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Marjorie (Margye) Solomon

Marjorie (Margye) Solomon

Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.

Last year marked my 10th Anniversary as an 85Broads / Ellevate Network member and leader. Several years ago, I was selected as a Spotlight Member making this a re-introduction of sorts. It seemed fitting to freshen up my profile to introduce myself to our newer members. In the interim between my last spotlight and this one, I've become an Ellevate Expert and Chapter Advisor. It seemed time to step out of the way and make room for our new and future leaders.

Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?

The more appropriate question for me is 'why am I still a member'? I've been a leadership team member since day 1. Engagement is the key. If I'm not engaged in a community, I tend not to stick around. The communities of women I've met through 85Broads / Ellevate Network are the bedrock of my successes over the last 10 years. They've led me to jobs, non-profit board positions, awards and leadership opportunities I'd never imagined for myself.

How would you define your professional mission?

This is the final stage of my career but not, I think, of my professional life. My mission is to provide support for diverse small businesses, especially women owned. To provide business development and organizational assistance from early stage to succession. I am a former business owner and a supplier diversity subject matter expert and am able to help small business owners who seek guidance and are open to direction forge a path to success.

Who are your role models?

The women in my family: my paternal grandmother with a graduate degree, a single mother and was a social worker who retired as a supervisor; my maternal grandmother with a graduate degree who was a horticulturist and a biologist; her sister, my great-aunt who was an attorney and a state delegate to the Democratic National Convention for many years - these women were born at the turn of the century 1899 - 1905. My mother and her two sisters. Mom was a psychiatric nurse practitioner; one aunt was a supervisor in the IRS and the other ran the admissions office of a major state university. They all had graduate degrees. My sisters and I are the products of a true matriarch. There are women I admire greatly outside of my family but the women I've described here were provided the wisdom and leadership that shaped me.

What is your morning ritual?

I'm a morning person, always have been. When I don't have my 6:30 AM boxing class, I work out in the fitness center for 30 - 45 minutes. Then back to my home office for water and a protein bar before working through emails and social media. I'm generally finished and ready to work by 8:00 AM. I try to schedule internal meetings for 7:30 AM whenever possible. Someone once said that leaders are early risers. I believed that then and still do.

What would you say your personal superpower is?

The ability to age not so gracefully and get away with it! I wear Chuck Taylor's with cocktail dresses, drink bourbon neat and say no frequently.

What does success look like to you?

When someone tells me that something I said or did inspired or helped them somewhere along the way, I feel like a success. When my daughters succeed personally and professionally, I feel like a success. Sometimes we have to be able to look in the rear view mirror to recognize success. It's not always a trophy or a win or an award. With age comes the wisdom to see success in ourselves and in others.

Is work-life balance a problem for you? What is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?

Not any more. It was when I was traveling, running small businesses, raising two daughters, helping with aging in-laws, juggling work and personal commitments, yada yada. We are women and yes it is 2020 but we are still expected to carry the load at home and prove our worth every day at work. Sometimes we have big jobs, children and no spouse or partner. Sometimes we have okay jobs that don't allow much time off nor the money to hire help. I don't believe I ever created balance and harmony during those years. The only thing that kept me going was my support system. Hillary Clinton was correct when she said "it takes a village". If you don't have biological sisters to lean on, choose some sisters. Together you can find some peace, some help and dare I say it...some equilibrium.

What is the best career advice you ever received?

Ask. If you don't ask, you won't get. Stand up, raise your hand and ask for what you want.

What is one piece of advice you’d offer working moms?

Take care of yourself first. Remember, the flight attendant always tells you to put your oxygen mask on before putting it on small children and elderly passengers. You must always be #1. Your family is depending on it.

Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.

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