Leadership Delaware County '20
Name: Theresa Marsden
Hometown: Abington, PA
Position: Legislative and Communications Specialist
Company: Delaware County Intermediate Unit
Length of time you have been with your company: 1 year
Briefly describe your journey, noting both personal milestones and obstacles you may have faced along the way.
I have always found interest in the relationship between public and private institutions, particularly the importance of how organizations represent themselves in a manner that best reflects their interests and the interests of the public. Beginning my professional career working for a member of Congress, I had the opportunity to work with a wide variety of institutions. Many of our relationships were built simply to maintain the support and partnerships of important stakeholders in our community, while others involved direct policy interests or resolutions within government agencies. It was incredibly rewarding to work so closely with local organizations to develop meaningful relationships in the community and learn about the issues that mattered most to Delaware County.
After working in a role that spanned many policy fields, I felt the need to work in a more focused setting. Having worked for a policymaker, my interest shifted towards advocacy and representation within the institutions I had come to build relationships with. My current role as Legislative and Communications Specialist at DCIU allows me to focus on the importance of education policy and advocate for the youngest voices in Delaware County.
How did you hear about LDC and why did you sign up to take part in it?
My director, Adriene Irving, recommended that I apply for Leadership Delaware County. After learning more about the program, I realized it would be a great opportunity for both personal growth as a leader and for gaining a better understanding of local partnerships and opportunities within the community.
What inspires you? How does that inspiration play into your professional life?
Advocates that are dedicated to serving the community and fighting for fair opportunity inspire me every day. Working with so many dedicated and passionate professionals and community members always serves as a reminder of the power of community. It reminds me of the importance using my voice to speak for those who can’t.
Briefly, describe a transformative moment that helped to shift your approach to your career.
Understanding that accessibility is a boundary to advocacy was a transformative moment for me. I had started my career in the public sector thinking that if people wanted help, they would ask for it. Learning that lack of resources makes it difficult for vulnerable communities to be reached made me realize the importance of innovation to connect and educate a community. I now try to approach these issues with a better perspective on how to reach communities with a diverse set of needs.
What leaders, thinkers or doers do you admire most? Why?
I admire leaders that are willing to execute new and innovative ideas, even if it carries a risk. I think this is such a powerful quality because it demonstrates a fundamental trust in your team and your organization.
What has been the most valuable professional advice and/or lesson you’ve received.
The most valuable advice I have received is to never stop asking questions. On a team, you are working with individuals who have their own set of ideas, thoughts, and skills. Recognizing that asking questions and opening those lines of communication has led to more effective and efficient work and made a huge difference in how I approach my profession.
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