You What?

with Marjorie Stephens, president and CEO of BBB serving northeast Indiana
Aug 5, 2019
Jeffrey Crane
You What?

Do you have a nickname? M (much easier to say than Marjorie) 

Describe yourself in three words. Creative, fun, adventurous 

In what city did you grow up? Marietta, Ohio 

What book has had the greatest impact on you? When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold S. Kushner 

What is the first movie you ever saw in a theater? The Graduate, with Dustin Hoffman, Katherine Ross and Anne Bancroft 

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? An artist that could create beautiful murals on brick walls so that people driving by could enjoy them! 

What famous person would you most like to meet? No longer living: Jacqueline Kennedy — she had tenacity and grace. Living: Bruce Springsteen — to talk about why he chose to write and sing some of the songs he did, especially during his Tunnel of Love tour. 

What is your favorite part of your job? My BBB staff, educating businesses on marketplace ethics, and knowing that the BBB makes a difference in the lives of consumers and businesses every day. 

What do you actually do at your job? I work closely with my staff in providing BBB’s core services such as vetting businesses, investigating unethical business practices, facilitating consumer complaints and evaluating ads to warn consumers of misleading advertising. I also work to provide BBB Accredited Businesses support services; educate businesses and consumers at events; and provide consumer protection tips to newspaper, radio and television reporters. No day is ever the same, and I love that! 

What do you love most about Fort Wayne? The quality of life, the people and that our city is moving forward

What was your first job? Waitress. It taught me so much about people and handling different (and difficult) personalities. Everyone should try it! 

What is your greatest accomplishment? Becoming CEO of an organization whose mission I believe strongly in: The mission of Better Business Bureau (BBB) is to advance marketplace trust and instill consumer confidence. The BBB is dedicated to fostering honest and responsive relationships between businesses and consumers. 

Who is your hero? My father, hands down. 

What is your dream job? Singer for Bruce Springsteen’s band. If only I had a good singing voice! 

What is your biggest pet peeve? People who are late 

Do you have a motto you live by? If so, what is it? Getting older means getting smarter because of the experiences life gives you. You know what is worth spending time on and what is not. 

If Hollywood made a movie about your life, whom would you like to cast as you? In my younger life, Sigourney Weaver. I’ve always thought she was her own person. In my older life, Helen Mirren. She’s classy, beautiful, strong and sassy! 

What would you choose as your last meal? Wagyu steak, baked potato smeared with sour cream (no chives!), roasted carrots, sourdough rolls, and……the biggest bowl of 15 different flavors of ice cream that I could eat! Remember, this is my last meal! 

What three items would you want with you if you were stranded on a desert island (other than food and water)? Matches, blanket and a knife 

If you had a time machine, where and to what time period would you travel? The ’60s. A lot was happening in our country at that time. 

Who would you like to see perform in concert? Paul McCartney (sold out in Fort Wayne), because his concerts are outstanding 

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? El Camino de Santiago trails in Spain with my brother Dan 

How often do you exercise? A little every day 

What does your workout regimen consist of? Stepper, walking, dancing to music around the house 

What profession would you never try? Astrophysics - way too brainy for me! 

What is something nobody knows about you? I am writing a book 

If you could solve one major problem, what would it be? That public school curricula serve all students and let teachers teach, rather than being forced to give test after test. Every child is different. Give each student the education that points them in the right direction to thrive 

Where will you go on your next vacation? Nashville — I love all genres of music it has to offer. Going from bar to bar to hear a variety of music, drinking a beer and putting a tip in the hat for the band is just FUN! 

What’s one thing you can’t live without? My children and grandchildren, faith, hope, laughter — oops, that’s more than one thing! 

If you could give your 15-year-old self advice, what would it be? Be your authentic self and follow your heart and passion 

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given? “Treat everyone you meet with respect, even when you don’t feel it is deserved” 

What’s your biggest fear? Losing a child or grandchild

What is the best gift you have ever been given? My parents. They taught me that it was up to me to succeed and to never expect anyone to bring me happiness. They also taught me to be happy in the contributions I make to the world, big or small. 

Name one person who has inspired you in your life. My father. His work ethic was beyond reproach, both personally and professionally. 

Do you make up jokes or steal them? Steal them; I admire stand-up comedians because they can just get up in front of a crowd and make the crowd laugh! 

Who was your favorite teacher? Why? Mrs. Archer. She made learning so much fun. She expected you to work hard, but she had an entertaining way of teaching. 

Would you rather be invisible or read minds? Read minds 

If you hosted a talk show, who would be your first guest? It would not be a famous person, but someone who has made an impact in the community where they live

What is one important skill you think everyone should have? The ability to be respectful of others, in every walk of life 

What skill would you like to master? Understanding all art forms 

If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, what would you win a medal in? Dancing! Dancers have amazing stamina and stride, and they can shake up a dance floor! 

What age do you wish you could permanently be and why? Probably somewhere between 40 and 50, but I am very content where I am because I am blessed. 

Who was your first celebrity crush? The Beatles, especially John and Paul 

What song best describes your work ethic? She Works Hard for the Money

What is the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten? I’m picky about eating things I am not familiar with, so probably anchovies! 

What would you do with your 15 minutes of fame? Make something good of it, such as telling people to quit sweating the small stuff and to be an exceptional friend 

What is the most difficult thing you have ever experienced? Losing my parents, my sister, and my grandchildren’s father

Are you a dog or cat person? Both, even though I have two cats 

Do you get up when your alarm goes off or do you hit the snooze button? I get up when the alarm goes off. I am definitely a morning person! 

Coffee or tea? Coffee! 

How would your grade school teachers describe you? Loved reading and spelling. 

If you participate in a sport, do you prefer it to be an individual sport or a team sport? Team 

What is the most productive time of day for you? Morning, after my first cup of coffee. 

If you could send a message to the entire world, what would you say in 30 seconds? Just love one another. It is not that hard. We all have our burdens to bear and we never know what someone else is going through. Be kind. Be helpful. Be someone to be remembered for good when you are gone from this Earth. 

If you received enough money to never need to work again, what would you spend your time doing? Smelling those proverbial roses, paying attention to everything around me, not worrying about the “what ifs” 

When was the last time you tried something new? It’s been a while, but ziplining in Mexico 

If you had to teach someone one thing, what would you teach? Stand on your own two feet and don’t let others make decisions for you 

What gets you excited and driven to achieve? Life and its brevity! Keep learning. 

If you could go back in time, once, and change a single thing, what would it be? A different major in college 

What moment in your life would you most like to go back and relive? A kid in the summer, riding bikes, playing with all the neighbor kids, swimming, skating, going from morning until night without a care in the world 

Wine, beer or cocktail? Red wine! 

If you could know the answer to one of life’s mysteries, which mystery would you choose? The passage from this life into the next. 

What is your favorite… 

Vacation spot? U.S.: Arizona; overseas: northern Italy 

Holiday? Why? Memorial Day — it feels like the beginning of summer 

Sports team? Colts 

Song? The Rose by Bette Midler 

Drink? Iced tea, no sugar 

Candy? Anything dark chocolate 

Pizza? Pepperoni, cheese & banana peppers from Rack & Helen’s 

Flower? Calla Lily 

Season? Spring, because long days lie ahead 

Movie? The Shawshank Redemption 

Fort Wayne feature? Embassy Theatre 

Fast food restaurant? Coney Island 

TV show? Jeopardy 

Hobby? Painting 

Flavor of ice cream? Jamoca Almond Fudge (Baskin-Robbins) 

IMG Insurance Management Group

Related Stories