IBJNews

2012 WOMAN OF INFLUENCE: Marcia Barnes

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

President and CEO, Defender Direct

Sphere of Influence: In her role as the top executive at a fast-growing local company, Barnes preaches leadership and public service.
 

barnes-marcia-15col.jpg(IBJ Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

Marcia Barnes believes if her company can help employees be better people, the business will take care of itself.

As the CEO and president of Indianapolis-based Defender Direct, she leads a nationwide home services company with a philosophy of public service and self-improvement. The company gives employees five paid days a year to serve in their communities, and offers a service-project challenge that gives employees an opportunity to win cash for the charities they serve. Finally, the company sponsors Homes of Hope, a project that sends employees and their families to Mexico or the Dominican Republic to build homes.

Considering Defender Direct has more than 2,300 employees nationwide, including around 800 in Indianapolis, that is a major financial commitment.

“We’re a business, but we’re a business full of givers,” said Barnes. “It’s hard to quantify the bottom-line impact, but that’s not really why we do it.”

They do it to help every employee develop as leaders, asking them to work harder on themselves than they do on their jobs. Defender Direct sees growing leaders as its lasting legacy.

The company does this with a four-pronged approach it calls the Four Passions: self-improvement, systems are the solution, developing leaders and ever-expanding influence.

Barnes met Defender Direct founder David Lindsey in 1999 when her 85-person call center company, Team Associates, did work for Defender. They found their values and business approach compatible and merged companies in 2005. She joined Defender’s executive team, becoming president and CEO in 2011.

While Defender Direct may be best known as a home security business, it bills itself as a home services company, also offering satellite television and home heating and cooling systems. From 2005 to 2010, annual revenue grew from $20.1 million to $255 million.

Barnes, who grew up on a family farm in Sunman, Ind., spends her days teaching and mentoring employees. “Most of the teaching I do is about leadership, not necessarily job training,” said Barnes, a self-learner who estimates she reads between 50 and 60 non-fiction books a year.

“I always felt guilty I never became a teacher,” said Barnes, who studied journalism at Indiana University. “Until one day about 15 years later, I looked at my schedule, and everything for that day was teaching in one way or another.”

She has two sons, R.J. and Ryan, from her first marriage. Ryan has cerebral palsy. While some parents with a special-needs child decide to limit their outside activities, Barnes took a different approach, taking her sons to work with her.

She decided to integrate her two main roles, mother and businesswoman. Today, both of her sons work at Defender Direct.

She married Brad Barnes just over a year ago, blending a family of five adult children between them. Her quest to serve others has a religious foundation, and includes volunteering at Shepherd Community Center and Habitat for Humanity.

“I probably lead from faith more than any other tool in my toolbox,” Barnes said. “I don’t spend time telling people what to believe. I spend time showing them what a believer does.”•

_____

Click here to return to the Women of Influence landing page.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Hiking blocks to an office after fighting traffic is not logical. Having office buildings around the loop, 465 and in cities in surrounding counties is logical. In other words, counties around Indianapolis need office buildings like Keystone, Meridian, Michigan Road/College Park and then no need to go downtown. Financial, legal, professional businesses don't need the downtown when Carmel, Fishers, North Indy are building their own central office buildings close to the professionals. The more Hamilton, Boone county attract professionals, the less downtown is relevant. Highrises have no meaning if they don't have adequate parking for professionals and clients. Great for show, but not exactly downtown Chicago, no lakefront, no river to speak of, and no view from highrises of lake Michigan and the magnificent mile. Indianapolis has no view.

  2. "The car count, THE SERIES, THE RACING, THE RATINGS, THE ATTENDANCE< AND THE MANAGEMENT, EVERY season is sub-par." ______________ You're welcome!

  3. that it actually looked a lot like Sato v Franchitti @Houston. And judging from Dario's marble mouthed presentation providing "color", I'd say that he still suffers from his Dallara inflicted head injury._______Considering that the Formula E cars weren't going that quickly at that exact moment, that was impressive air time. But I guess we shouldn't be surprised, as Dallara is the only car builder that needs an FAA certification for their cars. But flying Dallaras aren't new. Just ask Dan Wheldon.

  4. Does anyone know how and where I can get involved and included?

  5. While the data supporting the success of educating our preschoolers is significant, the method of reaching this age group should be multi-faceted. Getting business involved in support of early childhood education is needed. But the ways for businesses to be involved are not just giving money to programs and services. Corporations and businesses educating their own workforce in the importance of sending a child to kindergarten prepared to learn is an alternative way that needs to be addressed. Helping parents prepare their children for school and be involved is a proven method for success. However, many parents are not sure how to help their children. The public is often led to think that preschool education happens only in schools, daycare, or learning centers but parents and other family members along with pediatricians, librarians, museums, etc. are valuable resources in educating our youngsters. When parents are informed through work lunch hour workshops in educating a young child, website exposure to exceptional teaching ideas that illustrate how to encourage learning for fun, media input, and directed community focus on early childhood that is when a difference will be seen. As a society we all need to look outside the normal paths of educating and reaching preschoolers. It is when methods of involving the most important adult in a child's life - a parent, that real success in educating our future workers will occur. The website www.ifnotyouwho.org is free and illustrates activities that are research-based, easy to follow and fun! Businesses should be encouraging their workers to tackle this issue and this website makes it easy for parents to be involved. The focus of preschool education should be to inspire all the adults in a preschooler's life to be aware of what they can do to prepare a child for their future life. Fortunately we now know best practices to prepare a child for a successful start to school. Is the business community ready to be involved in educating preschoolers when it becomes more than a donation but a challenge to their own workers?

ADVERTISEMENT