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Next Up Columbus 2021: Marshela McDaniel

Marshela McDaniel
Marshela McDaniel

Photo by Matt Reese / CityPulse Columbus

Interview by Derek Grosso

Name: Marshela McDaniel
Pronouns: she/her
Profession: Field People Officer, Columbus Field Office at McDonald’s Corporation and Assistant Principal at Blueprint Investments
Neighborhood: Columbus
Education: Bachelor of Science, Masters of Business Management
Community Involvement: Lutheran Social Services (Board of Directors), Columbus Young Professionals (Impact and Inclusion Board), East Zone Lead for McDonald’s African American Network
Words to live by: “Don’t count the days, make the days count.” – Muhammad Ali

“The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great in whatever they want to do.” – Kobe Bryant

“Live life in the moment, tomorrow is not a promise or a guarantee.”

Connect: LinkedIn | Instagram | Tik Tok

Give us a snapshot of your career path:
Interestingly enough, my parents were McDonald’s Franchisees in Kansas City. At an early age, they taught me the impact of hard work, commitment, and focus, especially when owning and operating a business. I also learned the impact of investing and growing positive relationships. While being raised in a household of entrepreneurs, my sister, mom, dad any myself took nothing for granted and appreciated the various milestones we were able to achieve. I had a chance to attend a Division 1 College on a Women’s Basketball scholarship and it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. Not only do I love the game, it taught me so much about myself, the power of teamwork, as well as setting and achieving goals. After college, I followed the path of operations and moved to Columbus from Kansas City with an opportunity with McDonald’s Corporation, literally knowing nobody in Ohio! During my career, I had several growth opportunities within McDonald’s in operations, both overseeing restaurants and partnering with our amazing Franchisees throughout Ohio. In 2019, I decided to follow my real passion which is people and jumped over into an HR manager role. I’ve loved every minute of it and appreciate the learnings and connections I’ve been able to have with so many HR Professionals.

In 2021, I was promoted into the role of Field People Officer for our Columbus Field Office, guiding over 1200 restaurants, and partnering with more than 150 Franchisee organizations as well as leading talent for our local staff. Additionally, when I married my husband, Aaron, in 2014, he introduced me to the world of real estate, rehab and development. Our company, Blueprint Investments, is focused on creating beautiful homes in the neighborhoods in which we are a part of, and I absolutely love it!

My journey has been amazing so far, I am excited about what the next steps will look like!

What gets you up in the morning and what keeps you going through the workweek?
I would have to say my family is a priority for me and has instilled a great work ethic and drive for me to be better every day. I can honestly say I love what I do, and I love the variety between my Field People Officer Role, wife, mother, business owner, daughter, sister, and friend. It can keep me busy but that keeps me motivated and excited about different opportunities. Also, we love spending time with our family and friends. They continue to keep us balanced and focused on not taking issues to seriously.

What advice or mentors have helped guide you along the way?
As cliché as it sounds, my family serves as my personal Board of Directors. We talk about everything! Successes, challenges, investing, and what to eat for dinner. But seriously, they are showing me not to be afraid of failure but to recognize that it is necessary on the journey to success. This helps me to stay open to taking risks and trying out new opportunities for growth.

What do you do to unwind?
I would like to think I’m a bit of a foodie and love trying new restaurants. You can typically find us at a great restaurant or a rooftop taking a break! Because I love great food, you can also find me at a local gym trying to keep myself in some type of shape. If not one of these places, please note that I’m in love with the ocean! It keeps me calm and helps me to decompress. So if not in Columbus, I’m heading on a flight somewhere, ideally with an ocean close by.

What are a few of your favorite local spots in Columbus?
There’s so many to choose from! From a food perspective, I’d say a few of our favorites are The Royce, Hen Quarter, Camelot Cellars, Ocean Club, and ideally just anything local. I know the importance of supporting our local business owners and don’t mind doing so!

When you were a kid, what did you say you wanted to be when you grew up?
Anything involving basketball, including a sports broadcast journalist, but also a business owner, or coaching and helping people. I’d say I’ve been consistent so far!

What books or podcasts are you reading/listening to right now?
I love talking about financial strategies and learning what others are doing to set themselves up for success, so a friend of mine recommended Think and Grow Rich a Black Choice which I’m getting ready to read. Also, I love podcasts! I enjoy listening to development ones around coaching, HR or leadership. My husband also got me into the Bigger Pockets podcast which is focused on real estate. Some of my girlfriends also have one called “Glow Getter Collective” which talks about relationships. It’s great!

What does it mean to you to be chosen for the Next Up Columbus award?
It’s such an incredible honor to be recognized as a Next Up Columbus award recipient. As a young professional, we are all working hard to establish ourselves and continue to grow into the leader we know we can be. To know that my work is being recognized is truly a humbling experience that I will carry with me! Additionally, I’m excited to be surrounded by so many great leaders.

If someone were to ask you what the “pulse” of Columbus is, what would you tell them?
The “pulse” of Columbus is the heartbeat of Columbus. It is what makes our city alive and allows us all to thrive. With so much beautiful diversity and future leaders in Columbus, our “pulse” will remain strong!


The Next Up Columbus Awards highlight emerging leaders who are connectors and ambassadors in central Ohio and who are making a positive impact on the future of Columbus. The Columbus Young Professionals Club would like to offer special thanks to our 2021 co-presenters, Discover Financial, Future Possibilities and Zipline Logistics for their support of this awards program. Meet the entire “Class of 2021” »

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