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NEWS // February 23, 2016

Meet Marlee J Ehrenfeld: A Local Female Entrepreneur Making a Difference Through Her Work

Marlee J Ehrenfeld is the founder and Chief Creative Officer at MJE Marketing in San Diego, CA

How did you get where you are today, and who/what helped you along the way?

I have had great mentors along the way in business and in life. Mentors who gave me great advice, supported my career goals and were pretty direct when they thought I could do better. So I guess the best advice I would give to someone is to listen when people you admire are sharing their life’s wisdom. I also have amazing family support and a large extended family here in San Diego. My family owned a fairly large business for nearly 40 years and was very involved in the community.  Much of what I know about professionalism, business ethics, and work discipline comes from my parents.  

What have you learned about being a woman in leadership and entrepreneurship?

I don’t think good leadership is defined by gender. I am inspired by men and women leaders and they all share the same qualities: thoughtful intelligence, inspiring management styles, integrity and great sense of humor.  

What have the highlights and challenges been during your time as the Chief Creative Officer at MJE Marketing?

Working on behalf of iconic San Diego companies has and continues to be my focus as a San Diego business. We have few Fortune 500 companies in this region so the impactful organizations are the nonprofits, government agencies and social services. The work we do on behalf of First 5 San Diego, San Diego International Airport, Port of San Diego and the San Diego Tourism Marketing Industry helped define our agency and chart a course for doing work that I hope creates a legacy for future San Diegans.

Which other female leaders do you admire and why?

There are so many incredible women leaders in San Diego that it would be hard to list them all. My mentors and some of the women who inspire me are Kimberly Gallo of First 5 San Diego, Rita Vandergaw of the Port of San Diego, Michelle Candland of San Diego Rotary, Irene McCormack Jackson former Director of Communications at the Mayor’s Office, Barbara Jimenez with the County of San Diego, Sheila Fox from the San Diego Ad Club SDX. (Once I began this list it was hard to stop but this is a good place to start.)

What advice would you give to young women who want to succeed in the workplace?

I started my professional life  during a time when it was more difficult for women in terms of job discrimination and workplace equality. Progress has been made but there is still work to be done. Many women decided to forge their own path and start companies when challenged by in-house limitations. Maybe that is the best advice of all is to forge your own path and never let someone else’s boundaries determine the limits of what you can achieve.  

How is MJE Marketing helping pave the way for a healthy, safe and thriving San Diego County?

The County programs where we assist with marketing and communications are making a tangible difference in the lives of all San Diego County residents. We are able to be a part of the change we want to see. I am proud of the work and the commitment of the MJE team in our efforts to make San Diego a better place to work and live. I want my sons to feel this sense of pride in the region and I know they will want to play a role as community leaders.   

MJE Marketing has been a Live Well San Diego recognized partner since June 2015.