The Auction Divas founder, Shelly St. John, spent years working in sales, marketing and public relations - and with her own PR company Primary Objectives - before she found the ideal place that really made her happy. Shelly was looking for something that would inspire her, and really make her feel fulfilled, for the next part of her life.
Through the encouragement of her marketing clients, she landed on Real Estate Auction. She passed her real estate exam, became trained as an auctioneer, and set out on a new path. In 2007, she was asked to perform at a few benefit auctions, and was totally intrigued and captivated by the potential of the benefit auction world.
By early 2008, Shelly had formed The Auction Divas, LLC, which is now the main focus of St. John’s attention. Shelly says: “Our vision is to help nonprofits, schools, churches, etc. nationwide, achieve exceptional fundraising success through live auction.” Shelly adds: “I feel so blessed to help so many people - and animals - through what we do at live auctions. It is also an extreme pleasure to help aspiring young women auctioneers find their passion in a traditionally male dominated industry.”
Although Shelly has emerged strong and has forged a path for herself, life as a child and teen wasn’t easy for Shelly. She shares with us: “I was bullied so bad as a child, that’s why I have such a commitment to helping people. It’s so heartwarming when I can help some other kids that are or have been bullied. I’m very protective of those people because I know what they have been through.”
Shelly St. John is a bonafide beautiful “Diva” doing good deeds in Denver. Shelly has become worldly and wise and has the gift of being able to gab with just about anybody. With her intelligence and talent, she’s become very diverse, and can think on her feet - which is a trait she needs when she is doing her fast-paced auctioneering work. She has committed herself to the community through her work.
In addition to her fearless nature, and belief that God has put her on the right path, Shelly is on Mile Hi Internet Nonprofit Event Radio every Wednesday for an hour talking about the impact of philanthropy and featuring a variety of guests discussing subjects and initiatives that are important to the charitable community.
St. John cares about the people she works with; and they usually end up becoming her friends. Clients of Shelly complimented her capabilities and have endorsed her by saying: “I have worked with Shelly on printed marketing collateral for her clients; my experience working with Shelly was great! Her attention to detail, her professionalism, and clear expectations made the process flow smoothly. Her creative marketing skills and vision helped to produce great results.”
“Shelly is creative and effective in conveying ideas and concepts through multiple mediums. She was instrumental in completely overhauling the messaging for both our website and print materials by walking us through a process that was effective and comprehensive.”
Shelly is an impassioned visionary committed to making the world a better place, and also to the empowerment of women. She considers herself a blessed woman having found her passion and encourages others to do the same.
What I love the most about Shelly St. John is that she treats everyone equally; she’s the same with the everyday person she meets in the community as she is with a known celebrity. She’s creative, intuitive, and diplomatic – and has become an expert in her field of auctioneering for a cause. Shelly St. John is making her mark on this world, and she left our interview with this advice: Don’t be afraid to go find your passion and then live it!”
How did the Auction Divas come about? That’s a long story, the short answer is that in 2005 I had a life change, had a big birthday coming up in 2010 and began wondering what I wanted for the next part of my life. Having owned and operated my marketing company Primary Objective, in Texas, Michigan and Colorado for nearly 15 years at the time, I was looking for a more fulfilling life. Officing in the heart of LoDo, with several real estate clients, I began searching for a niche in real estate that did not compete with my marketing clients. As it happened, I was channel surfing one Saturday and landed on a Discovery Channel segment about a husband and wife real estate team from Dallas that went to Auction School to sell Real Estate at Auction. After doing my research I was all-in. I got my real estate license, became trained as an auctioneer and I was off to the races. I spent 2008 at a well-known real estate auction company Sheldon Good here in Denver, but it was a disaster. It was right at the beginning of the real estate down turn with foreclosures, builders and developers in dire straits — that negativity just wasn’t for me. The amazing thing that happened during that year is that I was asked to call a couple of benefit auctions. Well, I knew after my first benefit, that there was no reason to look further. I formed The Auction Divas, set my intent to niche in the Benefit Auction space, and began working hard to make it happen.
What was your childhood like? Can you share a favorite childhood memory? Going to high school in Rochester Minnesota, my mother was an entrepreneurial pioneer in the 60’s and 70’s so I was a latch key kid. I guess that’s where I learned to be independent and self-sufficient.
I was bullied (badly) by my neighborhood kids as a tween and teen, and couldn’t wait to get of my home town. So I planned my escape and graduated from High School a year early. I went to Minneapolis and enrolled in a finishing school called Lowthian College where I studied Interior Design, Retail Merchandising and became a runway model.
Recently, someone who was in high school with me, found me and apologized for never doing anything to stick up for me. It felt good that someone else could validate that it wasn’t my fault, and I didn’t do anything wrong to deserve being bullied. I am proud that in spite of what happened, I was able to take myself out of this situation, and it all worked itself out.
On the positive side, my favorite part about growing up in the Midwest was the kind-hearted nature of most people, all the small towns that made it feel like a really big city, and the wonderful lakes and rivers that provided so much fun in sailing, boating, waterskiing and swimming.
Are you always as upbeat and positive as you are when you are doing your Auction Diva thing? My friends, family and acquaintances would tell you that I am an eternal optimist, and that I try to see the best in every situation. One of the things that my audiences love about me is my energy when I perform, but I can’t have that energy 24x7, so I’ve developed a process in the days leading up to an event – I postpone meetings that may be stressful, I reschedule any conflict resolution, and try to live peaceful, stress free days. It’s like I bottle my energy, so that when I hit the stage and uncork those bottles, every ounce of my energy is focused on my audience.
Answer this: “I am a self-proclaimed…..” Optimist!
How often do you rely on your instinct when you make decisions? Instinct and gut drive my performances, as you have to be flexible, read an audience and be ready to change your strategy on a dime when the situation demands it. In my personal and business life, I am a problem solver at my core. I was taught at a young age, to do my research, review the top five options, and then allow my core and creativity to drive the answer and solution.
What gave you the strength to carry on and not get discouraged during your most difficult times? I have always had a deep faith in God, and have been a student of the Course in Miracles for seven years. It is my faith, knowing that I have little control over my life, but am living out the life-path that has been chosen for me. This is what brings me peace throughout the Chaos known as my life.
Who do you consider your main mentor in your life? Wow, Nancy, this one is tough, as there are so many. My Mother for giving me independence, self-sufficiency and the fortitude to keep going, my Father for showing me unconditional love, and teaching me how to give back at a young age, my Step Father for giving me the ability to laugh during hard times, and so many more people who have helped shape my life throughout the years.
What have you learned about yourself through the years? The main thing is that what I’ve experienced throughout my life and what I do for a living does not define me. What defines me is my attitude toward life, love, faith and friendship.
Nothing happens overnight…. How long did it take you to get where you’re at today? We are all on a journey which takes us on this rollercoaster of life. Since my younger years of modeling, and standup comedy, I’ve always been an entertainer.
I truly believe that I am doing my “life’s work” now, so I guess I’ve been in training my entire life.
Where do you see yourself 5 years from now, and what do you hope to have achieved? How do you want to be remembered? We are Partners in Philanthropy with every client we serve, and are so blessed to touch 10’s of 1000’s of people’s lives through what we do at live auction. My hope is to share this advocacy and expand our reach to millions of lives throughout the world.
We have opened a new chapter of The Auction Divas with the addition of our newest auctioneer, Libby Pollack. Our hope is to coach, council and train outstanding female auctioneers, who administer the same level of advocacy around the globe.
I would hope my legacy would be about helping organizations fulfill their mission: helping those who need help to live a happy and healthy life.
Is there a motto or words of wisdom that have guided you through life? Miracles happen in every moment of every day. They can be small, like finding a parking place, when you are late for a meeting, or huge, when you find peace amidst a painful experience.
This quote came to me several years ago, and is my driving force for every part of my life.
“My definition of Miracles, are those who temporarily have more, doing for those who temporarily have less.”
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