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Thank you to the 1646 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 questions! I hope reading 7 Questions with

J Mark Myers

helps you in your leadership.

J Mark Myers

J Mark Myers

Name: J Mark Myers

Title: Coach, Trainer, and Facilitator (Owner)

Organisation: Career Connection Partners

As a Career Management Coach, Job Search Strategist, Network Development Coach, Leadership Coach, trainer, and facilitator, Mark Myers’ primary goal is to assist individuals with making connections with ‘themselves’ and others to create their desired professional and personal success.

Through Career Connection Partners, launched in 2011, Mark incorporates his ability to open doors with senior executives and senior management of large businesses with his passion for helping others pursue their professional passions. Mark retired in 2018 from a 37-year career in accounting and financial management, and business development.

His roles as a CPA included public accounting division director, Chief Financial Officer and Controller in private industry, and Client Services Manager in a global consulting firm. His primary voluntary, professional experience includes leadership in local, regional, and national roles for Financial Executives International (FEI).

In June 2021, Mark was presented the Distinguished Service Award by FEI for his leadership and service to the organization, and then in May 2022, the Nashville Chapter of FEI presented Mark with the first J Mark Myers Volunteer of the Year Award. He recently completed a two-year term as the Director of the Nashville Chapter of the COO Forum, and a 11-year term as the Chairman of the Nashville Chapter of Financial Executives Networking Group (FENG).

Currently, Mark is a Certified Dale Carnegie Trainer, teaching in an adjunct faculty role in the Jones College of Business at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Mark achieved his Executive MBA from Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management. In May 2021, Mark reengaged his passion for growth and learning by enrolling in the Doctor of Education (EdD) in Leadership program at Trevecca Nazarene University, of which he has completed three semesters of doctoral work thus far.

Mark’s continued journey of growth and learning will follow his vision of impacting the development and success of others

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?

The occasional apathy or lack of motivation of teams or members in my communities makes the leader's role much more challenging. That turns the leader's role into that of a cheerleader or 'lead enthusiast.' Influencing or gaining the cooperation of others requires the followers to be present in the moment and the leader to appeal to their desires and points of view. The leader must enthusiastically relate to the followers and their goals and aspirations. Without that, the followers are not motivated to optimize their performance and change their attitudes and behaviors.

2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

We are born to be leaders in our everyday lives. The question becomes how effectively we lead, inspire, and influence others. My most significant transition into effective leadership after learning the value of business relationships and the critical role of relationships in general. That lesson came as I began to look more inward at what motivated me, which began with me taking the Dale Carnegie Course. An Executive MBA followed that. Then I became an enthusiastic networker. With the ignited confidence, I found ways to earn credibility and respect through professional organization affiliations. That was then followed by me stepping into official leadership roles of those organizations.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

Fortunately, I no longer have to have a defined structure for my day. I focus on self-care, including fulfilling activities in my day. What some people call work, I call play. I blend strategy with tactical, utilizing a personal vision and action goals to get there. Yes, I do use to-do lists, but they are very focused based on priorities to achieve my vision. I clearly check off things as 'done' so that I may recognize and reward myself for completing those tasks. Fortunately, my day includes lots of play because I thoroughly enjoy my work. So my structure per se is very focused yet spontaneous to achieve my objectives

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?

Vulnerability is critical for effective leadership. I learned that about a dozen years ago, and I'm reminded of that often in my interactions with my students and associates. An effective leader is relatable, compassionate, understanding, and humble. Maintaining vulnerability through that process is required to be trusted by others. Confidence is important, but humility is equally critical.

5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence Others changed my life about 25 years ago. It taught me the path of enhancing relationships, gaining cooperation from others, and becoming an effective leader. That path is forever repeating itself in the relationships and organizations in which we thrive. Through the newly inspired enthusiasm and practice thereof, my coach approach to leadership was born over time.

6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?

Focus on the needs of others. We will more easily influence others, gain their trust, and effectively motivate them to take actions that benefit them or us all. With that, we allow our own vulnerability live and lead effectively.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?

One of my students came to me before the semester began indicating that he could not speak in public due to his severe lack of confidence. Through the experiential learning of the course, that young man began to thrive with speaking from a state of vulnerability and willingness to take risks.

My approach with him was to create a safe space where he could comfortably talk about what's important to him and explore the possibilities in his life. His classmates recognized him often for his courage and bolder approach toward his goals. We randomly met several months after the semester.

He indicated that he had changed his academic major and was pursuing new goals with enthusiasm. The lesson here is that earning trust from each and every member of our teams can create the environment that enables our teams to optimize their performance.

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