Sign Matters CEO Maureen Yarborough Opens Life and Heart to Women’s Leadership Network
A packed room welcomed Maureen Yarborough, CEO of Sign Matters, to the October Women’s Leadership Network meeting at Ridgeway Country Club on Thursday, October 18. Patriot Bank Mortgage sponsored the event.
Mark Heuberger, Chamber CEO and President welcomed everyone to the day’s event and offered his personal thanks to Town of Collierville Vice Mayor Maureen Frasier for her attendance. He then bestowed a thank you to Pansy Hall and Alexis Heinz of Patriot Bank Mortgage for personally spearheading the company’s support for the Women’s Leadership Network event. He invited Heinz to the podium to introduce the day’s guest speaker.
Maureen Yarborough CEO and founder of Sign Matters, brought lightheartedness, humor, splendid information and a deeply personal message to the crowd.
Outlining her own life and career, Yarborough noted the foundation of faith that her parents instilled in her and how that shaped, and continues to shape, her life. Yarborough’s academic life took her to the University of Missouri and with ideas of a major course of study shifting from semester to semester, she decided to major in childhood ed, not only because her roommate was doing it, but “I always enjoyed playing teacher as a kid.”
College and marriage to husband Joe took her into a whirlwind of jobs, from retail to waiting tables, before things began to click. She found herself teaching in an inner-city school in North Little Rock, where she learned important skills and learned to love reaching kids. And, of course, her husband was transferred again. This time she found herself in Memphis.
“I was assigned to a school in South Memphis, and the idea of teaching inner-city kids was fine. But I did not have the support from administration.”
Yarborough went in a different direction – sales. And she was good at it. From beginning with a chemical company on a 100% commission basis and a great boss, Yarborough soon found herself within the top three sales leaders in the country. She remembers the future presented plenty of travel and training, and, now with a growing family, she simply didn’t want that.
It was at a networking group where she met an owner of a sign company who offered her a job. She laughs as she recalls wondering if that would be the right direction. But, when she started her car the radio began to play the once popular tune, “Signs, signs, everywhere a sign.” She took a step into the world of signs with the new company, and “everything was fine….until it wasn’t.” She decided to go out on her own, with the help of another car song – “Break Away” – that came from the speakers as she debated with herself. Thank you again, pop radio.
“I was scared to death,” she remembers, but on July 1, 2005, Sign Matters was born. As orders began to come in, she hired her first employee. She bought equipment. That first dining room office wasn’t working out, so Sign Matters rented space and needed more space. They moved and soon needed more space. You get the picture. Through courage, hard work and a great and growing staff, the company prospered. Over the years, Sign Matters have found themselves working a huge variety of jobs and some very huge jobs. From taking on the sign needs of the new Collierville High School to Methodist Hospital’s Shorb Tower in downtown Memphis, Sign Matters knows how to say yes, because they know how to get things done. They get things done for Collierville’s own IMC and the Green Companies to name just a couple. Their work is seen on, and in, buildings throughout the county and throughout the region. Yarborough knows the importance of growing her business and continues to branch out with new divisions within her company. The lady does love a challenge – a business challenge.
On a more personal note, Yarborough’s foundation of faith, instilled by parents those years ago, has been tested. In 2019 her seven-month old granddaughter died unexpectedly. Just 88 days later, one of her sons tragically died in an automobile accident. She turned to her faith. In February of this year, her other son took his own life. There are no words. Her faith abides.
Yarborough continues her business. Her life. She continues to be hopeful, and she continues to fill her life with faith and love. “You become better or bitter,” she says. And you pray.