It’s a long way from the Venetian Resort & Casino in Las Vegas to the remote village of Rocafuerte on Ecuador’s Pacific coast. Yet that’s where Marvelless Mark, headliner and M.C. of the Venetian’s Bourbon Room nightclub, found himself recently. Gone were his usual costumes, music, and showmanship. Instead, Mark won his audience over simply by being there for them.
“It started when I began sponsoring a little girl named Ashly Atati through an organization called Compassion International,” Mark said. “Your sponsored kid gets hot meals, school supplies, medical attention, even counseling. All for just $40 a month. It made me feel good to be giving back.”
This summer, Mark decided to do what few other sponsors do by visiting his sponsored child in person. In June, he made the 3,500-mile trek to rural Ecuador. “That first day in the village is something I'll never forget,” Mark said. “As our bus brought us into town, kids were all lined up, holding up welcome signs with our names written on them. The ladies of the village had made special treats for us to eat. It was really moving.”
The following days quickly filled with work projects. There was also a beach trip and a play day at the school. “My experience doing kids' parties in the early part of my career came in handy during our play day at the school. I was in charge of the games, and we had all the kids in the school running around, acting goofy, laughing and playing, having a great time.”
Of course, working a crowd is what Marvelless Mark does best. Beginning as a radio DJ who also did private parties, Mark eventually evolved full-time into entertainment with corporate events as his specialty. Dubbed “the Ambassador of Celebration,” Mark traveled the world performing for Fortune 500 companies.
Soon, serving as M.C. at parties and award nights led to more serious pursuits. “I got to hear all these famous motivational speakers, and it got me to thinking,” Mark said. “The world of rock music, which I knew well, had a lot of lessons to offer the world of business."
That observation became the basis for Mark's motivational keynote, “Opportunity Rocks,” which led to an accompanying book, Opportunity Rocks! Be a Rock Star in Business and Beyond.
Today, Mark is back in Las Vegas, working six nights a week at the Bourbon Room. He still performs in front of corporate audiences, leading teambuilding exercises, delivering keynote talks, and acting as M.C. for general sessions and award nights. And while Ashly Atati may be out of sight, she 's definitely not out mind.
“She's only 7, but Ashly's already thinking about how she can help her small community,” Mark said. “After she completes her education she wants to return to Rocafuerte, maybe as a teacher. If I can help her achieve that goal, well, that's an opportunity that really rocks.”