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7 Questions with Mark Wilson
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7 Questions with Mark Wilson
Name: Mark Wilson
Current title: President
Current organisation: Curvware, Inc.
Mark Wilson is an architect, industrial designer and entrepreneur with 40 years of international experience. He studied in both American and Italian universities. He worked in both countries where he acquired cross-cultural, cross-disciplinary and cross-industry skills a specialist rarely if ever acquires. These skills were developed by applying knowledge of materials and production processes used in furniture, yacht, product and architectural disciplines. He has repeatedly capitalized on this know-how by applying techniques from one field to that of another where these techniques are rarely known or employed.
From the Italian school and his work with Pierluigi Spadolini, Mark learned how to do comprehensive research in an efficient and timely manner. He credits these research skills as the means to develop innovative design solutions yielding important intellectual property. Mark believes anyone who learns this approach will achieve similar results and is a strong advocate of teaching this approach in both the design and business fields. Having the ability to make connections (i.e. cross-culture, cross-disciplinary and cross-industry advantages) results in superior products and buildings with characteristics, features and benefits of increased, and sometime exceptional value.
Investors who recognized this unique skill set have invested in companies founded as a result of products Mark has developed. Mark has raised, capital, organized large collaborative efforts with employees and consultants and has written go-to-market strategies that are as innovative as the products. He is skilled at solving and managing complex problems and processes in order for the vision of the end product or building to be realized.
Fully cognizant of the need to be as competitive as possible in the market place, Mark not only looks at every detail and component of a product to assure its manufacturing is a cost effective as possible, but applies the same “design thinking” regarding the marketing and sales strategies. This assures clients and investors that they are making the best use of funds and that the finished product or building is as competitive as can be.
1. What have you found most challenging as a Christian school leader?
I am not a Christian school leader. However, as a Catholic who embraces all of the teachings of the Catholic Faith as taught for the past 2000 years, I find it difficult to explain to people the power of embracing all of the Teachings as Jesus Christ taught them. So many Catholics need to be re-evangelized in order to know exactly what the Church teaches. Something like 90% of Catholics who attend Mass each Sunday reject various Church Teachings (e.g. The Real Presence, Artificial Contraception, being pro-life, etc.,)
As one who is promoting the regeneration of the most ancient approach to working and running a business, (http://bit.ly/EcclesiasticalVentures), I find it most challenging for people to free themselves from the second-hand heresy of how businesses are managed and operated.
2. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I start my day by saying the Rosary, The Divine Mercy Chaplet and the Auxilium Christianorum prayers along with a few other prayers. I then begin my work day. Around noon I say the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows. I have lunch and go back to work. In the afternoon I will say various prayers and then return to work until about 6:00 pm
3. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
If one wants God to be in charge of what they do, it is essential to approach everything with great humility. God does not collaborate or cooperate with the proud and arrogant. It is up to us to approach work with humility and to cooperate with the Will of God. He will then speak to us, and inspire us with His Holy Spirit.
4. What's one book apart from the Bible 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?
Combattimento Spirituale: The Spiritual Combat by Dom Scupoli. While in this life, we are part of the Church Militant. Anyone who doesn't believe we are involved in serious spiritual warfare is either not really a believer, is disengaged from the battle, or in a state of serious sin. For those that are in a state of grace and are committed to working to save as many souls as they can, or even to do as much good as they can, will find serious resistance that can even manifest itself in extraordinary ways.
5. How do you find and keep great Christian teachers?
I look for people who are inspired by a vision routed in the fullness of the faith; uncompromising in their beliefs.
6. What's most important as a Christian school leader for developing a culture of wellbeing in your staff and students?
As I've explained before, I am not a school leader. But since I've been asked to answer these questions, I will answer them as it relates to developing a culture of wellbeing within any large organization.
When people have a common objective based upon a shared vision, then the leader, management and employees seek this goal and think less about themselves. They become servant leaders. When employees see this, they can aspire to the same thing. This is why I am committed to the re-generation of the authentic Catholic Guilds of the 13th century. Leaders, management and employees were committed to everyone's salvation. Profit was not the main objective. In fact, it wasn't even an objective. Work, as an expression of one's desire to grow in virtue resulted in superior products as they knew their work reflected their growth in holiness and respect for the truth.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a Christian school leader so far?
I can't answer this. Again, as I am not a Christian school leader, I would have to think of a parallel to a corporate position and nothing comes to mind.
I can say that I have seen people inspired by the shared commitment to a greater good. For example, when I designed Curvware (https://curvware.com), many people rallied around the project as stakeholders and stockholders to help make it a reality. I didn't have a lot of expertise that was needed and didn't have the money. Many people invested because they too shared the vision for restoring people's dignity at mealtime. Many of the company's investors had close relatives that needed help at mealtime. It can be degrading to have to depend on someone else when your hand problem doesn't effect much of anything else other than trying to use a fork, spoon and knife. To be able to feed oneself just like everyone else is not a small thing. When you've lost that ability because of a severe enough tremor that the peas go everywhere, it can be demoralizing.
I was inspired by a vision for a fork that could restore people's dignity. When I made prototypes that made this possible, it inspired others who shared this vision to help in whatever way they could. Ultimately it was about restoring dignity to people we would never meet and who would not even know that the reason for developing the product was to restore their dignity. In one respect, perhaps the most important, the greatest satisfaction comes from never being recognized or thanked, but simply knowing you made a difference in many people's lives.