Marie Farrugia, Mighty Marie has been the star subject of this blog once before. In 2010, she attended the very first Mother & Son night at Marcellin College and has been an influential mentor ever since… hence the tribute back in 2012 – was called A Mighty Mentor.

You’ll see here that Marie’s personal interest in others, her generosity and cheering for another’s success – such a feature of that first article is echoed by her colleagues and friends. Maybe last time… there wasn’t quite the focus on Marie’s abilities as a person who stands in front of an audience and inspires… so here are some compliments from her peers.

De Backman Hoyle is a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) in Professional Speakers Australia. It used to be called National Speakers Association of Australia (NSAA) until 1 August 2015. CSP is the highest accreditation available to professional speakers who work in Australia.

Over ten years ago, De was just starting out on this journey and remembers the night she met Marie…

Marie Farrugia and I first met at an NSAA Victorian Chapter meeting in approx. 2004.

Marie had the role that night to meet and greet the ‘newbies’.

I remember this beautiful woman making her way across the floor to meet me and warmly welcome me, this moment stays in my mind simply because she epitomised the presence of a professional speaker – a tribe that I was very much wanting to be a member of, and, she balanced this with the hospitality of being out with an Italian sister.

Michael Grose CSP – won Educator of the Year in 2013 at the annual NSAA conference. He might be known to you as the founder of Parenting Ideas and had Marie come to speak at one of his conferences…

Four years ago following her initial health problems I invited Marie to present at a national two-day conference I organised for teachers and parents in Melbourne. The feedback I received about her presentation was overwhelmingly positive. She was, as always, a wonderful speaking professional.

Brad Tonini CSP won the coveted Nevin Award in 2014. At the annual gala dinner, this award is the most esteemed among the honours recognised in the Australian professional speaking community. Brad, a highly respected speaker recently wrote of Marie…

Only two years ago, I saw this first hand when she presented at our EAIC October Conference in front of over 100 people in her session. She was compelling, inspiring, understated, theatrical and had a long queue of people wanting to share in what was Maries’ message off stage.

NSAA evolved from the original professional speaking organisation NSA in the United States. The equivalent of our Nevin award is the Cavett award – in honour of the founder of NSA – Cavett Robert. One of Marie’s great mentors is Lou Heckler (yep, that’s not even a stage name – pretty cool handle for a professional speaker don’t you reckon?) Lou, who lives in Florida, won the Cavett Award in 2009.

That presentation Brad Tonini praised was crafted with hours of coaching and drafting and rehearsal between Marie and Lou Heckler CSP. Lou writes of Marie and the work in the background that is evidence of what Lou calls, her firm desire to be successful in the speaking business. Lou observes too…

From the first session I led in Melbourne, Marie was always the one right up front, eagerly taking notes, and quick to respond to questions and suggestions I offered. When we had our one-on-one coaching sessions, she was always prepared and asked me some very pertinent and challenging questions.

Here is a quick look at Marie’s incredible skills on stage…

On the last day of 2015, we farewell our generous friend at a memorial service in Eltham, Melbourne. At one of those conferences a few years ago, I got an email from Marie saying I don’t want to discuss illness anymore – just my wellness. Friends and colleagues acknowledge that this is part of the miracle that saw Marie defy her mortality for so long.

Today – Marie’s generosity, love of life and positivity will be remembered with affection and inspires us all to live a fuller life. This post simply seeks to acknowledge, on record, Marie Farrugia, Professional Member, as one of the most outstanding, inspiring speakers we have seen and heard.

Special thoughts always to John – Marie’s husband, Damon – her son, Maria and Aldo – her mum and dad and all of her family.

Vale Mighty Marie Farrugia – you will always be inspiring.