Ep 8: What's Love Got to Do with It? - with Mark Bergel, Founder, A Wider Circle
“Love is a verb. It’s not what we say, it’s what we do that matters.” – Mark Bergel Few business conversations center on love, but love is exactly what drives Dr. Mark Bergel every moment of every day. His mission is “simply” to end poverty. It may seem like a lofty goal but when you hear this amazing interview, you’ll know that if anyone can end poverty, it’s Mark and his extraordinary team! In 2001, Mark, then teaching at American University, volunteered along with his students to deliver food to families living in need in the D.C region. He found himself in homes with no beds, no dressers and no living room furniture at all. As a result, Mark profoundly changed his life along with the lives of thousands of children and adults living in need. With no seed money, but a strong conviction that we could do better for those living in poverty, he converted his living room into a nonprofit office and founded A Wider Circle. Today the organization is housed in a 25,000 square-foot facility and is planning to expand! To date, A Wider Circle has served more than 125,000 individuals, with more than 10,000 volunteers coming each year to support the effort. What You'll Learn What is the difference between living a small and a big life (I know, it got deep!) What inspired Mark to leave his job in academia and give up the life he was planning in Sedona to tirelessly pursue his mission to end poverty What drives mark to work 14-16 hours a day 365 a year and wake up energized after 4 hours of sleep (kids, don't try this at home!) How to create an organizational culture centered on love and find staff who both have the heart and the skills to get the job done How to leverage others’ talents to balance out your strengths and weaknesses as a leader What is enlightened selfishness? Why Mark's believes that we can end poverty in 20 years and how we can do it How to do seemingly impossible (beyond ending poverty) - get others to care and to instill a sense of possibility in skeptical people How do we get others to engage in your cause This and so much more you’ll learn in this incredible conversation with Mark! Links & Resources A Wider Circle – the amazing organization that will end poverty. If you live outside of the D.C. area please Google “poverty / community service / volunteering to find an organization that needs you in your region The Alchemist, Paolo Coelho – one of Mark’s favorite books (and mine) American University Sociology Program – Mark refers to it in his interview, if you’re fascinated please check it out! About Mark Bergel Dr. Bergel founded A Wider Circle in 2001 and has emerged as a leader in the movement to end poverty. He is a nationally acclaimed speaker in the fields of poverty, health, and social connection and has been featured on national television and radio programs. Mark earned a B.A. from Northwestern University and went on to receive both Masters and Doctoral degrees from American University. In 2014, Mark was selected as a CNN Hero, bringing much-needed attention to the movement to end poverty in our nation. The result of this honor has been to bring many more people from across the country to our efforts - and to help us answer the call to help our neighbors in need. Mark has also been voted one of People Magazine and Major League Baseball's "All Stars Among Us" and he has received the Dr. Augustus White III Award for Civic Engagement and Service, the Andrea Jolly President's Award, the Essence of Leadership Award at the Greater DC Cares Business and Nonprofit Philanthropy Summit, and the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region's Linowes Leadership Award.