Wake Up With Washburn

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Wake Up with Washburn Marsha Oliver photos
Marsha Oliver and Merle Blair

View photos of Marsha Oliver's visit to Wake Up With Washburn on our Facebook page.

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From an FBI agent, to banking executives, to a newspaper publisher and a Sports Illustrated photographer, Wake Up has featured a variety of speakers. Read more about the history of Wake Up.

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Oliver finds marketing niche

Marsha Oliver and former professor Walt James

When Marsha (Ticehurst) Oliver left Washburn with a bachelor of business administration in accounting in 1974, she probably didn’t expect to be a marketing executive nearly 40 years later.

But, as she explained during Thursday’s Wake Up with Washburn, certified public accountants can sell, noting the following:

  • Accountant and prospective client get to know each other
  • Accountant invests time to understand the prospect’s business and personal goals
  • Mutual respect builds trust
  • Prospect may become a client

Oliver also credited Walt James, a longtime professor of accounting in the School of Business, for inspiring her in the classroom. James, who retired in 1998, attended the presentation.

More than 100 people, including Oliver’s family and several co-workers, attended the first Wake Up with Washburn of 2013, an event sponsored by the Alumni Association and School of Business. After enjoying a hearty breakfast, attendees settled in for Oliver’s presentation: “The Evolution of Selling Professional Services.”

Oliver has had a long, successful career, including more than 30 years at renowned regional accounting and IT firm Mize Houser and Company P.A., where she is a shareholder and the vice president of marketing.

Oliver began working at Mize Houser after receiving her degree. She moved to a client company as controller five years later, but returned to Mize Houser after four years in that position. Oliver returned to the company as its first marketing representative and has worked up to shareholder.

She is a past president of the Sales and Marketing Executives of Topeka and a member of the Kansas Society of Certified Public Accountants and the American Institute of CPAs.

While at Washburn, Oliver was a member of Delta Gamma and the Washburn Belles.

Oliver’s presentation was the third of four scheduled for the academic year. The final speaker of 2012-13 will be Steve Martin, bsn ’79, the president and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska.

A longtime executive in the health care industry, Martin is a trustee for the Washburn University Foundation and played football while in college.

The first two speakers of the season were retired Col. Clarence Taylor, bba ’78, and Ron Whitten, jd ’77. Taylor is the owner and operator of the Chick-fil-A restaurant at Oak Park Plaza in Overland Park, Kan., while Whitten is the architecture senior editor for Golf Digest.