fundraiser, 2010 Salt on the Rim, and several events for the Adoption Exchange/Wednesday’s Child Guild. 

 What can you absolutely not live without?
Music, giggling children, beautiful sunsets, loyal and funny friends.

If you could go back in time, and do something differently, what would it be?
I would be the conductor of a major city symphony orchestra.

What is your favorite childhood memory?
My parents teaching me to roller skate overnight, so I wouldn’t be shy and embarrassed at the school skating party the next day. My grandmother staying up all night to make me a skating outfit, so I wouldn’t be embarrassed the next day. More to the story, but that is pretty much the essence of it.

Tell us something people don't know about you?
I am shy.

What is one of your main philosophies of life?
It is hard to think of just one. But, the two that I work at more consistently and sometimes succeed are…1) try not to judge (others or yourself) and 2) making someone else’s life a little easier is not that difficult.

What is your greatest strength - a unique ability you are known for?
My intuitive nature.

What is your weakness - something out there that is hard to resist?
Men who can make me laugh and a really good key lime pie.

Many of us “Baby Boomers” are involved with non-profits these days; how do we get the younger set interested in joining us, so that we will have someone to pass the torch on to?
Unless someone (whether they are young or vintage) feels the fire in the belly about helping others or leaving the world a better place, it is difficult to entice them. It is my belief that everyone has that fire even if it is slowly smoldering. To fan those flames of responsibility to others, you have to find their passion. Whether it is children, animals, the environment, personal freedoms or whatever…find that passion in someone, and then make it easy, affordable and fun for them to get involved. Too many times, we go after warm bodies to volunteer without recognizing their passion. Get the right people involved in the right cause…make it easy for them to get involved and then recognize their efforts. If you do that, you won’t need to worry about passing the torch.

What will we find you usually doing on a Saturday afternoon?
Probably working unless it is an absolutely beautiful day and then hiking somewhere.

How do you want to be remembered?
To quote Ralph Waldo Emerson, “…to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.” That is how I want to be remembered…I helped people to breathe easier.