Meet Marianne Bjelke
Marianne Bjelke is a transformational business speaker and consultant who will motivate and entertain your audience, allowing them to move past the fear of change, map an ideal business vision they can ‘buy’ into, and reach their highest potential creating more results and productivity.
Marianne’s unique business background allows her to bring distinct gifts to her training through real world experiences in communication, retail, corporate accounting, programming, customer service, and executive management. She has fostered a ‘big picture’ approach, incorporating often overlooked nuances into her presentations and consultancy projects with proven benefits for all involved, gaining fast and lasting results for her clients.
An experienced and demonstrably successful product manager, she has delivered projects on schedule and on budget. With over 15 years in the healthcare information field, Marianne has successfully managed 6 and 7-figure revenue-generating projects from concept and design, through development and into launch.
Marianne’s keynotes and workshops include topics such as: The 5 Secret Steps to Becoming a Superhero, Overcoming Communication Obstacles to Gain Fast Results and Entrepreneurial Strategies for Business Growth. All of her presentations are tailored to fit your organization’s specific needs and goals, and guaranteed to leave your audiences inspired, energized, and taking positive action.
Personal and Professional Background
Marianne’s adoptive mother entered the convent at 19, petitioning the church in her early 20’s to leave the novitiate when she realized she had an even higher calling… to be a mother and a lifelong caregiver for children. After she and her husband had three boys of their own, she became a foster parent for seven infants. The last of the seven was Paige Marie, whose name was later changed to Marianne in honor of her biological mother. This became one of the greatest gifts her adoptive parents could have bestowed upon her.
Marianne quickly learned that the unusual circumstances of her upbringing challenged her to become a direct communicator from an early age to get her voice heard. Struggling to connect with her peers (who weren’t adopted by ex-nuns), Marianne quickly learned that to gain acceptance and prove her worth required determination, good grades, and succeeding despite what others told her she was not capable of achieving. Through her obstacles, she learned that it was easier to make and keep friends by putting them at ease with laughter and good listening skills.
By her teens, Marianne was driven to reach out and find her biological mother. And after years of searching, she and her birth mother happily reunited, with the blessing of her adopted family.
Around this same time, Marianne decided to pursue stand-up comedy. She made her living as a stand-up comedian In New York City for a couple of years when she was just 21 years old. Opting for a more steady income, she landed the Customer Service Manager position for the Rickel Home Center chain, where she ran the company’s customer service training and recognition program “Every Customer, Every Time.” She designed, scripted and filmed the video training course, gave presentations, and developed training documentation and policies for the chain’s 40-plus stores in three states. Although those locations she worked closely with did see increased revenues, the chain as a whole eventually filed bankruptcy and closed.
Next, she followed her dream to open her own successful retail herb, tea, and gift shop called ‘Herb ‘Trends’ that was featured in the Staten Island Advance for its unique business approach. After running a successful business for years, she opted for a lifestyle change, sold off her store and moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Here, she took courses in computer programming while she worked using the bookkeeping and accounting skills she practiced as an entrepreneur.
Marianne’s education and drive earned her a Systems Analyst position for Presbyterian Medical Services (a Federally Qualified Health Center) in Santa Fe, NM. Her first responsibility was as a key player on a team to implement and roll-out the new Lawson GL/HR software to the 1,000 employees at over 100 sites. She was responsible for the software implementation, configuration, user security, maintenance, staff training, and required federal reporting. She also fully implemented and supported the software for the organization’s Headstart Early Childhood Education and the Hospice programs.
When Marianne joined the subsidiary of the New Mexico Hospital Association, she quickly worked her way up to Operations Director, overseeing the healthcare information exchange and later, the centralized customer service department she created for the organization. She had full product responsibility for the online platform designed to streamline the flow of information between health plans, hospitals, and providers in New Mexico. Under her leadership, this healthcare information exchange was a New Mexico Flying 40 Award recipient for nine consecutive years (2009-2018). The Flying 40 Awards recognize the fastest growing technology companies in state of New Mexico.
Marianne has successfully managed local and remote teams of developers, analysts, customer service champions, and marketing staff to deliver this SaaS solution used by hospitals and physician practices throughout the state. Working with these cross-functional teams ignited her passion for helping ALL project stakeholders (technical, marketing, end users, and executive management including the C-suite at hospital and health plans in the state) speak the same mission-driven language.
She understands the nuances of communication as well as the requirements of running a profitable business.
As a mother, she finally shares a home with family connected by blood. Her delightfully creative son has taught her a great deal about sensory processing disorder, patience, and gratitude. And when she nearly lost him at a young age, Marianne left her corporate executive career to refocus her priorities and be more present for her family.
She is forever grateful for the atypical perspective her unconventional background has built in her, teaching her a great deal about patience, misconceptions, and the importance of having a joyful approach to everything life serves up. She remains driven to serve her community with her passion for business.