In this week’s BusinessLife Spotlight, we’re taking a look at Dr. Marla Friedman, a business professor, cancer survivor, and author.
We will explore and discover how Marla has grown in her careers, and worked with a BusinessLife coach to unlock the uniqueness and value of her experiences.
Marla has been working in higher education for over 20 years as a professor and program director. She has also planned marketing communications strategies for colleges, hospitals, restaurants and small businesses.
As we will discuss, Marla is also the founder and CEO of Weekend Getaways for Women, LLC, and a certified cancer coach at Think Forward Coaching, Inc.
Currently, Marla is a full-time professor at Palm Beach State College. She teaches business and marketing courses, including entrepreneurship, business communications, and digital marketing. She is passionate about giving her students the confidence and skills to create their own empires, work in the business industry, or grow their career through communication and marketing tactics.
Marla met Peter five years ago through a networking group in Palm Beach Gardens. They soon engaged in a discussion of collaborative coaching.
At the time, Marla had recently launched a local women’s networking group, which she hoped to develop into a larger organization. She knew she wanted to help women in the local area by using her experiences and personal toolkit, and was seeking guidance.
Additionally, with her proficiencies in entrepreneurship and business, she considered working in the fields of entrepreneurship coaching, cancer coaching, and leadership coaching.
She knew she wanted to work with women who wanted to excel personally and professionally, but she wasn’t sure where she would be the greatest asset.
Meeting Peter, an established and successful coach, was the first step on her own coaching journey.
Peter helped Marla gain clarity and focus. They worked through her experience to see where she had the greatest skills, and the greatest passion. With that, they could unlock where she might move forward in her coaching career.
In Marla’s words, “Peter is really good at helping people focus and figure out where their value is.”
With guiding consultations and conversations, Peter helped Marla realize her value as a two-time cancer survivor. Marla was able to see how this experience could drive her to serve others with passion, love, and commitment. She decided to become a cancer coach. As a two-time cancer survivor, she knew she could be a unique and passionate voice for those living with a cancer diagnosis and their families.
Once she had unlocked the passion that would spur her business, she needed to understand how to move forward. She needed the skills to start her own coaching business. She looked at her client base, her market, her talents, her experiences, and even her competition in order to fashion her coaching toolkit.
In November 2012, Marla became a certified cancer coach and corporate trainer, but accreditation wasn’t enough. She wanted to use this certification to expand her reach and her business. During this time Marla was also invited to be a national speaker at Thyroid Cancer Survivor’s Association conference in Colorado and needed direction on how to best approach the opportunity. She turned to Peter for assistance.
With Peter’s guidance, Marla has been able to better unlock the skills and talents inside her. She has learned that she has a lot to offer in terms of experiences and expertise, but she often has trouble focusing her skills in a compact, digestible, and business-oriented way. Peter has given her the tools to “focus on her focus.”
This has helped Marla figure out what is important for her moving forward. Peter facilitated her focus during the launch of her coaching business. He helped her figure out what tools she needed to implement, resources she needed to acquire, and relationships she needed to develop.
Peter has helped her understand who she is, so she could create a solid message for her personal brand.
She is a professor, an author, a retreat leader, a survivor, a coach, an inspirer. Marla’s mother Alice, who recently passed away from cancer, influenced her entrepreneurial spirit. Her mother always ran her own business. When Marla was 12 years old she was attending trade shows, buying trips and client meetings for her mother’s interior design business. Alice was the first franchise owner of the Business Network International (BNI), a networking group started in the late 1980’s. Alice successfully grew her business in Connecticut for over 30 years. When Marla attended college at the University of New Mexico, Alice purchased the New Mexico franchise of BNI and Marla became the youngest Regional Director in the company at 19 years old. This experience has encouraged Marla to continue on the entrepreneurial path.
But every day brings with it new challenges. Marla works with Peter to help overcome these obstacles, focus her thoughts, and channel her inner warrior. She works with Peter to better understand herself, so she can better grow her business and teaching abilities… and, in turn, better serve her students and coachees.
Marla still works with Peter as a coach. She believes that growth never ends—for herself or for her own clients. She approaches Peter with questions when new opportunities arise, and he guides her with tools, resources, and open conversation. He has also introduced Marla to his personal network of dynamic people, which has unlocked further opportunities for her to learn and expand.
Through her experience and Peter’s guidance, Marla herself has become a stronger coach and professor. She contributes a significant amount to the coaching dialogue, and she is incredibly knowledgeable and qualified.
With her skills and expertise in teaching and coaching, Peter invited Marla to host a session on values for a group of his clients. She was able to help these executives align their individual and organizational values in a meaningful way.
Peter is also helping Marla write her second book. He provides suggestions, while pushing her forward to continue writing even when inspiration or motivation feels to be at a low.
Once Marla has finished her second book, will work with Peter to set new objectives. She continues every day to grow as an educator, entrepreneur, and professional by teaching her students, growing her business, and working with Peter as a coach and mentor.