“Everything we do, we wrap up in love." —Doug Marshall
Published: November 30, 2018
By: Carol Muse Evans
Doug Marshall, president and CEO of the Presbyterian Home for Children in Talladega, says he’ll never forget a 14-year-old girl who had been brought into their care. It seems so simple, but when they learned she had never had a birthday party, they decided to throw a huge party for her. It broke his heart, the abuse and neglect she had experienced. It seemed like a small thing to do for her, but it was big to her.
“Everything we do, we wrap up in love,” Marshall recalls. “When she came to us, there was not a sparkle in her eyes. Eyes never lie. It was not long before we did see a sparkle. She knew that she was at a home of healing on a path of hope.”
Marshall became the president and CEO of the PHFC one year ago, an organization serving at risk and homeless children across Alabama for 150 years. “The average age of a homeless child in Alabama is six,” Marshall says. “In my job, I’m like a mirror reflecting the incredible love that my staff has for children and families. An important part of the hope is education.”
Marshall came to the home with more than a 30-year career in a variety of positions in Birmingham, including Ernst and Young, Energen, Alagasco, United Ability and Alabama Family Trust. He served as a CPA, CFO and director of community relations, to name just a few titles he has worn. He brings his leadership, finance and organizational skills to the job, as well as a big heart for people, especially children. “As I look back, the Lord’s hand has been in my life, directing me to this place where I am now,” Marshall says.
George A. Fritsma, immediate past moderator of the Presbyterian Home for Children Board of Trustees, echoed this sentiment in his announcement of Marshall’s hire in late 2018. “…We felt led by the Holy Spirit to Doug, who tells us that he believes his whole life has stood as God’s preparation for this important mission.”
Now Marshall takes his long-acquired skill set to serve in a less corporate way, moving from the corporate world to working with those with disabilities, and now working with at-risk and homeless children. All along the way, his life has touched children and their families in so many meaningful ways.
“Doug is a caring and compassionate professional who always looks for ways to improve the lives of others. He is open about his faith and is inspiring to those who encounter him. We need more people like Doug Marshall in this world,” says Brian Bateh, partner, Warren Averett and former chair at United Ability, formerly United Cerebral Palsy of Birmingham.
This married father of three grown children grew up in Meridian, Mississippi, the child of schoolteacher parents, who says they instilled a love of education and impacting the lives of children. Today he says his goal is to see the organization remain strong and to continue to serve the children and families in need of hope.
Marshall is a CPA who holds a minister of theology degree, as well. He also serves as a life and career coach at Grace Ministries in Birmingham, and was recently named to the “Top 50 over 50 in central Alabama” and the “20 Making a Difference” by the Daily Home newspaper in Talladega. He also serves as an advisory board member for Easter Seals of Birmingham, and as treasurer-elect and board member for the Alabama Gerontological Society.
He says the mentors in his life include: Brian Bateh, partner at Warren Averett and former chair of United Ability, Mike Warren, president and CEO of Children’s of Alabama, Dr. Gary Edwards, CEO of United Ability and Tricia Kirk, president and CEO of The Exceptional Foundation.
Today, Marshall continues to promote and support the PCFH, asking those who can and desire to consider them for your holiday giving, as the work there is so important, including providing a Christmas to their families and children.
For more information, visit www.phfc.org or call 256-362-2114. You can read more about the home itself in our profile in the August 2018 issue of Birmingham Parent at issuu.com/birminghamparent/docs/bhamparent_0818/1?e=13526515/63523525.
Carol Muse Evans is publisher of Birmingham Parent.