Meet Brandi Marek
Talent & Culture Specialist

Brandi Marek - Ferguson AllianceAs a family member in a family-owned business, I understand the delicate and at times challenging situations that can face family businesses.

As a leader in a family-owned business, I know that at times it can feel very lonely at the top. I became an advisor because I have experienced firsthand how impactful it can be to have someone helping you work on the business at a higher level as you balance also working in the business.

My long history of coaching managers and team members to reach their highest potential has shown me that people inherently want to do well and feel that they add value to an organization.

Why I became an advisor: I’ve lived this 110% and I want to help others succeed

I have direct experience with being the “younger generation” in a family business.

I spent most of my career in management and leadership roles at Magnolia Gardens Nursery, a family business with over 150 employees.

The nursery business is full of passionate people wanting to make a difference in the world. It is also one of the most challenging businesses to be in due to dealing with live goods, weather, and cyclical demand.

My time at Magnolia has given me broad experience and perspective into how a family business runs at all levels.

I have solid experience in the technical aspects of business – I’ve developed strategic plans, lead departments and managed capital expenses. I’m comfortable with complicated financials and the nuances of organizational structure. I’ve shouldered the responsibility for overseeing multiple departments and developing improved operational processes.

But my passion lies with the people. Organizations thrive when the people within them thrive, and family businesses can come with additional people challenges.

As a second-generation family business leader, I know how it FEELS to work with family and I believe my empathy for family business leaders is one of my greatest strengths as an advisor.

Working with family can be challenging at times

You love your family very much and that makes working within your family dynamic and within your family business one of the most challenging things someone might do.

Very few people really understand what it’s like. I want to be the person that understands exactly what you may be going through. I understand the complicated nature of the family business dynamic

I know what it’s like to feel the pressure and the ambivalence (do I really want to work in this business?) I know what it’s like to feel unorganized and stuck in the trenches trying to keep things going and not having time to figure out the higher-level stuff.

I also have first-hand experience working with a business advisor (Rob). I know how beneficial it can be to have that neutral third-party to provide perspective and advice – and an occasional shoulder to cry on. Your friends might love you and try to understand, but they don’t “get it” because they haven’t lived it.

If you’re feeling burnt out and frustrated trying to figure out how to keep working with your family members (and continuing to love them) - know that you’re not alone. It’s normal (and even healthy) to feel like you do – and help is available. It can get better!

What I love most about being an advisor: watching people succeed at something they never imagined they could succeed at

I enjoy teaching. I like distilling things down into ways that anybody can understand it. Many business topics – like financials – can be intimidating if you haven’t had the education in that area.

I love seeing people go from not believing that they could do something or learn something – to the other side where they become empowered leaders and managers who are confident in their own abilities.

About me: organizer extraordinaire on a personal development quest

I love reading and being outdoors. I love color. I’m always painting something. If it’s not a room, it’s the furniture – I have paint on most of my clothes.

I also love personal development. Nothing excites me more than pulling out a notebook to reflect on my progress and set new goals. I’m on a quest to really understand myself and other people – to discover what motivates us and what can help us reach our potential.  As an Enneagram 3 with a 2 wing, I’m a performer and a helper.

I’m a bit of minimalist and I really like to organize things. One year I surprised my mom with a roll-off dumpster for Christmas. We spent the holidays decluttering and filling it up so that she could undertake a remodeling project in her home. (At least ONE of us enjoyed that gift!)

I think my obsession with clearing clutter is related to how I see the world. I have an inner sense for sorting out what is truly important – and what isn’t worth worrying about. I can see the humor in most situations and I don’t get worked up about things that don’t deserve the energy.