Margarete Cassalina

Author, Speaker, Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Advocate
Fee Range: <$5,000 [FEE NOTE]
Travels From: New York
Margarete Cassalina is a publicly recognized motivational speaker, award-winning author of Beyond Breathing and See You At Sunset, and routinely tackles intense emotional and physical challenges to raise awareness and fundraising for The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation; her latest, extreme hiking the Grand Canyon, ‘rim to rim’ in one day.

Whether she’s discussing her strategies for maintaining the balance between work and life, rising above hardship and loss, her award-winning books, or the advocacy efforts of The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Margarete speaks straight-from-the-heart about life, love, and the power of perseverance. Margarete’s inspirational messages can lead you to uncover your power, and tapping into levels of personal strength you never knew existed.

In her work as a motivational speaker, Margarete has been invited to present at Fortune 500 Companies such as American Airlines, Novartis, Vertex, and ADP. She has been interviewed by
The New York Times, Hudson Valley Magazine, and Z100 NYC. Her television appearances include PBS’s “One on One with Steve Adubato,” CableVision’s “Health View” and numerous interviews on CBS Channel 2 News.

Beyond Breathing, Margarete’s true-life story of cystic fibrosis takes you, one breath at a time, from grief to the understanding of life’s realities. Written after her daughter Jena 'moved up' to heaven in 2006 at the age of 13, Margarete recounts authentic life lessons taught by her children, and despite suffering heartbreak and pain, discovers the enduring power of love.

In Margarete’s latest book,
See You at Sunset, she bridges readers from the non-fiction stories shared in Beyond Breathing, into a fictional world where lives intersect, and fate intervenes. See You At Sunset introduces a small group of memorable characters who quickly become near-and-dear despite (or because of) their idiosyncrasies and shortcomings. Through it all, “Jenna,” a teenager challenged by cystic fibrosis, a compassionate doctor, a devoted mother, and a heavenly spirit in search of redemption play starring roles with gusto and strength.

Alongside her husband Marc, Margarete has helped raise millions of dollars for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation through public speaking engagements, chairing events, and volunteering. Currently, there is no “cure” for patients diagnosed with CF, but great strides have been made in the fields of medical research and pharmaceutical development to combat this incurable condition.

Margarete and Marc recently completed their third Grand Canyon Xtreme Hike, an annual fundraising and awareness-building effort for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The “rim to rim” hike is a grueling 27-mile course spanning 13 hours and traversing 12,000 feet of elevation throughout the canyon box. With temperatures soaring near 100 degrees, this “impossible” journey, which pushes participants to the limits of their physical, mental, and emotional endurance, is the same intensity Margarete brings to all she does believing the journey is the best part of life.

Most Requested Topics:

  • Conversations with Margarete: In this lecture or Town Hall setting, Margarete gets raw and real with her audience as she shares her personal experiences that led her to write her award-winning book Beyond Breathing, and See You at Sunset, and how she overcame her inability to speak up for herself to speaking in front of thousands. Margarete relates how raising and eventually losing a child to cystic fibrosis impacted her marriage, her mental state, and her ability to move forward. She passionately articulates with honestly her debilitating fears, personal struggles, and her depression. With each obstacle she faced, Margarete outlines what critical steps she took to overcome life’s biggest challenges and she shares how to not only survive but thrive into a positive healthy mindset, strong marriage, and enriching life. Margarete opens up to her audience exploring every emotion, and no topic is off limits.
  • Gut Check: In this keynote, Margarete illustrates the transitional life lessons that impacted her own personal journey, giving her the skill set to help others in their own path. Margarete relates how she uses ‘gut check’ to navigate through her 30 year marriage, and how it helped her in transitions from having a young family, through the loss of a child, to becoming an empty nester. She covers topics regarding women’s health concerns of emotional and physical stress, work and family balance, and mid-life transitions. Margarete makes her case of trusting gut intuition while staying on-course for a healthy mind, body and spirit. Margarete uses the acronym G.U.T. for many things during her talk, namely: Grace Under Transitions.
  • Pain is Not a Valid Reason for Stopping: Life After Loss: In this keynote, Margarete talks about moving forward after a tragic loss. Her daughter who lost her life to a fatal genetic disease at the age of thirteen once told her that ‘Pain is not a valid reason for stopping’ and that has since become Margarete’s life motto. Facing fear, overcoming depression, finding resilience and fortitude are just some of the topics covered. Margarete shares her personal story and highlights how she was able to fuse grief with life and work toward understanding the beauty of life’s journey.