The Honorable Marie C. Johns
Marie C. Johns is the founder and chief executive officer of PPC-Leftwich, a minority/woman-owned firm focused on operational effectiveness and public policy consulting. A corporate leader, entrepreneur, and former civil servant, Marie was nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed unanimously by the U.S. Senate to serve as deputy administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) from 2010 until 2013. As COO, she managed the nearly $1 billion agency and its 2,000 employees nationwide. Her initiatives resulted in the SBA lending more than $30 million to over 60,000 small businesses, a record in SBA lending. Marie chaired the President’s Interagency Task Force on Veterans Small Business Development during her tenure. She also created the SBA’s Council on Underserved Communities and developed “Start Young,” an SBA/U.S. Department of Labor initiative to provide entrepreneurial training to Job Corps students.
For over 25 years, Marie held senior positions in the telecommunications industry and retired as president of Verizon-Washington. In that position, she was responsible for more than 1,800 employees and nearly 800,000 customers. Under her leadership, the company developed, gained approval, and executed a regulatory plan that continues to serve as a model for the corporation.
Throughout her career, Marie has been a tireless advocate for leveraging corporate resources for the greater community good and is the recipient of numerous business and civic awards. She has chaired several boards, including the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington DC, Leadership Greater Washington, and the DC Chamber of Commerce. She also has served on the board of the Girl Scouts USA. Marie has been named a “Leader of the Year” by the Greater Washington Board of Trade and is a Washington Business Hall of Fame Laureate.
Marie was the founding chair of the Howard University (HU) Middle School of Mathematics and Science. Since 2014 she has served as a member of the University’s Board of Trustees, where she is chair of the Student Life Committee and vice-chair of the Governance Committee. She also chairs the HU School of Divinity Board of Visitors and is interim chair of the College of Dentistry Board of Visitors.
Marie is lead independent director and Governance Committee chair of City First Bank, created from the 2020 merger of DC’s CityFirst Bank and LA’s Broadway Financial Services, creating the largest Black-led Minority Depository Institution (MDI) in history.
A 2013 recipient of an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters (D.H.L.) from Howard University, Marie earned two degrees, a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Public Administration, from Indiana University (IU). She is a founding member of the Indiana University Dean’s Council of the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs. In 2021, she was presented with IU’s Distinguished Alumni Service Award. Marie also holds honorary degrees from Trinity University (Washington DC) and the University of the District of Columbia.