I would ask people to look around them, to look within their world and think how they might give someone a hand up. They may not have the resources to write a check, but they have knowledge to share, or can mentor someone, or know someone who might be able to offer that person an internship. We all know so many people, when you open your eyes and ears you will often find that you can put two people together and they will both benefit from it.

As a part of my series about strong female leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing, Peggy Marker. With over 30 years of experience in the construction industry, Peggy Hogan Marker serves as president of Marker Construction Group, a construction management and general contracting firm headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The firm, which she and her husband W. Grey Marker II founded in 2001, specializes in commercial, multi-family, condominiums, hospitality, health care, and high-end residential construction throughout the state of Florida. Marker’s background includes ground-up development and construction, as well as lease negotiations for large shopping centers, mixed use/retail and apartment buildings. With her unique skill set, Marker offers an in-depth understanding of the construction industry, including the ability to schedule years out, and drive these schedules so all team members ― from multiple architects, engineers, consultants, construction managers, developers and a multitude of other trades ― work in synchronicity to complete the project on time and on budget. In addition, she is a part owner of her family’s real estate development companies. Headquartered in New York, these companies include commercial, multi-family and residential holdings throughout the states of New York and Florida. Marker’s awards include being named a 2019 Influential Business Women by South Florida Business Journal, which recognizes the top 25 most influential business women in South Florida. In addition, she is the recipient of the 2019 Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Mother’s Day award, which honors mothers who exemplify the qualities of outstanding parenthood; demonstrate exceptional leadership, vision and compassion while positively impacting the South Florida community; and present traits and accomplishments aligned with Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies’ mission. Past awards include the South Florida Business Journal’s Up and Comers Award 2007, and Gold Coast Magazine’s 40 under 40 award. Marker is consistently featured as a construction industry expert in the Miami Herald and The Real Deal, and is frequently asked to appear live on FOX Business as a construction industry expert. Her professional affiliations include the Construction Association of South Florida, Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc., Commercial Real Estate Development Association, Urban Land Institute, Commercial Real Estate Women Network, National Association of Women in Construction and National Association for Industrial and Office Parks. Peggy Marker currently sits on the boards of PAWS South Florida Rescue (an organization within the Humane Society of Broward County), Cold Spring Harbor Fire Museum, and the Community Foundation of Broward. She is actively involved with Save the Children, and 4Kids of South Florida ― an organization serving foster children in Broward and Palm Beach Counties. She previously served as a board member for the Museum of Discovery and Science, Humane Society of Broward County, Heart Gallery of Broward County, and Save the Children Long Island Council. She was previously on the steering committee for the Holy Cross Dorothy Mangurian Comprehensive Women’s Center capital campaign. Marker holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science and English from the University of Vermont. She is married to W. Grey Marker II, who is CEO of Marker Construction Group. They have three children and reside in Fort Lauderdale.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I grew up in a family-owned development business, so I have always loved the industry and knew that it was the career path that I wanted to embark on. Together with my husband, who is a general contractor, we decided to open Marker Construction about 18 years ago.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

Growing a company has been challenging as well as incredibly rewarding. No two projects are ever the same, each has its unique elements and require innovative problem solving. Keeping all the different subcontractors and disciplines moving together as a team to work towards a common goal never gets boring.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

As a growing company we are continually learning from our mistakes. We have been fortunate to have clients with a sense of humor.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

When my husband Grey and I started the company, it was out of a desire to build better. To not just have the client satisfied with the end result, but to also have a better overall experience. Our team believes in this philosophy to build better. We have a large percentage of work that is returning clients because we always go the extra mile.

We are also known in the community for our charitable endeavors and it’s this community outreach that actually brings more business our way. People want to do business with companies that have strong corporate social responsibility.

One of our favorite projects was donating the construction of a home for pregnant teens as a 4Kids of South Florida initiative. As a company, we continue to donate time and services to the children and families served by 4Kids of South Florida because we feel so strongly about this organization.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

We have a lot of exciting new projects including hotels, industrial, multifamily, a robotic boat storage facility and a few nonprofit and philanthropic projects. Nonprofits and philanthropic projects are a passion for Grey and me, as well as our entire team.

What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?

Have confidence in yourself and your ability to lead. Recognize people’s individual talents and try to put them in positions that showcase these talents. Create teams that complement each other and know your people’s strengths and weaknesses.

What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?

Hire good leaders, and while you oversee them, allow them to do their jobs.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Grey and I have been incredibly blessed in having a very strong support network. My father helped us with our first office space and has given us sage advice over the years. In addition, we have wonderful friends and team members who have stood by us from the very beginning.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

We have been very fortunate, and both were raised in families that donated their time and their resources to help others. Here is South Florida, I serve on the board of the Community Foundation of Broward County as well as the PAWS board for The Humane Society of Broward County. Personally, and as a company we are involved with 4Kids of South Florida. In addition to our resources, we have donated team members’ time and talents and have helped build and remodel various homes for 4Kids South Florida and the children they serve.

What are your “5 Leadership Lessons I Learned from My Experience” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)

· Choose your leadership team with care. These individuals will be directly contributing to the success of your company, so it’s important to hire carefully.

· Allow them to manage your people. As I stated earlier, it’s important to hire good leaders, and allow them to do their jobs.

· A good leader listens. Client satisfaction comes from good communication and listening to their needs is essential at every stage of the project.

· Keep your perspective. At the end of the day, as important as it is, we are not working on the cure for cancer. It’s important to keep your head level and be solutions-oriented.

· Make sure that you can look yourself in the mirror at the end of the day!

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would ask people to look around them, to look within their world and think how they might give someone a hand up. They may not have the resources to write a check, but they have knowledge to share, or can mentor someone, or know someone who might be able to offer that person an internship. We all know so many people, when you open your eyes and ears you will often find that you can put two people together and they will both benefit from it.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

When someone shows you who they are, believe them. People can often say one thing, but their actions will tell a different story. Believe what they show you.

My husband and I have built our company through this very simple lesson. From our many years in business, we have worked with a number of people and have established so many wonderful relationships. Actions do speak louder than words.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

Marillyn Hewson. As the President of Lockheed Martin, I would love to hear about her journey in a male dominated industry and learn from all she has accomplished.

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