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2024 - The CEO: Lisa Marshall

Tags: Alumni Profile | ECC 75
Published 06/19/2024
ECC alum Lisa Marshall in her family home

ECC alum Lisa Marshall in her family home

Lisa Marshall recently celebrated her first year as the CEO of the Wisconsin Board of Realtors, an affiliate of the National Association of Realtors.

Marshall, who said she is also the first Black CEO in her role, said she learned to strive for excellence through missteps. The desire for discipline and a determined mindset was always there, but it wasn’t until she dropped out of Columbia College Chicago that she was truly ready to take the next step. It took coming to Elgin Community College to nurture and grow the seed of determination.

“ECC is where I learned to buckle down and work,” Marshall said. “It was like my training center on how to be an adult, and through all the ups and downs, ECC was a pillar in my life.”

The first-generation college student came to ECC determined to get on the road toward success. The professional and life skills she acquired, combined with academic and career support, are what ultimately led Marshall to become a realtor. Her career path was unconventional, though, as she initially pursued human resources following the advice of a college advisor. However, Marshall was able to use her attention to detail and analytical skills from her human resources background when she purchased her first real estate property and became a landlord. She still credits her former advisor for getting her on a career path because it led to her role today.

Reflecting on her ECC days, Marshall said she realized that if she wanted to be successful, she would need to ask for help. “When we feel defeated, we want to isolate ourselves and not tell anyone,” she said. “When I asked for help, it changed my life.”

She received assistance with her FAFSFA, which helped alleviate the stress of paying for college. A guidance counselor helped her to get off academic probation and build her confidence as a student. Marshall walked ECC’s commencement stage to receive her Associate in Arts degree and then walked two more times with Columbia College Missouri, receiving both a bachelor’s and master’s degree.

After working in human resources for some of the largest nonprofit organizations in Chicago, she took the skills she had developed and purchased her first investment property, a duplex. Being a landlord came naturally to Marshall, leading her to a career that tapped into her outgoing personality and analytical skills.

As a realtor board CEO, she strives to make an impact in her industry by advocating for more diversity in real estate.

“As one of the very few Black CEOs in the realtor association space, I find myself not only being a physical representation that it’s possible for anyone to do anything, but I also recently won the National Association of Realtors Diversity Grant,” Marshall said. “This grant is now being used to bring diversity education to my community, which will help us broaden our education, awareness, and cultural sensitivity.”

As a first-generation college student who initially felt directionless after dropping out, Marshall found her footing at ECC. This foundation enabled her to flourish and pursue excellence in both her professional and personal endeavors, a path she continues to pursue with determination as she embarks on her second year as a CEO.