If the want-to is strong enough, the how-to will come. — Mark C. Perna

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Best keynote speech I have heard in 30 years.

- Stephen Freeman VP at M&T Insurance Agency Inc.

Mark’s session was the most inspiring and engaging experience I have had in a long time to regard to K-12 public education.

- Chad Wyen Superintendent at Mad River Local Schools

This was the best keynote I have ever been to! It was so inspiring the whole way through, provided easily applicable information and left me ready to act!

- Shelley Baudean Grants Specialist

Life changing message. Let me say I feel I’ve learned a new way to understand and speak to my grandkids and the younger generation.

- Terry Strayhand CTE Grants & Accountability LEAD

I’ve gained a better understanding of how to unleash the potential I see in so many of our high school students. Mark is knowledgeable, personable and the right leader to guide this “shift” in the way schools and communities support their students.

- Amy Stafford Principal, Kohala High School (VIRTUAL PRESENTATION)

Absolutely hit the target for students of today and the impact of teaching for their future.

- Missie McKinney Assistant Principal at Dalton High School

Amazing presenter! Mark makes it real. He bridges the gap between education and employment.

- Terry Krezmer Human Resources at Larson Design Group

You know a speaker is great when he inspires you to race back to your office or classroom to start implementing what he said. Mark is that kind of speaker.

- Sally Pestana Kapiolani Community College

Common sense, in your face, relatable and DO-ABLE calls to action that will make immediate impact. I’d tell people to NOT miss the opportunity to participate in this.

- Angela Whitcomb Executive Vice President, Minneapolis Regional Chamber

Buckle up for a fast, furious conversation of motivating younger generations and becoming aware of the issues with employment gaps and the way to fix them. Very exciting conversation with Mark Perna.

- Sadie Fritzler Career Coach at Northeastern Junior College

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Additional Information

Virtual Presentations

Mark’s Virtual Presentations Are Making An Impact

In addition to his on-site keynote speeches, Mark specializes in delivering engaging and impactful virtual presentations. His unique ability to connect meaningfully with people through a screen can change a routine professional development session into a transformative and memorable experience.

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Topics Mark Covers

Answering Why In Education: Unleashing Passion, Purpose, and Performance in Younger Generations

Dynamic education expert Mark C. Perna will unveil the groundbreaking innovations and strategies that are shifting the education and workforce development paradigm nationwide. Mark will share how the single most important competitive advantage in today’s workforce is the synergy of academic knowledge and technical skills — and how you can help students achieve it.

Mark’s revolutionary Three Pillars can give your organization the edge in today’s competitive educational and training landscape. As the connective tissue between everything you’re already doing and the Three-Pillar approach, the Career Tree® strategy will help you show students why education matters, motivate them to set goals, and help them achieve at a higher level. Plus, the planning culture model will empower you to inspire your students and start new conversations about the outstanding college and career foundation that goal-driven education delivers.

In addition, Mark’s revolutionary Education with Purpose® philosophy will help you maximize your enrollment, retention, and performance results as students and parents experience the incredible value of purpose-driven learning. You’ll gain key insights on today’s younger generations, how to answer their all-important question why, and how to connect with them at a deeper level. You’ll also find out how the proven Light at the End of the Tunnel strategy will help keep students from all backgrounds engaged in their chosen pathway. Finally, the Wade Factor story will recharge your professional passion by showing the truly profound difference you can make every day.

Now you and your team can join the thousands of high school and college administrators, teachers, and critical support staff members who are using these cutting-edge best practices to improve the outcome for their students, organization, and community. Sit down, strap in, and get energized for your mission of making a bigger difference for your students and community!

Answering Why At Work: Unleashing Passion, Purpose, and Performance in Younger Generations

Dynamic workforce development expert Mark C. Perna will unveil the secrets of motivating today’s younger employees to increase their performance on all levels in the workplace. Business and industry groups, company owners, executives, hiring managers, and many others will benefit from these proven strategies to bridge the generational divide, recruit and retain skilled workers, and gain a competitive advantage.

As the older generations retire and younger workers take their place, it is becoming more and more critical to close the skills gap in America. And yet to date, the vast creativity, intelligence, and potential of our younger generations remain untapped, as many have never experienced the branch creak that motivates real action. As business groups nationwide struggle to connect with the increasingly complex millennial and Z Generations, we must adapt to their changing needs to create a future they are motivated to pursue.

Discover how your organization can experience the power of the Wade Factor, hear the branch creak, and implement the Light at the End of the Tunnel strategy to attract, train, and keep the best young talent in the workforce today. With highly practical generational insights, innovative best practices, and vibrant inspiration, Mark’s nationally acclaimed methods will open your eyes to see the younger generations like never before.

All over the country, education and workforce leaders are implementing these powerful best practices with tremendous results. Don’t miss this chance to start your recruitment and retention success story — and get the edge in today’s highly competitive global marketplace!

Building Your Dream: Real Inspiration for Today’s Young People

What does it take to live the dream? Dynamic education expert Mark C. Perna will inspire today’s younger generations to explore, discover, and build their dreams to the fullest potential. High schools, middle schools, career centers, community and technical colleges, unified school districts, and other educational organizations will ignite their students’ passion to succeed through this highly practical presentation.

Now more than ever, it’s critical to give our students a competitive advantage by expanding their options and opportunities. With so many amazing possibilities within their reach, our young people have every reason to dream big and achieve great things — we just have to show them how. Through Mark’s highly engaging talk, students will start thinking about what they are passionate about, develop decisive goal-setting skills, and see the relevance of academics to the lifestyle they want to achieve.

Mark’s pioneering Education with Purpose® philosophy will demonstrate the power of early career exploration, showing our young people that the sooner they determine their direction, the faster they will arrive at their destination. The story of Wade will push students to be passionate about making a bigger difference in their sphere of influence. Mark will also explore the concept of “if the ‘want-to’ is strong enough, the ‘how-to’ will come.” Finally, a realistic evaluation of their strengths and weaknesses will help motivate young people to improve their performance both in school and the workforce.

In a charismatic and humorous way, Mark challenges each student to set a unique course for their future and experience their personal light at the end of the tunnel. They will be encouraged to carve out the crucial time to focus, plan, and take action building their own dream, whatever that dream is to them. Empower your students to maximize their potential, define their goals, and start moving toward their dream today!

Engagement Types

Mark delivers more than 70 keynotes each year to audiences of all sizes across North America. Whether it’s an auditorium of thousands or a smaller, more personal group, Mark’s dynamic storytelling and substantive content can empower your audience to make a bigger difference. Businesses and industry groups, regional, statewide, and national educational organizations, and entire communities have all benefited from Mark’s inspiring message and unique ability to connect with people.

Get in touch with Mark today to discuss a paradigm-shifting message for your audience!

  • Conference/Event Keynote Address
  • Organizational School Year Kickoff
  • Organization-Wide Professional Development
  • Stakeholder/Community Event Keynote
  • Bootcamp
  • Workshop

Travels From

Cleveland, Ohio

Past Events

Mark’s many speaking engagements have included presentations and keynotes at the following:

  • Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
  • Riverwalk Performing Arts Center, Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • Chandler Performing Arts Center, Chandler, AZ
  • SME Global Fortune 500 Manufacturers Conference, Austin, TX
  • Associated Builders and Contractors, National Conventions
  • ACTE CareerTech VISION National Conferences
  • ACTE/NCLA Best Practices and Innovations Conferences
  • Many education and workforce development statewide and national conference keynotes

Schedule Mark C. Perna Now

Looking for an unforgettable presentation at your next event? Connect with Mark to chat about your goals and craft a customized, dynamic message for your audience!

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