Leader Spotlight- Marsha' Warren
Our Leader Spotlight for this week is a defender of the weak and a refuge for the strong. Marsha' Foster Warren (pronounced Mar- shay) is a licensed professional counselor who also serves as a school administrator. I have had the opportunity to observe her leadership in her work, in her service to her home and family, in her ministry as well as in her community. Her passion for people who are seemingly left behind, forgotten or unacknowledged drives her leadership and service. Shay, as I call her, is the friend who checks in and will not allow me to hide when I am hurting. She is the sister who never leaves and will take a joker down in a second if they try to hurt anyone she loves! Everybody needs a Marsha' in their life. Professional, wife, mom, counselor, minister, and consistent true friend, please allow me to introduce Marsha' Warren. See our interview below for lessons on grassroots leadership and raising teenagers.
PBJ: Briefly tell us who you are.
Marsha': My name is Marsha’ Foster Warren. I am Licensed as a Professional Counselor here in the state of Georgia and I also serve as a Middle School Counselor to over 800 students in the Liberty County School District. I am co-owner of Counseling Associates of Statesboro which is a private counseling service near downtown Statesboro. Once the school day is over and on weekends, I work to provide counseling and support to children, adults, and families who agree to meet the challenge of working to become a better version of themselves. Last but not least, I am a believer and follower of Christ, a wife of nineteen years to my husband Brady, and I am most grateful to be the mother of two beautiful teenage daughters (Kristin and Kelli).
PBJ: What does your leadership look like on a daily basis?
Marsha': In my current role as a school counselor and therapist, my leadership style can be best described as supportive, one who takes initiative, and I strongly believe in the power of having confidence in those individuals who are a part of my team. As a member of the administrative team at school, it is important for me to understand and support the mission and vision to avoid division. In other words, leadership is not so much about my words or the things I say, but more so about the actions I choose to take on a daily basis. I choose to be honest, hardworking, consistent, and I allow time in my schedule to self-reflect in order to make the necessary changes to increase proficiency and produce measurable outcomes. As it relates to my private practice, I serve as a gatekeeper for my profession, a mentor and clinical supervisor, and I am more concerned with lighting the torch for new and evolving counselors as opposed to the idea of simply passing the torch to those who entrust me with their livelihood as a member of the helping profession. Moreover, I am always looking for ways to work smarter, not harder.
PBJ: How would you describe your style of influence?
Marsha': In my desire to be truly transparent in this process, I must say that I am really excited to answer this question. Influencer is a such a powerful word that causes me to burst out in laugher and joy on the one hand; only to find myself sitting quietly with my thoughts as I take into account the seriousness of what comes with my niche or calling to serve those with who view me as a role model or trailblazer. The thing is, I never really know who my audience might be and so it is important for me to be intentional in my efforts to cultivate a positive, powerful, and life changing influence on others.
PBJ: Tell us about your greatest leadership influence.
Marsha': In all honesty, there can be no leadership without influence. I also believe true leadership is a gift from God. Leadership is also more of an action word which extends well beyond any title or designation. At an early age, my parents taught me the value of hard work and dedication as blue collar workers. My mom worked as a sewing machine operator and my dad worked as a logger. My parents’ resilience and strong work ethic placed them in a position of leadership and authority because they were willing to do the work and serve others in an effort to set a good example for my siblings and I. I learned that I could be impactful and influence others to take ownership of the vision by simply doing the work. For my parents doing the work meant no excuses…just results, not focusing on the struggle but embracing the sacrifice, saying no to good opportunities in order to say yes to great opportunities, and not simply having a desire to do well but to also be disciplined in one’s position or craft. For the most part, my parents modeled common sense principles that focused on integrity, growth and maturity, self-respect and gratitude.
PBJ: I have the honor of knowing your amazing girls and seeing the fruit of good leadership through their lives. How do you teach your girls about leadership?
Marsha': Have you ever had a job with no previous experience, no training, you couldn’t quit, and the lives of other individuals are at stake? Well it’s called parenting, a gift that I often times find myself feeling undeserving or ill equipped to manage. When it comes to teaching Kristin and Kelli about leadership, I find myself reminding them to improvise, adapt, overcome, and make room for others along the way. With the understanding that everyone has the capacity to lead, the girls are encouraged to view their mistakes as opportunities to learn, be willing to move forward without having all the answers or details, never asking others to do the work that they also are not willing to do, and holding self to standards of grace and not perfection. When I think of the image that I project on my children, it is important for the girls to understand that I serve as a covering over them and not a lid. The covering I have over the girls serves to protect, shield, and conceal them until they are fully developed or mature; being careful not to place a lid over or suffocate their creativity, inventiveness, desire to serve others, and willingness to be true to themselves.
PBJ: Oh my goodness, I love that! Serve as a covering, not a lid. I believe that can apply to the teams we lead as well. How can people connect with you?
Marsha': I welcome your thoughts and would really enjoy hearing from you!
I am available for counseling and consultation via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: 337 South Walnut Street
Statesboro GA 30458