Recently I received heartwarming recognition in the small town I grew up in. Do you believe that things happen for a reason – well I do!! A very dear friend in my church approached me to tell me she wanted to nominate me for our high school – El Reno’s Distinguished Alumni recognition. I agreed to write the nomination that was required and she would write a letter to support it – and we submitted it. Her mom was my very first boss when I was 15 years old at Braum’s Ice Cream Store.
A few months later I received a call from the El Reno High School principal telling me that I had been selected and would be honored at a banquet – I would need to give a 20 min speech about how education has helped me in my life and with my career. I was so touched and proud; I called my mom right away. She was excited and said she just knew this was meant to be.
As you can imagine, the Bollinger Bunch showed up in force, many of my classmates attended and several from my church were there. I spoke about “Reflection Points” along the way in my life. My nieces ran up after the speech saying “Aunt Marcia – you are awesome and amazing – your speech sounded like a commencement address.” I was so proud at that moment my buttons were popping off!
Many stories about family and home town friends accompanied each of these Reflection Points:
- The glass really is ‘half full’; look at things through a positive lense.
- Positive competition is healthy, and makes you reach past what you think you can accomplish!
- Those who teach us at a very young age, have important life lessons and create our character for our entire lifetime.
- It is not always how you do when the sun shines; it is how you weather a storm.
- Work hard and have fun along the way.
- Have high standards to uphold, and stick to them! Be willing to take a risk and reap the rewards.
- Family makes the difference in living a happy life and you ALWAYS have someone to depend on for the good times and for the challenges along life’s way.
- Believe in yourself, and believe in those around you – it is all about the power of a TEAM.
- Accept the challenge so you can feel the exhilaration of the victory.
- Reflect and learn from your past, cherish memories; live in and enjoy the present, and look toward the future for hope and purpose.
My introduction at the banquet:
Marcia Bollinger graduated from El Reno High School in 1975, earned her Associates Degree in Business at Redlands College in El Reno, and graduated Oklahoma State University in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations (advertising/journalism).
Marcia describes herself as a wheat farmer’s daughter from El Reno, Oklahoma, where hard work, having fun with family and friends, giving back to society and celebrating joys make the magic formula for a happy life. “My mom is my hero, she says always take the high road in life, and everything will be alright. It remains to be one of the methodologies I use today to manage our business. Strong ethics and good choices will drive teams beyond what they imagine they can do” says Marcia.
Marcia told the story, “Driving a wheat truck for my dad, Lloyd Bollinger, was a risky choice at age 15, but it forced me to focus on the challenge and realize that the minute the wheat was dumped into the grain bins, I accomplished what I thought was the impossible! And my Dad always knew I could do it – he would just nod upon my return and start dumping more wheat in the back of the truck for another run to the grainery. That confidence level instilled at a young age is one of my most valued assets. You truly can do anything you set your mind to. Even driving a HUGE wheat truck on a country road scared beyond belief at a young age – that is just how we did it back then.”
Marcia insists that her small town roots are the key to her success. She learned early in her life that hard work yields great results and dedication is key to building successful organizations. Having an education and strong work ethic when she was young built a solid foundation for the many accomplishments Marcia has made during her career. Perhaps the most prominent asset for Marcia is the opportunity she has had to help many teammates accomplish goals and dreams of their own with their careers in the apartment industry. You see, Marcia believes in giving back to an industry that has been good to her, and paying it forward is part of her daily routine.
I always tell people that the strong work ethic my parents taught me – is the core at why I have been fortunate to achieve so many things in my life. My dad sits on my shoulder every day, and I know it every time I find a penny from heaven – I will stop and pick it up and put it in my pocket – it means my dad is thinking about me. My mom is my best friend and our time together is Priority One. We have so many wonderful family memories of special times together. To this day, Christmas Eve on Barker Avenue is a joy that my family shares together.