Benefit auctioneer Sherry Truhlar escaped a corporate cubicle to launch Red Apple Auctions.
Today she works as an charity auction educator and onstage auctioneer, helping schools and nonprofits across the USA plan more profitable benefit auctions. Her galas raise $15,000 to $2 million each and she’s sold at events with crowds up to 1200.
A prolific writer for her own blog and other fundraising sites, her advice is tapped by thousands of auction planners seeking to improve their benefit auctions. She’s been covered in Town & Country Magazine, The Washington Post Magazine, Auctioneer, and other publications.
As auctioneer, Sherry has an elegant presence and warm persona which elevates the live auction at many galas. At almost 6 feet tall, she commands the stage and comfortably connects with male and female guests.
An avid self-educator, she holds many educational credentials. She is thought to be the only auctioneer who has achieved a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designation and is also a graduate of the Certified Auctioneers Institute (CAI). These sought-after credentials identify individuals who have achieved their respective industry’s highest standards of professionalism. She holds a professional certificate in event management from George Washington University, the Benefit Auctioneer Specialist (BAS) designation from the National Auctioneers Association, an MA degree from the University of Wollongong (Australia), and BA and BS degrees from Emporia State University.
Seeking a more personal introduction?
Here are some insights into my personality.
Exotic animal training school: When I found a program in California that would teach me how to be an exotic animal trainer, I jumped at the chance. My 2005 graduation project was Bamm-Bamm, this handsome grizzly. Though I decided not to pursue that career, I still think of my experiences working with the big cats, monkey, bears, and especially the elephant, Nellie. My big prize was receiving a T-shirt for setting a new speed record for shoveling elephant poop.
Corporate career: When I worked for Koch Industries, I sold a specialty cement into the concrete industry in Pittsburgh, PA. My work uniform was often jeans and steel-toed boots. The dress code was different at General Electric, but the frenetic pace didn’t change — I had five jobs and seven managers in six years. Fortunately I worked with great people in both companies.
Virginia Rookie Auctioneer of the Year: Virginia auctioneers in their first year of licensing are invited to participate in a rookie contest. In January 2004, I did participate … and much to my surprise, won! My fledgling chant had been developed during my commute. As I drove to GE everyday, I practiced chanting in the car while listening to CDs of other auctioneers selling.
As Seen On TV: In a case of being in the right place at the right time, I was selected to be on two cable television programs. In 2007, fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi from his E! Style show gave me some fabulous clothing and packing advice. The following year, my home office enjoyed stellar upgrades from Andrew Dan-Jumbo of TLC’s Take Home Handyman. You can watch clips from the shows here.
Plus-size model: Armed with information from Google, I made trips to New York and Miami to visit plus-size modeling agencies. A Miami agent overlooked my advanced age (for modeling) to take a chance on me, and it made my year when I started working overseas a few weeks later. I was sooo nervous! From 2005-2011, I shot print work in Europe and the USA (view some modeling jobs here), supplemented with TV work and runway jobs, like the shows I worked for Macy’s and Clinton Kelly from “What Not to Wear.” For me, modeling was stressful.
Chant competitions: When time and money allow, I compete in auction competitions. I’ve placed a couple of times but never won. Most recently in 2009, I took 3rd while competing for the Virginia State Champion Auctioneer. Judges commented on my “platform skills,” “ability to develop immediate audience rapport,” and “direct bid calling technique.” I’m often the only female in state competitions, which supports a recent statistic indicating that just 10% of auctioneers are women.
The Little House on the Prairie: I was raised in Kansas, in what was once a wild cowtown but evolved into a quiet community settled by Czechs seeking farmland. My graduating high school class had 48 students. My outlook on life and interactions with others is influenced by that small town upbringing.