We caught up with the brilliant and insightful Marsenia Mathis a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
Alright, Marsenia thanks for taking the time to share your stories and insights with us today. Have you ever had an amazing boss, mentor or leader leading you? Can you us a story or anecdote that helps illustrate why this person was such a great leader and the impact they had on you or their team?
I joined back into the workforce almost a year after giving birth and I was eager to get back into the swing of things. About 5 months of being back in full swing of work, there were company shifts taken place basically to harmonize the organization and I was approached about taking on more of a senior leadership role. I was new mom and so adjusting to the different roles both personally and professioanlly was a change for me. Having said that, my boss was the best corporate mentor I needed at that time in my life. She taught me and prepared me to be successful in my role. She gave me grace and allowed me to be a mom and wife in addition to the demands of the job. You don’t see alot of that with women in the workplace. Some women struggle in trying to find a happy medium in work life balance. Because of my tenure and experience working in Public Health, it was important for me to continue to foster and nourish the professional relationships already established and develop personal ones with my clients and staff.
My greatest lessons from my boss is that management success comes by knowing & understanding the needs of your client or staff member, by pro-actively creating communication strategies. You don’t get to know the client/employee well enough to be able to read them, if you don’t develop a relationship with them. I learned from one of my clients that it’s not always about your skillset, background, and level of education; but it’s about meeting someone where they are and helping to mold them (mentor them) into the employee/professional they need to be. It’s about passing on wisdom to the next generation to encourage them to succeed at project delivery and having fewer project failures and money wasted due to people not learning from past mistakes, but rather using recommended practices that have been proven to work well. My boss is a wonderful mentor and I have to give her this recognition.
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your background and context?
It is no secret that I am obsessed with helping others find career fulfillment, especially in STEM fields. I have over 15 years of experience in the Sciences, 10 years in Public Health, and the last few years I’ve been working in Leadership as a Program Manager with my ‘9-5’ who’s top priority is government contract operations and providing support to federal government agencies. We work across three main areas:
1. Research & Development in Life Science.
2. Scientific, Engineering, and Technical Assistance.
Four years ago, I lost my job two weeks after giving birth to my 1st child. I was told it was due to lack of government funding. After going on multiple job interviews and receiving zero offers, I set out to entrepreneurship (the birth of my business brand The Nerdy CEO was my vision), I knew there was something different for me in that walk. My mission was clear…I knew I had to help others.
The Nerdy CEO got its start with a simple idea…..to give individuals useful methods for accomplishing their professional dreams and goals. I love the idea of mentoring and motivating people and helping them realize their full potential. It was created genuinely out of my desire to help STEM professionals find the job, secure the bag, and achieve 100% job satisfaction in their careers. My Brand/Business empowers others to take their career to the next level who’s looking for change in the corporate world. I love teaching and helping my tribe how to take control of their careers by not settling for complacency and learning how to ask for more. We offer professional services (Professional Branding, Career Coaching, Guest Speaking) brand products, and resources, to help educate and encourage individuals to pursue and follow their dreams ensuring that they have the support, self-confidence, and conviction to achieve their goals.
This is when your passion aligns with your purpose. I’m passionate about science and Public Health. I’m passionate about infectious diseases. But I’m also passionate about helping others into discovering themselves professionally and finding their perfect opportunity.
Other than training/knowledge, what do you think is most helpful for succeeding in your field?
I have learned that if you want the best talent, to stop looking for perfection because it doesn’t exist. Focus on what value a person can bring. Potential, being passionate, and confident. Your career should reflect what you love and who you are. I work my 9-5 as a Program Manager of government contracts and as a entrepreneur…..WHY??? Because I love what I do. Passion taught me how to find my “WHY” and my purpose in life and for that I am truly grateful. Confidence is something that happens when you do the thing that scares you no matter how much it scares you. Being confident in taking the initiative, setting boundaries, speaking up,and not diluting my essence has really propeled me forward in my career.
How about pivoting – can you share the story of a time you’ve had to pivot?
I think this feature is perfect particularly for this question and where I am currently in life and as a business owner. As women and moms, we often times have to take time away to be with and raise a family. As a wife and as a mother to two toddlers who keep me very busy :), I allowed myself time and space to be just that. So I had to pivot to focus on that. Pivoting isn’t Plan B. It’s a part of the process. When we have to re-route or change directions in the midst of our plans, it doesn’t mean that we’re getting off track or off course. Sometimes in order to continue towards progression, we have to pivot and change our plans/goals as it makes sense for our current circumstances and future.
I’ve learned this throughout my journey. Right now, I’m currently focusing on restructuring my business. I’ll be removing some services, creating new offerings, and building something that’s representative of my two daughters. At every NEW level, something NEW of ME is required. Having said that, I have so many great ideas that I am ready to bring into fruition. I’m continuing to build the lifestyle, creating the business(s), working with clients, and setting the boundaries that I want.
- Website: www.thenerdyceo.com
- Instagram: marsenia_mathis
- Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/marsenia-h-mathis-mph-msc-42b9222b