Marques Ogden is a former NFL player who is now the founder and CEO of Ogden Ventures LLC, an inspirational keynote speaker, three-time best-selling author (Sleepless Nights; The Success Cycle), business coach and consultant and the co-host of The Lev & Marques Show.
After retiring from football, Marques pursued a career in construction and contracting. At 27, he founded a construction company with fast growth but eventually went bankrupt, losing almost two million dollars on one project in 90 days. He pulled himself together during his darkest hours and got a part-time job as a custodian.
Marques rose to the top again with hard work and determination, using his struggles as inspiration to blaze his own trail forward. Now, he shares his powerful story to help others achieve success in their lives. Marques’ story and insights as a thought leader have been featured in top publications such as Authority Magazine, Forbes and Sporting News. As a speaker, he’s landed jobs with Fortune 500 companies like Amazon, Goldman Sachs and Intel. As a podcast co-host, he’s interviewed iconic guests such as Michael Strahan, Joe Namath and Willie Parker Jr.
Marques hopes to continue reaching new levels in his professional career and positively impacting as many people’s lives as possible.
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Table of Contents
We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Marques Ogden: I grew up in Washington DC in a single-parent home raised by my father, Shirrel Phillip Ogden, and my older brother Jonathan Phillip Ogden. My dad was one of the first African American bank managers. He was a role model and provided a great childhood for my brother and me. We were raised to value education over sports, respect women and ourselves and always work hard for what we want.
Unfortunately, by the time I got to high school, my father had kidney failure and developed many health issues, so our family struggled to survive. My brother ended up getting drafted to the NFL, and that changed everything. After graduating high school, I attended Howard University and later went on to join my brother in the NFL. After retiring from football, I became an entrepreneur.
My father was the ultimate inspiration for my career as an entrepreneur. He always told me I was meant for more than football and that I was meant to help others and live a life of service. When I understood that, I found my true purpose.
Now, I’m proud to be the founder and CEO of Ogden Ventures LLC, an inspirational keynote speaker, three-time best-selling author (Sleepless Nights; The Success Cycle), business coach and consultant and the co-host of The Lev & Marques Show.
2020 and 2021 threw a lot of curve balls into business on a global scale. Based on the experience gleaned in the past couple years, how can businesses thrive in 2022? What lessons have you learned?
Marques Ogden: Since the onset of the pandemic, businesses across the globe haven’t had the mindset of thriving, but rather just surviving. As we head further into 2022, business can thrive by resetting and going back to the basics, focusing on three fundamentals: focus, strategy and execution.
With focus, it’s about locking into your goals, visualizing it and being a laser about attacking it. There’s so much noise in the world and businesses need to cut through the noise in order to thrive. When it comes to strategy, it’s about thinking innovatively and creating your blueprint and processes and systems to take you forward. Then, it’s about execution. Businesses need to be tactical and efficient with their plan and execute on it. It’s important to pivot and be flexible if necessary, but stay the course as best as they can.
I’ve learned to implement this in my own business, letting go of what’s outside of my control and focusing on what’s in my control. I’ve also learned to delegate more to my trusted team, which has allowed me to focus my energy on making sure the business is set up to thrive.
The pandemic seems to keep on disrupting the economy, what should businesses focus on in 2022? What advice would you share?
Marques Ogden: Businesses should focus on creating more value than they take in payment from their clients. I’ve seen and experienced firsthand that when you’re focused more on helping your clients than on receiving compensation, positive things come from it. Businesses should also focus on what’s in their control like marketing and building relationships.
We can’t control inflation or larger global issues, so businesses should spend less time and energy worrying about those things and more time on finding solutions to combat potential issues. Lastly, business leaders need to prioritize making sure their team is supported. With all of the uncertainty, it’s important for employees to feel like they have a calm and collected leader who is there to guide them through any challenges.
How has the pandemic changed your industry and how have you adapted?
Marques Ogden: As an inspirational keynote speaker, the pandemic took away my ability to speak on stages at events and conferences and in-person client interactions. Our brand was able to transform before we transitioned. We transformed our mindset to accept the new reality and transitioned to virtual events and solutions. We pivoted our approach when it came to speaking and coaching jobs, which has brought a new stream of opportunities we didn’t have before the pandemic.
What advice do you wish you received when the pandemic started and what do you intend on improving in 2022?
Marques Ogden: I wish I would have known how long the pandemic was actually going to be. In the beginning, I didn’t foresee it dragging out to this extent. Many businesses decided to pause their work and stopped marketing, but I learned to do the opposite of that. You should never stop marketing or moving forward; life will always present challenges. It’s about finding the workarounds and pushing forward in the face of adversity.
Online business surged higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for 2022?
Marques Ogden: Online businesses will continue to soar and remote work will become the new normal. It will never go back to what it was prior to the pandemic with everything being in person. Many businesses found ways to cut their expenses with remote work and utilizing technology. Tech will continue to dominant many business decisions in the future.
How many hours a day do you spend in front of a screen?
Marques Ogden: More than I’d like! I spend about half my day (12 hours) looking at my phone or computer screen.
The majority of executives use stories to persuade and communicate in the workplace. Can you share with our readers examples of how you implement that in your business to communicate effectively with your team?
Marques Ogden: I use my stories of past failures with my first business to communicate with my team that they can always be open with me. I pride myself on having dialogue with my team that is honest and judgement free. I’ve learned from my mistakes in the past when I used to be an ego-maniac boss who didn’t account for my team’s needs. Now, I strive to be a leader who genuinely cares about the people on my team. I listen and understand them and make sure they feel heard and supported.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as the real challenge right now?
Marques Ogden: One of the biggest challenges in the business world right now is trying to get people’s attention. Everyone’s attention span is declining and people are inundated with noise everywhere they look. Businesses need to create enough compelling content and touchpoints with their target audience so that they see the value and impact of what you’re offering in the midst of a chaotic world.
In 2022, what are you most interested in learning about? Crypto, NFTs, online marketing, or any other skill sets? Please share your motivations.
Marques Ogden: I am very interested and want to learn more about crypto, NFTs and the metaverse. That is where our world is headed. Just like when the internet was coming up, people didn’t believe or see that value in it. Same for when Amazon first hit the market. Many people were like, “oh this isn’t going to last; no one wants to shop online, we want brick-and-mortar stores.” And look where we are today!
It is the same with the metaverse and digital currencies. There’s resistance now, but eventually everyone will accept it as the new normal.
A record 4.4 million Americans left their jobs in September in 2021, accelerating a trend that has become known as the Great Resignation. 47% of people plan to leave their job during 2022. Most are leaving because of their boss or their company culture. 82% of people feel unheard, undervalued and misunderstood in the workplace. Do you think leaders see the data and think “that’s not me – I’m not that boss they don’t want to work for? What changes do you think need to happen?
Marques Ogden: There are many leaders who have opportunities to grow and become better. Almost all leaders do. Some leaders are oblivious to their behavior and how it impacts their team and the company culture. Referring back to the Michael Jackson song, they need to look at the man or women in the mirror first and check themselves. If you call yourself a boss, you’re likely part of the problem. You should consider yourself a leader who is serving the people you’re leading, not bossing them around.
I believe in servant leadership, which is about serving a cause greater than yourself. If more leaders practiced this, employees would be happier.
On a lighter note, if you had the ability to pick any business superpower, what would it be and how would you put it into practice?
Marques Ogden: My business superpower would be the ability to read people’s minds. That way, I don’t need to think about or guess what people need. I can deliver the value more efficiently because I can read their minds.
What does “success” in 2022 mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
Marques Ogden: Success is having everyone around me; my family, my team and my clients reach ultimate success in their lives. When everyone wins, I win. That’s what success means to me.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Marques Ogden for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Marques Ogden or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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