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Friday, Sep 29, 2023

Special Report: Women-Owned Businesses – Mardi Norman

Mardi Norman

Dynamic Systems Inc.
El Segundo
Business: Information Technology services
Year Founded:1991
Employees: 65
2021 Revenue: $228 million
Rank on List: 10

Mardi Norman joined Dynamic Systems Inc. in 1992 as employee No. 3, just a year after the company was founded.She became president in 2001 and president and chief executive in 2004 – a position she still commands.
Since then, Dynamic Systems, an information technology government contractor, has grown quickly, and Norman has achieved notable milestones. She was named by Inc. magazine as one of the top 50 women entrepreneurs in 2015 and was inducted into Loyola Marymount University’s Wall of Honor for lifetime achievement by the School of Business and Entrepreneurship in 2019.
Norman answered the Business Journal’s questions about her views of running business:

Question: What prompted you to go out on your own and become a business owner?
Answer: An opportunity arose at the right time, and it sparked my entrepreneurial interest. I was drawn to forming the infrastructure of a company and using my creativity and vision to build a business. Ultimately, it wasn’t the industry I was drawn to, it was the business aspect and continually being able to figure out the next move and how to work together as a team to successfully implement the plan and thrive on the success together.

In your experience, has being a woman helped you more or hurt you more in starting or operating your business?
It is impossible to know what being a woman in business means to my success since I have nothing to compare it against. Especially early in my career, I was often the only female in the room. I was asked to get coffee and called “dear” often by men twice my age. I used humor and grace to move beyond the stereotypes. Women do have a taller ladder with fewer rungs to climb – you can take it as a challenge or take it in your stride. I chose the latter, and today Dynamic Systems is a government IT contractor where we leveraged programs designed to assist women and minorities get a fair shot at bidding contracts. Ultimately, it isn’t about your gender. It is about having a vision for your company, hiring the right team, and executing on your plan that matters.

What’s been the biggest challenge to you in your business? Conversely, what’s been the biggest reward?
I find the biggest challenge is finding the right team members. Hiring long-term employees to ensure low turnover is our goal, so we spend time vetting potential candidates to make sure they are aligned with our ethics and corporate culture. The biggest reward is seeing the company grow and remain healthy, while providing a great experience to both our customers and our employees.

What’s your assessment of the likelihood of a recession coming? What, if anything, are you doing to prepare for any slowdown?
There are always ups and downs in the economy that we have no control over. What we do have control over is diversifying through our product offerings, services, and customer type to insulate the company from negative hits to the economy.

What advice would you give another woman who wanted to start her own business?
When communicating with others, always choose the path of compassion and respect, as it creates trust and loyalty. Follow your vision, but don’t hesitate to pivot quickly. And surround yourself with great talent so you all can succeed together.

If you could back up the clock, what would you do differently in regards to your business?
Nothing. Every failure, or success leads to opportunities for growth. I embrace it all, and I wouldn’t change any of it. I am proud of how my team and I have grown Dynamic Systems into a caring organization that believes customer success drives our success.

– Charles Crumpley

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