Marie C. Johns is CEO of PPC-Leftwich, a minority/woman-led firm with deep roots in Washington, DC. She focuses on management consulting, business development, organizational effectiveness, and public policy consulting. She has been a leader in business, civic, and government service for more than 30 years.
She has held senior positions in the telecommunications industry, including retiring as president of Verizon Washington. In that position, she was responsible for more than 1,800 employees and nearly 800,000 customers. Under her leadership, the company developed and implemented a regulatory plan that served as a model for the corporation.
Over the years, Marie has advised many small businesses in the greater Washington area. In 2009, Marie was nominated by President Barack Obama to serve as deputy administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Following her Senate confirmation, she was responsible for management of the nearly $1 billion agency and development of SBA programs and policies, including leading the effort to implement the more than 60 provisions of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010.
She created the SBA’s Council on Underserved Communities and her initiatives at the agency resulted in lending more than $30 billion to more than 60,000 small businesses, a record at that point in SBA history. She also had the privilege of serving as the initial chair of the President’s Interagency Task Force on Veterans Small Business Development. She was also the force behind “Start Young,” an SBA/Department of Labor initiative that provides entrepreneurial training to Job Corps students and encourages them to use their technical skills to start a business.
Marie is a member of the Greater Washington Business Hall of Fame and one of Washingtonian magazine’s “100 Most Powerful Women.” In addition to being founding chair of the Washington DC Technology Council, she has served as a board member, president, or chair of the DC Chamber of Commerce, the Federal City Council, the Greater Washington Board of Trade, the Economic Club of Washington, Leadership Greater Washington, and the International Women’s Forum of Washington, DC. She has also served as a director of WLR Foods, Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic Region, and Harvest Bank of Maryland. She currently serves as chair of the board of directors for City First Bank of DC and as a director for Hager Sharp.
Throughout her career, Marie has focused her community service in the areas of education and economic development. One of her ongoing efforts to leverage corporate resources for greater community good was the SEEDS program (Students Educated for Economic Development Success). It allowed dropouts to complete their high school requirements and receive technical training for jobs in the telecommunications industry. More than 200 students have been employed as a result.
She is also a member of the board of trustees of Howard University, serves as chair of Howard’s Student Life Committee, and was the first chair of the Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science, a public charter school committed to academic excellence and preparing middle school students in the STEM disciplines. She has served on the board of Howard University Hospital and on the national board of Girl Scouts of the USA.
Previously, Marie served as an ambassador for the Department of Energy’s “Minorities in Energy” initiative launched by former Secretary Ernest Moniz. Additionally, Marie serves on the Dean’s Council of the Paul O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University, where she received her Bachelor of Science and Master of Public Affairs degrees.
She is the recipient of more than 100 awards for her community service, including the National Coalition of 100 Black Women’s “Trailblazer in Business” Award, the National Journal’s 25 Influential Black Women in Business Award, the DC Chamber of Commerce’s Women Leadership Award, the Greater Washington Board of Trade’s Leader of the Year Award, and the Washington Women of Excellence’s Business Leadership Award. Marie was appointed by Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton to serve on the Federal Law Enforcement Nominating Commission, and she is a recent inductee into the Washington DC Hall of Fame.