Bonnie Marcus – Not Done Yet!

Bonnie  Marcus author of Not Done Yet recalls  her first big job “I had no qualifications what so ever for that job. I was barely managing my own check book, let alone running a business with 30 doctors. I somehow did really well in the interview convincing them that I was the right person; or let me say that I was smart enough to learn. And they hired me. And a year and a half I ran a eleven centers. Up and down the East coast in the U S for that company. And that was the beginning of my business career. So I often say I’ve always learned business on the job. And I had mastered how to show up confidently and own the value that I could bring. Not faking it by the way, because I couldn’t”

Bonnie advises us to “write the current story that you tell yourself. If it’s not an empowering story,  recognise the power, that negative story has on your life and career and write a new empowering story that supports your goals in life and in business”.

At Tesseleads we experience Bonnie Marcus as  a person who’s very humble, very confident, very competent and very compassionate, an awesome combination with an assurance that gives reassurance to any one she meets. Her sense of authenticity and vulnerability encourages me to know I can show up bringing my whole self to the frame.  As long as I am clear about my intention,  mindful of what I give my attention to, I am in a better position to shape and evaluate my impact,  find meaning and  purpose .  Better still,  I  find hope in the knowledge that I am not done yet!


Paula: 00:00:00 Welcome to “TesseLeads” with your host, Tesse Akpeki and cohost Paula Okonneh. “TesseLeads” Is a safe, sensitive, and supportive place and space to share hear and tell your stories and your experiences. You will hear from top experts and thought leaders, strategies, tips, and techniques that they found useful in navigating a diverse career of challenges, difficulties, dilemmas, as well as how you can create and shape opportunities. Our guest today is Bonnie Marcus, and we will be talking about the book. “Not done yet” A Bonnie Marcus story. Bonnie is an award-winning entrepreneur, forbes contributing writer and executive coach. She assists professional women to successfully navigate the workplace and position and promote themselves to advance their careers. She has over 20 years of sales and management experience. And her extensive business background includes being the C E O of a service master company and the VP of sales of a medical staffing l network, as well as two other national companies in the healthcare software industries. She has held executive positions in stock of companies and fortune 500 companies. I could go on and on about Bonnie. Bonnie Marcus, please tell us about yourself and again, welcome to “TesseLeads”. 

Bonnie: 00:01:34 Thanks for having me. 

Paula: 00:01:37 Tesse over to you.

Tesse: 00:01:39 Wonderful. Bonnie, I’m a fan of yours and I followed your work for many years. And you know, I just get into that feeling of the passion you have and women earning a recognition that they deserve. I love your books, I love your talks, I’m really big on that. So “Not done yet”, you know it resonates with me because what I pick up is your take on how women can enhance their own value and have experiences and wisdom that they can see whether adding value. But I’m curious, this is why I like that story. I’m curious to know what led you down this path of inspiration and encouragement?

Bonnie: 00:02:21 As you mentioned in the introduction, I was in the corporate arena for over 20 years. I worked my way up from an entry level position to the C-suite. And I was very fortunate to have a lot of great doors open for me and, and opportunities. I never turned them down,you know, I was always ready to show up and take a leap and take a risk and not necessarily telling myself I couldn’t do a particular job. And that would hold me back from putting my name out there. But one of the things that really bothered me throughout my career. Was seeing so many talented, ambitious women being passed over. And Tesse, the reason wasn’t necessarily, well it didn’t have anything to do with their performance. It didn’t have anything to do with the effort they were putting in because they’re working hard, but they weren’t getting that recognition. And I just wanted to make it my mission and my passion to help women advance, to help women learn how to own their talent, own their value, and learn how to advocate for themselves in an authentic way. Because that comes from really understanding the value you bring. And understanding how you can use that value to help others in the workplace reach their objectives. To help your business your organization reach their goals, because of the value you can bring. It’s really important for me to help women in this way. Not that we don’t have the talent or we don’t have the ambition, you know. All these years you hear about. Well, there isn’t a pipeline of women; there aren’t qualified women and yes there are. No you can’t give me the excuse that women aren’t in more leadership positions or on boards because there aren’t qualified women. So my goal is to help women position themselves for success. Know how to advocate for themselves and own their value. 

Tesse: 00:04:53 Wow. Advocate for success, own their value. This is key it’s golden. Paula you had a question for Bonnie. Didn’t you? 

Paula: 00:05:04 Yeah, “TesseLeads”, as you heard from our intro is about sharing, it’s about caring and about hearing each other’s stories and experiences. And your message is about confidence, your message is about reclaiming power. This is a universal message. So can you delve in a little bit more so that our listeners can gain from like your own personal story. I know you said you started from entry level and worked yourself up. But I know there’s a lot more.

Bonnie: 00:05:32 Oh yeah, there’s a lot more. I started my career as a kindergarten teacher. I’ve got a master’s degree in education and I was teaching kindergarten and dance at a private school. And I got a divorce and my kids were six and eight at the time. And I just couldn’t make ends meet being a teacher. Now that’s a whole separate topic of discussion about how we undervalue teachers, but we’re not going to go there now. I just want to make that point that teaching wasn’t going to pay the bills. So I looked for a nine to five job. I saw a job in the paper for medical secretary and I had called up and they said, come on in for an interview. And they told me I couldn’t have the job because I was overqualified. I had a master’s degree, they thought, Oh we’re going to teach you this job, and then you’re going to leave. And I was, please give me the job. I practically begged them, you know. I just want a nine to five job. I’ve got two young children, I’m recently divorced. They didn’t buy it, they turned me down. But two weeks later I got a call from them. And this was a large medical practice. And the HR department called me and they said we are starting a new joint venture with a healthcare management company and about 30 docs to open up a cardiac rehab center. And the management company is coming next week. And they’re interested in interviewing people to run the center. Would you be interested? Now here’s what I was talking about earlier. I said yeah. And I went in, I had no qualifications what so ever for that job. I was barely managing my own checkbook, let alone running a business with 30 docs. I somehow did really well in the interview convincing them that I was the right person; or let me say that I was smart enough to learn. And they hired me. And a year and a half I ran a eleven centers. Up and down the East coast in the U S for that company. And that was the beginning of my business career. So I often say I’ve always learned business on the job. I have never said no to opportunities that I thought were a good opportunities for me to pursue. And I had mastered how to show up confidently and own the value that I could bring. Not faking it by the way, because I couldn’t I just, you know. So people will say to me wow you know, you made it to the C-suite. You must have an MBA. You must’ve gone to business school or whatever. No, every job that I’ve had in my career so far. I have learned on the job

Paula: 00:08:45 So you brought your authentic self into every job. That’s what I’m hearing. 

Bonnie: 00:08:50 So that’s my story. I left the corporate world in 2007. Started my own business as a coach, with that mission to help women position themselves for success. I wrote my first book in 2015. “The politics of promotion”. How high achieving women get ahead and stay ahead. And this last book, which is not my last book, but my most recent book. “Not done yet”. How women over 50 regained their confidence and claim workplace power. Is simply unindentive. You know, it just continues the story of how women need to position themselves to stay at the top of their game. Yeah I’m thinking about another book now. And perhaps in the” Not done yet” series. And I’m by no means done. 

Tesse: 00:09:44 By no means done. I love it, I love it. Every time I meet you Bonnie, I experience someone who’s very humble, very confident, very competent and very compassionate. It’s just the combination. And, and I feel reassured anytime I encounter you. Whether it’s email or you know, whether it’s through you know, digital or whatever. I just feel that sense of your authenticity and your vulnerability. So in closing this off, I wonder if you have any words about how people like me, like Paula, like others listening in. Can write a new empowering story.

Bonnie: 00:10:27 Well, the first part of it is to write the current story that you tell yourself. And you then can say, does that support you or sabotage you? And if it’s not an empowering story. Then you need to recognize the power, that negative story has on your life and career and write a new story. One that supports whatever your goals are in, in life and in business.

Paula: 00:10:56 That sums it up. Oh gosh, I love that. Start with your current story wow. You are doing what you have said to do. The current or the aspiring. 

Tesse: 00:11:07 Yeah, thank you Bonnie. You’ve been, I mean I get emotional. Emotional, in a good way because I, I hear, I hear what you’re saying. And I know that no matter where we are in our life, we can always do that. Check in itself. Check in with the narrative, check in with the action, checkin with the mindset. And tell ourselves the story. I can tell myself a story that empowers me and that builds me up, so that I can better build other people up and serve the world better. Paula you thoughts? 

Paula: 00:11:42 I’m just so impressed by Bonnie’s story. She didn’t take no for an answer. She was overqualified in one sense, and they didn’t take her in that interview. But the one that she wasn’t really qualified for qualified in the sense that she didn’t know what it entails. She went in full force and her authentic self showed up. And a year later she was managing 11 companies nationwide. That’s so impressive. I love that story, I love it, I love it. Just before we wrap up, I realize that we didn’t ask you this early on. Where can we find you online? 

Bonnie: 00:12:15 Well my website  is “”. You can listen to my podcast every Tuesday. “Bad ass women at any age”. Many inspiring stories of women who are sharing their stories about how they arrived, where they are today.  And that’s on Apple and wherever you listen to your podcasts. My books, both “The politics of promotion” and the current one. “Not done yet”. Are available on Amazon, Barnes and noble, wherever you buy your books. Independent bookstores you can support. And yeah, I think that’s, that’s it. 

Paula: 00:12:55 So to our precious listeners, your stories matter your lives matter. Please share them with us. Please also know that others are supported, encouraged, and nurtured when they know that they’re never alone. So for listeners, please make sure you head over to Apple podcast, Google podcast, Spotify, or anywhere you listen to podcasts. And please click subscribe. If you find “TesseLeads” helpful, please let us know in your review. And if you have any questions or topics you’d like us to cover, send us a note. Last but not least. If you’d like to be a guest on our show,”TesseLeads”. Head over to “” to apply. Thank you again Bonnie.

Tesse: 00:13:45 Thank you, thank you Bonnie. Thank you so much. we’ll be in touch.

Paula: 00:13:49 Thank you 

Bonnie: 00:13:49 Thank you so much. We’ll be in touch. 

Paula: 00:13:52 Thank you to all our listeners. You make doing this just the best thing ever.