“Any business I get comes from God. When those doors open, you find that at the core of our blessings and successes are our friendships and relationships.”
His day might start off with a client breakfast. He’ll rush off to morning meetings with business partners and a civic luncheon downtown.
In the afternoon, he’ll return calls and work on some “homework” for an upcoming meeting (for just one of several boards he serves on). After a late dinner at home with his beloved, they’ll head off to hear one of their two musician sons play a late night set.
The next day, he’ll hit the ground running again. But the day will look completely different. It might include a flight, a business pitch, a book signing or lecture, and maybe even a one-on-one chat with a former U.S. president.
It’s the life of an entrepreneur. An author, musician and consultant, he has the ear of world leaders and Hollywood executives. At the end of each day, he thanks God for the tapestry of his friendships.
It’s Mark A. Stansberry’s dream come true.
When Mark (77) was a student at Oklahoma Christian, he was a rising star.
Before he came to campus, the Elk City, Oklahoma, native was politically active, working on the campaign of U.S. Senator Dewey Bartlett. His future was laid out with a generous presidential scholarship at the University of Oklahoma.
Until one day, his mother, Lucy Stansberry, asked him whether he’d prayed about his decision to head to OU.
A short time later, his mother likely knew he had indeed prayed about his future when he asked his parents whether they thought he should go to Oklahoma Christian.
Finding the money for their son to go to Oklahoma Christian wasn’t a given for his hard-working parents, but his sister had graduated from “OCC” more than 10 years before.
His mom made some calls to check into financial aid, and soon Mark had earned a music scholarship and other awards that helped make Oklahoma Christian possible.
Mark loved Oklahoma Christian. He loved his classes. He loved being involved in music. And he loved Nancy Earp (77), a young lady he met here. She would become his wife, mother of his three children, and partner in his entrepreneurship, music and adventures.
His love for Oklahoma Christian has only deepened through the years. So much so, that he accepted an invitation to be part of the university’s governing body, the Board of Trustees.
“It’s great that we don’t just show up for board meetings. We have our homework and reading to make sure we’re up to date. A lot of the board members are scattered across the country and that provides valuable input,” he said.
Mark also serves on the Board of Regents for regional public universities in Oklahoma, which he was appointed to by former Oklahoma governor Frank Keating.
Mark says there is an important difference and honor in serving on the OC board. With prayer and petition, the trustees and leaders take their requests before the Lord in prayer.
“I have served on several boards and this is the first time we’ve been able to pray during meetings. We might stop several times to pray – for students, faculty, leaders and alumni. It is special,” he said.
Mark is president of GTD Group, an international consulting firm. His latest book is The Braking Point and he still records music.
His career has taken him around the world, on the stage and to sitting across a desk from former President George Herbert Walker Bush.
After that encounter, he became penpals with the 41st president. Mark has received enough letters to give one to each of his children – Joe, Matt (02) and Aubrey (05) – and his three grandchildren.
Mark knows coming to OC helped set him on a trajectory that has led to many blessings.
“We did pretty well. I found Nancy. And then we got Josh Kingcade (04, married to Aubrey) and Mandy (02, married to Matt). Wow! What blessings,” he said.
Mark also is grateful to the many mentors who have encouraged him along the way.
“Just a word from someone that says, ‘I believe in you,’ or encouragement to dream big makes a big impact,” he said.
Just walk across campus with him, and you will see Mark in action. He’ll stop several times to encourage students, offer a word of advice and let them know he is rooting for them.
“Any business I get comes from God. When those doors open, you find that at the core of our blessings and successes are our friendships and relationships. In that sense, I am blessed beyond my imagination,” he said.
By Dawn Shelton