Alumni Spotlight: Marlene Chism '99
Marlene Chism is a prime example of how a Drury student can indeed get started on a professional career at any time in life. After working for over twenty years in a blue-collar manufacturing job, Marlene visited with Ilga Vise, a counselor at the then Drury College, who gave her the confidence she needed to make the decision to enroll in classes. In 1999, at the age of 40, she graduated from Drury with a degree in Communications and began her professional career. She went on to earn her Master’s degree at Webster University and has grown from a Professional Speaker and Trainer into a Consultant and Executive Educator and Coach. She has authored two commercially published, heavily endorsed books: Stop Workplace Drama (Wiley 2011) and No-Drama Leadership (Bibliomotion 2015). She has also built many personal and professional development programs; a truly distinguished figure in her field!
Marlene credits Drury with helping her discover her unique gifts, which opened her mind to a new life and her entrepreneurial spirit. The curriculum at Drury put her through many courses that have benefitted her career, including Public Relations and Graphic Design, which gave her the eye for branding and design she needed to create her own graphic art. Her online presence is distinct because of this, as she says, “I always get compliments on my logos.” Of the lessons she learned at Drury, the greatest are that it is never too late to pursue something new, to take things one step at a time, and to seek out support when you need it. “Build networks with the professors and students. When you get out in the working world, those relationships will come in handy,” is the advice she offers to current Drury students.
Marlene currently writes for three online blogs, travels internationally, and works closely with entrepreneurs, franchise owners, and corporate executives. In her free time, she loves to read, pursue her physical fitness, and take dance lessons. She is surrounded with family in the Springfield area, including her husband, Gerald, and her nieces, nephews, step-children, and grandchildren.