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Business executive Susan Marvin on values and purpose

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Susan Marvin, vice chair of The Marvin Companies.
Susan Marvin, vice chair of The Marvin Companies.
Courtesy of St. John's University

Marvin Companies executive Susan Marvin spoke at St. John's University recently about purpose, values, and the importance of reputation.

Honor in business is not dead, she said.

The company is headquartered in Warroad, Minn., six miles from the Canadian border — Marvin believes it's important to keep a healthy and vital rural America. 

"When I think about the biggest difference, the location and the people have made in our business, I tend to think about our culture," she said. "It is a truly caring culture. One that cares about customers, about each other, about the company and about the community."

Marvin started working at Marvin Companies at age 10, as a switchboard operator after school and on weekends. All told, she has worked for Marvin for 36 years — with 20 years as its president. 

"Only 3 percent of family businesses make it to the fourth generation, and we're really proud to be among them," Marvin said.

Marvin added it's important to enrich the places we live and work.

"Many of you can probably relate to this," Marvin said to the crowd. "Now, our company's purpose mission and values have been shaped by who we are and where we are from."

Marvin is vice chair of The Marvin Companies. She spoke September 7, 2017 at St. John's University and the College of St. Benedict, as part of the Mark Kennedy Frontiers of Freedom Lecture series.

To listen to the speech, click the audio player above.