Continuing my sole focus to tell the stories women sales leaders, today I share with you the inspiring story of Marlene Stokes.

PS: But before I begin, if you are a female sales professional, please leave me a note in the comments - your email will never be shared with anyone else. But I would love to speak with you and share your story.

Now, let me share with you Marlene's fascinating story.

"There has to be more than this." 

We've all experienced this moment of clarity at some point or another. Maybe it occurred to you while you worked at a job that wasn't utilizing your talents, or when your bills outweighed your paycheck the thousandth time.

Maybe you were just sick of feeling like you were living or working without purpose, like Marlene Stokes decided she was one day after graduating high school.

Marlene's mother pushed her to go to college and make something of herself, but Marlene was resistant. No one else in her family had gone to college. She decided to start working and pushed the thought of college to the back of her mind. 

She worked a few different jobs, taking entry-level positions. She kept feeling that none of these roles "fit." "There's got to be something more," she told herself.

That's when she decided to enroll in college, majoring in Business Education & Commerce. She graduated, becoming the first person in her family to do so. She was undeniably proud, but her big dreams meant her hard work wasn't over just yet. 

She landed a job at Paul J. Meyer's Success Motivation Institute, which she had been drawn to after attending some motivation conferences with friends in sales in the past. She recognized that the same things that motivated salespeople were also motivating her.

Her inital experience struggling with finding direction in life left Marlene with a desire to encourage and guide others. Sometimes we don't know exactly what we want from life because we're so busy living the lives we've already built for ourselves.

She wanted to liberate others from a life of less than they deserve and help them get motivated to find their happiness.

So in 1986, Marlene completed the training and requirements to become a certified life coach and motivational speaker. To help her clients discover the direction they wanted to move in, she focused on getting to the root of the problem by asking the right questions.

She explained to me during our interview that many people have informal goals, aspirations, and dreams, but few of us have a firm grasp on them. We have trouble defining our goals because truthfully, we've never taken time to define them. 

That's why Marlene suggests the following 3 guidelines to anyone looking to better themselves or their career:

  1. Set goals & write them down! It's critical that you write them out and place them within view. We all set goals, but doing this will help you remember, understand, and work toward your goal more successfully.
  2. Get a mentor. If you can't find one, get a life coach. You will need guidance along the way!
  3. Don't forget to dream big. It sounds cliche, but starting with big goals is how you'll end up with big results.

As the CEO of Stokes & Associates Training Group, Marlene continues to consult, train, and coach sales teams and representatives. It seems like she's acheiving her biggest goal every day--helping and encouraging others. 

Marlene was a real pleasure to speak with and I learned so much from our chat. What did you think about her story and advice?

You can learn more about her at

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