Beit T’Shuvah residents often show up with their lives in disarray, without direction. Luckily, Marcia Selz volunteers as a life coach, helping residents clarify their goals.
Marcia brings both education and life experience to the task. As is detectable by her accent, Marcia grew up on the South Side of Chicago and attended inner-city schools. In 1968, she graduated from from Indiana University Bloomington with a degree in education. She quickly started applying herself and launched an interviewing service in Chicago. She moved to Los Angeles soon after, opting to sell the company and further her education.
In 1984, Marcia got an MBA from Loyola Marymount University and worked in marketing for several years. At 40, she created her own company, Marketing Matrix International, which specializes in market research for financial service companies, and which she runs with her husband, Dr. Eduardo Subelman. While running the company, Marcia went back to school and got a PhD in Executive Management.
Luckily for us, her education didn’t stop there. When her father was nearing the end of his life, Marcia decided to see a therapist. It wasn’t the best experience for her and in typical Marcia fashion, she decided to take control. “I said, ‘I can do this’ and so that’s when I signed up for school so I could learn about me and the psychology of me,” she explains.
At The Chicago School of Professional Psychology where she met Doug Rosen, Beit T’Shuvah’s Director of Partners in Prevention. “I met Doug and he said, ‘You gotta meet Harriet!’ I met with Harriet and I started at Beit T’Shuvah as a trainee and then I became an intern and now I’m a life coach. As a life coach, I talk more about the future, instead of a traditional therapist who speaks more on the client’s past,” she explains.
Marcia has been a volunteer life coach at Beit T’Shuvah for the past 11 years. “Beit T’Shuvah has helped me grow immensely. I’m someone who likes to be in control and when I’m here, I have no real power. I can suggest actions but that’s where it ends; I can’t control the outcomes. So it’s been a challenge and a wonderful journey of my own growth to relinquish my sense of control.”
Her volunteer spirit doesn’t end with Beit T’Shuvah. Marcia has been volunteering in the Israeli army since 2005; she spends two weeks a year on an IDF base helping the soldiers however she is needed. “We can give money, and money is good but I wanted to do more than just write a check and I felt that this was a good fit for me. I’m tough and a hard worker and I wanted to give back in a way that felt right,” she says.
In 2014, Marcia took four BTS residents on a work-tour program. “This trip changes lives. Going through Beit T’Shuvah is instrumental in changing someone’s life and this trip accelerates it. It’s a worthwhile opportunity for people to advance their recovery and their spirituality. Understanding that means we have to respond and act on that.”
And if all of this wasn’t enough, Marcia is pursuing a career in literature. She published her first novel last year, At Vitoria: A City’s Medieval Promise Between Christians and Sephardic Jews, and is currently working on a second. “My second book is a story about fear. It’s follows a person in the wake of a serial murder. Until the murderer is caught there is fear and it’s about how do you live in fear. How does one struggle with their fears and what gives them strength?”
Marcia has walked many paths in her life. “My journey really showed me that you don’t have to be the same thing your whole life. I was a school teacher, I was in marketing and research, I was a consultant, now I’m an author and a life coach, as well as a volunteer soldier in the IDF. That’s why I think I’m helpful to the residents at Beit T’Shuvah… I’m living proof you can change your direction at any age.”