RAISE Podcast: Marcelia Freeman, FAMU


On this episode of the RAISE podcast, Brent is joined by Marcelia Freeman for a conversation about love and charity. 

Marcelia and Brent met in 2008 in Section C at Harvard Business School, and since graduating, Brent has followed Marcelia’s journey from Invesco to EIG to Clearlake Capital. As she has grown a successful career in investment management, Marcelia has also served as a trustee of the Montgomery County Public Schools board, as a term member on the Council on Foreign Relations, and as a board member of the National Association of Securities Professionals.

Marcelia is currently on the board at her alma mater, Florida A&M University. Earlier this year, FAMU faculty member Dr. Shawnta Friday-Stroud called Marcelia to ask if she would deliver FAMU’s commencement address. In Marcelia’s words, “When Oprah gives a speech, she gives out cars. When Robert Smith does a commencement speech, he wipes out student debt. What was I going to do?!” 

Ultimately, she decided to give the newest graduates of FAMU the most real, authentic version of herself. Listen to Marcelia’s story on this special episode of the RAISE podcast here.



Episode highlights

Marcelia received a full-ride scholarship to Florida A&M. But, she didn’t know that FAMU had an endowment until eight years after graduating. She’s on a mission to make sure every FAMU student and alum knows about the value of philanthropy at FAMU.

Marcelia worked at JPMorgan Chase private bank as an analyst during college. When she landed a full-time position after graduation, she stayed late, came in early, and offered to help on every project so that she could learn as much as possible. Eventually, she joined a three-person team in the Office of the Chairman and supported Bill Harrison and Jamie Diamond in their years as CEOs of the bank.

How does one keep their cool when they see the many, many zeros next to the net worth of ultra-wealthy individuals? In Marcelia’s words, net worth doesn’t phase her because it doesn’t matter. What matters is how someone uses the resources that they have to help others.  

When Marcelia joined HBS, she expected to have the same “all rowing in the same direction” vibe with her classmates as she did at FAMU. But, her HBS experience was a little less of that, and a little more of “Wall Street.” She’s grateful for her degree and the friends and connections she made through it, but it was very distinct from the inclusive and fun student experience she had at FAMU. 

Marcelia believes that we can care for ourselves by caring for others. She encourages us to think of our whole community, and especially of the people who are less fortunate and haven’t gotten the right exposure or opportunities yet. As individuals, we’re only as successful as the least-thriving member of our communities, so our focus should be on lifting them up. 

You can catch Marcelia’s amazing FAMU graduation speech below.

Marcelia is described as a “long-time practitioner of Black excellence.” Connect with her on LinkedIn, or reach out to us and we’ll put you in touch. 

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