Interview with an entrepreneur: Marie Stacks
Originally Featured in the Conductor's July 2021 Blog Post
"By being in my seat, I'm normalizing the idea that a woman being a leader, a wife, and a mom all at the same time is possible”
In 2018, Marie Stacks founded Boost Midwest because she recognized the need for more operations support and better project management within companies within the area she was passionate about helping.
As president of Boost Midwest, Stacks and her team provide rapidly scaling companies with operational support, project management, and grant management services.
The team works hard to provide sustainable solutions for their clients by implementing their A.I.M. (analyze, innovate, and manage) Solutions. This strategy analyzes what problems are present from the perspective of the client and data analysis. It creates the opportunity for innovative collaboration between the client and the Boost Midwest team on sustainable and manageable solutions. The group continues to engage and collaborate with clients during the management phase as the changes take root. Stacks says that this continued support and engagement is the key to success for her company and what sets them apart.
Stacks' ability to recognize and adapt to client needs and new industry trends served her especially well during the pandemic when so many changes happened at once. One significant difference being the shift to entirely virtual interactions with clients.
Stacks stated that pre-pandemic, "Clients seemed to trust you more if you came into the office and you came and visited them in person. Since that's not so much of an option nowadays, it seems like we can actually close deals more swiftly because we're able to have conversations with all the stakeholders on one zoom call."
Stacks utilized the shift to online meetings, which became standard practice during the pandemic, to increase efficiency and allow Boost Midwest to build and maintain credibility in a previously complicated way.
This increase in efficiency is just one factor that has led to the recent growth of Boost Midwest. Stacks credits many of her businesses' recent growth to her experience in the Conductor's 10X Growth Accelerator program. She said that the program shifted her mindset as a business leader within her own company and the community.
"[The 10X program] really helped me realize what I was capable of as a leader within my company...and how much everyone can support each other even though we work in such different industries just by giving advice and by helping connect folks with their own networks," said Stacks. As the company continues to grow, Stacks is determined to maintain the personal touch of a smaller company. She explained that she and her team want clients to know them as team members, not just as a company title.
The value of solid relationships with clients and surrounding yourself, both inside and outside of the company, with people who can support you, is clear to Stacks.
To the person wanting to start their own company, "Go for it. If you have an idea and you have a passion for it, do it. But don't do it alone. There's a trend for #solopreneur; I love the people who have the guts to do that but I caution people when they say they're doing it on their own because it's not fun to do it by yourself, and a lot of times you can do so much more as a team and you're going to have a lot more success long term."
Because Stacks wears many hats, she defines success as achieving a healthy work-life balance. Stacks stated, "If I'm at work and my clients and I are engaged and connected and if my team and I are engaged and connected and collaborating, that's success. At the same time, I want to be able to turn it off from work and go to dinner with my family and my kids and be connected and not be worried about my job and not be worried about my work."
Regardless of her busy schedule or the challenge to achieve balance, Stacks is proud to lead a woman-owned small business. She appreciates the women who have gone before her to pave the way for female entrepreneurs and leaders and recognize her role in widening the path for future generations.
"By being in my seat, I'm normalizing the idea that a woman being a leader, a wife, and a mom all at the same time is possible," said Stacks.