The Nationwide Impact of Mark Perna's Message

Generational keynote speaker Mark C. Perna is making a powerful impact with real-world strategies to shift the education and employment paradigm. Read what these respected educators, industry leaders, economic developers, and workforce development professionals across North America are saying about their actionable experience with Mark.

Download the endorsements on this page as a PDF document to share with decision-makers and stakeholders.

Event Organizers Unanimously Endorse Mark


For 2 fantastic hours, Mark Perna RIVETED OUR AUDIENCE of business owners, corporations, community leaders, economic development, and educators. His message of truly connecting our pipelines was substantive, funny, and FULL OF ACTIONABLE STRATEGIES that people are still talking about. The keynote ended in an enthusiastic standing ovation, but the impact Mark made isn’t over. WHAT AN INCREDIBLE EXPERIENCE! SALLY HARRISONPresident & CEO at Mesa Chamber of Commerce and President of Mesa Industry & Defense Council


Words can’t express the UNIVERSAL IMPACT Mark Perna had on our entire community. He inspired literally everyone–from middle and high school students to our K-12 staff, community stakeholders, and state representative—to expand, and in some instances change, our thinking about education, careers, and what we can accomplish together. I’ve never witnessed such a COLLECTIVE MIND SHIFT. For the first time, every stakeholder is ALIGNED ON COMMON GROUND and excited to move toward a stronger future! Tim PayneSuperintendent at Ephrata School District


Mark led our opening plenary with an INCREDIBLY IMPACTFUL MESSAGE that set the tone for the rest of our conference. His insights into the 'Why Generation' really resonated with our audience of economic developers, spurring PRODUCTIVE AND ONGOING DISCUSSIONS. We need to foster economic opportunity in our communities and drive top talent to regions of all sizes—and Mark's strategies were laser-focused on those outcomes. The energy, excitement and passion Mark brought have CHANGED THE CONVERSATION.

Nathan ohlePresident & CEO at International Economic Development Council (IEDC)


Mark’s message absolutely hit the sweet spot for our diverse audience of business, industry, education and community leaders. It was RELEVANT, EXCITING, AND EMPOWERING for everyone in attendance, and we’ve been flooded with positive feedback. Throughout the entire process, from planning through execution, Mark and his team were remarkably proactive and easy to work with. In short, Mark’s dynamic vision couldn’t have come at a better time and we’re THRILLED WITH THE IMPACT he has made here. TAIT STRAND Executive Director of Central Wisconsin Manufacturing Alliance


At our national conference of K–12 superintendents, Mark Perna shared a stirring keynote on not just why we urgently need to shift the K–12 school paradigm, but also HOW TO EFFECT THAT CHANGE. His message laid the groundwork for further productive dialogue around how education must adapt and move forward to CONNECT THE DOTS for our younger generations. Mark’s passion for understanding Gen Z was a rallying call for all of us to learn, reflect, and build a stronger future—together! Dr. Dawn Bridges Executive Director, Suburban School Superintendents


Our diverse audience was deeply moved by Mark’s DYNAMIC message! Superintendents, principals, counselors, employers, HR folks, economic development, state legislators, and community leaders were all INSPIRED TO RETHINK what we do with young people—and why. It was an extraordinary experience that has created the desire for an ongoing dialogue among all stakeholders. Mark brought our community together and IGNITED THE SPARK we needed. We’re ready to focus, plan, and most importantly, take action! MINDY STALKER Executive Director at Union County Development Association


Mark Perna FIRED UP OUR ENTIRE DISTRICT, including classified staff, with a powerful message of human connection and generational insight. The feedback on his presentation has been 100% POSITIVE, with every staff member walking away inspired both personally and professionally. Mark delivers highly engaging professional development with actionable strategies that everyone can start implementing right away. We highly recommend Mark for any organization that needs to RE-INSPIRE ALL STAFF with a vision for real change! Monty Sabin Superintendent at Moses Lake School District


Every year we work hard to bring in the best workforce thought leaders to keynote at the PWDA Annual Conference. This year, Mark Perna blew our expectations out of the water with his ENERGETIC STYLE and TIMELY MESSAGE. Mark’s passionate keynote was perfect to follow the Governor of PA’s speech at the conference. He connected instantly with the audience as he delivered valuable strategies that they can implement in both their professional and personal lives. We recommend Mark as a DYNAMIC, PERSONABLE, AND GENUINE speaker who keeps his audience riveted with truly actionable content. CARRIE AMANN Executive Director at Pennsylvania Workforce Development Association (PWDA)


MARK PERNA IS DYNAMITE! His message was transformative and impactful for our wide range of attendees, including CEOs, educators, nonprofit leaders, HR directors, and more who raved about Mark’s presentation. He has helped us reach across boundaries and engage the entire community to truly start shifting our paradigm. Mark’s energy and progressive ideas are EXACTLY WHAT WE NEED to meet the challenges of modern economic development. Cassandra M. Vanhooser Director, Economic Development & Tourism at Talbot County, MD


Mark is by far ONE OF THE BEST SPEAKERS WE HAVE HAD in Beaumont, TX! He is an event planner’s dream—he comes very prepared, and setup is a breeze. MARK’S MESSAGE RESONATED with our educators, business professionals and community leaders. Thank you for motivating and inspiring our audience members. Our community is ready to CONNECT THE DOTS and put Mark’s wisdom into action! Kristie Young Vice President Economic Development, Greater Beaumont Chamber


Mark Perna brought not just dynamic presence, but also REAL SUBSTANCE to the pressing questions we are facing as a community college. Many staff stated that this was the BEST PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT WE HAVE EVER HAD. With his vision of human connection and competitive advantage, MARK LIT A FIRE among our campus community. This was the inspiration we needed to move forward in a fast-changing landscape! Dr. Ashlee Spannagel Dean of CTE & Workforce Development at Southeastern Community College


In his opening keynote, Mark Perna ENGAGED AND PROVOKED THE THINKING of our audience at our School Administrators of Iowa Annual Conference. His fast-paced delivery included research specific to the needs of this generation of students, relevant personal stories, and an introduction to pathways toward career readiness. Attendees have followed up with me to remark on the POWERFUL IMPRESSION he made and their plans to incorporate his ideas into their strategic planning moving forward. Mark’s passion, energy, and enthusiasm coupled with the substance of his message set the stage for THE CONFERENCE EXPERIENCE WE WANT FOR OUR MEMBERS. Dana Schon Professional Learning Director at School Administrators of Iowa


We had the pleasure of welcoming Mark Perna as our keynote speaker at a county-wide, four-school district Professional Development workshop for teachers. The day prior Mark spoke at a parents’ night event and also to the entire staff at the local community college. MARK LIT A FIRE OF INSPIRATION that we are taking full advantage of to catapult local student career exploration efforts. I have often referred to Mark as the “evangelist of education”—he is a dynamic, passionate, compelling speaker and trainer. Do not hesitate to book him—do it now! HE WILL MAKE YOU LOOK BRILLIANT. Della Schmidt Greater Burlington Partnership President and CEO


Mark Perna is one of the best speakers our staff has ever heard. HE INSPIRED ALL OF US to think about how to move away from what “has always been done” to transforming our teaching and learning for our current and future generations. Mark’s POWERFUL MESSAGE around unleashing students’ purpose, passion and performance will continue to drive our work in career pathways in the Owatonna Public Schools. Jeffrey Elstad Superintendent at Owatonna Public Schools


Mark Perna’s keynote was GAME CHANGING FOR OUR COMMUNITY! In my work with businesses, employers, community leaders, and educators across Gage County, I constantly hear the same things: We need more skilled people, how can we educate and train the next generation, and what will keep our youth here? Mark’s presentation HIT ALL THESE NAILS ON THE HEAD and gave the change-makers in our community the TOOLS AND MOTIVATION TO TAKE THE NEXT STEP toward achieving our goals. We are inspired! RACHEL KREIKEMEIER Executive Director at Gage Area Growth Enterprise (NGage)

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I cannot thank Mark enough for getting my staff excited about the work they are doing! Every single person in attendance reached out to me after our PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT session to tell me how excited they were and how much they got out of it. As a department, we have officially shifted our thinking. Mark has made an IMMEDIATE IMPACT here and we can’t wait to implement everything we learned. This is a message we BELIEVE IN! CINDY SYLVIA Director at Durfee High School


Mark Perna BROUGHT OUR AUDIENCE TO THEIR FEET with his ENERGETIC, ENGAGING, AND INSPIRING message! His insights will help us move forward effectively in a changing world. Mark knows how to bring the heat and CHALLENGE EVERY PARTICIPANT to forge a GENUINE HUMAN CONNECTION with the young people we serve. Our audience left with valuable tools they can start using immediately to improve their day-to-day interactions and outcomes, and the feedback has been amazing. Thanks, Mark! COLLIN CALLAWAY Senior Policy Director at Arkansas Community Colleges


Mark Perna’s high-powered keynote was the capstone of our statewide conference! Afterward Mark led a frank and candid VIP discussion about where the world has changed and how we take action as communities—as well as how we move forward as a state. WE HAD LEADERS AND INFLUENCERS IN ATTENDANCE WHO NOW FEEL THE URGENCY TO BRING THIS MESSAGE TO THE CAPITAL FOR LEGISLATORS AND THE GOVERNOR to take action. With the powerful momentum Mark has helped create, we will accomplish great things. CATHY LECOMPTE Past President & Event Organizer at Alaska ACTE

Audience Members Love Mark, Too


Your presentation is the BEST I’VE EVER HEARD and this is my 40th year in education!

Caroline BloxomHigh School Principal/County CTE Supervisor

Mark Perna doesn’t just talk about changing the landscape of education. HE PROVIDES A SPECIFIC ACTION PLAN educators can use to harness student motivation and keep students moving toward their career goals.

Rhonda RhodesPrincipal at Greenville County Schools

If you are looking for insight on connecting with Gen Z, THIS IS A MUST-SEE EVENT!

Craig HarthoornPresident at H&S Manufacturing Co., Inc.

Engaging and inspiring. Starting year 33 as an educator and I'm MORE FIRED UP FOR THE START OF THIS YEAR than I have been for the past several years.

Sue LaskyPrincipal at Morgan Elementary

The depth and breadth of this presentation can only be called heart. It is BLOOD-PUMPING ADRENALINE.

Grover WelchInstructional Facilitator, Newport Special School District

You brought me to tears. These were the MOST MOTIVATING WORDS I’VE EVER HEARD! Life changing!

Laurence BelielDirector of Business Retention & Expansion at Ponca City Development


THIS INFORMATION APPLIES TO EVERYONE, regardless of your role in students’ lives. This presentation was motivating and energizing. This will benefit our entire school district.

Trevor HossSupervisor of CTE at Bedford County Public Schools

Mark was able to connect a lot of the thoughts and ideas that most people are trying to figure out. NOTJUST MOTIVATIONAL, PROVIDES ACTUAL SOLUTIONS.

Matt HuberBusiness & Community Development Manager at Liberty (Utilities)

Outstanding presentation. 17 years of teaching and no one has ever delivered a more MEANINGFUL AND VALUABLE SET OF STRATEGIES.

Jody KessingerBiology Teacher

Energetic way to see the other side of the ‘entitled and lazy’ generation. New perspectives are gained in a FUN AND HUMOROUS PACKAGE!

Misty HiltabidelWorkforce Development Specialist at Fay-Penn Economic Development Council

Inspiring, thought provoking and transformational! I CANNOT WAIT TO TAKE THIS KNOWLEDGE and implement with my teachers and students!

Annie SmithPK-12 Principal, Paton Churdan Community Schools

Amazing, enlightening and FULL OF VALUABLE INFORMATION to help you become a better leader and teacher.

Anthony BrookeActivities Director at MSBSD

Let Mark bring this dynamic, inspiring, and actionable experience to your audience. Contact us below to share your needs, goals, and requested dates. We look forward to partnering with you to make a bigger difference!

Request Mark’s Availability