Coffee Talk

Lenora Marshall: A woman of the ages

It’s a Wednesday morning “in season” and the French Press coffee shop at Cape Harbour is booming. Guests are standing in line to order custom coffees and couples are chatting at small tables. I scan the crowded café looking for Lenora Marshall. Of course, she beat me there. You don’t build the kind of career Marshall has by being late. Once she spots me I’m greeted with that wide grin that glows with confidence, warmth and optimism all within the first second I see her.

Marshall is a local real estate agent who ranked near the top last year with almost $10M in transactions. But there are a lot of dots to connect between her childhood and how she got here. Her mother put family first and was a housewife. Marshall says, “Back in the day careers weren’t a big priority for women. If they went to work, it was usually to be a nurse or teacher.” Lenora finished school and ended up getting a job with the paint company Sherwin Williams. They offered to pay for her education if she wanted to take college courses. Marshall took some classes in science, but didn’t complete her degree. However, through hard work and good ethics, she continued to be promoted. She changed companies a few times, always within the paint industry and moved around. Marshall even worked internationally, relocating for years to Australia.  She knew if she was going to make her way to the top, she needed to go back to school and complete her degree. Attending night classes, while raising her young son, Marshall earned her Engineering degree.

What is most impressive is that she was a trailblazer for females in the boardroom. The first VP of manufacturing, running multiple plants across the country.  In her field, she was a woman leading in a man’s world. I wanted to ask more to find out how she did it all.

ES: How did you end up in Cape Coral and real estate?

LM: My husband and I bought a vacation home in Cape Coral. I loved it and decided to leave the paint industry and start a new career in real estate. I applied the knowledge I had gained in my past positions to my real estate business.

ES: You are involved in both the Giving Alliance of Women and the Cape Coral Mayor’s Scholarship Fund. What are your thoughts on philanthropy?

LM: We owe it to our community and our youth to give back. I feel blessed to enjoy living here and all the things that come with it. Sometimes I lay in bed and night and think, “What did I do to make the world a better place today?”

ES: Would you change anything looking back?

LM: Not really. But of everything I did with my career, my greatest joy was being a mom and raising my son. Nothing really beats that. (Lenora now is also a Grandma to 3 grandchildren.) She attributes a wonderful husband who was always supportive to balancing family and career.

ES: What advice would you give younger women trying to start or build a career?

LM: Go for it! If a door opens for you, go through! Don’t be afraid to step out there and do it!

Words to live by.