Mark Thompson Profile

CEO and co-founder of Virgin Unite Mentors (VUM), the network established by Sir Richard Branson for coaching and entrepreneurial innovation, Mark Thompson’s expertise in coaching leadership for senior executives is unequaled. In addition to his position at VUM he is a Founding Patron of Virgin Unite’s Entrepreneurship Centre and Program Chairman for the Board of Governors of the Hesselbein Leadership Institute and the John F. Kennedy Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership.

Prior to working at Virgin, Mark was variously Chief of Staff, Chief Customer Experience Officer, Chief Communications Officer and co-founder of the Schwab Foundation at Charles Schwab. In his role as Executive Producer at, he was responsible for assets of over $1.4 trillion.

Mark is an alumnus of Stanford University, and he is a visiting scholar there as well as a founding advisor of the Stanford Realtime Venture Design Lab. He has been a member of the faculty at both the World Economic Forum and the World Business Forum, in addition to being an executive coach for TED and a member of the Clinton Initiative.

As an investor, Mark specializes in entertainment software and healthcare companies. He is a Founding Board Member of Smule, which tops the charts at Google and Apple for music applications with more than 60 million active users. Cancer Genetics, which is a world leader in DNA cancer diagnostics, is one of the companies in which he invests.

Away from the mainstream of business, Mark is passionate about Broadway Theatre and plays he has produced have been nominated for Tony Awards fifteen times, winning five. These plays include collaboration with Disney, Peter and the StarCatcher, and StickFly with the Alicia Keys.

  • View Extended/Alternate Bio

    Based in Silicon Valley, Mark is a senior executive leadership coach, a successful business leader, New York Times bestselling author, venture
    capitalist and Tony-nominated Broadway producer – and brings real-time solutions to today’s leadership challenges.

    Mark is the CEO and cofounder of Virgin Unite Mentors, Sir Richard Branson’s network for executive coaching and entrepreneurial innovation and is a Founding Patron of Virgin Unite’s Entrepreneurship Centre. Mark is also Program Chairman for the Board of Governors of the Hesselbein Leadership Institute and the John F. Kennedy Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership.

    Mark is Charles Schwab’s former Chief of Staff, Chief Customer Experience Officer, Chief Communications Officer and cofounder of the Schwab Foundation. He served as the Executive Producer of, with assets of over $1.4 Trillion. Forbes Magazine called Mark one of “America’s top investors with the ‘Midas’ touch.”

    He is a founding advisor of the Stanford Realtime Venture Design Lab, and a visiting scholar at his alma mater, Stanford University. He has served as faculty at the World Economic Forum and the World Business Forum. He is a member of the Clinton Initiative and an executive coach for TED.

    Mark served on the Board of Directors of Best Buy, Korn Ferry and Interwoven (now owned by HP). He was Chairman of Rioport – which popularized the MP3 player prior to the iPod and iTunes and was Chairman of Integration which was acquired by Silicon Labs.

    Mark is an investor in entertainment software and health care companies. He is a Founding Board Member of Smule, which is Google and Apple’s top music applications company – including a top selling app for the hit TV series Glee – with over 60 million active users. He is an investor in Cancer Genetics, a leader in DNA- based cancer diagnostics for personalized clinical management of cancer treatment.

    Among his passions is Broadway. As a producer, Mark’s plays have earned five Tony Awards and ten nominations, including Peter and the StarCatcher with Disney, and StickFly with Alicia Keys. He is a partner in the Broadway Times Square Theatre, which is being converted into a 4D permanent Broadway attraction.

    Mark lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Manhattan with two extraordinary women – his wife Bonita and their daughter Vanessa.

Mark Thompson Speaking Videos

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Mark Thompson's Speech Descriptions

Mark offers a series of four keynote speeches which draw on his high-level business management expertise as well as his career as a leadership coach. He can demonstrate how to ignite your team with passionate engagement and get the things that matter most done.

If you want your team to become the most admired in your industry, Mark can show you, using his studies with Stanford and Northwestern University researchers, how to boost employee engagement to achieve this. Taking lessons from world-class businesses that had to reinvent, he shows how you can manage change for lasting benefits, and the critical drivers of influence behind boosts in sales and profit growth.

Keynote Topics

  • Doing it All: Getting Done What Matters Most SIX steps to Passionate Engagement Despite Pressure & Change
  • Most Admired Company – Boost Employee Engagement How can your team become the ‘Most Admired’ in your industry?
  • Make Change Happen – Success Built to Last How do you convince your team not only to embrace change, but actually lead the transformation now – with urgency?
  • Build a Great Business – Boost Sales & Profit Growth In this high-impact keynote, Mark reveals the 3 critical drivers of influence for every great business and high performance leaders.
  • Doing it All: Getting Done What Matters Most
    Being a leader in the "new normal" means that you're multitasking 24/7 and you're expected to produce great results with fewer resources. It's no surprise that maintaining focus on the highest priorities can be a major hurdle. With so many simultaneous demands on your time, passionate engagement is a "must have" skill.

    NYTimes bestselling author Mark C. Thompson will give your team the Productive Passion Test: Six steps that ignite passionate engagement and how to get back on track when you are thrown off course. Learn how the most productive, high achievers get it all done!

  • How to get into Productive Flow
  • Build a Resilient Edge to bounce back from challenges
  • Tap the passions that inspire Engaged Accountability
  • Find innovative ways to manage Overcommitment
  • Balance Humility with Political Incorrectness
  • Ignite Collaborative Leadership — Get the Right People in the Right Seats to Embrace Change
  • Thompson’s new keynote is based on his long-time research partnership with Stanford University Professor Clifford Nass – who pioneered studies at the Stanford MediaLab on relationships and multitasking ‐ as well as Mark’s experience as a founding advisor with the Virgin Unite Richard Branson Entrepreneurship Innovation Centres.

    The American Management Association (AMA) is launching a series of AMA Leadership Webinars on this topic with Mark, and the series will feature Q&A with other top global business leaders including Sir Richard Branson.

    Most Admired Company - Boost Employee Engagement
    How can your team become the "Most Admired" in your industry? Mark shares his new study (with Stanford and Northwestern researchers) revealing what Highly Engaged Employees admire and value in companies, teams and leaders.

  • What 8 Leadership Traits engage top performers most?
  • What 21 tools will double the value you provide customers?
  • How can you become the MVP of your team?
  • Make Change Happen - Success Built to Last
    How do you convince your team not only to embrace change, but actually lead the transformation now - with urgency? In this exciting keynote and seminar, Mark shares insights and video from world-class companies that at first struggled with change and then reinvented their businesses.

  • What 3 factors galvanize change in every person?
  • How do world-class teams generate unstoppable growth?
  • What 5 Customer Service strategies are Built to Last?
  • How do you grow leaders from Good to Great - Level 1 to 5 - and what steps are necessary to develop high-performing teams?
  • Build a Great Business - Boost Sales & Profit Growth
    In this high-impact keynote, Mark reveals the 3 critical drivers of influence for every great business and high performance leaders.

  • 5 Mistakes That Cut Sales in Half.
  • Helping clients understand the cost of ignoring your offer.
  • What Does Your Market Crave?
  • 5 Tools To Double Sales: Positioning-Pain-Promise-Proof-Planning.
  • What People are Saying about Seeing Mark Speak

    Rating Entries

    “If you’re crazy enough to do what you love for a living, then you’re bound to create a life that matters. The book Success Built to Last wisely counsels you to go nuts about something meaningful. That’s what you’re here to do, for heaven’s sake. If you do that, then you won’t need to finish this book!”
    Chairman and Cofounder, Southwest Airlines

    “In Success Built to Last, authors Jerry Porras, Stewart Emery and Mark Thompson share the wisdom of great leaders about sustaining success and having a fulfilling life at the same time. They show readers how to pursue their passions and achieve success beyond their wildest dreams, while staying true to who they are. The book is a ‘must read!’”
    former Chairman & CEO, Medtronic and author of Authentic Leadership

    “John Deere himself said ‘I will not put my name on a product that does not have the best in it that is in me.’ Imagine using that same standard in your personal life and career. When you commit yourself to excellence that would make you proud to put your name on everything you do, then you will have Success Built to Last.”
    Robert Lane,
    Chairman and CEO of John Deere & Co., Inc.

    “At last, a powerful new resource, for leaders struggling to create ‘a life that matters,’ a guide book for the journey to greater significance for leaders across the sectors, around the world.”
    Frances Hesselbein,
    Chairman and Founding President Leader to Leader Institute, (formerly the Peter F. Drucker Foundation) and Editor–In–Chief of the Leader to Leader Journal

    “You can make a difference if you put your passions to work in a way that builds a better life for you, your business and your community. Success Built to Last shows you how.”
    Editor in Chief, Forbes Magazine

    “In business and in life, lasting success takes teamwork, integrity and the courage to stick with what really matters. It’s the best five players that win the game, not the five best players. That’s what this book is all about.”
    Chairman, President and CEO of Wells Fargo

    “There is no greater thing you can do with your life and work than find your passion and follow it–in a way that improves both yourself and the world. In this book you will learn from both unknown and famous people–inspiring leaders like Nelson Mandela and entrepreneur Michael Dell, along with schoolteachers, scientists, community workers, athletes, artists, Nobel laureates and the Presidents of nations.

    “From Bono and Quincy Jones to Maya Angelou and The Dalai Lama, all the people you will meet in Success Built to Last challenged themselves to do more, be more and give back more than even they thought possible. Everyone wants success, but you can do better than that. This is an extraordinary book that finally reveals a meaningful ‘secret formula’ for success based on the lives of remarkable people.”
    Sir Richard Branson

    “The three co-authors of Success Built to Last have served on our corporate university advisory board since its inception. We have put these simple but eloquent principles and practices you’ll find here to work–developing leaders, building teams and creating great software. The book is both moving and practical. It also reflects the personal experiences of the authors–three leaders whom I admire and respect and, as far as I’m aware, is the most thoroughly researched work on enduring success and leadership available. The ideas are amazingly accessible.”
    Spencer Clark III,
    Chief Learning Officer of Cadence Design Systems

    “Here at MasterCard International we have had the good fortune to work with Stewart and Joan Emery and apply many of the ideas that you will find in Success Built to Last. This book is a great read and provides excellent ‘real world’ examples for the reader to use immediately!”
    Rob Reeg
    Chief Technology Officer, MasterCard International

    “An incredible book and a must read for anyone interested in achieving enduring success for themselves, their family, their stakeholders and community. This book is beautifully and compellingly written and it will help you summon up your passions on a daily basis.”
    Jason Jennings

    “Wonderfully poignant and readable book. A great blending of theory with application. Provides wisdom that makes common sense practical and accessible. Offers insights about how to make a life not just a living.”
    Barry Z. Posner, Ph.D.
    Dean an Professor of Leadership, Santa Clara University

    “Want to pick the brains of extraordinarily successful people? My book can help you connect with one at a time, but the book you’re holding right now contains the lessons to be learned from over 200! For your career’s (and life’s) sake, I hope you read Success Built to Last this weekend. For the world’s sake, let’s hope this is the most read business book of the year.”
    CEO of Ferrazzi Greenlight and bestselling author of Never Eat Alone

    “Anything worth doing in life takes a team. If you want to Create a Life That Matters – as you will see in this book – you’ve got to recruit a team to your dream.”
    Commissioner of the National Basketball Association

    “There is nothing more important you can do than create a life that matters for you and your family. That is the only way to achieve Success Built to Last. As a leader and a parent, you’ve got to read this book and then give it to the teens in your family!”
    President of IMAX Films

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    Books by Mark Thompson:

    Admired: 21 Ways to Double Your Value

    You deserve to be valued, respected, and admired for what matters to you. Here are twenty-one ways to make it happen.

    “Imagine how it would feel to be fully valued for what you do best. What if your boss, your customers, and your family really appreciated what you have to offer? How proud would you be if your organization won the top spot among Fortune Magazine’s ‘Most Admired Companies?’ What if Jim Collins rated you a ‘Level 5 leader’?

    In this book, you’ll find 21 simple and powerful strategies that will help you become more valued in a crowded and competitive world—not in a superficial way or just for its own sake—but for what matters most to you and to the most valuable people (MVPs) in your life and work.” From the Foreword by Frances Hesselbein and Marshall Goldsmith

    Order Here

    Success Built to Last: Creating a Life that Matters
    The phenomenal follow-up to the bestselling Built to Last

    Imagine discovering what successful people have in common, distilling it into a set of simple practices, and using them to transform your career and your life. That′s what Jerry Porras, Stewart Emery, and Mark Thompson—leading thinkers in organizational development and self- improvement have done in Success Built to Last. Two hundred remarkable human beings from around the world are included, notably:

  • Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO,
  • Warren Buffett
  • Bill Clinton
  • Frances Hesselbein, former CEO, Girl Scouts of America
  • Maya Angelou
  • Bill Gates

    Each shares how he or she harvested victories, learned from failures, and found the courage to be true to their passions. By following a set of simple principles culled from these inspiring interviews, readers can transform their business and personal lives—and discover the true meaning of success

    Order Here

    Now, Build a Great Business!: 7 Ways to Maximize Your Profits in Any Market
    Publisher′s Weekly says: Thompson (Success Built to Last) and Tracy (No Excuses!) offer easy, tried-and-true ways to think about and plan organizational growth, especially in tough economic times. In seven steps (with a chapter devoted to each), the authors identify sustainable strategies for attracting customers and recruiting better leaders. They share seven simple questions that leaders ask themselves and provide helpful checklist exercises on a variety of key topics including creating a great business plan, designing an effective marketing plan, and creating a good customer experience. In addition, they explore how to perfect the sales process, and their chapter on recruiting and motivating employees offers valuable advice on a tired subject–utilize the “SWAN formula” (hire candidates who are Smart, Work hard, are Ambitious, and are Nice, positive people); establish expectations; and manage by objectives. While much of what′s covered is simple and straightforward, readers will find the practical aspects and clear organization of this book particularly useful.

    Order Here

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