In each installment of The 4-1-1, we interview a different member of the House Party Team, asking the big questions that are on everyone's minds. Meet Mark, our Director of Community Support. Mark has worn many hats here at House Party, but has always worked for you, our community, by providing, managing and adjusting how we provide excellent community support. Sarah, our Community Manager, has worked with Mark for her two years here, so she knew exactly what to ask him...
1. You've been at House Party for how long now? What is the biggest change you've seen in your time here? I have been with House Party since November of 2007 - so that's about four and half years. Yikes, that is a long time! I think the biggest change has been in the people who I've been lucky to work with. Some people have been here a long time with me while others are more recent - but the theme throughout is that everyone works really hard and wants to make House Party the best it can be...together.
2. Providing community support for House Party members is drastically different than providing community support for customers of other organizations. In your opinion, what's the biggest difference? I think the biggest difference here at House Party is that we're trying to help or "coach" people, not really tell them what to do. Yes, sometimes we have to stick to our policies on host selection and Party Packs and be a little more rigid, but oftentimes we seem to work in the moment. Every day we get a new question and we use our experience to give the best answer back to a customer - even if it's the first time we've ever been down that road. We evolve every day which keeps things fresh.
3. How did you meet your "son," Ferguson? Oh man, well first off for the readers, Ferguson is a dog - not a human. We first met Fergie Ferg at a Pet's Mart in Northern Virginia through the Lost Dog and Cat Foundation. My wife, then girlfriend, wanted a dog forever, but we were just going to check them out (not buy). We actually went to see Ferguson's brother, Fletcher, but he'd been adopted the night before. Two hours later, we came home with a 25 pound, five month old pup who they said would grow to be about 45 pounds. He is a pitbull, ridgeback, retriever mix - and he's awesome. He's really fearful of people at first meeting, but he'll warm up to you over time (lots of time).
Oh yeah, and now he's 4 years old and weighs 70 pounds, not 45 as anticipated.
4. You got married just a few weeks ago! You've already talked about your wedding planning experience on the blog. Can we get a quick update? Photos? Yeah, I just got back from the Honeymoon and it was an awesome time. A lot of time and effort went into the wedding and I can definitely say it was all worth it. Dani and I were so appreciative of all the people who could make it down to Florida to celebrate and we think they had a lot of fun too. In terms of pics, I think we can make that happen. Maybe I'll get a link on here in a few days. You'll probably want to spend most of your time looking at the bride and not me.
5. Excited for the Olympics, sports buff? I love the Olympics. USA, all the way! I'm a little bummed the US Men's Soccer team didn't qualify this year, but it should be pretty sweet in London. I usually get pretty jacked-up for Track and Field and the swimming. However, you can rest assured I will watch everything. Although I can't watch it tape delayed. Since I'm on Twitter and the internet all day, I need to watch it all live, knowing the results up front ruins it for me.
6. Who's winning the Stanley Cup this year? I have to say CAPITALS, right? I mean I love the Caps, but at the time of this interview we have a critical Game 6 tonight vs. New York. I'm really hoping we can pull it out - Ovechkin needs it. Coming into the playoffs, I would have said Pittsburgh, but I think L.A. (8 seed) looks really good through two rounds with their goalkeeping. (Note: the Caps won last night, and they're on to game 7!)
7. And finally...you LOVED the critically-acclaimed HBO show, The Wire. If you could be any character from the series, who would you be and why? (Hey, even the President loved the show - I had to ask). Man, I see a little of myself in a lot of the characters - generally the characters not involved in the drug game, however. I worked with kids after college like Pryzbylewski and "Cutty", but that's about the only connection I have to either of them. I don't know that I want to "be" any character from the series, but like President Obama, I think I have to go with Omar as maybe the best character. The guy commanded respect on the streets and he was just a driving force behind the show. I was always a fan of Freeman too - he wasn't afraid to do what it takes to get the job done.
Have any questions for Mark? Leave a comment and we'll try to get him to answer them.