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Mark C. Perna

Author. CEO. Generational expert. contributor


Unleashing Passion, Purpose, and Performance in Younger Generations

Join Mark C. Perna as he unveils groundbreaking innovations for working with today’s younger generations. Countless educators, parents, and employers have used these proven strategies to bridge the generational divide and launch them with a powerful competitive advantage. Purpose-driven education is the heartbeat of this inspiring call to action. Though they’re often painted in a negative light, today’s young people have incredible potential to change the world. We just have to unleash it. Students who experience education with purpose can then pursue employment with passion—which they need today more than ever.

You’ll discover the Light at the End of the Tunnel strategy to connect, engage, and answer why for your students—and inspire their greatest effort. Mark will deliver clear action steps you can implement immediately both in your home and institution, to move young people from static purpose to active purpose mode where they can achieve at a higher level.

About Me

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Audience and Lecturer


See why Educational Institutions rely on Catapult to provide relevant learning & development. Contact us Today.


Student Motivation and Marketing

For years you have forged partnerships, created pathways, and developed programs…yet we still have empty seats in our classes. While we balance preparing students for both higher education completion and the workforce, it is time to shift our messaging. If you seek broader institutional engagement in your outreach, enrollment management, student recruitment, and marketing efforts, then this masterclass is for you. It’s time to become their first choice. 

You can't afford to wait another year. Register your institution or "Team of 3" for the Spring 2024 session today.

Getting to Know Mark



What sparked your interest in marketing and recruitment?

I’ve always loved connecting with people, and early in my career I learned the truth that effective selling isn’t pushing a product or service because I need to sell it; it’s meeting someone else’s need and becoming a trusted advisor. As Zig Ziglar said, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” I also love theater and drama, so my career today as a speaker and author hits my sweet spot. I get to meet and engage with new people every day and I’m so humbled to be part of the incredible difference they’re making at the tactical level with young people in school and in the workplace.


Can you tell a story about your first engagement with marketing and recruitment?

In high school, I was student council vice president, secretary, and member of the drama club, as well as being involved in just about everything else going on around school. I knew everyone and had wonderful friendships, but all that was about to change. Transitioning to college, all I had accomplished in high school appeared to have been wiped clean. Suddenly, I had no friends, no accomplishments, and I was all alone, a long way from home. I arrived my first day at John Carroll University and checked into my room. After my parents helped me unload the car, they left for home and I was standing by myself in a new, unfamiliar place. What should I do now? After several moments doubting every life decision that led me to this point, I thought that anyone can muster fifteen seconds’ worth of courage, so I decided to go all out and walk up and down the four floors of the entire building, knock on each door, and introduce myself to everyone. After that, I never looked back.


What missteps would you caution others to avoid when working in career readiness?

“Why?” is the most important question to answer, but you have to forget your why. The only why that matters is the why of the student, the parent, whoever it is that you’re engaging with. So often, we approach kids today with our why—“you have to do this because it will help you later” or “you have to do this or X will happen to you.” Maybe they don’t care about X happening to them, or don’t believe that it will (and they might be right). Instead we have to dig a little deeper to find their why, the reason that would motivate them forward based on their own unique talents, interests, and abilities. We can only accomplish this when we understand our audience—what they think, what makes them tick, and how they make decisions. Unless we really lean into that and find the why that matters to them, we will struggle with limited results because why is not something that works secondhand. So yes, answer the why when you’re marketing and recruiting, but be sure it’s their why, not yours.

“Unleashing passion, purpose, and performance in younger generations through education, career, workforce development, and the new multigenerational workplace.“.

Mark Perna

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