By Kris Marshall, an EO Detroit member and EO Accelerator graduate
When it comes to your EO membership, you get what you’re willing to put into it. No one knows that more than Kris Marshall, an EO Accelerator graduate and the first woman to serve as Chapter President in EO Detroit’s history. In this interview, Kris speaks to the value of EO Accelerator, the significance of EO Mentorship and the benefits associated with member leadership.
Your journey into EO started when you engaged EO Accelerator. What inspired you to get involved in this business-growth program?
KM: John Anderson, a founder of EO Detroit, invited me to participate when I expressed that we wanted to sell our youth workbooks across the U.S. EO Accelerator helped me learn to take more risks, think outside-the-box and create structures for growth. As a result, we grew from US$500,000 to US$1 million during the recession!
After graduating from EO Accelerator, you joined EO and co-created a mentorship program within your chapter. How do these relationships benefit EO Detroit members and Accelerators?
KM: Through group and one-on-one mentoring opportunities, our EO Accelerator participants have experienced significant personal and professional growth. Our members love to be engaged as mentors, and feel it is a win/win experience. Every year, we have EO Accelerator participants who graduate into EO, and they go on to share how their mentors have played a role in this accomplishment.
As EO Detroit’s Chapter President, you’re a testament to the impact of EO Accelerator, EO Mentorship and EO’s Path of Leadership. How did these programs prepare you for your new role?
KM: While participating in EO Accelerator, I joined its mini-board and attended various chapter board meetings. Helping lead that program, along with my other board experiences, gave me greater insight and skills to lead a team of entrepreneurs. Through EO Accelerator, EO Mentorship and EO’s Path of Leadership, something really cool happened: My mentor in EO Accelerator, Mark Winter, continued to be my mentor … and now I’m following him as Chapter President! Other past Presidents have also been wonderful resources, and I’m honored to follow in their footsteps while making my own path.
You’re also the first EO Accelerator graduate to serve as Chapter President of EO Detroit. What are you hoping to accomplish in your role this year?
KM: This year, we took an honest look at our chapter to determine where we wanted to go. The great news is that we had a lot of positive aspects on the list; we also had things to work on. A few of our goals include having 120-140 quality members; increasing the number of minorities and women in the chapter; recruiting at least five new members who are under 35 years old (we have an aging chapter); and developing affinity groups for our members to be more engaged. I’m running the board on the Entrepreneurial Operation System process because it keeps everyone on track and accountable. By transitioning the board to this structure, I want to make leadership more efficient, effective and fun, while building a lasting structure for future Chapter Presidents.
What tips do you have for those members interested in exploring EO leadership or mentorship?
KM: My tip is just to jump right in! Most of our Chairs start off by serving on a committee so they can test it out and learn how to be more involved. I believe what you put into your chapter is what you get out of it, and I always want to maximize my experience. Also, EO Mentorship is a great program to implement into the EO Accelerator program. It keeps veteran members engaged and supports participants in hitting their US$1-million goal. If you have a great recruiter to manage the mentoring process, the program can be easy to run and produce terrific outcomes.