Senior Program Manager
Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, I was born wearing the purple and gold “W”. I grew up going to football games at Husky stadium where the walk through from the parking lot to the stadium brought chills and excitement (and still does) which only further cemented my UW love. The deafening noise inside the stadium, the husky band, the siren, the Lou Gellermann’s “Hello Dawg Fans” and that view, WOW!
I’ll never forget the day I got my acceptance letter in the mail to attend the University of Washington, a dream come true. The pride I had moving into McMahon Hall, going to my first 9am class, walking past Drumheller fountain with Mt Rainier in the distance, sitting in Kane Hall with 1000 of my dearest friends, etc. My goal had always been to graduate from the UW but in many cases in life, things don’t always work out as planned. 5 quarters in to my UW career I got sick and my grandpa got terminally ill so I decided to not go back to UW, instead I took the next year to focus on my health, care for my grandpa and determine my future path. UW was no longer an option for me even though I met some amazing people and became a part of the Alpha Kappa Lambda fraternity (no longer at UW).
I ended up finishing my AA at Edmonds Community College (ECC) and then received by Bachelor of Science with a specialization in Marketing at the branch campus of Central Washington University at ECC as well as the SeaTac campus while living working full-time and caring for my grandpa until he passed away. In all it took me balancing working a full-time job to pay for school, night school, care giving and maintaining a relationship with my future wife. I truly was burning the candle at both ends but it made me stronger and resilient. I finally graduated after 7 years (and no I’m not a doctor) and getting married in the same year.
My wife and I celebrated our 21st year of marriage in May 2020, we have (2) two amazing daughters and just built our dream home in Snohomish, WA. I just completed my 4th year at the best company on the planet, Microsoft. It hasn’t been a direct path filled with all success, that’s for sure, but I feel that I am in the best place I’ve ever been.
During all of this, I have been a bit transient in my professional career with dabbling in accounting, sales, marketing, account, project, & program management and leadership as a General Manager in many different industries from HVAC to a Healthcare Broker to an Employment Publication to Telecommunications then into Litigation Support, IT Consulting and finally landing in the Technology arena. I have endured 9 layoffs during the “boom”, including near bankruptcy while finding out we were newly pregnant, the road warrior consulting gig and more. Life has been a constant changing road but in the end I have grown to love and appreciate change while continually focusing on taking one step at a time and focusing on the positive.
Tomorrow is a new day, yesterday is in the past and today is a gift which is why they call it the “present”.
Connect with Mark on LinkedIn
Mark on mentorship
Our future lies in the success of those that follow in our footsteps, helping to guide those that are coming from the direction we have already traveled. I want to help guide others to find their path, navigating every step of the way. I wish I would have had a program like this when I was at the UW and then at CWU. To have someone help navigate those super challenging college and initial career development years would have been a game changer for me. Through all of life’s trials and successes, I have found that having people that I could count on was super critical and vitally important. The best way to weather any storm is to focus on the path to the light, not the storm itself. Mentors have helped me in every step of my career and that is what I hope to be here. As the saying goes, I have “stood on the shoulders of giants” to help me navigate my path. I have established a strong personal and professional network by being genuine, inclusive and kind using the Golden Rule of treating others the way you would want to be treated. It does us no good to dwell in the past but look to the future. My goal is to help that path be as smooth as possible through building a strong self-confidence, a diverse and inclusive network of supporters and approach, a goal-oriented set of steps and kindness. Always pay it forward!
Some topics I’m excited to mentor students in include:
- Diversity & Inclusion (D&I)
- Personal & professional network development and management
- Career identification and development
- Program and project management
- Executive presentation skill development
- Business leadership and team building
- Operations management
- Personal & professional goal development and management
- Dealing with failure/rejection
- Focusing on the positive in every situation
I have started to read a lot more in the past few years, even going back and re-reading books from middle school and high school. Here are a list of a few of my favorites:
- The Travelers Gift (Andy Andrews) – Favorite book
- Idea Man (Paul Allen)
- Shoe Dog (Phil Knight)
- The Noticer (Andy Andrews)
- Hit Refresh (Satya Nadella)
- The Shack (William Young)
- To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
- Of Mice and Men (John Steinbeck)
- I Still Believe (Jeremy Camp)