“Try to engage the people that you see as creating barriers because they might hold the solutions for the people that you serve”
Marcia Carroll - PEI Council of People with Disabilities
Not everyone starts out in life on the clearest of paths. For Marcia Carroll her career really took shape after returning to university when she was 30 years old. Marcia had always been someone who liked to figure out the way the world worked and how she could change it. While she was studying at UPEI is when it really clicked for her. Marcia knew she wanted to work in social service.
After graduating from university Marcia started working at PEI Council of People with Disabilities on a contract but when the opportunity to join the team at the Red Cross as the Regional Director materialized she couldn’t pass it up. Marcia spent four years leading the team at the Red Cross and was instrumental in the recovery efforts post-ice storm in 2008 when they fed and housed thousands of Islanders all while she had a broken leg. “To see all of the training unfold and work so well was very gratifying.”
As a person living with a disability, Marcia Carroll is uniquely qualified to champion
for people living with disabilities on Prince Edward Island. Eight years ago Marcia returned to the PEI Council of People with Disabilities as the Executive Director and during that time the Council has grown significantly. The agency currently employs fifteen full time staff members and services more than ten thousand clients across the Island. According to Marcia, passion is mandatory for non profit work. “Working in NGO you will not get rich but it will be the most gratifying work that you’ll do and you are going to change the world and you are going to make a difference.”
For Marcia it is important to recognize that people think differently and honour what other people bring to the table. “If everyone thinks the same and behaves the same you will come up with the same answers to the same problems all of the time.” One of the many ways that Marcia is doing things a little bit differently at PEICOD is the fact that she runs the NGO like it is a business. In fact, they are currently operating three social enterprises out of the Council office and will be launching a fourth, a new practice firm, Abilities Inc., which is a virtual office, in April. “Changing clients lives and meeting the needs of employers will be incredibly gratifying.”
In addition to her day job at PEICOD, Marcia is also very active on a number of committees. One of the projects that Marcia has worked on in the last few years that she is especially proud of is the creation of the Disability Support Act. Make no mistake, Marcia Carroll is an agent for change.