As the Founder and CEO of Valve+Meter Performance Marketing, Marcia Barnes has been a role model for countless marketers and business leaders across the Midwest and United States for decades, including hundreds of women who have gone on to launch successful careers and businesses.
Success follows this woman of influence around every corner she takes. Marcia’s achievements are rooted in creating scalable and repeatable marketing programs that allow businesses and their employees to reach their full potential.
She has a soft spot in her heart for helping others, too. Marcia was recently selected as the 2020 Great Lakes Women’s Business Council WBE Role Model of the Year – Indiana. This award is presented to one outstanding member each year that goes above and beyond to support the Great Lakes WBC and its members with time and effort. The Great Lakes WBC is committed to empowering women and minorities economically through access to capital assistance programs, business development training, vendor certification and business-to-business networking.
We recently caught up with Marcia to discuss the award and why giving back is so important to her.
Question: What does it mean to you to be a role model, Marcia?
Answer: It’s something I don’t take lightly. I think for women to achieve their goals – whether in their careers or just life in general – they need strong women role models around them. When young women are starting out their careers and see women like myself succeeding, it’s a big deal. It makes them believe more in their own possibilities and, in turn, they create loftier goals for themselves. A lack of female role models is the number-one reason that holds other women back from pursuing their dreams and starting their own business. We’ve made some strides in this area, but we still have a long way to go. I’ll continue to do my part by leading by example and being a role model to women who need help, even if it’s just a push in the right direction.
Q: What does this award mean to you?
A: It’s an honor to be recognized by this amazing organization, which provides so many career paths and opportunities for women and minorities to succeed. Providing outlets to accelerate business growth for minorities and women is an issue that’s very dear to my heart. Everyone deserves a fair chance to succeed in their careers and life. Career goals should be attainable regardless of your race, sex or creed. It’s no secret that women have experienced far too many obstacles in their way to succeeding in opening new businesses, especially from the ground up. At Great Lakes WBC, we’re helping to change that.
Q: You offer employees service days each year to help out in the community. In the past, you’ve also sent employees to Mexico and the Dominican Republic to build homes. Why is this important to you?
A: As a business, we have a responsibility to give back to the community we live and work in. We’re a business, but our employees are givers who understand that a company’s bottom line isn’t the only thing that matters. If that was the only thing that mattered, we would live in a very sad world. I consider myself a teacher, a leader who tries to get the most out of my employees. I want them to succeed in their jobs, but I also want them to succeed in life and help less fortunate people along the way. If I can get even one person to give back based on my influence, I would consider that to be a success. But I’m hoping for a lot more than just one!
Q: Marcia, you’re known for having a lot of energy and getting things done. Where did that drive come from in your life?
A: I grew up in a rural farming community, and I was a farmer’s daughter. My dad worked multiple jobs when I was a kid, so my sisters and I learned about the importance of working hard at a young age. My dad worked his tail off to provide for our family. But we had a lot of poverty and struggled to make ends meet. We went through some tough times. But those struggles developed a habit of working hard and getting ahead. So I understand that the struggle is real for a lot of people, including the many wonderful women and men the Great Lakes WBC helps on a daily basis. It’s a special feeling to help someone launch a successful career or business when they didn’t think it was possible, just because of their upbringing or where they came from.
Q: Why is the Great Lakes WBC’s mission so important?
A: The work the Great Lakes Women’s Business Council is doing is crucial to providing effective tools and removing barriers for women and minorities to thrive in the workforce and launch successful businesses of their own. I feel blessed to be a part of the organization’s success.The Great Lakes WBC has been a champion for women, minorities and small business for decades. The Great Lakes WBC has provided $5.5 million in loans to small business owners, which has led to the creation of 1,800 jobs. I think that’s just fantastic!