Mark W. Johnson
VP of Legal Affairs, Home Solutions, Govt Affairs and Latin America, Newell Rubbermaid
My parents have always been my greatest inspiration. I am blessed to have two very supportive parents who have always encouraged me to dream big and work hard to reach my goals. I’m proud that my background and experiences help me provide a unique perspective when solving problems in my work, particularly as Newell Rubbermaid enters new markets. While the challenges I face and goals I set are always evolving, my parents’ inspiration is constant.
OUR GREATEST CHALLENGE
The failure of African American boys and girls to complete formal education at acceptable rates or levels. Increasing high school and college graduation rates would go a long way in addressing a number of complex issues in the African American community. Studies consistently show high school and college graduates have lower rates of incarceration and earn significantly more income in their lifetimes than their peers who do not finish school. While there is no magic elixir for the community’s ills, education is the closest thing we have at this time.
I have learned that effective leaders can communicate differing opinions without being disagreeable. I believe successful organizations foster environments that encourage constructive debate and finding creative solutions to problems. Skilled leaders can voice opposing perspectives in these environments while maintaining the respect and trust of their colleagues.
Focusing on my family helps me keep perspective. Maintaining balance is a constant objective for me. I believe you have to identify areas of your life that you want to make priorities, and then work just as hard at succeeding in those areas as you do at succeeding in your professional life.
You are ultimately responsible for managing your own career path. Be aggressive in seeking out new challenges and learning opportunities. You have to be willing to venture outside your comfort zone to grow. I work at a company that is creating larger, more challenging roles for its employees. Taking on increased responsibility or tackling a more diverse scope of work can seem daunting, but it’s incredibly satisfying. Meet these opportunities head on.