With over five technology start-ups under her belt, it’s no wonder that a strong female leader like Tracy Marshall is in high demand. She’s been courted by the likes of Google and Apple, and currently serves on multiple advisory boards.
Xpress Technologies makes the sixth technology company that Tracy will help mold and grow, focusing on people, diversity, and developing the best organization for customers and employees alike.
While Tracy has an impressive tenure in the technology start-up world, she comes from very humble beginnings, and her early years offered insights into the hardships of life on the road. “My dad was a truck driver, and I grew up in a very rural part of the country where we didn’t travel, and I can recall stories of my dad being broken down.” Tracy’s family didn’t take family vacations, and she saw first-hand what life on the road was like for her father and his trucker friends.
It wasn’t until she was in her mid-20s that Tracy touched her first ocean or applied for a passport. Using the life lessons of hard work she learned as a kid, Tracy enhanced her skills through school with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from SIU-Carbondale and earned her MBA in International Business through Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business.
The ability to challenge herself, coupled with her natural talent leading people, paved the way for success for Tracy. She has held roles such as Technical and Senior Project Managers, Scrum Master, Director of Product Management, VP-Head of App Development, and VP-Head of Technical Program Management before joining Xpress Technologies as Head of Program Delivery.
Tracy is all about people.
Being a female leader offers opportunities to support others in entirely new, empathetic ways. When asked about her passion for mentoring others, Tracy’s energy is contagious She feels she gets more out of coaching others and loves the generations coming up behind her.
In past experiences, Tracy worked for companies where work-life balance was not openly discussed, never mind inclusion, equality, and diversity. Having an unhealthy work-life created resentment between employees, and Tracy had enough. Respect is for all and should be freely given. “You shouldn’t have to earn respect, but it is yours to lose.”
“What is the best advice I can give others? Be Vulnerable.”
Vulnerable isn’t always a word you hear from senior management; however, Be Humble is a core value at Xpress Technologies. Being vulnerable is one key element Tracy feels is missing in leadership today. “Be vulnerable and honest in a way that feels authentic to who you are.” Vulnerability is an area Tracy firmly believes in working on as a leader, “Surprise: we don’t have all the answers. We’re not always right.” Tracy thrives on transparency and says she’s an open book and always admits to her team if she makes a wrong call. She knows this respect and trust has tightened the bonds with her teams over the years.
Using this realization in her leadership role puts Tracy in a position to give feedback, be empathetic, and validate people’s emotions. “It’s okay to feel something. I don’t need you to hold back something that you feel. We work together, and we all need to feel comfortable here.”
Unlike traditional corporate life, Tracy found that working in start-ups allowed her to use her skills in positive ways that would be well received, help her level up, and put her in a position to mentor other female leaders. Her current location in Atlanta, Georgia has been a perfect fit for Tracy over the past decade. She helped move forward five different successful start-ups and volunteered on advisory boards to give back to her community.
Giving back and supporting others is a driving goal for Tracy. She supports the LGBTIQ+ community, the Black Lives Matter movement, and mentoring future female leaders. When Tracy was at 22squared, Inc., she advocated for the creation of Count Me In, a diversity resource to educate and promote healthy change.
When she is not traveling, giving back to others, or helping move American businesses forward, Tracy enjoys spending her free time with her husband Mark and their two boys on their “urban farm” (three dogs, three cats, a parrot, a snake, and a hive of honeybees).
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