Memphis Business Journal – Small Business Awards
Interview with Dr. McDonald
Your name: Dr. Mary C. McDonald
Company Name: MCD Partners
What it does: National Education Consulting
Source of startup capital: Self-funded from personal assets
Background (education or other relevant experience):
37 years as a professional educator as a teacher, principal, and superintendent of schools
BA-Immaculate University, PA
Master of Arts-University of St. Thomas, MN
Doctorate-University of Memphis, TN
I serve on several local and national boards, and am a member of the society of Entrepreneurs.
I also have a weekly talkRadio Show on KWAM 990, a CBS affiliate in Memphis. It airs live every Wednesday from 8-9 AM. The guests on the show are inspirational folks who are making a positive difference in Memphis. They inspire me!
Company Website: mcd-partners.com
Most admired entrepreneurs: Fred Smith, Pitt Hyde, Mason Hawkins, and Staley Cates
Business is booming! The need for education consulting services and public speaking on education and related topics is great. The revenue in 2013 increased by 144.3 % over 2012. Revenue for 2014 is projected to double the revenue for 2013. Since beginning in 2012, MCD Partners has had consulting and /or public speaking engagements in 74 cities in 31 states.
Biggest challenge at the moment:
Deploying resources and managing growth is a current challenge.
What will change in the next year?
Expanding the workforce of MCD Partners is a top priority, thereby creating new jobs in Memphis.
How do you measure success?
At MCD Partners, success is measured by the success of our clients. When students succeed due to innovative teaching strategies, or forward thinking professional development for teachers we developed, when schools succeed because of the implementation of new models of finance, development, marketing, enrollment management or governance, when education is firmly established as a supported value in the community, when schools in inner-cities and urban areas serving children and families in poverty are academically rigorous and student success is a priority, then MCD Partners succeeds. When, through our Speakers Series, we can bring hope to those who consider a situation hopeless, and inspire and motivate others to achieve their goals and extend their reach, then MCD Partners succeeds. Success is not about us, it’s about the people we serve at MCD Partners.
Reason for starting business: A desire to use the knowledge, experience and expertise to assist schools, school systems, and education foundations in the country in order to ensure that all children have access to quality schools and that education is considered a top priority in all communities
Most difficult part of decision: It was difficult to leave a job I loved, and a comfort zone, even if it was challenging to stretch out on my own and begin again in a different direction.
Biggest business strength: My passion for education, my commitment to success in using my gifts, talents, experience, insight, expertise in the service of others, so that they will succeed and education will benefit.
Biggest business weakness: It is always difficult when you are a business of one. My goal was to partner with others and support their goals and help them achieve as I expand the MCD Partner workforce.
Biggest risk: Not taking the strategic and calculated risks needed to help my clients achieve their goals.
Biggest mistake: Had I realized the extreme need in education and what I could do to assist, my biggest mistake was not starting this sooner.
Smartest move: Moving to Memphis in 1976!
Biggest worry: Managing growth.
Turning point: Being the featured speaker at The White House summit on Urban Education and realizing I could make a positive impact on education nationally.
What do you wish you had known from Day 1?: I wish I knew sooner that I would wake up every morning energized by the work, and inspired by the outcomes.
Most challenging task: Research. The time needed to do extensive research required for some of our projects is a priority, but requires very long days.
Favorite task: The interaction with groups during the consulting process and speaking engagements.
Least favorite task: Accounting
Source of support in a business crisis: My husband Joe, who is a gifted businessman, and entrepreneur, and a source of strength and support in my life, and my family. We are always there for each other.
Key goals to achieve: To grow the business and leave a legacy to education, and my family.
What’s in the short-term future? To expand the MCD Partners workforce.
Five year plan: To achieve a level of growth that will allow for the expansion to the roster of services of MCD Partners.
First choice for a new career: This is my new career!