When Marnie Ochs-Raleigh started Evolve Systems 15 years ago, people thought she was crazy. At a time when Facebook hadn’t been invented yet, there were many skeptics of her new web development and merchant processing business, but Marnie had the vision and leadership to see through the skepticism and successfully grow her business to what it is today.
With headquarters in Roseville, Minnesota, Evolve Systems began with about five employees and has since grown to 15 local team members. The company also takes a global approach in attracting the very best talent and has an offshore team of 22 staff members in Croatia to support high-level programming and special web projects.
Staying ahead of the game as a forward-thinking business is what has enabled Evolve Systems to continue to succeed, which is why Marnie always has her eye on what’s next to best serve her clients. “We see technology changing based on what the younger generation is needing,” she says. “Our tagline is ‘Adapt, Act, and Evolve.’ Without any of those qualities, businesses are going to fall by the wayside.”
Another key to her success is staying involved with the strong network of women business owners at NAWBO. A member since 2006, Marnie currently serves as the president of NAWBO’s Minnesota chapter and remembers feeling impressed and motivated during her first introduction to NAWBO. “The first NAWBO event I attended was a Lunch ‘n’ Learn, and because I didn’t know anyone, I went around to booths and filed business cards in a folder,” she says. “Three years ago, I was going through files and came across that folder. As I looked at all the business cards, I realized I had done business with just about all of them. When I was at that convention, I remember hoping I could be as successful as these women; it’s hard to believe that I’m the president of the Minnesota chapter today.”
Besides facilitating great business connections, NAWBO has also provided Marnie with support and knowledge that she hasn’t found anywhere else. “I love being part of the visionary discussions because I’m able to take knowledge from very successful women back to my office,” she says. “I see NAWBO as a tool to grow our national clients.”
Marnie is also proud to be a leader in an organization that is making waves and positive change in our country’s history. “It’s my NAWBO sisters whom I’m able to connect with. NAWBO business owners can reach their potential, and when we’re working together, we’re able to affect significant things like public policy,” she says. “Our country is in need of positive changes, and NAWBO will have a seat at that table.”
How Marnie Leads the Way
Q: What’s been the biggest lesson you’ve learned on your journey as a business leader?
A: Failure is not an option. Never give up. Set your goals high and work toward them every day.
Q: Where do you glean inspiration and motivation as a leader?
A: I subscribe to a few different blogs that help to keep me focused on the positive things. You have to look where there’s positivity. I also have a journal that I’ll reflect back to. I’ll pull it out with thank-you letters from clients or congratulation letters on success stories we’ve had. I am honored that our employees put trust in our leadership and vision.
Q: What three keywords would you use to describe a successful leader?
A: Determined, listener, strategic.
Q: What leadership advice would you share with other entrepreneurs and future leaders?
A: Hire a business coach/mentor as soon as possible. I wish I would’ve known to do that. Having a business coach can help you get a clear vision and help you have those conversations.
To learn more about Marnie and Evolve Systems, please visit: http://evolve-systems.com.