Faced with the question, “What do you do?  Jaime Marco has a simple, three-word answer: “I change lives.” As the owner and president of the Lakewood Ranch-based Evolve Business Consulting, she’s in a perfect position to do so. Her company offers bespoke training programs for businesses large and small, focusing on three main pillars: leadership sales, and customer experience. Her clients walk away inspired, optimistic, eager to implement Marco’s coaching tips and begin their own evolution. 

One such client is the Tampa Bay Rays Major League Baseball team. Scott Wilson, its director of human resources and culture, wanted to pull in some leadership training for the organization’s managers and directors. Wilson had heard about Marco’s work through contacts at the State College of Florida that had highly recommended her. The Rays put out a call for proposals, Marco answered it and her classes “aligned with exactly what we wanted, which was how to manage difficult conversations, how to give reviews and how to lead,” Wilson says. 

Marco delivered her Foundations of Leadership class as a tryout for some of the team’s HR leadership, and from there, Wilson says the Rays “were hooked.” 

“It was her energy and her personality that really glowed through the content, and from there we just took off running,” Wilson says.

This is when the real work starts for Marco. At this point, she sets to work creating a program that’s tailored to a business’ needs. Marco starts by asking questions and listening. She wants to understand the problem. She worked with Wilson to understand where the Rays needed help. Marco also gets to know everyone in the room by name, going beyond the LinkedIn profile. She seeks a human connection with her clients and it’s a process that starts before she even enters the room for the first workshop. Through that intake process, she built a custom plan that fit the organization’s needs.

“My goal,” Marco says, “is to help people change their perspective on how they're operating now and see things in a new light so they can move forward even better than before.” If it sounds lofty and ambitious, that’s because Marco herself is one of the most-driven people you’ll ever meet. Perhaps this infectious energy stems from her work as a top sales producer for Lennar Homes. Perhaps it’s her corporate communications experience at companies like Clearwire and SAC Wireless, where she worked as a national field sales trainer and a communications director, respectively. It may also stem from her first job — a special host on Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, where Marco had to cheerfully greet every single passenger she encountered. “Every day, 24 hours a day, I was interacting with people and changing their vacation,” she says.

From changing vacations to changing lives, wherever she summons the energy, it’s the same even when she’s sick. For this piece, Marco had to decline an in-person interview because she had been sidelined with whatever gunk her seven-year-old daughter brought home from school. You would have never known it as her passion came across just as clear over a Zoom call. If this is the force she brings to the table when she’s under the weather, it’s hard to imagine what it’s like when she’s operating at full strength. 

It’s something that Wilson and the Rays witnessed first-hand. One aspect of Marco’s coaching that stood out was her personal attention to detail.

“She really cared about us as individuals more than just as a client,” Wilson says. “Immediately she went through, she got to know us, and then every time that she spoke to us, she used our names and she knew our titles.”  And the content? One aspect that stood out for Wilson was Marco’s coaching on communication. He says that Marco’s coaching around understanding communication preferences can help in the workplace. Wilson admits he’s “notorious for long emails,” and wasn’t getting prompt responses from a coworker. After the training, he asked a coworker if she would prefer text messages to long emails, and the lines of communication burst open. “That was huge for me, and we wouldn’t have known that without Jaime pulling that out of us. She’s really making us explore who we are as people, and then who our employees and bosses are, and whether we’re communicating the right way,” Wilson says. 

Marco notes that many professionals take a “golden rule” approach to leadership — treat others the way you want to be treated. A better approach, she says, is the “platinum rule,” which encourages servant leadership, taking the time to find out people’s preferences, how they prefer to have difficult conversations, and then tailoring their approach in the workplace. And for those keeping score at home, this is the approach Marco takes when onboarding new clients. 

“What we've come to the conclusion of by going through these classes is we're not setting proper expectations for our staff of clearly communicating exactly what we want,” Wilson says. He’s impressed with the way Evolve has helped his company … well, evolve. “I can’t say enough good things about the work that Jaime does.” Fortunately for Marco, he’s not alone.