Why Marlon’s a Hawk to Watch:
It’s no secret that politics, campaigns, and social movements can be contentious subjects, to say the least. So much so that it often feels as if there’s an ocean of ideological difference separating communities. Marlon Marshall wants to help build bridges to mend those widening gaps, and his career is a testament to the power of authenticity, collective action, and connecting with the public on a personal level by running campaigns with both strategy and heart. And it’s clear to him where that vital, immensely challenging work must begin in order to catch fire and create visible change for the better: at the grassroots level.
Marlon’s aptitude for leadership has been on full display from the time he was a Communication Studies major at KU in the early 2000s, with his work addressing recruitment and retention of minority students as student body Vice President foreshadowing a career defined by an ambitious and unwavering commitment to make politics work better. A passionate organizer, his diverse portfolio includes time serving as National Field Director for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, as Special Assistant in the Obama White House Office of Public Engagement, during which he led on-the-ground enrollment to put the Affordable Care Act into action, and working as a top staffer on the Hillary Clinton campaign during 2016.
Now, as a founding partner at the firm 270 Strategies, Marlon is working with campaigns and nonprofits to mobilize movements, engage communities, and inspire connections through grassroots organizing. And the items on their agenda are about as ambitious as they come: “helping to end modern slavery,” “finding a cause and cure for autism,” and “supporting candidates for heads of state all around the world,” to name just a few. Arduous as the pursuit of these goals may be, Marlon remains ever-mindful of the fundamental value of sincerity, humility, and slowing down to take in the moment, and that one should never lose sight of the human elements that energize movements and change the world.
One could say that a person enters the fast-paced world of politics, campaigns, and grassroots organizing at their own risk, but for Marlon, returns in the form of measurable change for communities, and the world, make any risks well worth it. Meet Marlon, and discover why he’s a Hawk to Watch.
Tell us, in 140 characters or less, what you do for a living:
I helped start an organization called 270 Strategies. We help non-profits and campaigns use organizing strategies to engage audiences.
What do you feel is your biggest achievement so far?
Working on healthcare enrollment outreach in the Obama White House. Hearing the stories of people who never had access to healthcare finally be able to get it was incredible.
What’s your lowest career moment and how did you pick yourself up and move on?
I worked on Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016. Losing was extremely tough, but after a trip to South Africa, I was reminded that even with setbacks, you must keep fighting for what you believe in.
Where do you hope to be in 10 years?
Somewhere west enjoying life with my wife and twin daughters.
What do you know now that you wish you could tell your 18-year-old self?
Slow down and take the time to really appreciate the fullness of life in every moment.
What’s your best career pro-tip?
Always stay humble. People know if you’re just trying to keep advancing your career or if you actually truly care about the work you are doing. It’s totally fine to do both but never lose sight of why you are doing the work you’re doing.
What do you do after you’ve clocked out?
Spend time with my kids before they go to bed and then catch up on life with my wife.
What is a fun fact about you that surprises people?
Two of my best friends I went to junior high school with also have twins!
Be like Marlon. Learn from the setbacks, roll with the punches, and fight for something you believe in. For more information, visit the Department of Communication Studies and Student Senate at the University of Kansas, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and 270 Strategies.
Hawks to Watch are disrupters. They’re poised for greatness, inspiring their colleagues and excelling in their professions. Basically, they’re killing it. Having recently graduated, they are just starting to leave their mark and we can’t wait to see how their story unfolds. These Jayhawks span all industries including business, non-profits, tech, healthcare, media, law and the arts.