Episode 37: Living in the Present in Full Vulnerability When 9/11 Turned it all Upside Down

Guest: Marnie Sigmar

Marnie’s story is all about bringing her son, Joe, into the world as the dust was settling in New York from the 9/11 attacks which became a transformative experience for her. Her story circles around her experience of getting pregnant and having a scheduled delivery on that same day, while residing in downtown Chicago, where the city was bracing itself to be the next hit after New York. Her experience as she describes it is one of vulnerability and gratitude in the face of fear. Marnie explains that she was supposed to be induced that day, two weeks after her due date, she was considered a high pregnancy, but felt like a million bucks. It was the day of, when she received a phone call from a friend to check the news, this is when she and her husband realized getting to the hospital would be a challenge, as Chicago already started to shut down. Marnie takes her time to detail the experience of getting to the hospital, what it was like at the hospital, observing those in helping professions that were scared and worried and some hysterical as they could not reach their loved ones. The entire time, she found a way to hold space with compassion for others, indicating that it was the only thing that she could do, this is the time where she realized that she was part of collective humanity. Her key message to the listeners is that: build a mental health toolkit that you can carry around with you in your pocket; collect tools and sharpen your tools, so if ever faced with adversity or unknown emotions, you can turn to your toolkit; practice gratitude; be curious, ask more questions, go deeper — the more information you have it leads you to good and right choices for you.


Guest Bio: Marnie is a mom, partner, daughter, auntie, sister, and friend. She received her Master of Urban Planning and Bachelor of Arts with Honors in Political Science and Sociology from Queen’s University. Marnie regularly volunteers and serves on the Board of Directors of non-profit organizations and through Sigmar Consulting, Marnie works with non-profit organizations to raise funds, develop effective communications, and assist with organizational change.  She has facilitated strategic planning, conducted capital campaigns, and led executive hiring committees.


Marnie previously held roles in management and director levels at Yellow Brick House (York Region, Ontario), a non-profit organization that provides shelter and supportive services to women and children who have experienced domestic violence; Corporation for Supportive Housing (Chicago, Illinois), a non-profit organization that advocates for housing for lowest income families; and at Inspiration Café (Chicago, Illinois), a non-profit organization that provides restaurant-style meals and programs to people experiencing homelessness.


Passionate about: Inspiration Café, a place that has been built purely on the foundation of human dignity, providing style meals to the homeless. https://www.inspirationcorp.org/inspiration-cafe/