Marianne Simon Speaker Writer Coach
The spirit can never be destroyed...for it will whisper at our shoulder until we have no choice but to remember
Marianne is a speaker and the founder of Speak Your Passion, a company dedicated to helping women claim their voice and make a difference. She helps entrepreneurs create and deliver passionate presentations that attract clients, inspire action and change the world.

In a fun, safe environment, she guides her clients to step out onto the stage with more confidence and authenticity. With 20 years experience as an actor, director and writer, and 12 years as a landscape designer, she blends her passion for self-expression with a fierce love of nature.

"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."

- Anais Nim

About Me

The Credentials:

Founded Speak Your Passion — a company dedicated to helping entrepreneurs step into their light as speakers so they can communicate authentically with their audience, establish themselves as experts in their field, and use the stage as a way to attract clients and expand their business.

Speak Your Passion offers customized services to both individuals and groups. Services can include, but are not limited to: 1-on-1 hourly coaching, group coaching, extended intensive programs, or single workshops.

Developed the curriculum and training for G3’s Communication Workshop. This program was designed to develop a core of speakers capable of teaching 200 classes a year on sustainable landscaping across Southern California. The classes have been a huge success: teachers are getting rave reviews from both the client and audience members, and attendees are clamoring for more.

Worked and studied 20+ years as a director, actor and writer. Was trained at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, and has produced, performed and directed multiple theatrical productions in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Also produced and directed a television pilot for a children’s cooking show, “Joey’s Kitchen.”

Founder, Award Winning “Poetic Plantings,” a sustainable landscape company created to design gardens that nurture the spirit and nourish the earth. Winner, Santa Monica sustainable designer contest to develop demonstration garden at Airport Park. Appeared on several  HGTV episodes as guest designer.

Team Leader, Metro Goldwyn Mayer — Developed curriculum and rolled out training to the International Sales Offices, traveling to Cannes, Paris and Santiago, Chile as part of outreach program.

Worked for Robert Redford’s Wildwood Productions as well as on his Academy Award winning film, “A River Runs through It.”

Marianne was born in Paris, France. She currently resides in Santa Monica with her husband of 22 years (whom she met in a car accident!), is a very proud mom, and forever delights in exploring the world and its bounty.

Education:

BA in Theatre Arts — San Francisco State University; Advanced Degree in Landscape Architecture, UCLA Extension

The Journey:

Like so many of us doing this work, my life has been a long and winding road — full of ups and downs. At times, dancing in the sunlight, at others, struggling in the shadowlands. Years later, I look back at significant events and understand the journey just a little more clearly, the patterns repeating and the lessons learned….

In 1999, it was a perfect storm: elements from the past and the present collided to send me reeling. One afternoon, seven years into a corporate job, I found myself sobbing in the stairwell of my office building, desperate, and wondering how I would find my way.

Nine months later, I gave notice and set out to start my own business as a landscape designer.

Back then, I was a working mother — already that choice tore me apart. At work, the demand to put in the extra mile, especially in the face of the company’s downsizing, beat at my head. I found myself getting home later and later, exhausted, feeling I had given the best part of me at work — leaving little for what I claimed to be the most important thing in my life.

In the depths of this conflict and heart ache was the fact that I had no release, no outlet, no way to process it. In the choices I had made to be a good mother and a breadwinner, I had denied a most important need: to express myself creatively.

This need for a creative outlet took form when I was eight and began taking acting classes. My parents had signed me up because they thought it would help my shyness. Though acting didn’t help me much socially, I found I loved being up on stage. I think it was because the stage gave me permission to be bigger than life, to express those emotions I was too embarrassed to share in the ‘real world.’

As the years went by, I got my degree in it, and discovered I loved directing as well. At one point, I was invited to direct a series of ‘brown bag’ performances. It was a fantastic opportunity, but rather than saying ‘yes’ and giving up my day job, I passed.

I eventually ended up moving to Los Angeles to seek my fortunes in the ‘entertainment business.’ But the pattern continued, because as much as I loved the stage, as much as I came alive when I was performing, I always kept a day job to make ends meet. I always chose safety over passion.

For a while that was ok. I could work by day and then perform at night. You could say I worked for my fix.

And then, my daughter was born.

All of a sudden I had a job that paid the bills, a family I needed to care for, and my theater at night…. Obviously, something had to give.

I will always be grateful for the income that job provided me and what I learned there. And for a time that was perhaps the best choice. But somewhere along the line I found I was giving the best part of me to my job, and it left me drained when I got home. I was irritable and cranky, with no patience for my family. I felt little impulse, losing myself in too much t.v., too much junk food. Ultimately I had to acknowledge I was depressed.

Where did this fear come from? This fear that kept me trapped. It certainly could have been from my mother who had to flee the Nazis during WWII. It could have been my father, who though he was an artist to the bone, never found a way to make a living at it. It certainly could have been from a lonely adolescence where I felt so out of place. My nose too large, my pants too short, my skin too flawed. Feeling so awkward and lost.

My saving grace during those years in corporate was I discovered writing. And thru the writing discovered an unknown calling for Nature. I found that I wrote like a demon about boulders and trees, rivers and deserts … and eating dirt. Finally, it was a great friend who pointed out that maybe there was something else I was meant to do.

That prompt was all I needed! When my father passed away in 1999, I decided to quit my job and go back to school to become a landscape architect. I thought I had it all figured out!
But here is the funny thing, life is a spiral and we just keep hitting the same lessons over and over again.

A couple of years ago, I found myself getting irritated with clients, sabotaging my projects, and the design work began feeling like a chore rather than a joy. The breaking point was two clients in a row who didn’t like what I designed and decided they weren’t going to pay.

Different situation, same pattern

Though I had initially loved the landscape work (and am still fiercely passionate about the earth), I was still denying a key part of my creative expression. I still didn’t trust that I could live abundantly doing what was inherently me: Expressing myself and my emotions in all their fire and passion, thru performing, writing, directing.

They say when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. I had the great fortune to connect with a wonderful coach, and with her loving support and guidance I found the courage to move forward on developing some of my writings into a performance piece, “Skins I’ve Worn.”

At the same time, I recognized that I needed to be out in the world in another way and that it was time to say goodbye the landscape design business.

So, I created Speak Your Passion. Because it had been my journey, and I knew I was not alone.

Too often, along the way, for any number of reasons, we are scolded, molded, reprimanded, shamed … into being something other than this exquisite being we are meant to be. Our dream, our spirit, gets buried, hidden, smothered, ignored, forgotten.

But like Life itself, the spirit cannot be destroyed. For it will whisper at our shoulder, pull at us like the tides, haunt us in our dreams, until…

We have no choice but to look, to remember, to change.

Speak Your Passion was created to help women entrepreneurs claim their vision and voice and spread their message across the land. And in doing so, to attract their ideal clients and build a business that would abundantly support them.

That is where I want to take us — to stand in the light, to drink in its power, and to shout out to the highest rafters. This is ME! This is who I am. Bring it on.

To your Journey!