AWEE, Arizona Women’s Education & Employment, has as one of its volunteers an ideal example – Marsha Goodman. This energetic and principled businesswoman is a true role model for women. She completed her education through a degree in law, is CEO of her own business, and contributes her expertise to the charitable community of Phoenix. Her nonprofit affiliations include: Chair, AWEE Board of Directors; Development Committee Co-Chair, Phoenix Chapter of the Anti-Defamation League; and Founding Member and Corporate Chair of the Fundraising Committee for CHAIRity, a 501(c)(3) organization which raises money for the City of Phoenix Family Advocacy Center.
Marsha Goodman has been involved in non-profits her entire adulthood, having learned from her parents’ example. She has received outstanding support from the communities in which she has lived throughout her career, and appreciates the opportunity to give back in some way. In addition, her involvement in non-profits has enhanced her business skills, and helped forge many close friendships by working together with others for the good of the community.
Marsha’s path to the Southwest was not straightforward. She laughingly says that the answer to how she came to the Phoenix area is more confusing than the question. Growing up in Washingtonville, NY, she went to college in the northernmost part of that state. Wanting a bit warmer climate, she chose to go to law school at Vanderbilt in Tennessee. After earning her JD, she pursued a legal career in Grand Rapids, MI, as it has an excellent legal market. “Grand Rapids is also the home of the office furniture industry, so as I transitioned from law to business, I worked in that industry, eventually for Steelcase , the largest manufacturer and supplier of office furniture in the world”.
At some point she and her husband, James, vacationed in Phoenix, coming back to the southwest almost every year. When Marsha had the opportunity to join a Steelcase distributor in Phoenix, she jumped at the chance, moving here in November of 1999. Just last year she became sole owner and CEO of US Business Interiors. Her transition from English major, to lawyer, to businesswoman was complete. She says she “ loved the scholarship of law school, but did not enjoy the practice nearly so much, as it feels ‘one step removed’ from where the action is.” Marsha reveals she “enjoys being in a position to make day-to-day, hands on decisions, and I have discovered a deep interest in the financial aspect of business”.
Marsha appreciates the climate and “The sunshine!!” of Phoenix. Also, because so many residents are transplants, she has found everyone to be friendly and welcoming. Her goals for the future are “To develop my business into the company that sets the bar for quality and service in our industry in Arizona, and to conduct myself, both personally, and through my non-profit involvement, in the same manner.” Her enthusiasm and humor, plus role-model status ensure that Marsha’s contributions to the charitable community of Phoenix are meaningful and valued!
What are your volunteer activities? Chair, AWEE Board of Directors; Development Committee Co-Chair, Phoenix Chapter of the Anti-Defamation League; Founding Member and Corporate Chair of the Fundraising Committee for CHAIRity, a 501(c)(3) organization which raises money for the City of Phoenix Family Advocacy Center.
Favorite Restaurant? Special occasion - Tarbell's; every day - Amoroso's.
Who is your hero and why? My grandmother, Rose Bonn, who owned her own business at the age of 19, and again, as a young bride, when her husband was fighting in WWI.
Who is the most interesting celebrity you have ever met? Many years ago, before he was ever on the Tonight show, I sat on a plane next to Jay Leno. He apparently frequently appeared on the David Letterman show (when it was on after the Tonight show), but I never stay up that late, so I didn't know who he was until later. He was a voracious reader of newspapers and magazines, and was interested in everything I was reading, too!
If your life were a movie, whom would you want to play your part? I'm not enough of a movie fan to have any idea!
Do you have any pets? No. I had a beloved cat, named Sushi, who died of natural causes about 7 years ago.
When you move, what will your home tell its next owner, about you? I like to be comfortable, but sometimes I love giving dinner parties where everything is formal except the guests' attire.
What words describe you best? Enthusiastic, fun-loving, striving to always do the right thing.
What words would you like others to use to describe you? Caring, intelligent, fun
What was your first job? Cashier in a grocery store, back when you had to make change in your head!
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? I sometimes second-guess myself
What is the trait you most deplore in others? More worried about impressing others than doing the right thing.
What is your greatest indulgence? Ice cream!
What or who is the greatest love of your life? My husband, James Jarvis. We have been married for almost 18 years.
What is your current state of mind? Excited about the future
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement? 1. Buying my business 2. Introducing a man and woman to each other over 10 years ago who are still together.
What is your most treasured possession? My grandmother's wedding ring. It was not her original ring, but one that she purchased when she lost the one my grandfather had given her. She paid my mother back out of her grocery money over several months so he wouldn't know!
What is the quality you most like in a man? Self-assured and caring
What is the quality you most like in a woman? See above
Favorite books / Writers? The Unbearable Lightness of Being, and anything by Jane Austen, Margaret Atwood.
What is the best advice you have ever received? Be true to yourself.