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2011 Most Influential Women Honoree: Susan Marshall

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Susan Marshall, human resources manager for the Springfield division of the Missouri Department of Transportation, is devoted to bringing diversity to the community.

At MoDOT, Marshall manages human resources for District 8 in Springfield, focusing on avenues for increasing its female and minority applicant pool.

One outlet is the MoDOT District 8 Employee Advisory Extension Council, which assists management and employees with diversity issues. With her help, MoDOT received the Springfield Area Human Resources Association’s 2010 Best Practices in Diversity Award.

Marshall’s efforts to bolster diversity reach beyond her workplace to the community.

She is treasurer of the Springfield chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and was instrumental on the planning committee for the first Minority Entrepreneurship Conference, sponsored in part by Drury University’s Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

“In all of my leadership endeavors, (I) strive to address issues that will empower people to be the best they can be and overcome obstacles that hinder growth professionally and personally,” Marshall says. “I really do not see myself as a leader, I see myself more as a coach to bring out the best in others by living my life to the fullest.”

Marshall is a Marine veteran who served for nearly a decade. She also works to aid area youth, serving as a surrogate mother although she has no biological children.

She volunteers for Springfield Advocates for Youth, which works with about 36 young people to help them pull out of rough situations, and she previously worked in a local youth group home.

Despite fighting a seven-year uphill battle with cancer, Marshall ascribes to the glass half-full approach to her work and philosophies.

“While it has only been since March 2011 that I had my last chemotherapy treatment, surpassing another birthday after being diagnosed with colon cancer that had spread to my lungs and staying focused on God’s grace and mercy ... is my proudest accomplishment,” says Marshall, whose condition has gone into remission.

“Many people have told me that I influenced them to be successful by keeping a positive attitude through my own challenges.”

Francine Pratt, a friend, fellow member of NAACP-Springfield and past Most Influential Women honoree, says Marshall is a woman of few words, but her words – and her actions – have an impact.

“Seeing her strength and endurance had many of us in the community look at where we were in our lives and say, ‘If Susan can do, it we have no excuse,’” Pratt says. “(She) is someone that is more influential than she realizes.”

Click here for full coverage of the 2011 Most Influential Women.
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