Today’s spotlight shines on Marleen, our administrative lead for the MWM team. She manages our databases, drives our marketing projects and keeps office operations running smoothly with her patience and perseverance. She brings the true "Aloha Spirit" to the team with her smile and contagious laugh that makes working with her a joy. She joined the team in 2017 as she was looking for a part-time job and now, we couldn’t imagine not having her talent, expertise and friendship in our daily lives.
TEAM: Marleen, please tell us a little about yourself.
MARLEEN: Born and raised in Hawaii on the Island of Oahu. I am the youngest of 4 siblings and the only one not living in Hawaii. I am a graduate of the University of Hawaii at Manoa with a BBA degree in Marketing.
TEAM: Tell us a little bit about your family.
MARLEEN: I met my husband Chris in high school and married in our late 20’s. We have been married for 24 years now. Time sure flew by. Chris and I moved to Seattle in 1998 and purchased our first home in Bothell. Our daughter Chloe was born in Seattle in August 2003. Shortly after her birth, we decided to raise her back home closer to family and moved back to Hawaii. In 2015 we came back to Seattle to have a better education opportunity for Chloe.
TEAM: Tell us something about yourself that would surprise us.
MARLEEN: I like to do yard work. It’s a feeling of relaxation when I’m in out weeding or planting and of course listening to some Hawaiian music.
TEAM: What three words would best describe you?
MARLEEN: Friendly, always smiling, and happy.
TEAM: What are some of your life highlights?
1. Graduating from college (the first in my family to graduate from a University).
2. Giving birth to my daughter Chloe.
TEAM: What is your motto or personal mantra?
MARLEEN: Live every day with a positive attitude.
TEAM: We know you and Chris love to travel with your daughter Chloe, what is the best vacation you had?
MARLEEN: I’ve had several great vacations and a lot of them was with my family and friends such as going to Europe twice and Korea. My best vacation was with my family, my sister’s family and my mom on the Alaskan Princess cruise. We had fine dining every night, great tours at each stop, seeing the Glaciers before they melt and being with family.
TEAM: What kinds of hobbies and interests do you have outside of work?
MARLEEN: Love to bake when I have the time. Dancing the hula. Listening to audio books which are great to listen to when doing choirs around the house.
TEAM: Tell us a little bit more about your Hula Dancing.
MARLEEN: Growing up in Hawaii, Hula dancing is what most little girls do. I personally did not start dancing until high school and continued in college. After college I joined a “halau” and continued to dance. My daughter, Chloe joined early on in her childhood a prestigious halau which performed locally as well audiences for the Emperor of Japan, the Dalia Lama, Chicago’s Thanksgiving Day parade and in Europe with the Kahuku Choir. I had become a Hula mom and set aside my personal dancing. When we moved back to Seattle in 2015, both Chloe and I joined a local halau where we were encouraged to perform and compete. We competed in Paris at the Festival of Folklore “Etoiles De Paris” in 2018 where our group received 4 major awards. My next competition was in 2019 at the “Na Pua Hula Festival” in San Diego where we placed 1st. Now I am dancing as a “Kupuna” due to my age. I remain passionate about hula and plan to continue dancing.
TEAM: What is your favorite sport?
MARLEEN: I don’t have a favorite sport, but I do like to watch football when I have the chance. Football is much more exciting than baseball.
TEAM: What is your favorite thing to do in the PNW?
MARLEEN: I have been in such a mommy mode (having a teenager) that sometimes I feel that we haven’t experienced much of the PNW. We go for walks in our neighborhood. I like hiking but haven’t had the chance to go to the various trails we have around here as much as I would like.
TEAM: If you could only drink one adult beverage for the rest of your life, what would it be?
MARLEEN: I would say Riesling. I like the mild sweetness of the wine.
TEAM: Where is your favorite food to eat?
MARLEEN: I don’t have one favorite food. There is a lot of my favorite food that I miss from Hawaii. We have such a diverse type of food selection back home and I am slowly finding them here in Seattle or learning how to make them. Filipino foods are hard to find but I’m able to make some of them. Chinese food or eating Dim Sum on the weekend. Korean food and Japanese food – we are always on the search for good ethnic restaurants.
TEAM: If your house was burning down, what is the one non-living thing you would save?
MARLEEN: That is a hard one. Besides my important paperwork, I would save Chloe’s baby pictures.
TEAM: If you were stuck on an island what three things would you bring?
MARLEEN: After watching too many episodes of Survivor and Naked and Afraid they always seem to need a fire flint, pot, and tent.
TEAM: Before working at MWM, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?
MARLEEN: Unfortunately, I haven’t come across that yet! I’ve worked on the sales floor, in the corporate buying office for a large retail group in Hawaii. Clerical and administration work for two large corporate offices here in Seattle. I’ve also dabbled in the mortgage and insurance industry in Hawaii.
TEAM: How did you first learn about MWM?
MARLEEN: Lori Griffith (MWM CFO and another close friend) recommended that I apply for a position. They were looking to hire a team member to assist with the administrative and clerical responsibilities.
TEAM: What is your favorite part about working for MWM?
MARLEEN: My favorite part of MWM are the people I work with and the size of the company. I love working in a culture where everyone feels like family!
TEAM: What is your proudest moment at MWM?
MARLEEN: My proudest moment at MWM is anytime I finish a project, figure out how to use a program or just helping anyone in the office.
TEAM: What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this?
MARLEEN: That is such a great question! I ‘ve been so focused on being a mom taking care of my family that I put my own career on hold. Now that Chloe will be graduating next year, I am debating my options. Should I go back into corporate retail full time, stay as a part timer or find a craft and become an entrepreneur.
TEAM: Marleen, thank you for being a part of our team. We are so grateful to have you and look forward to seeing where the path takes you!