A company is only as good as its team, and Marion Jones’s willingness to do whatever is needed makes her an exceptional team member. She is McCall & Almy’s backbone, handling all the details, big and small, most without direction or anyone noticing and exemplifies that there is no “I” in team.
Growing up in a diverse working-class city of Chelsea, Massachusetts, Marion saw the value of an education. While working full-time, she put herself through night school, earning her Associates Degree in Business Administration and continued her studies at Suffolk University. When Marion began her career in commercial real estate, it was predominately a male-dominated industry. Fortunately for her, she found an exceptional mentor in her boss Mary Lentz, whom she worked with for all but four of the last 31 years. Mary led by example and showed Marion the need to evolve with the times and not let anything, or anyone, hold you back. Marion took this advice to heart to find creative solutions for running an office better than anyone else. Of Marion, Mary said, “If Marion can handle me, and keep me in line and happy, she can handle anything! I have seen her grow and mature in her professional life, from a first job as an administrative assistant to a master of the office universe. She fully understands the technical side of running an office, and more importantly, the human side of running an office.”
The Executive Assistant of long ago has evolved into something much different today. Marion recognized this early on and made sure to learn new software quickly and think strategically to make herself indispensable. Going so far as to teach herself how to type by voice to save time on correspondence in an age when others were doing shorthand. Starting as an Executive Assistant and working her way up in the company gave her the chance to see things from all angles. She is perhaps the one person that knows how all the pieces of the puzzle fit and how to get them connected quickly. This especially extends to her dealings with the firm’s clients. Always trying to think ahead, making sure she can handle anything that comes her way, from having client board meetings in our office to working with client’s admins getting meetings booked with high-level executives with impossible calendars. During one particularly tense day, multiple developers and architectural teams were invited to interview for a multi-million-dollar development project. As part of the interviews, the architects were bringing in elaborate 3D models for their presentations. The architects needed a staging area to set up before their presentation start time. Confidentiality was crucial for each interview team. Marion arranged it in advance so that none of the teams would overlap one another, and they all had more than enough time to get their presentations staged before making their pitch. One team from London was so impressed with her abilities they offered her a job in London on their team! Luckily for us, Marion did not say cheerio to the McCall & Almy team.
A reassuring force during the COVID-19 pandemic, Marion was one of the last people working in the office and one of the first upon re-opening, preparing our space to meet the new standards. She is a member of our team’s COVID-19 taskforce. She has been tasked with putting together a return to work protocol, which included surveying our employees for their comfort level upon returning, sourcing needed cleaning supplies, making sure the team had a six-foot distance between them, having the floor and wall graphics made, and staying abreast of the never-ending safety guidelines issued by the CDC and the building management during these unprecedented times. Like many of the other offices in Boston, our team didn’t have much time to put a remote working plan together. Things were done sometimes on the fly with Marion putting a lot of effort into making sure everyone’s IT was working at home, even going so far as to making house calls to a few members of our team to troubleshoot issues, now that is dedication!
Beyond the office, Marion, known affectionately as MJ, has a razor-sharp wit and sees the funny in every situation, even when the situation may not be comical but needs diffusing. Always ready to have fun, you never know what you are going to see when Marion walks through the door – from changing her hairstyle to changing her hair color from black to gray to blue and even shocking pink! She is our very own Julie McCoy of the office when parents bring their kids to work, keeping them entertained for hours with craft projects, fun games, and enjoying snack time. The kids have such a great time that they never want to leave and are always asking their parents to come back to work. Marion specializes in adopting shelter dogs that are considered hard to place due to temperament issues or health problems; this might be a clue as to why she works so well with our colleagues and our clients.
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