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Presentation to the SB Council for Self-Esteem - 04/10/09
By Bob Hodges
Marilyn Gilbert began a long classical singing career at the age of five continuing on to perform in operas and in concerts on radio and television.
Entertained American troops in Germany.
Was student director for the UCLA Washington Internship Program.
Interned for US Congressman Joseph J. Moakley of Boston, MA.
Established an international internship program at UCLA which allowed her to intern as a translating editor at the International Labor Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.
Was a litigation attorney representing plaintiffs in the field of employment discrimination for over twenty years,
Was director of the Santa Barbara County Bar Association, and a Delegate Chair to the California State Bar Convention.
Taught first year Torts at Santa Barbara College of Law.
Was a member of the California State Bar, the Ninth Circuit Federal District Courts, and the United State Supreme Court Bar.
Founded, along with her husband Nathan Rundlett, and actively managed the Santa Barbara Grand Opera, now known as Opera Santa Barbara.
Formed Marette Enterprises - a nonprofit production company that dedicated itself to raising money for other nonprofits.
Served as Lawyer Emeritus for the California State Bar and part of the Legal Aid Foundation’s Legal Resource Center, assisting people without lawyers in pursuing justice.
Served as a Co-chair of the Anti-Defamation League’s Interfaith Committee and was a member of the Civil Rights Committee of the Santa Barbara chapter of the Anti-Defamation League.
She received the Hope Award from the Santa Barbara Public Education Foundation, and the Pro Bono Community Service Award from the Santa Barbara County Bar Association.
Was honored as a recipient in the first annual Hero for Justice Award by the Santa Barbara Legal Aid Foundation.
I believe you will agree with me, “Music, Education, and Justice” are her passions.
Marilyn will not be singing for us today. Instead she is here to tell us how her self-esteem supported her as she pursued and met the many goals in her life. Someone as dedicated as Marilyn is worth a listen while taking copious notes.
Please, give a warm welcome to Marilyn Gilbert.
The Following wrap-up is by Betty Hatch
Bob Hodges displays Marilyn Gilbert's achievements!
“Betty, the male voice said, “I’m calling for Marilyn Gilbert. She is quite ill with the flu and has been for several days. She had fever last night and is coughing and sneezing. She will not be able to speak at the Self-Esteem meeting tomorrow!
Immediately, a horse female voice interrupted, “Nate, tell her I’ll be there!”
And be there, she was! Marilyn Gilbert looked as though she had never been sick a day in her life, when she arrived early, like a true professional, at the Schott Center Auditorium. She was smiling broadly, holding hands up and out at arms length so no one could get close enough to catch her flu!
We found her a high stool so she would not have to stand during her forty-five minute extemporaneous presentation. She began by describing her loving parents and happy home life as the middle child who was born singing. She gave her first public performance when she was five years old. Marilyn loved to sing and she was a good student as well.
When she was eight years old, the family moved to McKeesport, Pennsylvania. Marilyn was asked at her new school to tell the class something about herself. She confidently announced she was a singer. Her teacher marched her straight to the principal’s office where she was asked to sing something. From then on, Marilyn was the school’s singer! It seemed to her as a child that she was always surrounded by adoring friends and family. Though she was confronted with rejection from time to time, she learned to claim it as her friend, reaching for a better performance and the next level of professionalism every time.
||Willa Young ,
President SB Council for Self-Esteem
Marilyn mentioned several times the scarcity of money in her family. She shared the character- building story of taking the train from New York to Brooklyn to visit relatives and having two wooden chairs placed together for her to sleep on. In spite of having very little money, her family found ways to provide for expensive voice training, her operatic auditions and performances. At one point her father, whom she described as domineering, decided he would be her voice coach even though he did not sing! She recalled having to work with him daily after school and how other kids, on their way home from school passing her window, would mimic her vocalizing with shrieks followed by guffaws. She quickly understood that some of her fellow students would not like her because she stood out.
The family moved a lot. Marilyn graduated from North Hollywood High and entered UCLA’s School of Education to study music. After taking a respite, she went to New Jersey to stay with relatives, and landed a part time job working for McGraw Hill Publishing Company in New York. One day, at the end of work when everyone was rushing to reach the subway she fell and those behind her stepped over her, as if she were not there! She decided she did not like working with the kind of people who would do that.
Marilyn also decided she did not want to return to school and that she liked being on her own. She contacted one of the finest coaches in Hollywood to see if he would work with her. Her request was granted and that relationship led her from one gig to another, always performing. Through performance, she was also able to make valuable connections in Hollywood and sang in several television and radio productions.
Marilyn’s life completely changed when she married an older man already had two sons. He did not want a wife with a career; he wanted a wife in the home. So Marilyn became an excellent cook, took classes in Judaism and philosophy and traveled the world with her husband. She loved learning and found travel the access to understanding the people of other countries. She continued her singing in synagogues and churches. The couple divorced after eleven years and Marilyn moved to Germany to try to resurrect her singing career.
She landed a job with the Army taking American soldiers on tour in Munich. The soldiers were young and had no knowledge of the German language or much of its WW2 history. They could not get around town or even order from a menu. She toured them around and even took them to the Dachau concentration camp. During the second year there, she wrote her mother and asked her to join her in traveling around Europe.
While traveling, Marilyn discussed what she wanted to do with the rest of her life. She decided to return to UCLA to study music and political science. In 1974, she was a co-chair as the student director of the UCLA Washington internship program and spent that summer as an intern in the office of Boston Congressman Joseph J. Moakley. Loving the study of government, and knowing the benefit of foreign travel, Marilyn and a friend asked the school why there was no internship program for students abroad. The school suggested she and her friend, Dan Willens, create one! They sent Marilyn and Dan to Washington to find overseas positions for students. They succeeded in obtaining about 20, and then carefully developed requirements for each one. Marilyn and Dan went to Geneva, Switzerland during the summer of 1975 to intern at the International Labor Organization, the oldest United Nations agency.
Woven among all the fascinating facts of Marilyn’s life were interesting, charming, and many times hilariously funny stories about such famous people as President Nixon, Yasser Arafat, and such names as Father “Mad Dog Vachon”! He was one of her Loyola Law School professors.
The audience was alternately silent and intent or giggling with delight as she recounted her very important meeting with the Economics Minister at the United Nations castle in Geneva, Switzerland to which she arrived late, covered with mud after climbing and then falling off a wall and nearly being attacked by guard dogs!
At Loyola she found herself passionate about constitutional law. After taking the Bar Exam, Marilyn, thinking she had failed it attended a Metropolitan Transit authority meeting in downtown Los Angeles, and was shocked when Nathan Rundlett, her husband, phoned her there to tell her she had passed the bar.
Marilyn Gilbert Esq. told us several stories of seemingly impossible and huge cases that she ended up winning. The audience was both delighted by her style and fascinated with the beautiful way she told her stories.
The self-esteem lessons we learned from Marilyn begin with the importance of having parents who loved her, soon followed by audiences that adored he as the little girl with the beautiful voice. Because of her voice, Marilyn had a passion to sing and knew what she wanted to do. Her many auditions taught her to accept and learn from rejection. Traveling the world and living alone in Germany gave her even more confidence and showed her how valuable it is to experience other cultures rather than merely reading about them in books.
Marilyn’s achievements range from being a child operatic prodigy to being a fabulous cook and from being an excellent student to becoming an outstanding attorney. She is a risk taker, with a charming, positive personality and joyful attitude. Marilyn Gilbert does what she says she will do even when she doesn’t feel like it! We know—she shows up, even when she’s sick with the flu!
PS One member of the audience, Jill Dexter, sent me the following email:
I loved the Marilyn Gilbert - self esteem event. She is so amazing. I had no idea about her law background. I always thought she was just????a fabulous Opera singer!!
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