For Therapist and Argosy Alum Andrea Markum, Loss Inspired a New Life and Career
When Andrea Markum’s father passed away in 2012, she had no way of knowing how her life—and her career—were about to change.
During her father’s final days, Markum met a hospice counselor who helped him, and the family, face the inevitable.
“While the counselor couldn’t change the outcome, he could—and did—change the process for all of us, especially for my father,” recalls Markum. “He created a space that made it possible for my father forgive and make peace, talk about his life and his feelings in ways he never had before, and accept what was to come. He was incredibly compassionate and helpful in supporting our family through a painful time of transition and loss.”
That experience inspired Markum to reevaluate her life and her career. After ten years in healthcare operations management, she took a leave of absence to catch her breath and assess her priorities.
“I realized that I no longer wanted corporate profitability to be the measure of my success,” Markum remembers. “Coming in under budget was no longer enough. It was time to start focusing on people instead of numbers. I wanted to do work that felt meaningful and significant. One of my favorite parts of previous jobs had been coaching and supporting employees to grow and become their best, so I began exploring what it would take to do that professionally.”
Markum, who lives in Atlanta, already held a B.A. in Business Administration from Saint Paul’s College and an M.A. in Health Service Administration from Strayer University. Once she made the commitment to return to college to pursue her master’s degree in counseling, she researched her options and chose Argosy University.
“Argosy was a perfect fit for me,” says Markum. “It had been a while since I attended college, so the fact there were so many other adult learners on campus was appealing. I didn’t want to feel like the ‘old person’ in the room. The combination of day, evening, and online classes was also very helpful. The flexibility of scheduling made it easy for me to get the classes I needed and to keep moving forward.”
Markum earned her Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling from Argosy University, Atlanta in August of 2015. In addition to her work as a therapist at Wellspring Counseling Center in Roswell, Georgia, Markum is operations manager of Thr3e Generations Anger Management & Life Skills Center, which she co-founded with her son, Charles. She is also director of operations of Monumental Men, Inc., an organization committed to helping men develop healthy coping mechanisms and communicate more effectively.
Twice a month, Markum co-hosts a radio talk show on WAEC-860AM in Atlanta. The show, Sex Ed 102, features frank, open conversation about love, sex and relationships. Earlier this year, Markum was also featured on an episode of Little Women: Atlanta, the popular Lifetime television reality show.
“When the producers contacted us, I was initially a bit hesitant,” Markum says. “One of the women on the show was experiencing relationship struggles, and they reached out to find her some help in dealing with anger management issues. I said yes because I believed I could help her. Doing therapy with lights, cameras and a production crew watching was definitely different, but I actually enjoyed it because I was able to connect in a way that was valuable to her.”
Back when her focus was on improving her employer’s bottom line, Markum never imagined her career could encompass such a variety of creative opportunities. She says her process of reinvention over the past five years has equipped her to be more empathetic and compassionate as a therapist.
“I know from experience that life isn’t always easy and that change can be challenging,” says Markum. “But I’m also able to encourage my clients to take risks and invest in themselves because I know it’s possible—and I know it’s worth whatever effort it requires.”