✨“I don't want to be just a headcount, I want to make my head count.”💫 — Mark Mears
Tune in to my interview with Mark Mears and listen to how he passionately commits himself to help individuals, teams, and organizations find purpose in fulfilling their GROWTH potential.
💡the higher power of 4 “revolutionary" and purposeful growth processes, which are leadership, engagement, accountability, fulfillment
💡how powerful the word “believe” is
💡the difference it makes to engage in servant leadership
💡the crucial element of humanity in doing business
💡internal vs. external diversity
💡the great resignation vs the great repurposing
💡Mark also gives us some helpful advice on how to apply reframing/repurposing within a growth mindset.
💡Furthermore, Mark provides us with some insights into his upcoming book “The purposeful growth revolution”.
✨“Brands are important as a symbol of a promise. A brand is a promise and those that are good brands, keep them those that are not good brands not so much.” 💫 — Mark Mears
Watch us: 📹 The Purposeful Growth Revolution.
Ready for brand stories? Get inspired and learn from thought leaders, CEOs, business owners, and managers who tell their brand stories who share their valuable insights from their own experience. Welcome to BrandsTalk, I am your host Bridget. For all Brand Lovers, this show is to help you develop and grow your brand in a more strategic and sustainable way! Walk the talk. Let’s get started and dive with me into the world of brands Today, my guest is a visionary business leader with a significant track record of building shareholder value by driving innovation and profitable growth among world class high profile brands. He serves as chief growth officer for leaf growth ventures, which is his own consulting company. It leverages the power of four revolutionary and purposeful growth processes, leadership, engagement, accountability and fulfilment. To help individuals teams and organisations find their purpose and achieve their full growth potential while making a positive impact in the world. He possesses a unique and diverse background in building roath brands such as PepsiCo, Pizza Hut, McDonald's, Frito, lay, JC Penney and NBC Universal among others. Mark has also held executive leadership positions including Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer for Cheesecake Factory, Executive Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer for noodles and company, and President and Chief concept officer for Mimi's cafe. Most recently, he served as cmo for a while works a fast casual restaurant portfolio including salad works garbanzo Mediterranean, fresh fruit, apples, and dissemble. Great. So now I warmly welcome Mark mares. Welcome to BrandsTalk. Oh, that's so great. Bridget, I just, I'm so honoured to be here with you, you just a ray of sunshine on a cold rainy day here in Kansas City. Thank you for having me. Mark, I'm sending you some sun I'm right now in Europe in Austria, and it's a beautiful day, it's very sunny. So Mark, could you tell us a little bit about your background, your journey? And where you are right now with your business? What's your story? Well, I'm going to hit the highlights. And this may surprise you. I don't think we talked about this. But I went to school originally several years ago to be a lawyer. And in the US, you can't major in law. So you have to get an undergraduate degree before you can attend law school. And I asked people what would be the best preparation for law school? And they said, Well, there's a lot of people that go into political science, or maybe history or some other form of liberal arts. But have you thought about the School of Journalism and Mass Communication? I said, No, tell me more. And they said, well, in law school, you're going to do a lot of reading, writing, critical thinking, investigation presentations. And you do all that in the school of journalism and mass communications and the University of Kansas where I went to undergrad, had one of the top journalism schools in the country. So I thought, Oh, well, that'd be great preparation for law school. And by the time I was a senior, I was fortunate enough to have a professor Dr. Tim Bankston, come alongside me and say, Mark, you've really got some potential in this area. Are you sure you want to be a lawyer? Have you thought about possibly going to graduate school and getting a master's degree in marketing, communications? And I thought, Well, no. And the more we talked, one thing led to another and I realised how much I really loved marketing, communications and branding. And everybody I talked to when I did my due diligence, that were either in law school, or were out as lawyers. They weren't having any fun. And I thought, Well, why would I do want to do that? And so one thing led to another and I ended up going to Northwestern University in Chicago and getting a master's degree in what is now known as integrated marketing communications, I was taught by Professor Don Schultz, who came up with the concept of integrated marketing communications. And now the programme is called that Northwestern, as well as it's a well known term throughout branding and marketing and has been for years, I was fortunate enough to have another mentor and Don Schultz, who I was able to study at the feet of the master who created the concept of integrated marketing communication. So that has really guided my journey. Throughout my career now over 35 years, I'm, I used to be this young buck. And now I'm like what happened. And so I've been very blessed to work on both the agency side. And on the marketing side, as well as on the service side, where I owned my own promotional marketing company, that was part of Omnicrom as well as worked now as a consultant. So I feel like I've looked at marketing and brand building from four different angles, as a brand marketer on the corporate side on the agency side, serving brand marketers on the service side, working with brand marketers in a different capacity. And then now as the consultant working with brand marketing, marketers in a different capacity. So it's really come full circle. And we'll talk a little bit more about the book in a minute. But that's kind of a thumbnail as to how I got where I got. And now consulting with leaf growth ventures, is an opportunity for me kind of like a sponge to soak, take whatever I've soaked up over these last 30 something years, and now squeeze it back out. I call it paying it backwards. Not paying it forward. You know why I do that, Bridget, because over here, Starbucks is I'm sure a huge brand globally, but it's obviously very big here in the US. And when I go through the drive thru, I often almost always pay for the car behind me. I feel like in that moment, it's somebody that I'll never know I'll never meet. And I don't know what they're going through. But I feel like I've been blessed to be able to give something back to them to help make their day. And I call that paying it backwards, because they're the car behind me. And invariably, I find out that that causes a chain reaction, that cars tend to want to pay for the car behind them since they've been blessed by the car in front of them. And so I look at that as a microcosm of my career. And where I am now, with leaf growth ventures, it's all about paying it backwards, helping other brand marketers, other brand builders, build their personal brands, and connect up through their corporate brands in a way that is authentic to themselves, but helps them grow into their purpose and aligned with their company's purpose. Wow, what a thoughtful and interesting start into this conversation. And I didn't know that you were taught by Don Schultz. Of course, I know him because I also taught integrated marketing communications, it's so critical to have all the different touch points integrated. This one voice, one look, one message to the customer. So that is really, really important. And I also like your approach of having this full circle on there for different perspectives that you bring in as a business owner. So you have an astonishing track record of growth brands, iconic brands that you have worked with. And you have started now your own business. And that completely makes sense to me. You want to give back in your way and your way as a strong personal brand. So before we go deeper into that, how was your experience setting up your own business? What did you learn? Was it a like an easy way an easy thing to do? Or did you have challenges to overcome? How was that experience? Bridgette? Yeah, it's the hardest thing I've ever done. Because I've always been in corporate America where I've had teams, I'm a big believer in teams. And I love being part of a team. I grew up in sports. I was a swimmer. I played football. I was in track. You know, played little league baseball for a hot minute. I mean, I just love being on a team. I love that camaraderie. I love the togetherness I love the ability to work hard for a common goal and achieve it or if we fail, learn in the process. What I have now is three people It's me, myself and I solo. And depending on which day of the week and who I talk to, on which shoulder, it's either me or myself, or I, and having to go through that process has been a great demonstration of what I think we've all heard of is a growth mindset. Right? It was a Stanford professor Carol Dweck, who years ago wrote a book called Mindset. And she came up with this bifurcated approach, that was all about a growth mindset or a fixed mindset. And those who have a fixed mindset might be really good at something. But they keep doing it, and over and over and over. And those who have a growth mindset might be good at something, but they always want to learn, what else can I grow into? And what else can I learn? So, for me, I guess the positive thing is, I learned I have a growth mindset. But I learned it's hard. And you have to be intentional. And you have to get outside of your comfort zone. And you have to ask a lot of questions. And you have to be willing to be vulnerable, and say, I don't know this, after years of saying, Wow, I'm pretty good at this. I've mastered this. And we'll never know it all, as you well know, in marketing and brand building I learned every single day. And that's the other piece is curiosity, the ability to be curious, and want to know, not only what's the question, but what's the question behind the question. And the question behind that. So it's like peeling back an onion, until you can really understand something from all angles. And that's how we grow. So it's been a difficult journey. But it's, it's very fulfilling, and very satisfying. When you can overcome, which we'll talk about later, your FUDD fear, uncertainty, doubt and delay. And so that is a thing that I want to make sure that we get into because it's so important for people who are on this podcast listening or watching and saying, well, that must be easy for you. But what about me? And I'll tell you, anybody can achieve whatever you want to achieve, but you got to overcome FUDD first. Okay. For you, first of all, what is your vision with your company? Bring it to the point, do you have a vision statement? And what is your big why? So behind what you have told us, we can kind of figure out what your big why is, but can you really nail it? And with what you're doing? What you're offering to your clients? Great question. And I've done a lot of thinking about this, as you probably can tell, just thinking about it, I've written it down. I've created my own personal brand plan. So it's like the old adage, Physician, heal Thyself, right? So how could I be a brand marketer with all of this experience, all of the resources, all of the expertise, and when it comes to my own personal brand, not take my own medicine. So I have. So I created a high level vision statement, which is, I don't want to just make money and retire, I want to make a difference and inspire. And that means making a difference in the lives of others, and inspiring them to want to do likewise, which creates this virtuous cycle of reciprocity that is designed to lift up the performance of everybody I touch, and equally important, if not more, so, do it in a way that helps make the world better. So crafting that vision statement sounds very lofty. Well, I'm a growth junkie, you know that the whole idea of purposeful growth is what I stand for. So I put together my own mission statement, and a brand positioning and what I call an I am statement. So all of them intertwine. But all of them have very unique distinctions. So if you think about a mission statement, if a vision is something that is aspirational, to achieve by some point in the future, a mission it should be what do I have to do every single day to get there. And if I stack up enough good days, I will achieve my vision. So my mission is, I believe in the higher power of purposeful growth. So I have to do that every single day. But notice I use the word I believe most mission statements or even vision statements. Start with the word to to do something And I believe, I believe that we should start with I believe, you know, powerful the word belief is. It is incredibly powerful when you believe something in your bones. And it is something that guides you every single day helps you get up every morning, and do what it is you do. And we'll talk a little bit about our why here in a minute. And so then, if you think about, I believe in the higher power of purposeful growth, there are four words in what I call a brand positioning, which you've done many different times with many different global brands. And everybody probably defines it a bit differently. But because I believe in the higher power of fours versus the rule of threes, which we'll talk about, I think, if you can summarise it in four words, that's powerful. So my four words are, I inspire purposeful growth. So I me, inspires what I just said, I want to do my vision statement. And purposeful growth is what I stand for in my mission, to see how the, they come together in a brand positioning. So anybody who asked me that question, if we were in an elevator, or what do you do I say, I inspire purposeful growth. Well, then they're gonna say, Well, how do you do that? And I'll get it. Yeah. So then there's also something called an I am statement. And I've learned this over the last few years. And I thought, well, this is kind of interesting to incorporate. And so I said, I am a brave and visionary servant leader. So brave means that I'm going to be coming up with visionary concepts that are going to challenge the status quo, I'm going to make you think different about things that you thought you knew, or at least give you a different perspective than you may have thought of on your own. And then servant leader is, to me this combination of the best type of leader, a servant leader is someone who is in the trenches with the team versus just barking orders from the sidelines, they're playing in the mud in the trenches, they're getting themselves dirty, they're empathetic. They're leading by example, they wouldn't tell someone to do something they wouldn't be willing to do themselves. A servant leader is the best kind of leader that I found, that I've worked for. And then I've tried to be, and I've had some brilliant mentors throughout my career beyond just the two in academia that I mentioned, such as David Novak, who was the co founder of yum brands, and was CEO for 15 years before recently retiring, he was my leader, I don't use the word boss. He was my leader at Pizza Hut years ago, as head of marketing. And I have been following his career and he's served as a mentor even after we work together because of how he leads. And I've always tried to emulate that to the best of my ability. And I know where near a David know that. But you have to strive for what you believe excellence looks like, and then do everything you can to get there. So challenging the status quo, being visionary, and seeing patterns and possibilities. And we'll talk a little bit about this idea of purposeful growth revolution and how I came up with a model to get there. And then also, this idea of servant leader is repurposing. You've heard of reframing techniques go from this to this, I call it repurposing why? Because it fits my personal brand, all about purpose. And I think it's a better way of looking at it. So I say we need to repurpose leadership from Migo. To we growth. And so we put it in the framework of we grown meaning we grow together, right versus MeeGo. I have unfortunately worked for some bosses, not leaders, that were all about me, what can you do for me, and helped me in my career, advance my agenda? Because you work for me. And instead of we're in this together, we all are we. And so those are the things that on the front end, from vision, to mission, to everything that we talked about with regards to the I am statement, brand positioning, but also values are four values. We could all come up with a lot of lofty values. But for me, they come down to for integrity, curiosity, intentionality, and, most importantly, humanity. These are values that serve as the lamppost that guide me along my path, so that I can achieve my daily mission that ultimately ladders up to my vision. So now Let's get down to brass tacks, you said look, okay, all that's great now, how do you do what you do and what do you do? Well, again, I look at that in four different categories. Again, this higher power of fours, it's time, talents, treasures, and triumphs or travails or experiences, but experiences doesn't start with tea. So time is tea. Speaking, mentoring, coaching and consulting. This is what I have been doing with all my talents as leveraging my leadership, executive management, brand building and communications background. That's the area I play in treasures. It's my financial investments, and charitable contributions. And then finally, our triumphs and travails would be my experiences personally and professionally, The Good, the Bad, and The Ugly, because they all make us who we are. And we learn more from and I don't like the word failures, either we learn more from our purposeful learning. Oh, yeah. Because failure, it means it's final. Yeah. But if it's purposeful learning, it means we're just learning something new or something we need to change so that we can continue to grow into our God given purpose. Wow. That is unbelievable. I really value what you're bringing here in this podcast. There are so many takeaways for our audience, I would like to focus a little bit more on a word that you brought up, it's humanity. And humanity is something that we as every single employee or worker is bringing into a company. And behind all these companies, these organisations, they are human beings that all together work in an orchestrated way, aligned with the organisational vision, mission and values to become a strong brand in the market. So what do you think, Mark? Since you have worked with such iconic brands as PepsiCo and Cheesecake Factory and many others? What does an authentic personal brand mean to you? And how does each individual brand tie into an organisational brand? So how does that, from your perspective all fit together? Oh, wow, that's a great question. And so relevant today. You know, here in America, we're having issues with people resigning as a result of COBIT. And, you know, maybe they got it themselves and had a scare, they were in the hospital or got sick, maybe they lost a loved one, or maybe they knew of someone close to them. And so I think, again, instead of calling it the great resignation, I prefer to call it the great repurposing. And because it's really about people taking a pause, and saying, you know, what, is that all there is to life, just working, and drawing a paycheck and, and climbing a ladder. And, and that's not very fulfilling to me. So, I now know that life is short. And so I want to make sure I make account every single day. And I don't believe what you do for a living should be just seen as a means to an end. I believe that work is a big part of our purpose. God gave us the ability to work, he gave us tasks back in the day of need. And so we know that work is part of the glory that we have to live on this earth and the productivity that we provide can help others, again, along their growth journey. So think about it from an employee perspective, I heard a great quote the other day. And the quote was, I'm hope I don't mess it up good. It's really good. I don't want to be just a headcount, I want to make my head count. So instead of just being seen as an employee number, punching a card, to punch in and punch out at work, I want to be seen as a valuable member of the team. That's where humanity comes in. We all want to feel valued. We all want to make a difference. And we all want to be recognised for the contributions that we make. So let's talk a little bit about this concept called diversity, equity and inclusion, or Dei. And it is so important that people see diversity in two different ways. Most people think of diversity is what I call outward diversity, kind of the usual kind of person protected classes of age, gender, race, you know, sexual preference or orientation, you know, religious affiliation, whatever, right? That's outward diversity. And that's important because that informs our experiences, where we come from now, what I call inward diversity, is how we think. Right? So based on those experiences, all of us have a unique perspective to add to our teams, to our company, and to the world. So when you combine the two, you have outward diversity, which are experiences, and inward diversity, which is how we think and what we can contribute to the team. Both are incredibly important. So now let's look at it from a corporate perspective. If one of the major challenges that we're faced with after COVID, and during COVID, is part of this great resignation is getting people to want to work for us. And there's a well worn adage saying people don't leave bad companies, they leave bad managers or bad leaders, right? So it's within the control of a company to not only attract but retain and grow great people. They can only do that with a more humanistic approach. Because now people are saying, I've been working from home remotely. Many people here in the US, and I'm sure across the world have had to homeschool their kids because schools were closed. So they've had to deal with family dynamics, health dynamics, work dynamics, and it's just an isolation or personal dynamics. And they've had to now come up with a new repurpose, or how am I going to deal with this going forward? What am I going to do different? What will I stand for that? What will I not stand for going forward? And a lot of people are saying, I won't stand for a bad boss, I won't stand for a toxic work environment. As a matter of fact, it's not me saying that. It's the MIT Sloan School of Management, just released a study in January, where they researched 34 million people who'd left the workforce during this quote, unquote, great resignation. And you think that may be one of the number one reasons why would be compensation that came up number 16. On the list, you know, what came up is number one, by 10, fold over the second highest toxic work environment, people and I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore. And there are other ways for me to earn a living that are more fulfilling than going back to that old job that made me feel less human. So it's all tied together in this idea of what I call the Great repurposing, so that we have an opportunity to take stock in who and what matters most to us. So let's talk about who real quick, I want to go back to that idea of being brave, right, I'm going to say something that's going to ruffle some feathers, and I don't care. I love Simon Sinek. And I love the whole start with why concept of the Golden Circle. People want to know why you do what you do before they care to know how you do it, and even what you do. But that's a very linear model that says first here, go here, go here. I don't believe we live in a linear world anymore. I'm not sure we ever did. But I think we all had this ideal, at least I know I did. And we've heard of this kind of American dream, right of work hard. Get a good education, find a job, get promoted, get promoted again, you know, find a new job, earn money to get your kids through college or put money away for retirement and then go right off into the sunset. That's not how it is anymore. That's certainly not how it is with me, based on where you see me in this season of my life, and really feeling like it's a opportunity for rebirth. So we come back to Simon Sinek. Start with Why. Well, what's different about that, Mark? You seem to like that I do. But I think he's missing one fundamental difference in how I see his rule of threes to my higher power force. And that is, I believe, we should start with who, who you serve an emphasis on the word serve again, who you serve, to me is more important than why we do what we do. Actually. It leads us to our why. So I think four different categories of servitude. It's spiritual, it's relational, it's professional or vocational. And it's personal. And think about this in a four circle Venn diagram, which is the model that I built on this whole idea of the purposeful growth revolution. It's not linear. Those four categories of servitude, spiritual, relational, professional and personal, are intertwined. So you say, Well, what comes first? Some people think, Oh, well, it's it's fashionable to say, well, I put God first. Well, no, it could be God's in all four of those guides, not only in spiritual, but relational, professional, and personal. Well, what about my family relational, I put them first? Well, they're also in spiritual, they're also obviously relational. And they're in professional, and they're in personal. And so it's not about what you end up putting first because that will ebb and flow based on whatever season of life you're in. There'll be times when you may be having a family crisis. And that will be first, there'll be times you may be having a personal crisis. And then you may need to put your body or your health and well being first, or a spiritual issue or a work issue, right. So the point is, they're all interwoven or integrated. And they're all revolving. And that point in the middle that they all interconnect is around purpose. So this idea of humanity takes us back to purpose takes us back to who we serve. And if we think about it that way, that is what will get us up every morning. That is what will help guide us through the fog and the most stormy nights, because we will be centred around our purpose. And that will allow us to be able to work in a way that is on purpose aligned with the purpose of the company that we work for, and create this idea of us even getting paid for it. How cool is that? I love your concept. It's really cool. And you're so true. It's so much about whom we are serving. So we need to go from both sides. What do people need, what kind of problems they have, what pain they are in and how we with our capabilities with our know how, but also our humanity, our character, can help them. So that really needs to get together and yeah, and everything with this higher purpose. So do you have, let's say, any helpful advice? So how can we better repurpose or create purpose in general? Well, I think first it comes down to serious introspection, on who we are, and what we believe our purpose is. So the question is, Well, Mark, how do we find our purpose? There's a lot of talk about purpose, how do I find it? Is it do I read a book somewhere? Do I watch a video? Or is on YouTube? Or is there a podcast I get listened to? It's like, no, it's something that you have to learn on your own. But there are ways to think about it. What am I? What lights me up? What do I love to do? What am I good at? What kind of skills do I have? Because usually, if we're good at something, we're probably you know, we believe we like doing it, right? What can I make money at doing? And then what could help make the world better? What does the world need that I have? That I could feel like I'm again, not just living paying taxes and dying, but I'm thriving, and that I'm leaving, leaving a living legacy behind this idea of paying it backwards, that I can feel a sense of fulfilment. And it's different from every for everybody. Right? I inspire purposeful growth. Now, did I know that purpose 20 years ago, maybe if I really thought about it, because a big part of my background has been the world of hospitality. I love people. And I love food. And I always say if you love people, and you love food, and that order, you're going to be probably pretty successful in the hospitality and restaurant business. And so for me, this idea of serving people has been intrinsic. Throughout my career. It's been a thread woven throughout my career, but I never stopped and thought about it that way. So for somebody else, it may be something different, but you need to stop and think about what's that magic thread that's woven throughout your your life thus far, because it's not over yet. Alright, so how do I now see that pattern that has helped me understand What do I believe I'm on this earth to do? And what really makes me feel fulfilled? And how can I fulfil the needs of others. And when I do that, something will emerge. And if you think about it, and then put it down into four key words like I did, it'll help make it real. But you have to put in that work. And when you do that, then you say, if this is my purpose, what company or what vocation might align best with what I do. So for me, knowing what I know about myself, it wouldn't have made sense for me to maybe be an engineer, just based on how I'm wired, right. And maybe not even a lawyer, even though lawyers serve people, it wouldn't have been the way that I would want to serve. Right? So you have to find that vocation. And I'm not telling people just to be 100%, clear, go out and look for a new job. I'm saying, how do you find purpose in what you're currently doing? That's where the magic is. And if you can find your purpose and aligned it with your company's purpose, that's magic. And it will let you repurpose or reframe this idea of from a boring old dead end job that I'm just basically punching a clock and getting paid to part of my purpose, and what lights me up? And how do I find fulfilment in what I'm doing? And how do I look beyond just what I'm doing, to see who might the end user be of what I'm doing? I don't care if you're manufacturing and you turn screws, but you may be making a product or you may be part of a service that enriches the lives of others. So when I say, I believe we should start with who and who you serve, should be your focus. Let me emphasise this idea of focus. Think about the mental imagery, put someone's face in your mind's eye. And when you humanise it, that makes it so much more powerful. So I'm thinking about, as I'm serving people, who are their families, what are they? What are they? What are their hopes and dreams and aspirations? How can I, in whatever way possible, help them achieve that goal? And how does that make me feel? Pretty darn good, right? Because it makes me feel like I'm serving beyond myself, it makes me feel like I'm doing something for somebody else, and inspiring them to want to do likewise. So it creates this virtuous cycle of reciprocity, that helps make the world better. And it's like a ripple effect. If you've ever dropped a little pebble in a pond or a lake, right? You see that ripple effect? You don't just see the splash. That's initial, the Splash is the initial thing you see. But then the ripple effect are all the things that that splash created. So how can I in my personal life, and in my corporate or work life, marry those two, align them together to create in my simple math, one plus one equals five. And that's the way we can do it if we're living and growing into our purpose. Yeah. And speaking about ripple effect, you're also going to be an author and everything that you have said, now you are discussing in your book, the purposeful growth revolution, which is coming out soon, I guess. So when is it coming out? And what exactly can we expect from it beyond what you have told us? Well, here's the vision. And I come back to the for I am words, brave, visionary, servant leader, right? So visionary is this idea of being able to see patterns and possibilities that maybe others don't see or connecting dots where others may not even see the dots. And so I received an epiphany. Several years ago, when I was president of Mimi's Cafe, and we're living in Orange County or in Southern California. We work I was working in Orange County, just south of Los Angeles. And I was recruited from the Cheesecake Factory, or I was chief marketing officer to become president and chief concept officer for Mimi's cafe. At the time, it was a division of Bob Evans farms, Inc, which owned Bob Evans food products and Bob Evans restaurants, which played in the family dining restaurant segment, whereas Mimi's cafe was a casual dining player. And so I was basically told the job is to turn the brand around from double digit negative sales and refresh the brand because it had gotten a little long in the tooth and also put a new concept in the ground that can attract capital that we can put behind as Bob Evans was a publicly traded company. We have a lot of capital, and we want to put it behind a growth part of our business. And we think with the leadership of you and your team, you can help us grow in profits. And we'll put the capital behind you. So we were dealt double digit negative sales, I lost some key team members right off the bat, right when I started, I had to recruit some new team members, I had to enrol them in the vision of what we wanted to do, which was become a neighbourhood Bistro, inspired by France. And that was our brand positioning. And we wanted to create a new concept that would create not just Mimi's cafe, but Mimi's bakery, cafe and Bistro. And that meant bring in a kiosk for French baked goods and French copies similar to a Starbucks, someone could come in and buy and walk back out. Or we had a little dining area where you could sit and enjoy your coffee or croissant or whatever and meet a friend, or have a full on meal and one of our dining rooms. It was a fantastic success. Because now we had not only breakfast and brunch, and somewhat lunch, which we were always pretty good at that we added dinner, and we added afternoon opportunities. And we added a full bar. So we had alcohol. And so we now had the ability to take that full asset and maximise every square foot of productivity and profitability out of it. It was great. Our team worked so hard to pull all this together. And we turned the brand around from double digit negative sales to positive growth. And we now had this future and everything that we worked on together as a team was coming to fruition. But instead of getting the capital that we were told we were going to get the board decided to move in a different direction, and called the company. So long story short, we ended up going through the whole sales process, we went through and found a suitor that we thought would be perfect for us. There were a French based company out perfect. And they weren't going to give us the capital to do what we wanted to do and what they saw and us, which is why they bought us. The deal closed on a Friday. And on Monday morning, I had the first meeting with the CEO to kind of plot our new future together. Unfortunately, one minute into our meeting, I looked over in the corner, I saw someone from HR, and I said to the CEOs, so under different circumstances, I would have reason to be worried, wouldn't I? He said Mark, you better sit down. We've decided to move in a different direction. What? Since Friday, they brought in their own team, I'm out the door. Ultimately, my team's out the door. Ultimately, they moved the office from Southern California to where they were located. And all this happened in a world. And I'm like what, what just happened? So I'm driving home. And I'm thinking to myself, so that just happened. This was February 21 2013. So a few years ago, and at this point in Southern California, I know you've been to LA and and are living back and forth between Austria and LA, you know, it starts to become kind of the first sign to spring we don't have a very long winter in Southern California. We had a fig tree in our backyard that was barren. From the few weeks of winter. We do have. And as I took the dog out that next morning, Bridget is God is my witness the sun that was coming over the wall we had in our backyard shown on that fig tree. And right there on one branch was this little green sprig. And at that moment, I got this epiphany that said, a Leaf. Leaf is a symbol of rebirth. Leaf is a symbol of growth. And I went into the dog in went into my office and started banging out a treatment on my computer about this idea. And I got to thinking in my mind's eye, I had been leading the team Mimi's with what I knew to be the rule of threes. And I said if we do these three things well, leadership engagement and accountability, we will turn this brand around from double digit negative growth, we will put a new concept in the ground that will attract capital, we will grow this enterprise to what its full potential can be. But when we look back on it, everybody was burned out. Everybody was working early mornings, all day, late nights weekends, because we were chasing numbers for the sake of numbers. And while we all believed in this big bold vision, we were burning the candle at both ends. And so that idea of leadership engagement accountability is it absolutely dead on but what was missing to me when I looked at that leaf was fulfilment. The F in leaf and I never call it lead before it was just leadership engagement accountability. But as I started writing this down, I got this epiphany that not only is leaf a symbol of growth, it's also an acronym, which stands for Leadership, engagement, accountability and fulfilment, that back to that four circle Venn diagram are integrated. And in the middle of all that is purpose. So it's purposeful leadership, purposeful engagement, purposeful accountability and purposeful growth, all revolving around purpose. And that's where I got this epiphany to create the purposeful growth revolution. Because if you think about four different aspects of our lives and careers, you start with cultivating growth. And that's about this notion of purposeful growth. Why does growth matter? And how do I compass that in my purpose, and then you look at this idea of taking growth to the next level, and looking at self growth, right, so now it's about how can I learn about myself, so I'm ready to grow. You don't just go plant a seed, you have to cultivate growth first. And then you have to figure out what seeds you want to plant. But then when you do that, you go to the next and that is, okay, I know about myself, now I've got to work, how do I incorporate that in my work? And so it's now about leadership, engagement, accountability, fulfilment, which you're translating your purpose into your work purpose. And then the fourth is this idea of life purpose. And that is, how do I leverage my time, my talents, my treasures, my triumphs and travails to help others along their growth journey. Because if leadership represents the seed root system, engagement represents the trunk branches and system of nourishment, which is called Savia. Spanish, it means lifeblood, what's the lifeblood of any organisation, its people. And accountability represents the leaf and the fruit. And fulfilment represents the ecosystem, the soil, the sun, the rain that causes that photosynthesis, that nurturing environment that allows that plant or that person that we're in a culture to be the best version of themselves. And in doing so, those who bear the most fruit have the opportunity to scatter the most seeds. But then plant new trees that helps others along their growth journey. That sounds so interesting and exciting. And when will the audience have the opportunity to buy this book, it's off to the editors right now, Bridget. And so by late summer, early fall is when I'm planning a launch of the book, but I'll have preorder opportunities earlier than that. So thank you for asking. But if anyone wants to read up a little bit on it, you can go to hit me up on LinkedIn, and I'd love to connect with you. Absolutely, I will put that into the show notes. You talked a lot about growth, and that growth matters. You're also starting a podcast about, it's gonna be called growth matters, right? So in what format are you going to launch it? Is it more a solo? Is it interviews where you invite thought leaders, top notch people, experts. So what's it gonna be like? it's gonna be both. There'll be times when I'll do solo to explain a concept. That's part of the book. But then most of it will be interviewing subject matter leaders, because remember, I don't know at all. And I have a curiosity to learn from people that are smarter, better, in many different ways than I am, so that I can continue my growth journey. Right. And in doing so, let listeners in on that exchange, and also be part of the conversation. So the idea is think about breaking up those four leaf growth processes, leadership, engagement, accountability, fulfilment, well, they'll both have, or they all have four sub processes. So the notion is, I will look for speakers that will add value to each one of those and add specific examples, so that I'll learn from them, and figure out ways that we can share it with the broader audience. So the podcast would be called growth matters. But also, I'll be doing a LinkedIn newsletter. Matter of fact, I'll start that this week, that will be called growth matters. And that will be me sharing particular aspects of the book and inviting people to comment and engage with me so that we can again learn together. That's a fantastic idea. That's great. And there's something that we really share. That's the curiosity and that's learning from other people. And that's why I love to interview all these thought leaders like you Mark and learn from them because there's so many different perspectives coming in. And there's people that told me you really have a growth mindset because you are gonna take the books to the grave. So, remember, never stop learning, it's the most beautiful thing on earth, I think, personally. All right, Mark, we are at the end of our show. But before we close it, I would like to do a very quick word wrap with you. Are you ready to give me quick and short answers? Okay? All right. Good, purpose. purposes, the epicentre of our being it's our seed, what are we on this earth to do? Okay, empowerment. Actually, empowerment is the result of my section on engagement. If you engage with your heart, your head, your hands and your habits, you will be empowered to be the very best version of yourself. Great leadership. Leadership is the first of the four leaf growth process. And leadership to me is all about clarity, connection, communication, and commitment. Nature. Well, nature is all around us. And, you know, it's one of those things you heard the old adage, you know, someone who can't see the forest in the trees, right. It's all around us. And the ability for, for me to have seen and received that epiphany several years ago, is is really special, because I think we can look all around us and see signs, if we're willing to be curious if we're willing to ask questions. And to me, whether you're a living organism, such as a human being, whether you're an animal or a plant, or any living organism, we're all put on this earth to live, grow and thrive and reproduce and help others along their growth journey. Okay. Accountability in a sentence. Wow, your master I know we're up against time. Accountability to me is all about outcomes measuring what matters most obstacles. What do we do when plans go awry? Outliers is who do we admire and best practices and obsolescence we want to avoid that through innovation. And brands. Brands are important as a symbol of a promise. For me a brand is a promise and those that are good brands, keep them those that are not good brands not so much. Okay, Mark, there can listeners find you and get in touch with you? Yeah, I think the easiest way is through LinkedIn. It's just put in Mark Mears and you will find my personal LinkedIn page, connect with me or follow me whatever you prefer. And I love to begin a dialogue. I'd love to learn more about you. I'd love to learn more about your perspective on maybe some of the things we've talked about today, so that I can continue to grow and thrive. Good Mark, thanks so much for being my guest today. It was such a delight having you here on my show today to learn from you how to fulfil our growth potential and how to find and live a powerful purpose. Thank you, Mark. Thank you. My pleasure, Brigitte. Thank you for having me. I enjoyed it. And that was my conversation with Mark Mears. If you like my show, head over to BridgetBrands.com and sign up for my newsletter to never miss an episode! I look forward to welcoming you in my community. Also don’t forget to subscribe to my BrandsTalk podcast on your preferred app, share it on social media and if you find a minute or two leave a quick rating or review. Thank you so much! I hope you will stay tuned in on the next episode when we dive into the world of brands.