Hot Talks: Mark Busse
August 29, 2013


How engaging in creative leadership saved my career and life

Complaining about shit sometimes seems like a Vancouver pastime. I know I do it too. But I also try to invest my time, energy and creativity in as many causes as I can. And despite a fear of public speaking or being found out as a fraud, I force myself to say yes to nearly every scary opportunity that comes my way — like giving this Hot Talk for instance.

After studying art and business in university, I spent a decade of trying to break into and succeed in the design field. One day I found myself sitting in the audience of design association AGM, whining to the person beside me about the disorganization, the lack of participation, and terrible leadership being displayed. That person, who happened to be a very successful business owner, and one of the most active volunteers and philanthropists I know, turned to me and said “Mark, it’s time for you to shit or get off the pot” and went on to bluntly explain that if I wanted change, I should be the change. That if I wanted success, I should be the success. That if I felt the leadership and management of the organization wasn’t up to snuff, then I should stop bitching and put my hand up. So I did. Two years later I was the president. Two years after that I was representing Canada at the World Design Conference in Havana, Cuba.

I’ll tell a few stories about how diving into scaring situations where I didn’t know the way forward led to personal growth and personal moments of reinvention and reward. I’ll also examine a few of my recent projects and talk about they have served to motivate others in the creative community, creating a ripple effect the maximum benefit we’ve not yet experienced.

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Mark Busse is founding partner and managing director at Industrial Brand in Vancouver, BC where for the last 15 years he has successfully led clients to their business objectives through brand strategy, identity, communication and interactive design solutions. He invests time in his creative community as a teacher, advisor, mentor for design programs at VFS, Capilano & Langara and hosts creative events Likemind Vancouver, Interesting Vancouver and CreativeMornings/Vancouver. Busse is also a past president of the BC chapter of the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada and regular contributor to Design Edge Magazine. Busse is also a passionate cook and food fanatic and co-founder of the popular culinary blog, Busse also serves his community as a citizen member of the Engaged City Task Force in Vancouver, where he lives with his wife Andrea and dog Pepper.

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