Where Has Marissa Been?

Marissa Levin
Marissa Levin
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Hello faithful readers!! So sorry for the unintended hiatus. The last two months have been a whirlwind (not that this is a valid excuse for not writing…). The government buying season, back-to-school events for my middle-schooler and high-schooler, my 45th birthday, customer meetings, and a bunch of learning & connecting events kept me on quite the merry-go-round.

In addition, Information Experts (www.informationexperts.com) has gone through A LOT of changes these last few months.

These changes have been QUITE an educational journey for me. Honestly, there were times when I wanted to write a column, and I was paralyzed. The words just wouldn’t flow. I felt as if I had nothing valuable to share because my own leadership circumstances were so perplexing to me.

My mindset reminded me of a passage from one of my favorite books, “Oh the Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Seuss:

“I’m sorry to say so but sadly it’s true, that Bang-ups and Hang-ups can happen to you.
You can get all hung up in a prickle-ly perch, and your gang will fly on; you’ll be left in a lurch.
You’ll come down from the Lurch with an unpleasant bump, and the chances are then
That you’ll be in a slump.
And when you’re in a slump, you’re not in for much fun;
Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.” 

Now that I have un-slumped myself and emerged in a better place, I look forward to sharing my valuable experiences with you as I continue to process how they have shaped my company, and shaped me as a person, mentor, and leader.

One thing I have learned (which I often tell others through my mentoring) is that there is a big difference between a setback and a failure. We can’t allow ourselves to be defined by any single situation or event. We must look at the the totality of all that we have experienced and accomplished. We often judge ourselves by the circumstance that is happening to us at that specific point in time – or we give power to others who may judge us. We are not defined by a single event or moment in time.  If we are going to continue to grow, then we will continue to make mistakes. Leadership is defined in the recovery of the mistakes, not in their avoidance.

Another thing I have learned is that when we are struggling, there’s no shortage of two types of people: believers and the non-believers. The believers are your loyal friends and colleagues who see your possibility and potential when your personal vision is too cloudy. We must really listen carefully to what they are saying. The non-believers doubt our ability to pull through. We must be careful to not give these people any power. To quote my mentor Willie Jolley (www.williejolley.com ), “When someone says NO, you say THANK YOU and NEXT.”

On a positive note, these past two months have provided me with many opportunities to help others through my speaking. One of my most inspirational opportunities was for my dear friend Maimah Karmo, Founder and CEO of Tigerlily Foundation (www.tigerlilyfoundation.org). Maimah, a 6-year breast cancer survivor, awakened to her life’s purpose through breast cancer, and has now dedicated her life to helping other young women. I was honored to be her keynote speaker at the national launch of her book, “Fearless” which you can order from her website (www.maimahkarmo.com).

I also keynoted to the Freshmen Fellows class at the University of Maryland Smith School of Business (http://www.rhsmith.umd.edu/ )(GO TERPS!) on the incredible opportunities they have been afforded, with strategies on how they can maximize them. It’s always so rewarding to speak with tomorrow’s leaders about how they can position themselves today for success.

I’m looking forward to being part of DC’s Entrepreneurship Week (http://www.dcew.org/dcew-2012/) on Saturday November 3rd when I keynote at the business school of Shenandoah University (www.su.edu) . I’ll provide strategies for business growth through all economic climates, and how to adapt to market shifts.

On Friday November 16th, I look forward to leading two sessions on how business owners can build their own advisory dream teams to help them grow. This is based on my book (available through my Successful Culture website), “Built to SCALE™: How Top Companies Create Breakthrough Growth Through Exceptional Advisory Boards.” Tickets are still available to this sell-out conference here:

Speaking of my book, I was incredibly excited that Verne Harnish, founder of Entrepreneurs Organization (EO), and Founder and CEO of Gazelles (www.gazelles.com)  featured my book in his column on advisory boards! You can read his syndicated column here:
http://www.gazelles.com/advisory_boards_that_work.html. Calls and orders have been coming in from around the world – Australia, Canada, and Europe. Crazy!

The most exciting part about my book is the impact  I am making for other entrepreneurs. The book is literally changing the way people think about their business, their communities, and their leadership.

Another wonderful opportunity to connect with other business owners has also come my way. On September 30th, I was a guest on ABC’s Washington Business Report: http://www.wjla.com/articles/2012/09/washington-business-report-sept-30-2012-80407.html.

I suppose the feedback was positive because the producers asked me to join them monthly for a segment called “Marissa’s Mailbox” where I will be addressing specific challenges that all small business owners face.

The first segment ran on October 28th, and also featured one of my mentees, Amanda Fischer who owns Grade A Marketing (www.gradeallc.com/).  The topic was mentorship. Check us out here:

These are just some of the activities that have kept me busy.

As we move into the Thanksgiving season, let us all pause to wish those affected by Hurricane Sandy the strength, energy, and resilience they need to recover and rebuild.

I’m including a link to two stories that have links to organizations standing by for donations to help:


Also, please tune in the ABC’s fundraising telethon Friday November 2nd!

Thank you as always for your support and readership. I’m back in the saddle and I look forward to sharing more frequently.  Wishing you continued success and strength to push through the challenges.

“So…. be your name Buxbaum, or Bixby, or Bray; or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea;
You’re off to  Great Places! Today is YOUR day!
Your mountain is waiting; So… get on your way!”

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