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Find Career Success through Serving

Networking is defined as the cultivation of relationships that can help you advance or move to a higher position. Young professionals, creatives and entrepreneurs are often convinced that networking is the only way to build clients, new businesses and business relationships. Many don’t enjoy investing their time in networking but feel they have to in order to be successful. Mark shares that at times networking has become a substitute for developing craft and expertise. Young creatives can often be prematurely lured into a false sense of creative identity and success by the number of likes and followers on their social media networks.

“So many people say they want to make a difference and be successful but along the way they get bogged down by how many social media likes they have or how big their online program is, and veer off track,” says Mark. “There is a better way, and that way is approaching your career with the heart of a servant – putting other people first and building relationships with no strings attached.” When you are focused on networking it kills creativity, authentic relationships, life and love because it is based on exploitation and selfishness. Networking is a selfish pathway to success because you take from others and use others for your own benefit. As a Christian the reason networking can cause an uncomfortable feeling is because it contradicts the nature of our Creator that is found in us.

Mark believes, “The key to finding success and a meaningful career isn’t about who you know, but how you serve.” Christ teaches that true success comes through serving, giving, and loving others. He flips the world’s definition of success upside down. “To experience true success and fulfillment, and in an effort to obey God, this lens of serving must become the basis for all of our daily decision-making and our major life assignments," shares Mark. “Serving attracts us to and is attractive to others when people can sense you genuinely care, walls come down and true relationships form. And that is more powerful than any business card exchange, forced cocktail hour conversation or Instagram follow. That is how you can truly change the world – one person at a time.” When a life is focused on service it erases: fear of failure and conflict. A life focused on serving creates purpose, value, provision, and changes the world. Once you begin to define success by Jesus’ new terms, you will become so generous that you put yourself at financial and emotional risk.

Growing up, Mark’s dad struggled with alcoholism and mental illness. To escape the pain of his dad’s absence, Mark began to also follow the same destructive path throughout high school and college. During his last semester at Baylor, Mark was an intern at Word Records. Before graduation, he was offered a job with Word, but knew there was no way he would work for a Christian record company. His young adult life had been marked with depression, hopelessness and insecurity. His coping mechanisms were cocaine, crystal methamphetamine, marijuana, self-hypnosis, sexual adventures and lots of alcohol. When graduation came he was still jobless so he decided to accept Word’s offer. Within two months of working at Word, God transformed his life. He was eventually delivered from drugs and alcohol. For eleven years he worked at Word in a job God had provided that was beyond his wildest dreams. Then came rumors of a Nashville transfer. Mark and his wife, Carol, did not want to leave California. Mark prayed and fasted a lot seeking God’s will. In 1992 in the middle of the night, the Spirit of God awakened him. He heard very clearly, “The answer you are seeking for your next step is that you will go to law school.” Mark could not believe what he was hearing. He thought he was too old to be a lawyer. What would his wife say? Fortunately, Carol did not laugh at him when Mark told her what God had put in his heart. Instead, they prayed together and he began to apply to law schools. When it became clear that Regent University School of Law was where he should attend, Mark  resigned from Word and they headed for Virginia Beach. “Law school was the hardest thing I had ever done,” shares Mark. "I was in over my head every day for three years, but it was healthy to be forced to daily rely on the power of God.” Mark is so thankful for his time at Regent and how God confirmed his assignment again and again.

Mark’s passion for music began as a high school student managing the “records and tapes” department of a national retailer and later performing as a free-form morning DJ personality at his college radio station. He entered the music industry as National Director of Radio Promotions for Word Records where he implemented the campaign for several gold and platinum-selling records including Amy Grant's multi-platinum album, Unguarded - her first general market release with A&M Records. At age 25, Mark was promoted by Word to become the youngest A&R executive in his industry where he served as executive producer on numerous albums and videos of Christian music legends while discovering, signing and creatively developing the record label’s debut hard rock, dance, punk, new wave, alternative and hip-hop bands - many of whom received Grammy, Billboard and Dove awards and nominations. He also solicited and acquired Word’s distribution and marketing agreement launching TobyMac's Gotee Records and Johnny Cash's recorded performance on a punk rock album.

As an entertainment attorney, Mark represents a diverse group of celebrities, record labels, music publishers, artists, bands, worship leaders, entrepreneurs, authors, songwriters, artist managers, record producers, churches, technology companies and entertainment executives concerning their intellectual property, business affairs and creative assets. He discovered and solicited the debut recording agreement for multi-platinum artist, MercyMe and their award-winning, cross-over radio single, "I Can Only Imagine" - #5 on the pop radio charts and the first and only Christian single to sell platinum – and now at over 2 million digital downloads.

Mark recently began his eighth year as a professor at Belmont University’s music business and songwriting program, the Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business. His role as a professor has been a natural extension of his core value to mentor the next generation of creatives and business professionals by instilling moral purpose, passionate creativity, independent thinking and risk-taking in and outside the classroom.

Mentioned in the Video

Guest Info


Author of e-book, Networking Kills: Success Through Serving (Desolation Row Press, 2018)

Entertainment Lawyer

Professor at Belmont University’s music business and songwriting program

Music business veteran; Received BBA from Baylor University

Received J.D. from Regent School of Law

Married to Carol, Two children: Sophia (21) and Harrison (18)


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