Each of us have a unique blend of knowledge, skills and abilities that complement both of our purposes. As partners, parents, and professional leaders, it is important for us to be bonded in love, respect and legacy.
When both members of a couple are focused on a common goal, their personal and professional lives can blossom into force to be reckoned with. So what makes a “Power Couple”? A power couple is created when two extraordinary people who are passionate about succeeding in their respective careers, come together in a relationship and empower one another to greater success than if they pursued it alone.
Of course, we all know of many celebrity Power Couples like Jay-Z + Beyonce, Will Smith + Jada, or Barack + Michelle Obama, but what about the couples that are blazing trails in their careers and life but are not on such platforms as these icons? Who is telling their stories? Well wait no longer, Re.engineer to the rescue!
In our first Re.engineer Power Couple series, we feature Marie and Shadrach Stephens. Let's dig deeper to what makes them a POWER COUPLE!
Marie is a results-driven, innovative visionary with experience in project management, policy development, program development, training and financial reporting. As Divison Manager for the City of Houston Airport System (HAS), Marie functions as a Learning and Development Manager that develops crosscutting, competency-based programs for professional, supervisory and leadership development though the use of instructional design systems and principles to meet the development needs of the workforce. She is responsible for maximizing HAS performance by training and continuously improving the competencies of approximately 1,200 employees within four divisions.
As a passionate leader, she seeks out opportunities that contribute to the betterment of human capital and her areas of focus include organizational development, performance management and workforce planning. Marie places high value on service quality, organizational viability, continuous improvement and strategic planning. She believes that the world of work is ever changing. Whether it is evolution or revolution, there is always a more efficient way of doing things.
Shadrach is the Global Improvement Leader and Reliability Director for the Environmental Technology Center at Dow Inc. He has made an impact within his profession by creating value in every role that he has served in. As a Reliability, Maintenance and Engineering Leader with 20 years of industry experience, he develops and energizes teams that are committed to changing the current reality and are focused on delivering value to the company’s future expectations. Throughout his entire career, his improvement teams have generated over $85 million of value creation.
Together, they have started a new initiative called, Re.engineer, which is an open source community of professionals that collaborate, share and leverage value added solutions and innovations. They aspire to create a radical collaboration movement that leads to more value creation in the world of STEM (Science, Technology, Mathematics, and Engineering), Diversity & Inclusion, and Continuous Improvement.
Q: Can you briefly walk us through your story – how you two met and how you got to where you are today?
The Stephens: We actually first met in elementary school. We both attended Sharon Hills Elementary and since both our last names begin with S [Smith & Stephens], we sat next to each other in every class. “Because she had long, beautiful hair, I use to pull her ponytails in class to get her attention!” – Shadrach. We lived in the same neighborhood, went to the same high school and college but we didn’t start dating until after we had graduated with our bachelor's degrees from the HBCU Southern University. We were always good friends but we had the chance to see each other mature into young adults as we matriculated through our undergraduate studies. Our long distance relationship stood the test of time and we got married about two and a half years after our first date.
Q: Power couples empower each other for success. How do you support each other at home or through your career?
The Stephens: Moving from city to city, late nights studying for exams or reviewing each other’s business related presentations, we have always respected and supported each other’s careers. Time management is such a difficult thing to do because someone or something gets less than the desired attention, so our alternative is "Rhythm" management. We prioritize our schedules to meet the demands of whatever situation demands full attention for that moment. That way 100% is applied to the situation vs. some split percentage.
Q: What’s the best perk of having a partner that is an Engineer or an Industrial Psychology Practitioner?
The Stephens: The best perk of marrying an Engineer is having someone that is innovative and a forward thinker. Someone that looks beyond the surface to bring the most value to all situations [Marie]. The best perk of having a partner that is an Industrial Psychology Practitioner is having a methodical way of problem solving and managing life. Someone that brings solid reasoning to overcome challenges. Marie does an awesome job in structuring improvements in a way that allows us to receive the most from opportunities [Shadrach].
Q: Has your definition of success changed since you two meet?
The Stephens: Success for us is ever changing but it is centered on our faith, family and purpose. Whether or not it’s volunteering in our church, starting a family, attaining a 2nd or 3rd degree or securing a new job, we tend to think of success in the micro and macro sense in all areas of our lives; what are going to achieve this year and also the next 3-5 years.
Q: We’ve all heard the cliché that opposites attract. What are the biggest similarities between the two of you? What are the biggest differences?
The Stephens: We are definitely both analytical in our approach to life, I [Shadrach] may be more laid back than Marie but we both apply reason and sound logic before making decisions. We are very different when it comes to our personalities, I [Marie] have outgoing characteristics while Shadrach is more reserved.
Q: What’s your approach to balancing your careers and raising a family?
The Stephens: Family comes first. We invested in each other for several years before starting a family which gave us time to travel, acquire more education, and build our careers. Now that we are in leadership positions and our kids are young, we can devote more energy into building a legacy for them to follow.
Q: What are some of the benefits to being a “Power Couple”?
The Stephens: One of the major benefits is having someone close to you that can also serve as a sounding board. It’s refreshing to be able to have a likeminded partner that supports you but can also challenge you. Not as a competitor but as a catalyst. You grow, they grow, we grow, and then repeat.
Q: Looking toward the future, what is on the horizon for the Stephens?
The Stephens: We are focused on building our legacy so that our kids can have more options than we did. As we approach the mid-way point of our lives, it is important for us to prepare them so that they have a strong start to theirs. Everything else is secondary. The decisions that we make [daily] are a reflection of what type of life we want to provide for them.