Snapshot: Last year, Croixstone welcomed Mark Lord to the team in the newly created role of Growth Operations leader. With over 30 years of experience in leading companies through change to achieve breakthrough outcomes, Mark is accelerating Croixstone’ strategic growth initiatives. Our Managing Partner, Mark Weber, recently interviewed Mark to learn more about what drives this exceptional leader.
Mark Weber: You spent nearly a decade serving as a Commissioned Officer in the US Army. How did this experience shape you both personally and professionally?
Mark Lord: I’m at least 3rd generation military (Army specifically). Both my mother and father served. My mother joined right out of high school for 4 years when it was known as the Women’s Army Corps (WACS). There is a strong family lineage with military service, and this was a way for me to honor my heritage. This was a part of me growing up, and something I wanted to honor. The other way it shaped me personally is that it grounds me and reminds me that I’m a part of something bigger than myself. The comradery that you get in serving gives you a special bond with the people with whom you serve. Professionally speaking, serving was a terrific opportunity for me – -what the military provides is an immediate opportunity to lead and be responsible for a lot. Being thrown in and given early exposure while being responsible for people, and serving a mission that goes beyond normal life, really helped to shape my leadership style. In my first assignment after college, I was responsible for 30 people and several million dollars worth of assets. I relished the opportunity and it provided a great foundation build my leadership skills.
Mark Weber: Your career journey includes senior leadership roles at global companies including GE, Ingersoll Rand and Trane Technologies. How and why did you make a career pivot into the consulting industry?
Mark Lord: Early in my career, these large companies afforded me lots of opportunities and learning. After 30 years, those large corporate cultures for me became stale. I am someone who has always sought change, and those large organizations afforded me the opportunity to play in lots of different roles. After a while, I was seeking a more dramatic change, and I reached a point in my life where moving away from where I had been was a real option to explore.
I had received feedback throughout my career that I had a gift for consulting type of work. I was interested in pursuing this as a refresh for my career.
Another motivation for me, after so many years of receiving opportunities in these big organizations, was the opportunity to give back. Making the move into the consulting industry with a focus on serving middle market clients allows me the opportunity to give, teach and consult where there is a need.
Mark Weber: What leadership qualities do you believe have contributed to your career success?
Mark Lord: I think it starts with a genuine humility. Many of the career roles I’ve had have focused on service. I have gravitated to those roles. You must leave your ego at the door because you are there to serve others. When you think about that as a leader, you are being asked to serve the people or business you’ve been entrusted to lead. I’ve never felt entitled to those responsibilities. It starts here.
Other qualities are the ability to connect with people on a personal level. I really enjoy getting to know the people with whom I work. Some of that comes from the military – the bonds I built there are something I enjoy and seek to continue to build. In growing up and in my career, I have been exposed to lots of different types of people.
Mark Weber: You earned a Bachelor’s of Business Administration degree in Marketing from The University of Texas at El Paso. How and why did you choose your course of study?
Mark Lord: As I have reflected on this, at the heart of it I am a capitalist first and foremost – but an optimistic one. The capitalist in me motivated and inspired me to pursue business. Why marketing? Being on the more optimistic side, I always want to be on the side of growing and innovation and new ideas. Marketing to me is more strategic than selling, and I recognized the fact that my natural tendencies tend to be on the strategic side of things. It is a combination of wanting to serve my capitalistic desires and feeding my natural desires to focus on the strategic side of growth.
Mark Weber: It is 5pm on a Saturday. What are you most likely going to be doing?
Mark Lord: For me, that is seasonal and depends on the time of year. In the fall season, you’ll find me in front of the tv watching both college and professional football. As we move into winter, it is about football and basketball. You’ll also find me also watching movies. In spring, it is time to get off the couch and focus on getting projects done around the house. In summer, I am probably sitting around the pool and enjoying that.
Mark Weber: Rumor has it that you are a huge fan of live music. What concerts have you seen over the past year, what are your favorite concerts of all time, and what performers are on your bucket list?
Mark Lord: Over the past year I saw: Foreigner / Styx / Loverboy; 3 Doors Down and Candlebox; Jason Aldean; Guns N’ Roses; Katy Perry; and U2. My favorite concerts of all time include: Pink Floyd; Earth Wind & Fire; Garth Books; and U2 at The Sphere. My bucket list includes: Santana; Metallica and George Strait.