Researcher, entrepreneur, innovator, coach, mentor and educator.
Dr. Brenda Marshall has pivoted many times in her eclectic career with roles in corporations, consulting and academic environments, in addition to being a published author and speaker on grief, loss and bereavement.
She’s been a full-time faculty member with Georgian’s Honours Bachelor of Business Administration in Management and Leadership (BBML) degree since 2016 and is now the program co-ordinator. Brenda holds a PhD in adult education, a master’s in teaching and learning, and an honours bachelor’s degree in psychology and criminology. Dr. Marshall also holds a certificate in solution-focused coaching, certifications in multiple leadership assessment tools, and is certified in thanatology (the study of death, dying and bereavement).
Her interest in helping leaders grow and develop comes from more than 18 years in the talent development field where she’s led large-scale leadership programs, facilitated intricate team interventions, and coached scores of emerging and established executives.
Dr. Marshall’s more recent foray into teaching is grounded in her passion for helping others achieve personal growth and development and igniting the spark in the next generation of leaders.
Tell us about the BBML program.
BBML is an Honours Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a focus on the art and science of leading and managing people.
The program is a blend of full- and part-time students, some directly out of high school and some well-established in their careers. It also has an extremely engaged program advisory committee dedicated to ensuring students have the skills and knowledge they need to succeed when they graduate.
Why do you think the BBML program is ideal for future leaders?
BBML introduces students to the fundamentals of running a business (accounting, project management, human resources, marketing, etc.), and then gives them grounding in how to take that knowledge and make good decisions for their people and organizations. The program attracts individuals with a wide range of experiences and backgrounds, which mirrors experiences found in the workplace. Knowing how to work with diverse groups of people is critical in any leadership role.
How do students benefit from your experience in the field as a speaker and executive coach?
I coached more than 200 leaders before joining Georgian. This has given me tremendous insight into the struggles that leaders face as well as the qualities and skills that great leaders bring to their roles. I’m able to give students a glimpse into the real-world experiences of leaders and how they continue to grow and develop throughout their careers.
My speaking engagements help highlight the BBML program and bring me into contact with executives in the corporate sector. This helps me stay current and creates connections with established professionals that then visit the class to speak with students. It also models how important it is to invest in developing and nurturing relationships with others in the field.
Where did your passion for helping leaders grow and develop come from?
I was fortunate to have some terrific leaders early in my career that really helped me grow and develop. And I found, in my consulting work, that providing support and encouragement could really propel someone forward in their own development. When they’d get a promotion or new role that they’d been seeking, I’d feel so happy for them. Even today, I love seeing announcements on LinkedIn about people I used to consult with as they continue to progress in their careers.
What leader has inspired you the most over the course of your career?
One of my mentors was my first boss. She had a vision, she connected with each of us as individuals, and it felt like with her support we could achieve anything. We felt like we were part of something, like our work had meaning. Another was one of my professors. She always chose what was in the best interests of her students over organizational constraints and demonstrated the power of authenticity. She was consistently positive and made me want to be a better person. After 20 years, I can still call her anytime to talk and she always says, “It’s so nice to hear your voice.” I try to model her leadership style both in the classroom and in life and am blessed to be in the position to help the next generation of leaders achieve their personal and career goals.
What inspires you?
People – lots of people. I’m inspired by those who have overcome great adversity and do kind and wonderful things for others. I’m inspired by those who come up with incredibly creative ideas that they take to market and launch. I’m inspired by people who quietly go about their life and lead others to want to be better just by their behaviour.
What advice would you give a graduating student?
Stay in touch with people you meet along the way and put your best effort into everything you do. Even if you aren’t in your dream job right away, there are always things you can learn. And if you are in your dream job, savour it and help someone else find theirs.
Embark on a career in organizational management and leadership. Learn more about BBML, including career opportunities, pathways into the program, and the full- and part-time delivery options.