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Noted Motivational Speaker Kicks Off World In Potsdam Festival

[A photo of Marlon Smith for newspaper use is available at]

Motivational speaker Marlon Smith will speak on “The Many Sides of People — Making the Most of Living in a Diverse Community” on Thursday, September 21, at 7 p.m. on the second floor of the Knowles Hall Conference Center at SUNY Potsdam.marlonsmith

Smith’s presentation is part of the seventh annual World in Potsdam Diversity Festival, which takes place on Saturday, September 23.

“His gift is his ability to get people excited about diversity,” says Mary E. Theis, chair of the festival and director of International Students at Clarkson University. “He’s a real community builder. He does two things: he helps build people’s self-esteem, and he also helps them become interested in learning about people from other cultures.”

Smith holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Virginia and worked for IBM and Hewlett-Packard before creating his own motivational firm, Success By Choice, which seeks to help individuals maximize their true potential.

Smith has made four consulting trips throughout South Africa and has been a keynote speaker at three leadership conferences in Russia. As an author, he is the creator of a motivational program which includes 13 workbooks, audiotapes, instructional video and lesson plans. He was also featured in the national best seller “A Second Helping of Chicken Soup for the Soul.”

The World in Potsdam Diversity Festival is co-sponsored by Clarkson University, SUNY Potsdam, the Village of Potsdam and the Sweetgrass Foundation.

For more information, please contact Mary Theis, chair of the World in Potsdam Festival, at 315-268-7970 or visit the festival website at

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or]

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