Employee Spotlight: President Mark Kennedy

Antoinette Kimball

Editor’s Note:

From the basketball court to the boardroom, Terakeet President Mark Kennedy regularly pushes himself and those around him to chase success. Senior Digital Content Specialist Antoinette Kimball recently spoke with Mark about how he came to Terakeet, how he works to help push the company forward, and what his plans are for the future. Read below to learn more!

Teamwork has long been a theme in Terakeet President Mark Kennedy’s life. This is true from his time playing sports in high school, to starting and leading companies, to spending a year coaching one of the top young women’s basketball teams in the country. Not exactly the resume you’d expect from a man with a degree in electrical engineering. 

“I was a terrible engineer,” Kennedy laughs as he recalls his early career. 

Mark cracks a joke in the Terakeet office.

This was back before he officially joined the Terakeet team full-time. Kennedy first became involved with Terakeet in late 2017 first as a business development consultant for RED Strategy Group. 

Founded by Keith McFarland, author of The Breakthrough Company, RED Strategy Group is a group of consultants who support companies in their quest to hone in on their business strategies, build teams and execute with precision. But RED is unique in that it requires input from all levels of an organization, not just the C-suite. 

It’s essential that leaders are part of the process, but they don’t get the only say. At RED, everyone has an equal voice, and an equal vote. 

“We knew [RED] would be hard and challenging, but we also knew that we cared too much about the future of Terakeet to not put in the impossible effort that was needed to transform our organization,” said Co-Founder and CEO Maclaren Cummings. 

The first RED session for any company is hard work. Spanning three consecutive days, the goal is to challenge people enough to bring out their strengths. 

“It’s only under stress that you become your true self,” Kennedy says. “And that is where change happens.” 

RED’s process is based on McFarland’s research of more than 20,000 companies. Taking the information from the top nine performers, McFarland determined what they did that made them successful where others failed. The answer was three simple words: people, strategy and execution. 

Kennedy first applied the RED process to his own company, Crown Partners. Kennedy founded Crown, an e-commerce technology firm, in 2001 with Richard Hearn. 

Crown had done well in its first few years, but following the 2008 financial crisis, began missing its goals around 2010. Enter Keith McFarland and RED. 

With their support, Crown got back on track and became a leader in the B2B online commerce space. Crown was sold to Publicis Groupe in a 2014 merger that was named the strategic acquisition of the year by Mergers & Acquisitions

Then, Mark began his work as a RED consultant, helping eight companies mirror this method for success in their own growth strategy.

During this time, Kennedy spent a year coaching his daughter’s Nike EYBL AAU Basketball team. When he took on the coaching position, he employed a version of RED on the team by challenging their perception of what’s possible. He set a goal: win the national championship. 

He had the girls play teams that were older and more skilled. They lost. A lot. But from these losses, they were able to learn to work together and grow as a team. His team came one win shy of the championship (but hey, few people can predict seven three-pointers from the opposing team).

He admits what brought him to Terakeet was the desire to be part of a team once more. “As a consultant, you don’t really support [the company’s] victories.” 

Mark speaks to the company at a past Friday morning Circle-Up meeting.

Having founded and run a company for more than a decade, Kennedy knew how to support Terakeet’s trajectory for growth established by Cummings and Danial. And, after a business trip to Paris with the pair, he agreed to bring his expertise to the company full time and became its president. 

Cummings admits bringing Kennedy to the company was always in the cards.

“We knew from the moment we met Mark that one day he would be running our company,” Cummings said. “We just had to wait long enough for him to see what we were capable of. In Paris, he saw us in action, and he couldn’t sit on the sidelines any longer.” 

In his day-to-day at the company, Kennedy spends time working with customers to ensure Terakeet helps them meet their goals. He also coaches managers across the company, mostly in sales, marketing, and account management.

In the long-term, he’s focused on building the system that is Terakeet’s business, measuring its performance, taking corrective action when necessary and empowering people to be a part of its success.

“A lot of what I do at Terakeet, honestly, is give people permission to do what they know they should do,” Kennedy says. 

Terakeet isn’t the same company it was four years ago, when Mark first began his work with the organization. Terakeet has established itself as an award-winning, 400-person workplace and trusted partner for Fortune 500 brands. 

According to Cummings, Terakeet wouldn’t be where it is today without Kennedy. “Mark has changed our lives and made us a stronger company.”