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How God Promoted Me In Corporate America
By Marcia Malzahn
When you come to America as a first generation immigrant, you wonder, “Am I going to make it in this country?” I arrived in January 1986, and my first job was with a temporary agency for a few weeks. I like to work with people, computers and money, so I got a job as a bank teller in June 1986. After one year, I was promoted to secretary, three years later to administrative assistant and then to customer service representative.
In January 1993, the owners sold it to a larger bank and started a new one. Both offered me a job, and I counter-offered to the purchasing bank hoping they would not accept. Surprisingly, they did and I had no choice but to accept. I like variety and, in this customer service position, I didn’t have any so it was frustrating.
Five months after I started this job, my previous boss connected me with his boss, and I left the new bank and went to the newly created bank. I had to take a cut in pay, and I accepted the position of private banking representative. I learned to know myself better and to recognize the type of environment where I can flourish and develop my gifts, the place where I can be me and succeed. God taught me a lesson: Money is not the most important thing in your job. You need satisfaction in your work and learn to love it in order to succeed.
By 1995 I had been promoted to online banking specialist and private banking officer. I wanted to go back to school but had no peace about it. My husband was not in agreement with the idea either. So I prayed, “Ok Lord, I will put school aside again but you will have to promote me without a four-year degree.”
In April 1996, three months after my prayer, my manager said, “Marci, let’s talk management.” I was then promoted to branch manager. I will never forget those words. Immediately, the Lord reminded me of my prayer. This job was challenging yet exciting at the same time. I had a lot to learn and there was no one to train me because the office had no manager for three months. I learned to not be afraid to ask for help, to be humble and that it’s okay to not know everything. People will help you when you are willing to learn and ask for help.
In 1998, my children were ages nine and seven, and I had been branch manager for almost two years. I was on the way up, and my goal was to be bank president by age 40. I was working too much and was not spending enough time with my family. Then the Lord touched my heart and changed my priorities. I finally put God first, then family and then my career. I decided to work for God no matter what position I held. I requested to work part-time in a different capacity. The bank accepted, and I stepped down from the branch manager position to only online banking specialist.
At this time, my husband and I were volunteering in an information technology focus group at our kids’ school, which was owned by our church. I heard from our focus group leader that the church was hiring a Y2K project manager. The Lord encouraged me to apply for the job, and I like technology, so I decided to switch careers and apply. It was November of 1998, and I needed to stay at the bank until the first week in March 1999 to receive my annual bonus. When I talked to the hiring manager, she said they couldn’t hire anyone until March 1999 when the new budget year started at the church. The same day the bonus was paid, I received an offer for the new job. Obviously, it was God’s will for me to go. I learned from this experience that God’s timing is always right when we follow His leading and obey.
During my five and one half years at the church, the Lord continued to promote me. After six months as the Y2K project manager, they promoted me to Information Technology Director and then, one year later, to Director of Finance in charge of finance, human resources and information technology. I had to walk by faith every step of the way and seek God every day to help balance my life.
In 2004, my husband (who also had a job at the church) and I decided to leave our positions at the church. I did not want to leave but felt strongly the Lord wanted us to go. So I prayed, “Lord, I will obey you, but you will have to provide me with a new job. I don’t have time to look for one.”
The Lord instructed me to call one of my previous bosses I had kept in touch with who was starting a new bank. I called him on a Sunday afternoon and said, “I would like to go back to banking but this time I would like to learn to run a bank.” That was it! He offered me the position of Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Operations. The salary he offered was exactly what I had written down after praying about the position. Obviously, the Lord, once again, ordered my steps and made this happen.
I was the first employee, and God supernaturally helped our team start this bank from scratch in six months. And here I am, two years and four months later. The bank is almost two years old and is successful. Last year, I was promoted to Senior Vice President. Every day, the Lord does something in my life. He is the One who has promoted me despite my weaknesses. He called me to be in the corporate world—that is my mission field. God continues to connect me with influential people and to confirm I am where He needs me.
A native of Nicaragua, Marcia is the author of Devotions for Working Women: A Daily Inspiration to Live a Successful and Balanced Life. She is the CFO, Senior VP of Operations and Corporate Secretary at Tradition Capital Bank, which she helped start in 2005. Considered a business leader in the Minneapolis/St. Paul community, Marcia has received several awards for outstanding achievements, including the “Virginia D. H. Furman” award from Financial Women International and “25 On the Rise” from the Minnesota Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Marcia was also named one of the “40 Under Forty” awarded by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. Visit her website at www.marciamalzahn.com.