Mark Goldsmith is an entrepreneur with a mission. After successful career in advertising, Mark dedicated his second act to helping people that many prefer to ignore. Recently turning 80 has not slowed him. He is using the same entrepreneurial skill that enabled his success in advertising to help young men make the most of their second chances.
Mark’s mission began in 2003. After counseling young men who were incarcerated at Rikers Island and seeing the challenges they faced, he created GOSO (Get, Out, Stay Out). GOSO helps young men coming out of prison integrate into society and get jobs. Now a team of 15, GOSO has developed a comprehensive coaching program that includes personal and professional life skills strategies, specific employment guidance and support.
Over the past 14 years, GOSO partners have provided employment for over 3000 people. The organization is one of the most effective re-entry programs in the country for justice-involved 16 to 24-year-old men. Fewer than 10% of GOSO participants return to jail, as compared to a national average of 67% for the age group.
In my short interview with Mark, his commitment, mission and focus are undeniable. He says; “There was no reason to wait until kids get released to help them. They are sitting in jail with literally nothing to do.” He represented something unique to young men struggling in the criminal justice system – a real businessman who had achieved a level of success who was willing to talk to them about their future… “I was a symbol of someone they never thought they would even talk to.”
What inspires Mark to go to work every day: “A drive to be successful and motivate others…the concept of collaboration and growth and being able to see the rewards of that…I take a great deal of pride in that and bringing young people along.”
His secret advice to others? Worker harder and take pleasure in seeing the results. “Grit and resilience are huge – never giving up.”
How has his approach changed for the better over the years? “I’ve learned to listen a little more…and I think I’ve learned to listen much better.”
What advice would he give to his younger self? “Take education more seriously at an earlier age.”
Mark’s thoughts lay at the foundation of Entrepreneurial Thinking. If you want make big Jumps in life, hearing Mark talk about his is a good place to start.
“When things go well, anybody can be a hero. It’s when the s*#t hits the fan…that’s when you really get tested.”
~ Mark Goldsmith
To listen to the full interview click below.
Written by David Pachter—founder of JumpByDesign, helping leaders accelerate achievement and the Executive Chairman of JumpCrew, helping companies scale revenues through targeted social marketing and sales. @DavidPachter