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Thank you to the 1,400 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 questions!
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helps you in your leadership.



Jonno White

7 Questions with Marlo Thomas Watson
7 Questions with Marlo Thomas Watson

Name: Marlo Thomas Watson

Current title: Chief Engagement Officer

Current organisation: The Marlo Companies Inc

Mrs. Marlo Thomas-Watson is currently the Founder, and Chief Engagement Officer for the Marlo Company, Inc. As CEO of the Marlo Company, Mrs. Thomas Watson is responsible for facilitating and overseeing a variety of organizational development initiatives. Marlo is adept at liaising with stakeholders at all levels: internal and external to the organization. Her liaising extends to the local, state, and federal level. Marlo support for corporations/organizations has ranged from creating DEI plans, culture facilitation, supporting change initiatives, employee relations and coaching (executive, leadership and team). Obtaining her Graduate Certificate in Human Resource Management in 2007. She also holds a Master of Science Degree in Public Administration and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Organizational Management. During her academic tenure, Marlo was recognized for academic excellence in both her Undergraduate and Graduate programs. She is recognized as an expert Coach, Facilitator, Mentor, and an agent of Positive Community Change.
Prior to pursuing her passion as an entrepreneur, Mrs. Thomas Watson managed various Leadership roles. For 25+ years, Marlo flourished as a People Solutions Expert that was realized in positions: Community Relations and Outreach Manager, Educator, Training, Facilitator, Senior Staffing Specialist, Human Resource Specialist and Contracts and Grants Coordinator. In these capacities, several of her duties included managing multi-million-dollar contracts, developing community relations programs, and acting as a Liaison across state, Federal and national arenas. Mrs. Thomas Watson also has an extensive amount of experience with primary, secondary, and adult education. During her term as Executive Director for the Walker County Connection in Chickamauga, Georgia, Marlo was responsible for managing a 30+ Community Collaborative, acquiring and supervising all federal grants, and developing all organizational policies, advocacy, and liaising with elected officials and training. She is also a Principal Coach for the Infinity Coaching Group, certified DISC Facilitator, and certified True Colors Facilitator. In her spare time Mrs. Thomas Watson is a Presenter, Theater enthusiast, and a dedicated volunteer. Marlo prides herself on being devoted to building positive community, creating positive change, and eradicating marginalization of historically marginalized populations; demonstrated via her being voted one of Prince William County’s Most Influential Women.

7 Questions with Marlo Thomas Watson

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader of a small or medium enterprise?

The most challenging is managing equally competing priorities that potentially limit your capacity to focus on you and your emotional and mental health.

2. How did you become a leader of an SME? Can you please briefly tell the story?

I have always been a leader before I knew what that meant. I see a situation and I have an innate ability to see the solution(s). What I have continually have had to do is to realize that this is my God-given gift and that it may not come as easy for others. Therefore, it is essential to walk in patience with others to allow them the space to 'get there' and to understand and process the situation. Additionally, I continue to learn, grow, and develop myself to ensure that I am maintaining relevance. Throughout my career, I saw the same challenges within organizations and the leadership-regardless of the industry. I took the chance to build my own enterprise to allow those solution skills to support my clients.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

My norm is to rise early. I look at what is ahead of me for that day and execute. The day ends with me making note of what I was unable to accomplish and why. I focus heavily during the week on work and my goals so that I can have down time at least one day during the weekend to spend with family and friends.

4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?

The most recent significant leadership lesson that I have learned is that you cannot give grace to others that you don't give to yourself. Sounds simple-right! It is NOT. We, as humans, tend to believe that we are able to have different expectations for others than ourselves. Example: "I work 12-16 hour days in order to get things done. I would never ask that of my staff" Reality, we have a perception that a staff person is "not dedicated ``''lazy ``''could do more" etc because they are "working at the level that we are. The same applies for forgiveness, grace to make mistakes and learn from them, etc. So, if I am hard on myself then I am likely to be hard on others or too relaxed because we are not giving ourselves the necessary grace or forgiveness. In short, we have to treat ourselves right in order to truly treat others the right way. :)

5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

There are so many! I love to learn and grow. It is truly difficult to limit to one book. Early in my career, more than 30 years ago. I read "Who moved my cheese" and it helped me to become open to be ahead of it rather than sitting back and waiting on it to happen. This was significant as I am naturally risk averse.

6. How do you build leadership capacity in an SME?

Vision. Strategy. Execution. You have to have a vision of where you want to go or what it should be. Develop the appropriate strategy to get there. Execute!

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader of an SME so far?

The one thought that comes to mind is to be great is to do great and to do great is to surround yourself with people who stretch the hell out of you. You wont get to where you want to go with a network of people who are in the same place as you.

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