Award-Winning Author, Speaker & Storyteller
Marra B. Gad is an award-winning author, speaker and storyteller based in Los Angeles. Marra began her career as a musical theatre actress, and learned early the power of storytelling through her work on stage. She has played a wide range of roles including Ron in Hair, King Herod in Jesus Christ Superstar, Ronette in Little Shop of Horrors, and Glinda in The Wiz. But perhaps her most informative work came as a member of Chicago’s HealthWorks Theatre, which used musical theatre and humor to educate people about HIV/AIDS through their ground-breaking play The Wizard of A.I.D.S., in which Marra toured the Midwest as “The Wicked Witch.” Read More >
Are We Lifting Other Women Up
Best Version of Myself
Hard to Hear, Hard to Say
Loving All of Me
Reflecting the World As It Actually Is
The Power of Voice
Award-winning author and storyteller Marra B. Gad has been sought after for her profound insights and expertise leading conversations about belonging, equity, inclusion, supporting organizations and companies in their goal of building greater acceptance and connection in the workplace. Sharing her personal experience as a Black and Ashkenazi Jewish child adopted by a White and Jewish family in the 1970s, Gad unpacks the toll of racism, bias, and rejection on mental health, offering an unparalleled perspective on the reality of corporate DEIB efforts. With a strong focus on actionable takeaways and a desire to help create environments where everyone can safely be their authentic selves, Gad tailors her talk to each audience and focuses on a powerful theme: how to expand the idea of what it means to belong and come together to embrace our differences and build more welcoming spaces.
Rooted in her award-winning memoir, THE COLOR OF LOVE: A Story of a Mixed-Race Jewish Girl, author and advocate Marra B. Gad shares the powerful story of her experiences being born Black and Ashkenazi Jewish and adopted into a white Jewish family. Winner of the 2020 Midwest Book Award for autobiography, Gad is ‘a grateful child of adoption’, a gifted storyteller, and a thought leader on transracial adoption, the expansiveness of identity and what it means to find belonging.
Award-winning author Marra B. Gad chronicles her experience as a caregiver for her great Aunt Nette, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, in her memoir THE COLOR OF LOVE. Gad overcame internal familial racism and a strained relationship with her aunt to provide this care and shares profound insights about the transformational and challenging nature of this disease on both the patient and for their loved ones. Gad’s message of resilience and her focus on embracing the possibility of change is uplifting and inspiring for groups of all kinds.
Award-winning author Marra B. Gad believes that families are built out of love. As a grateful child of a transracial adoption, Gad celebrates her family and speaks intimately to the constantly evolving experience of adoption and being raised in a transracial family. As a Black and Ashkenazi Jewish child adopted by a White and Jewish family in the 1970s, Gad speaks to her experiences navigating her world and shares an uplifting message of embracing both love and our differences to find belonging.
Born Black and Ashkenazi Jewish and adopted into an observant white Jewish family, Marra B. Gad has spent her lifetime seeking safe spaces where the whole of her identity is embraced. In a world that still clings to the notion that Jews are white and Black people are Muslim or Christian, Gad views her intersectional identities as a gift; allowing her to help build bridges and expand belonging and understanding about the vastness of identity withing the Jewish community. In this inspiring program, she shares her experiences navigating the world - from the synagogue to summer camp to Israel to antisemitism - and helps organizations and groups find actionable ways to expand belonging and embrace the beautiful vastness of identity in the Jewish community.
Equal parts one-woman show and intimate conversation, join award-winning author and storyteller Marra B. Gad for a day in the life of what it is like to navigate being Black and Ashkenazi Jewish in a world that does not always understand that both can exist in the same person. With humor, vulnerability and raw honesty, Gad takes the audience on a journey through a typical day in her life, and then expands the experience to include conversation with the hosts and audience, building a greater understanding around the power and critical importance of authenticity, belonging, safety and acceptance in our world.
College is a place that, for many, is equated with freedom; freedom to explore, expand and challenge our belief systems. And in the 21st century that certainly includes identity. In this program created for college students, award-winning author and story-teller Marra B. Gad speaks directly to what it means to be authentic in a world that can often pressure us to conform. Sharing her personal stories about what it means to navigate the world as a Black and Ashkenazi Jewish woman, she also speaks to the unique challenges and gifts that intersectional and minority identities bring. A believer that there is room for all of us just as we are, Gad speaks to how expand belonging on campus and to create safe spaces for students to be their most authentic selves.
The 2020 Census tells an important story about the shifting dynamics around identity and family, including a 46% increase in people identifying as “other/mixed/multiracial.” In this special program for educators, belonging advocate and award-winning author Marra B. Gad works directly with educators to help navigate what it means to no longer check one identity box. Focused on actionable takeaways, Gad speaks to the constantly evolving need cultivate belonging in the classroom and offer students of all ages safe and healthy ways to express their identities in the classroom.
"On behalf of FCB, I wanted to let you know how delighted we were with Marra Gad. Her presentation was powerful, meaningful and actionable. Her incredibly personal anecdotes had a large audience riveted from her opening reading through her last moment in the building. In 20+ years in the business, I have never seen a more attentive audience – or more appreciative. There were tears in the audience as advertising professionals engaged with her content. Then, in the 1:1s at the reception following, the personal interactions were deeply meaningful as well, with employees reacting to Marra as a mentor, leader and friend. We had the most participation of any event this year, and I have heard nothing but wonderful feedback. I would highly recommend Marra for any corporate event. Her preparation was evident, her message is powerful and needed, and her performance skills make for a one of a kind presentation."
"Marra Gad was an invaluable resource and asset to my Panhellenic Association Recruitment training at the University of Maryland. Although Marra is not the typical speaker that is brought to Greek Life across the country, she perfectly delivered a perspective that inspired my community to want to be better in our efforts of combating racism and other forms of exclusion that have existed in Greek Life for over a century. Marra engaged beautifully on what it means to belong and how to accept the honest truth when sometimes that is hard, especially for young adults. Through sharing personal experiences, truly being an open book, and answering any questions that came her way, Marra instilled confidence in me as a leader and in my community as we are about to expand through our recruitment process in a couple months. Just as Marra was not the typical speaker for us, we were not the typical audience for her. However, that did not stop her, and she was ready to take on a new challenge and delivered it beautifully.”
"Every day, members of our community are confronted with the reality of racism and hatred not only in the world at large but in our Jewish community. As clergy, it is the obligation of our members to do the work and to teach their congregations to do the work to make our world a more welcoming place. We can no longer take the stand of “it doesn’t happen here!” when there are so many times where we can say, “but yes, it did…and it does.” When you sit down to read Marra Gad’s memoire, “The Color of Love: A Story of a Mixed-Race Jewish Girl” you see that there is still much work to be done for the next generation. Members of the American Conference of Cantors and our affiliate, the Guild of Temple Musicians, touch the lives of their congregations in so many ways—through teaching, music, pastoral care, and prayer—that it was a natural fit to have Marra talk about her life, her book and her experiences growing up in the Reform Movement. Throw in a pandemic to create one big complication in how we would bring Marra and “The Color of Love: A Story of a Mixed-Race Jewish Girl” to our members during our annual convention. This is a conversation that needs to happen face-to-face, but that was suddenly an impossibility. By pre-recording the discussion between Marra and Cantor Kerith Spencer-Shapiro, we were able to overcome our technical difficulties and bring the entire conversation to our membership in a virtual world. Following the conversation, Marra joined us live to answer questions and expanded on stories which helped bring the conversation full circle. This session was a necessary first step which we were grateful to bring to our professional community. There is much work to be done. This is only a start…but what a great start it is! Reading the book and having an open and honest conversation in our communities is how we move in the right direction and bring the vision of welcoming and love into reality."
"Our congregation was transformed by Marra Gad’s honesty and bravery as our featured speaker at this year’s Wolff-Toomim Distinguished Lecture Series. We learned from her experience how we can ensure that everyone feels welcomed and a sense of belonging in our community. Members felt 'seen' by Marra for the first time in a Jewish space, and as one person noted, she 'changed the thinking of everyone who heard her.' We are grateful to have had the experience of learning from Marra Gad."
"I wanted to thank you for providing an amazing amount of content at FCB’s recent book club. We had record book club attendance and great feedback. 'The Color of Love' has so much to teach professionals as we focus on creating increasingly welcoming and inclusive environments. And of course, your personal stories and ability to tell them in a relevant, heartfelt and dramatic way are captivating and serve to thoroughly underline lessons for all of us."
"I wanted to let you know as I reflect before the High Holy Days that your presentation to our community last year made a deep and lasting impact. How do I know? Members of our community quote you regularly--either from a passage in your book or something that you shared when you spoke to us, to talk about how you helped them shift their perspective and what a big impact your talk made on them. Just wanted to share my thanks and gratitude again as we enter this new year. Thank you for initiating change and transformation in the hearts and minds of our community. May its impact be deeply and widely felt and may it lead to change."
"Thank You!’ doesn’t feel adequate, but we can’t say it enough! Thank you for being a part of our mega-event, and the biggest virtual gathering of Jewish teens around the world. Thank you for so seamlessly connecting with our teens, allowing them to share their voices, hear your stories, and for being a part of their story. We are so grateful for the time, energy, and commitment you offered our teens across the weekend—we enjoyed every minute. It was so much fun to watch from our end too—both the press corps interview and the session!"
"Ms. Gad elegantly presented differentiated programs for each of our divisions (JK through 5thgrade, 6th through 8th grade and 9th through 12th grade) about her life experiences as a Mixed - Raced Jewish woman. She participated in a student-led interview format that fully engaged our students. Feedback from our students, parents and wider community was positive. The experience was enriching for all and Ms. Gad left us equipped to spread light instead of hatred."
"Marra is a warm, powerful and engaging speaker and facilitator who touched our students and our community with her deeply personal experience as a mixed-race, Jewishly engaged woman who was not fully embraced by either the Jewish community or the Black community. We are fortunate to have learned from Marra and to have her raise critical issues for the future of our community in a manner that invited reflection and circumspection. If your school or community cares about diversity, equity and inclusion, Marra is a partner who will touch the souls of all who come in contact with her."
"Hadassah’s Power Hour event was brought to life by Marra Gad. Her spirit, grit, tenacity and bravery came clearly through as she shared her life and her story of race, hope and ultimately, love. Our audience of over 300 listened raptly as Marra wove her magic, addressing the National focus on race and equality while leaving us more aware and more hopeful for a stronger future."
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