You don’t have to see Marnie Cerrato to know she is always smiling. On the phone, her voice is full of positivity and brimming with enthusiasm. Every topic is met with energy, but the two areas closest to her heart are family and social justice.
Marnie lives in Snyder with her husband Louis, and their two younger children, Myles (13) and Talia (almost 12). Aaron (24) lives in New Hampshire and Hailey (21) is a Junior at Colby College. Two beloved Labrador retrievers, Matzah and Flo, make the family complete. Busy working full time and beginning to transition from Director of Enrollment at Park School into a real estate career with Howard Hanna, Marnie finds that time with her family is “what feeds my soul.” She continues to explain that “family is everything. We laugh, talk, and learn together,” and that “during this odd year, we’ve been lucky to be able to spend even more time together.”
Marnie’s involvement in social justice issues started early, growing up as the daughter of Lana and Howard Benatovich, both well recognized for their social justice and philanthropic activities. Marnie states that her childhood was rooted in discussion of current events and social justice issues, and that she “grew up being my mother’s sidekick” at various events.
The Buffalo Jewish Community is fortunate that Marnie found her way onto the Holocaust Resource Center’s board 9 years ago soon after she moved from Maine back to Buffalo. Last fall, when Marnie was asked to chair the newly formed “cabinet level” Social Justice Committee for the HRC, she accepted without hesitation. Having chaired the inaugural HRC Upstander Celebration in 2018, Marnie now is busily organizing this year’s event scheduled for 5:30 pm on Thursday, May 20, 2021. At this virtual event, David Rust, CEO of Say Yes Buffalo, will receive the Sophia Veffer Upstander Award and Kinja Bagalwa will receive the inaugural Student Upstander Award. “The individual Upstander is often the catalyst of larger change in a community. I am hoping that these celebrations of the hard work of special individuals will help to make the term Upstander a regular part of our vocabulary, and that being an Upstander will become the norm.” Everyone is invited to attend the Upstander Celebration. Click here to register!
Always busy, and ever embracing the next challenge, Marnie is juggling multiple major life events during the next few weeks and months. In addition to planning the Upstander event, she is preparing to celebrate the B’nai Mitzvah of Myles and Talia at Temple Beth Zion on May 29th. And in June, Marnie will say goodbye to her work at Park School, and will turn her attention to real estate. But not before spending the summer with Talia at Camp Walden in Maine. “Spending summers there as a young person is a big piece of who I am today”. Wherever Marnie goes, she is sure to bring her warm smile, her enthusiasm for adventure, and her focus on issues of social justice.