While you can download his traditional bio below, here is a quick exec summary of why clients say Mark has street cred:

Real-World Implementation Experience –

Mark’s Disney World career spanned 26 years (numerous leadership positions) involving a wide variety of functional roles – from high-profile (Special Events: managing President Reagan’s “2nd inauguration”, Entertainment: Characters) to the mundane (transportation, attractions) to everything in-between (Organizational Development, Resorts, Disney Institute), Mark has been hip-deep in Disney strategies and daily operational implementation. (As he likes to say: “Have I got stories…”) 

Over the past 20 years, Mark has been personally involved with over two dozen Fortune 500 company transformation efforts – including 6 of the Top Ten Best Places to Work in Government agencies.  The interesting thing?  Mark discovered that all the best organizations follow the same path to sustainable success.  And he’s got all their tools that he’s willing to share with your team! 

Dynamic and Engaging Speaking Skills –

Since Mark’s first speech (ask him to tell you that incredible story) to his most recent last week, he has delivered over 1,300 keynotes (so far) in 54 countries (so far) on 6 (so far) of the 7 continents in the world.  The majority of Mark’s clients continue to be repeat requests – a fact that he works very hard to maintain.  Yeah – he’s able to spin his “Disney magic” on stage, and engage people at every level of your organization.

Proven Thought Leadership –

Mark crammed a lot of the behind-the-scenes secrets of these world-class organizations into his best-selling book “Lead With Your Customer: Transform Culture and Brand into World-Class Excellence”, published by ATD Press (English and Chinese languages – so far), which, due to popular demand, was recently updated in its 2nd edition!

Mark’s leadership expertise was also featured in the definitive American Society for Training & Development’s Leadership Handbook, showcasing “a who’s who of leadership experts” – along other luminaries such as Jim Collins, Frances Hesselbein, and Patrick Lencioni.  (He also has loads of articles, etc. for leading Leadership, Healthcare, and Business journals – both print and online).

Oh, and one more exciting bit of news: Mark has a new book coming out later this year on transforming your healthcare team titled “Results Stat!”, which is the implementation companion book to Fred Lee’s best-selling “If Disney Ran Your Hospital” to spark his efforts to transform healthcare.  Expect amazing new stories and insights that finally achieve that breakthrough you’ve been needing!

If you want a more traditional bio, just click here >>

Otherwise, if you’re curious about more insights from Mark himself, below is a segment from a media interview you might find interesting…


INTERVIEW HOST: It is our pleasure to have our keynote speaker Mark David Jones here on Speaker Spotlight.  Mark is President of the consulting firm Small World Alliance, and based on his background, has some fascinating stories to share.  Welcome to the show!

MARK DAVID JONES: Thank you, it’s a pleasure to be here.

HOST: First of all, you had an impressive career at Disney.  Please share with our audience your experience there.

MDJ: Well, Walt Disney used to say his successful company all started with a mouse.  For me, I got hired at Disney thinking it would be a fun summer job before starting college.  I’m not a theme park touchy-feely kinda guy, and I expected to only be there a few months, then go off someplace and get a real job that was more aligned with my real-world operational mentality.  Well, that summer job turned into a career that spanned 26 years.

HOST: Wow! What changed your mind about working at Disney?

MDJ: Actually, it was a lot of things that developed over time.  First of all, soon after I started, I realized everything wasn’t the fantasy focused kiddie park I assumed it was.  Running the parks was a serious business.  Everyone had fun and enjoyed it, but I was impressed with how efficient things were run and how they really engaged the cast members. 

HOST: What job did you do in that first year?

MDJ: Well, I worked a lot of positions during my time at Disney, but my first job was being a Disney Character.

HOST: (Laughs) No kidding?  What character did you play?

MDJ: I’m tall, so I played all the tall ones: Goofy, Tigger, the different bears.

HOST: What was that like?

MDJ: Hot! (Laughs) It’s actually a very physically demanding job.  At that time, most of the folks doing that were jock types.  I tell people that doing the parade in the summer is like doing jumping jacks in a portable sauna – sometimes while kids are kicking your shins.  It’s not for the faint-hearted (Laughs)

HOST: Oh my gosh, I bet you have some fascinating stories to tell!

MDJ: Yeah, for sure.  Everyone is curious about what really happens behind the scenes at Disney. 

HOST: Any juicy ones that you can share for our viewers?

MDJ: Well, maybe over some properly-chilled adult beverages (Laughs)

HOST: (Laughs) Will somebody bring me a drink?  Quick! (Laughs)

MDJ: I’ll be sharing some of those stories during tonight’s event.  The experiences I had in Characters and all the other operational areas during my career are great examples of how Disney is able to consistently exceed expectations.

HOST: As someone who’s vacationed there many times, they do seem to create a special magic.

MDJ: Yes, it seems like magic, but it’s happening in the real world.  75% of their operation is behind-the-scenes, but everyone’s focus is on the on-stage guest experience and supporting each other in effectively delivering it every encounter.

HOST: What else did you do at Disney?

MDJ: Well, I have kind of an ADHD kind of approach to my career.  I thrive on challenges, so I moved around quite a bit.  I worked in Entertainment, Attractions…

HOST: What Attractions did you do?

MDJ: In the Magic Kingdom, the rides in Frontierland and Main Street.  I also opened Epcot, where I drove the double-decker buses and worked the different countries.  I worked at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

HOST: What made you make the transition into speaking for a living?

MDJ: Good question.  I kind of fell into it, I suppose.  I like to separate my career into three phases: My first 8 years or so I worked in different operational areas – resort hotels, transportation, and special events.

HOST: Special events?  What is that?

MDJ: I led the team who handled any celebrity or VIP visits as well as when corporate groups would come to the park.

HOST: Oooh – celebrities!  (Laughs) More stories?

MDJ: (Laughs) Absolutely!  Where are those drinks? (Laughs)

HOST: (Laughs) Can somebody somewhere get me those drinks – we need stories! (Laughs) What were your most memorable celebrity experiences?

MDJ: Well, I worked with a lot of singers and actors.

HOST: Like who? (Yells off camera) Where are those drinks?! (Laughs)

MDJ: Michael Jackson a few times.

HOST: THE Michael Jackson?  What was he like?

MDJ: He was…interesting.  He loved Disney and would come down with his entourage for days at a time.

HOST: Anyone else we would know?

MDJ: Sure, just about anyone in show business during those years.  Also, VIPs from world affairs and government.  My most memorable experience was hosting President Reagan’s second inauguration at Epcot.  The weather cancelled the one in Washington, DC and my team had to put everything together in just 6 weeks.  It was brutal – but it was a priceless lesson in teamwork and doing something that seemed impossible.

HOST: Wow!  And this is all part of just your first of three phases?

MDJ: Yes, my next phase was all about helping transform under-performing departments into high-performing ones.

HOST: Is this where your team improvement tips come from?

MDJ: Originally, yes.  I was being promoted here and there and it was brought to my attention I had a knack for leadership.  One of my bosses kept moving me around to the worst situation.  He said I was like a firefighter who he would send into a burning room, then after I put it out, he would send me on to the next one.

HOST: Sounds intense!

MDJ: It was, but it was a fantastic way to develop skills that would help me do what I’m doing now.

HOST: Were you speaking to groups as part of this phase?

MDJ: Yes.  Communication is such an important skill for leaders.  My first public speaking experience was traumatic.

HOST: Oh?  How so?

MDJ: I was stage manager for a show in front of the castle and just before the singers and dancers were to take the stage, the audio tape broke.  The tech guy told me it would take about 10 minutes to fix and asked me to go inform the audience.  I said “sure” and grabbed a live mic and started walking towards the front of the stage.  It didn’t dawn on me until I looked up and saw about 8,000 people waiting there.

HOST: Oh my! 8,000 people?

MDJ: At least – it was one of the main shows of the park.

HOST: And this was your first time ever speaking?  What happened?

MDJ: Well, the truth is, I’m not sure.  The next thing I remember is I was walking off stage and everyone was clapping.  The tech guys were saying I did a great job, but I was so traumatized by the experience, I was determined to better understand this whole public speaking thing.

HOST: What did you do?

MDJ: I took classes and practiced all the time at work.  That’s really the secret – just practice like any other skill.  You’ll get better.

HOST: So your third phase was speaking?

MDJ: Yes, after I finished leading these operational transformation efforts, I was asked to join the Disney Institute – Disney’s external training operation.  As the Senior Consultant, I worked with numerous Fortune 500 companies, doing keynotes and workshops.

HOST: And that brings you to today?

MDJ: Well, I retired about 10 years ago and started working with more of these legendary companies.  The one thing that struck me was how these companies, who were in very different industries, all followed the same path to long-term success.  I wrote a book on the strategies and tools they all have in common.

HOST: The Lead With Your Customer book?

MDJ: Yes.

HOST: Everyone attending the general session is getting a copy of your book, right?

MDJ: Yes.  I’m even doing a book signing afterwards for those who’d like it autographed.

HOST: Wonderful!  What are the key messages from the book and your keynote that you want everyone to remember?

MDJ: I’d say that what I know from being behind-the-scenes at these legendary organizations is that they aren’t successful because they have more resources.  They have the same resources you have – computers, offices, paper, pens, etc.  They are more successful because they use those resources differently.  Anyone can improve and exceed expectations if you know what to focus on.   

HOST: Can they also expect to hear more insider information on your celebrity encounters?

MDJ: I always make sure to include the real-world secrets from Disney and these other amazing companies as well so people can finally know what can make work easier and more effective.  That might include a celebrity story or two.

HOST: As long as there are drinks involved? (Laughs)

MDJ: (Laughs) Sure – drinks can’t hurt (Laughs)