This March, we celebrate Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day. During this month, on the IdentityMind Blog, we will feature profiles of the women who help make IdentityMind hum. We think these stories will inspire, and give you a glimpse into some of what women can achieve in the tech field.
-Garrett Gafke, Chairman and CEO, IdentityMind
Marie D. Sample | Executive Assistant to the CEO
Marie is the assistant to our CEO, Garrett Gafke, and she also assists with countless other administrative tasks, including HR, recruiting, onboarding, and employee departures — and that’s just the beginning. “Every member of our team relies on Marie; she’s the glue at IdentityMind — I couldn’t survive without her,” Garrett says, adding, “She is largely responsible for making it possible for me to focus on actionable steps in the important work we do, and she has an innate ability to organize and prioritize things in a way that keeps us on-track with our goals, both large and small.” All of this and so much more explain why Marie was named IdentityMind’s Rockstar in Q3 2015.
Born in a small town on the coast of Texas, Marie is the youngest of four children. She is half Mexican, and first-generation American on her father’s side of the family, which migrated from General Teran, Mexico. Marie’s father became a pharmacist, and later, an entrepreneur. Her mother was born in England, the only child of a US Air Force family, who later became the first female engineer for Exxon. “Never wasteful with what they had, my parents and grandparents taught me the value of working hard to achieve what you want,” Marie explains.
Having understood the value of hard work from an early age, Marie graduated from high school in just three years. Later, while working full-time as a columnist and editorial assistant at a local newspaper to pay her way through college, Marie obtained her Bachelor of Business Administration in three years as well. She went on to manage over 20 employees, teach fitness classes, and oversee maintenance at her local YMCA. At 22, Marie relocated to Houston when she was offered a management position with Target, where she managed a SuperTarget and the store’s softlines department. Though she appreciated the opportunity at Target, Marie did not — in her words — “love” retail; after 18 months, she moved on to pursue an administrative position as the assistant to the COO for Music World Entertainment — a premier entertainment company managing the careers of numerous artists, including Beyoncé.
But her time at Target wasn’t for naught: during her tenure there, Marie met her husband, Randy, a USMC officer, on a blind date. The two were married 16 months later. Shortly following their marriage, Randy and Marie moved to Pensacola, FL, where Randy began flight school. A short six months later, the couple was stationed in Corpus Christi, TX so Randy could complete flight school. While there, IdentityMind CEO, Garrett Gafke reached out to Marie after seeing her resume online, and offered her the assistant to the CEO position. “Seven years later, and I am still here! This company has seen me through six moves, the births of three children, and countless other milestones,” Marie says. When asked how Marie contributes to the IdentityMind team, everyone has a lot to say. Abram Gordon, an attorney for IdentityMind who regularly works with her, sums it up. “Marie is truly an indispensable member of our IdentityMind team. Not only is she the glue that holds the company together, she is unbelievably helpful, knows every aspect of the business, and has a fantastic personality.”
As a woman, a minority, a working mom and wife, and a business owner in her own right, Marie brings tremendous passion and loyalty to the IdentityMind team. Her unrivaled tenacity is an inspiration to the whole team — and everyone here knows, we couldn’t do it without Marie! When she’s not at work, you’ll find Marie trying new recipes for her husband, who has celiac disease, reading, going to the gym, and loving on her babies.