Marie (McDonnell) Colbert ’89 P’24
Alumna; Parent of Upcoming Undergraduate
Blume Global (Formally Known as REZ-1)
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I live in Walpole, MA with my husband, Vin, and two teenage sons, Dan and Joe. I spent 30 years in the transportation and logistics industry. Last year, I retired after a 25 year career with a software and services company that I helped start in 1994, and was President/CEO of 20 of those years. I’ve enjoyed being able to spend more time watching my boys’ soccer games, tennis matches, and doing some volunteer work. We summer in Scituate, MA where I enjoy the beach, golfing, running, reading and taking trips to Saratoga and Kentucky for my husband’s thoroughbred breeding business. My son Dan will be a member of the SMC 2024 class, and on the soccer team.
Tell us about your Saint Michael’s College experience.
The culture and academic support at St. Mike’s was great for me, encouraging me to learn, try new things and allowing me to make mistakes. The school and professors were especially supportive when I made the decision to take a semester off to work, in order to determine a career path, and decide on my major. On my semester off, I took a job filling in for a bookkeeper on maternity leave, and I realized that I really enjoyed Accounting, and returned to St. Mike’s to declare my Business Administration major. This same company hired me upon graduation, and I worked with the founder for 30 years, throughout most of my career. The campus vibe was so much fun, and I met so many great people who were all happy to be there and enjoy downtown Burlington.
What advice would you give to female students?
Take advantage of everything that St. Mike’s and Burlington has to offer you. It’s a great time to explore what might interest you in a career and to work closely with your career coach. I strongly believe in doing an internship in your area of study as a great way to gain work experience, validate that you like that field, and learn more about the career opportunities available to you upon graduation.
What are some strategies that can help women achieve a more prominent role in their organizations?
Take advantage of opportunities that present themselves, since every situation will offer you a better chance to grow your skills and improve your career path. Speak up and show your engagement and persistence to work hard, and make sure the right people know you’re interested and capable of doing more. Try to push yourself out of your comfort zone, and not listen to doubts, but believe that you can do more by focusing on what you can control and overcome obstacles. Remain positive and offer constructive arguments and alternatives if opinions differ around a situation. Demonstrate honesty and integrity, showing you can be a trusted leader.
What keeps you motivated and driven on a daily basis?
At work, the challenge of new initiatives, and working to align teams to be successful is rewarding. Time with my family, and watching my kids sports, being able to travel with my husband, has been more of an option lately, which is great. Daily exercise, especially in the morning, keeps me motivated and makes me feel great during the day.
What woman most inspires you and why?
I admire how Michelle Obama has shown us to stand up for what you believe, and not back down. And, she has done that with style, honesty and candor. She’s been a great role model for women, and has had a great impact on so many initiatives that have increased awareness on nutrition and exercise, education and poverty.