Sergeant Major (retired) USMC Mario Fields is a dynamic personality and highly sought-after resource in business and professional circles for professionals looking to create and expand business opportunities. He served 26 years in the United States Marine Corps before transitioning to the private sector as a small business owner, philanthropist, podcast host/producer, and contractor.
Mario has developed, managed, and led diverse teams in the United States, Persian Gulf, Mediterranean Sea, Israel, United Arab Emirates, Africa, Australia, Cambodia, Philippines, South Korea, Mainland Japan, Okinawa, Thailand, Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan. His reputation reflects unquestionable integrity, resilience, accountability, and he has a strong passion for helping other people achieve their life goals.
Check out more interviews with entrepreneurs here.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO GET FEATURED?
All interviews are 100% FREE OF CHARGE
Table of Contents
We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Mario Fields: My name is Mario Fields and I served in the United States Marine Corps for 26 years before transitioning to the private sector. I am passionate about making the world a better place for the current and future generations.
I founded Still Serving, Inc. on August 18, 2018 with a to inspire a global community that fosters economic growth, diverse thinkers, and empowered action through positive youth development. Currently, Still Serving, Inc.’s mission is to enhance the professional development of high school students in underserved communities. Our Adopt-A-School program strives to accomplish our mission and vision through collaborative school, community, and industry partnerships.
2020 and 2021 threw a lot of curve balls into business on a global scale. Based on the experience gleaned in the past couple years, how can businesses thrive in 2022? What lessons have you learned?
Mario Fields: 2020 and 2021 were definitely interesting times in all industries. I believe some characteristics that helped Still Serving, Inc. thrive during the pandemic started with our board members, officers, and volunteers changing their mindset and becoming comfortable with doing business in an uncomfortable environment.
I believe this deliberate mindset change allowed our team to seek and create opportunities created by the pandemic. I learned many lessons but the one I would like to share is the importance of self-discipline. There were many days I continued to pursue developing new program strategies although the temptation was high to abandon them due to downturn in economic activity.
The pandemic seems to keep on disrupting the economy, what should businesses focus on in 2022? What advice would you share?
Mario Fields: I believe the pandemic is one of many external factors that’s currently disrupting the economy and businesses should focus on seeking and creating new opportunities across all industries. I believe disruption, at times, is a good thing and creates new opportunities that a business owner may not have considered if things were running smoothly.
How has the pandemic changed your industry and how have you adapted?
Mario Fields: According to Center for Disease Philanthropy, 2021 and Maher et al., 2020, the nonprofit industry has lost more than 900,000 jobs, decreased individual donor support, and reduced available funds through government and foundation grants.
The way I adapted is through a collaborative approach to accomplishing Still Serving, Inc.’s mission and program goals. I believe collaborative partnerships will save costs, improve program efficiency, and create new program opportunities in a resource constrained environment.
What advice do you wish you received when the pandemic started and what do you intend on improving in 2022?
Mario Fields: Be creative with imagining the unthinkable during my S.W.O.T. analysis and don’t develop a belief that it will not happen.
I definitely wish I would’ve received this advice in 2018 when I founded Still Serving, Inc. I intend on improving my ability to leverage multiple social media platforms to increase brand awareness, expand fundraising strategies, and more.
Online business surged higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for 2022?
Mario Fields: I imagine this trend will continue in an upward trajectory. During my last eight years in the military, I developed the skill to comfortably lead and manage teams around the world leveraging technology. However, I always recommend developing strategies to accomplish the mission and program goals without it as well. Backup plans are definitely a must!
How many hours a day do you spend in front of a screen?
Mario Fields: I spend approximately 6+ hours a day in front of a computer screen. Aside from leading and managing Still Serving, Inc., I am a content creator for YouTube and a podcast producer and host. Both professions require a lot of time in front of a computer screen and camera.
The majority of executives use stories to persuade and communicate in the workplace. Can you share with our readers examples of how you implement that in your business to communicate effectively with your team?
Mario Fields: I believe storytelling is one effective way of helping employees and volunteers gain a better understanding and connect them to company’s past. I believe storytelling creates additional opportunities for employees to reflect on the past, focus on the present, and imagine the future. I always tell stories of past events regardless of if they were successful or not.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as the real challenge right now?
Mario Fields: I believe the real challenge is what I can’t see, imagine, or develop a strategy for. However, I welcome and embrace challenges based on my experience with creating opportunities during moments of crisis.
In 2022, what are you most interested in learning about? Crypto, NFTs, online marketing, or any other skill sets? Please share your motivations.
Mario Fields: During 2022, I was most interested in learning more about the U.S. Podcasting Industry and how to leverage this industry to increase brand awareness and customer engagement.
A record 4.4 million Americans left their jobs in September in 2021, accelerating a trend that has become known as the Great Resignation. 47% of people plan to leave their job during 2022. Most are leaving because of their boss or their company culture. 82% of people feel unheard, undervalued and misunderstood in the workplace. Do you think leaders see the data and think “that’s not me – I’m not that boss they don’t want to work for? What changes do you think need to happen?
Mario Fields: I believe the most recent changes in the labor market are extremely complex and may never be completely understood.
I believe if a company is underperforming in the retention department, the first step is to gain a better understanding of the why, develop strategies through workplace collaborative initiatives, and apply the new or updated strategy to see the results. The thought process I use is:
- Start with feedback
- Align the team
- Develop an agenda/metrics
- Measure results
- Make relevant changes
- Do it again
On a lighter note, if you had the ability to pick any business superpower, what would it be and how would you put it into practice?
Mario Fields: Great question! I would develop an annual event where business leaders, worldwide, would meet. The purpose of this global leadership event would be to discuss and develop strategies that fosters economic growth, diverse thinkers, and empowered action through positive youth development. This is actually part of Still Serving, Inc.’s vision statement.
What does “success” in 2022 mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
Mario Fields: Success to me in 2022 and beyond is staying healthy. I believe it will be extremely difficult for me to lead and manage Still Serving, Inc., continue to create content in the podcasting industry and on YouTube, and create new memories with family and friends if I am not healthy.
I believe the road to success is always under construction! Thank you for this opportunity to share my thoughts and experiences.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Mario Fields for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Mario Fields or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
Disclaimer: The ValiantCEO Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.