Women’s History Month: Marjorie Perry

Women’s History Month: Marjorie Perry

by Stephanie Macias, March 10, 2017

The inestimable Marjorie Perry is one of the EDC’s most exemplifying innovators, public speakers, writers, and role models for women and minorities in business.  A self-made entrepreneur that has led and sustained a multi-million dollar construction company for 24 years has made Perry a coveted inspirational speaker and writer, motivating people with the message that, “You, too, can do it!”

Trained as an educator with a B.A. from Kean College, Perry’s path in teaching was diverted after she was caught in a series of layoffs with the Newark Public School system. It was her first foray turning lemons into lemonade. In a fortuitous career move, she decided to try her luck in sales and marketing—an uncalculated fit. She went on to work for corporate giants 3M, Johnson & Johnson and United Airlines, ultimately cultivating a burgeoning vision for a life as an entrepreneur.

Perry launched a consulting company focused on helping entrepreneurs succeed in the marketplace. Resourceful and open to possibility, it wasn’t long before she and two partners founded MZM Construction & Management. Soon after, she became sole principal, president, and CEO of the company.

She has received numerous awards and recognition for her business success, including being inducted into New Jersey’s premier business publication’s NJBIZ 2011 Business of the Year, NJ Business of Hall of Fame, 2012 SBA Business of the Year, 2012 Best 50 Women in  Business, and one of the Top 25 Entrepreneurs in New Jersey. More recently, Perry was selected by Goldman Sachs and Bloomberg in 2015 as one of the top 15 businesses in the country to watch for in the future with major growth within the next five years.  She is also a graduate of Goldman Sachs 10,000 small business initiative.

Local speaking engagements include the NJ Governor’s Conference for Women, the heralded Sobel & Co.  Executive Women Breakfast Series, and the National Association of Women Business Owners.  Perry has appeared on MSNBC, CBS, ABC, UPN 9, News 12 and NJN’s NJ Caucus with Steve Adubato.

Perry is a  participant in the Small Business Advisory Board program with UBS and with The Clinton Foundation and a recent  past member of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. In academia, she is an adjunct professor at NJIT and Stevens Institute of Technology, teaching MBA students the means and methods of being a successful entrepreneur.  In her spare time she sits on the Board of Overseers at NJIT as Co-Chair and sits on the Advancement Committee; Kean University Foundation Board, sitting as the Chair of the Real Estate and Acquisition Committee, assisting in the selection of new ventures which support the University in acquiring franchises or restaurants to further advance the ongoing strategic plan; and has membership in the Newark Regional Business Partnership.

Perry excelled in receiving her MBA in finance from NJIT with additional coursework at Rutgers, Stevens, NYU and NJIT and completed Leadership for the 21st Century at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.  She completed a finance certification program in 2016.

She has spoken throughout the United States on women in business and at small business conferences on how to navigate while playing in shark filled waters but Perry’s true calling is to motivate nascent entrepreneurs to develop and pursue their dreams. Perry currently mentors three inner city college bound youth because it matters that they make it, too.

We’re lucky to have her professional and philanthropic contributions directed to the entrepreneurial community here in Newark.

Now, for the moment you’ve been waiting for, a list of Marjorie’s steadfast business mantras, rules, and advice below!


Marjorie’s Business Mantras: 

  1. Go big or go home;
  2. Do it right the first time;
  3. Be Kind and generous;
  4. Customer focus, profit driven;
  5. There is no right or wrong, it’s all in the perception;
  6. Learn your team mate before you play the game!


Marjorie’s Business Rules:

  1. A “To Do List” is a must;
  2. No emails or phone for business after 6 pm (unless there is an emergency) on Friday until 2pm Sunday;
  3. Go to the spa twice a month, vacation quarterly max minimum every six months.


Best Advice for Entrepreneurs:

  1. Running a business is  a marathon not a sprint;
  2. Check regularly to see if you are getting in the way of your growth success;
  3. Check in with others on your team and family on how you doing and take the feedback as your  guide post to stay humble and adaptable!