Mark Sadovnick Talks Leadership, Authenticity, and Making an Impact

Mark Sadovnick, Managing Partner at 5th Element Group discusses leadership, authenticity, and making an Impact on Alan Olsen‘s American Dreams Show.


Alan Olsen

Welcome to American Dreams. My guest today is Mark Sadovnick. Nick, Mark, welcome to today’s show.


Mark Sadovnick

It’s great to be here. Alan, thanks for inviting me.


Alan Olsen

So, Mark, we’re going to get into your your book in a little bit. You know, leaders who care. But before we do, so I want to I want to roll back and talk about your life path how you got to where you are today.


Mark Sadovnick

How much time we got in. So, I was born in Royal Victoria Hospital. I can’t remember the number of the room there. But just kidding.

No, I’m from Montreal, originally. 75 on a cell with C and love Montreal, McGill University CPA and whole gambit joined Deloitte you know, big hockey fan.

And this is a great time of year for hockey to playoffs big hockey fan, learned a lot from sports with respect to where I am today.

Spent a little bit of time at Deloitte munch on Toronto got recruited to the largest private real estate company in Canada at the time in Winnipeg.

Why not make a decision to go somewhere colder from Montreal to Winnipeg, that seemed like a really smart move. And while I was there, it was actually interesting.

You’ll learn along the way, Alan and can show you the touch points of what how we even came up with leaders who care because of what happened along along the journey.

And, and so I found myself, you know, is in a position analysis, marketing, financial whatnot, almost salespeople that were doing the real estate, were actually having me come in all the time.

And I finally and they were making way more money than me and I went to the CEO and said, I can do this. And now they’re calling me in anyway.

So the first place they sent me to was the Mennonite community where people were coming to my meeting in carriages and cars.

But the the thrust of that was we had such great discussions about what the opportunity was of investment with them. And when I didn’t know anything I just said I didn’t know and I have to find out.

And when and we had discussions and we made a deal. And it taught me authenticity. And an honesty actually is a pretty good thing when you’re when you’re talking to people and and they appreciate it.

And they and they want to make a deal with people that they can trust on stuff like that. So that was the one one milestone, if you will.

But at the same time. I was involved in an organization called JCS which was said so is a global community leadership development.

And I happen to be the president of the chapter there in the Winnipeg Jets at the time, because I love hockey and I got to know them players. One night Lisa, can you actually help us get more kids involved. And so I did.

And we brought in 3000 Kids in four and a half days to have to a fanclub that got noticed nationally and everything. And then they offered me my dream job to work for a pro hockey team.

However, at the same time, JCS offered me to move me to Coral Gables, which is Miami, Florida to be Executive Director of the Global at the Global Headquarters, this global organization.

And the only person that told me to take that job at two thirds less salary was the president of the hockey team.

Another leader who cares, basically, and one of my first ones was a partner at Deloitte that helped me get out of all the audit jazz.

I stopped saying crap all the audit jazz and whatnot and get into more you know, heavy duty working with clients I put scenarios so different people along the way.

So I did take that move down to Florida and traveled around the world met a lot of great leaders and a lot of sucky leaders to be honest.

And you know, really learned what what it took what makes leaders successful and another aspect of leaders who care out there that they realize that you know.

If they do do that they’ll their businesses, their people, their communities will be way better.

I did that for a while then got introduced by an Ernst and Young partner to became a partner and executive search that I’ve been doing executive search for for years now.

And if I go fast forward to complete, you know, quick story then I, we built up that business quite well, you know, nationally, even internationally.

I ended up coming to California because I have three boys and a daughter in law and she’s definitely my favorite of all four of them.

And, and you know I am we’d end up coming to LA because my two young boys got noticed for model and enacting and built a business there.

And then, you know, I was asked to join a, one of the top 15 global search firms and I did reluctantly. And I said, I gotta do it a different way I got it, I work with leaders who really do care, because it’s good for their business.

And we had a last thing I did for them was we, we had a global conference recognizing leaders who care recognizing individuals, you know, that were spectacular in what they do, recognizing girlscouts Participant Media.

But after the conference, some partners came up to me some caring, it’s just a little too intimate for us little too intimate for business. And I said, really? Well, you know, that’s what we talked about.

And they said, if you’re worried about that, you’re gonna go crazy when I start using the word love in business. And so, and he did.

And so I sold my share there, and we created fifth element group, me and four other partners, which is what we do now.

And we’re, we’re basically, we’re founded on the premise that leaders and their organizations, whether it’s for profit, or what I call social profits.

And don’t call them nonprofits anymore, social profits and foundations can do way better when they’re doing good at the same time.

And give you a quick sense of what we do with that is we work with leaders who really do care. And we help them amplify the impact that they care about around the world, whatever that may be.

It could be water, it could be diversity, it could be innovation, around the Sustainable Development Goals.

For good ROI for employee engagement, we bring we create Omni wins, which is basically once we have a client that retained us will bring in another company for social profit.

And maybe global, maybe Nobel Peace Prize, maybe un to get an omni win together around the same impact and blast it out that everybody does really well.

What that allows us to do is then represent those clients, as truly leaders who care with proof that they care.

And that helps us attract the very best talent to those organizations, because the talent wants to go where they can make money, and they have purpose at the same time.


Alan Olsen

In your business. So there’s a couple of things you have gone out, you do an executive search. And then you’re also aligning philanthropic goals or mission statements with individuals.

How do you how do you get everything in sync? everything aligned with what, what you’re doing there?


Mark Sadovnick

Well, it’s a great question. And it really applies to corporate social profits, family offices, you know, etc, that maybe have companies as well, that they are investments they make.

What we’ve absolutely found was leaders who are making an impact one way or another.

Leaders who actually care about the financial, physical and mental well being of the people that their work that work with them for them, partner with them, always do better in attracting the best people.

And if you attract the best people, then that is usually good for your economic and social impact, too. So I’ll give you an example. You know, we are doing a major initiative on food security. Right now.

We brought in Tony Robbins, we brought in Forbes, we brought in innovative companies that are innovative leaders around the world that are that are doing the app innovations to help food security.

Well, we started this challenge called the 100 billion meal challenge.

Everybody from the internet international pasta association to shipping companies to whoever have participated in.

We’re up to 70 billion meals now that have been either distributed or grown around the world that are making a difference out there.

And as a result, the the businesses we work with the family offices we work with, are getting a good return on whatever they’re investing in, whether it’s marketing dollars, or HR dollars, or philanthropic dollars, or blender dollars.

They all need it helps them and helps them in their reputation in their brand in their ability to attract and keep the best people and in reputation for consumers, even to buy from them.


Alan Olsen

Mark in the world that we now live AI and tech is just rapidly advancing all over the workplace, the workforce and threat leaders, how are you seeing the impact of AI in your field? Yeah,


Mark Sadovnick

so it’s the number one question these days, you know, ethics and whatnot and we’re not going to really regulate AI per se, but we can manage how people use it.

So what we’re talking to a lot of a lot of people and healthcare.

Is one industry where it should hopefully have the biggest positive impact of all is the way to we’re focusing with with clients and individuals on developing their their best what used to be called soft skills.

That We’re calling power skills now, AI should be able to take on and can take on so many different tasks can bring so much knowledge to the table, let’s say for example, a doctor in we do a lot of work in healthcare.

You know, can get an access tons and tons of knowledge and information for a particular patient. nurses don’t have to spend as much time on putting information into tablets, and can really spend time with the patient.

Same thing can happen, by the way, with, with with any company where you know, their salespeople, their CEO gets much more information, and maybe have more employee engagement because that more time on the human things that are needed.

So how we’re looking at that clients are looking to attract now and also train on skills of other people on overhauling the power skills, which are how do you how do you create better teams that work together? How are you motivating your people?

How are you? How are you training them on skill sets that can that are the skill sets that AI can’t take the humanity skill sets. The other give you an example of a very high, he used to be the vice chairman of Royal Bank of Canada, he’s actually an all Canadian senator.

And he said to me, You know what, what’s really important is, there’s a difference between walking around in your office and saying hi to people like that, or stopping at their door and saying hi, or being able to sit down for two minutes in their office.

And look them in the eye and say, How’s it going with you and your family, that you now have made me the time to do that, that’ll make a difference for those those people to, to really care about where they work and be proud of where they work and to make a difference, you know, where they work.

So in the in the search world, then what we’re what we’re working with clients on is skills, training, specific skills, training that they need, and identifying where they can get that and how they can truly be engaging in things that are important that they can go home to their families.

And instead of saying, Man, work suck today, or I’m bored or give me a beer, I’m gonna sit on the sofa, they can say, Hey, guys, come sit around, I want to tell you what really happened today.

At work the difference we’re making the the bonus, I can probably get how I got noticed by the boss, whatever it may be positive stuff, rather than just work.


Alan Olsen

You know, Mark, the organization Jaycees. Can you give us a little bit more in depth? You know, view of what what exactly GCS does and their mission statement?


Mark Sadovnick

What JC is okay, that’s that’s where I that’s how I came to the States is I got recruited by national, it. It’s an organization that I got turned on to as a volunteer initially, when I was in Canada, and they teach leadership development by community development Very much so.

So and it’s for it’s for people under 40. And, and so that was really the mission, how do we train young leaders?

Before this is before internet before you know all this stuff about, you know, sustainable development goals and all that to be leaders in their community, which would be training that would allow them to move into their own business or another business.

Because they knew how to do teams, they knew how to do, you know, budgets and knew how to sponsorship, I’ll give you a quick example. I interviewed a guy probably 1520 years ago.

It’s funny, he had his resume and it says Santa Claus parade on the very last line. And he was telling me I really don’t have a lot of background, I’m not gonna get hired and over they have a lot of experience.

And I noticed Yes, Santa Claus parade on the back on the bottom. Now, why it caught my eye. I was the I think, the first Jewish guy to run the Santa Claus parade in Winnipeg, Canada, actually. So I knew about community stuff.

But he bought Santa Claus parade specifically. So I said to what, just tell me what you did there.

He said, Well, that’s what a budget together I had to go in front of the city, I had to speak to companies to get sponsorship, I had to, you know, manage them as to who went where in the parade.

First, as they were arguing about that, and what I’m assuming rain, what are we going to do about that? But um, so Santa didn’t show up. But we’re gonna do but that I said, Yeah, you don’t really have a lot of experience organizing stuff, do you?

But he really did. So that’s what JC is, through community development, did that and I met amazing leaders around the world that were interested in young leaders.

Even back then this is in the 80s, you know, presidents of South Korea, the head of Goldman Sachs in London, that were interested in young leaders because of a talent pipeline.

What’s interesting about that is right now, with fifth element, for example, I was just with a fellow named Dean Kaman, who’s the founder of segway, you probably know, know of him.

And he’s got an organization called first global, which is about training young people on robotics.

We just trained his management team actually at the Greek embassy a couple of weeks ago on non conflict, which is a big initiative we’re involved in on how to look at Khan flicked in a different way to move forward in a positive way, especially in the US right now.

But here’s here’s the thing. They have kids being trained young people and kids, teenagers and matter, orient realm, learning, robotics, learning stem stuff, and, and then they have the Olympics, they call it 190 countries, each sending a team to the Olympics for that.

And three countries have to work together in collaboration, which is we’re not like also also comes in.

But the point of that is, that’s another talent pipeline similar to Jaycees, companies are looking and need specified talent, and is from programs like that, that you create and develop the talent that are going to be the leaders in a fast moving tech world right now.


Alan Olsen

What advice would you give to young professionals aspiring to become an impactful leader in their respective field?


Mark Sadovnick

Yeah, find find something somewhere, some, some cause that they really have a passion for, that they think is really important.

And it could be, you know, it could be God forbid, and disease, it could be a community, a community effort, it could be cleaning the oceans, it could be it doesn’t matter, what do you have a passion for, and be involved and from that, create great relationships.

Relationships are, as we all know, one of the most fascinating, when the most effective, one of the one of the best things you can have long term and and maintain those relationships as best as you can.

And always be this is a common saying always be more interested in them than necessarily interested about yourself. It is true that the, what it would in Maya Angelou say is one of my favorite quotes.

Most people will forget what you said, Forget what you’ve done, but they’ll always remember how you made them feel. And enrolled. And you know, I even had a webinar one, stop looking for a job, but just be interested in what other people are doing and opportunities will come about.

That’s what young people to do relationships make an impact. You’ll feel great. It’ll make the energy you come with will make other people feel great and great things will happen.


Alan Olsen

Mark, if a person wants to get more information and working with you, how would they go about having contact you?


Mark Sadovnick

Call Alan, he’s got my phone number. No, I’m just it’s just element dog group on the web where you can look me up on LinkedIn, march to dotnet, GM, you know, thing me, whatever, whatever it takes.

We’re always open to talking to leaders and leaders. You know, we have a leaders who care podcast as well, you can check it out.

And just as a last note, we’re now starting to recognize leaders, eight to 18 year olds, and our first couple one was a young girl a 10 years old has written four books already.

Another young ladies from Liberia now in the states started a skincare company so the young people can feel empowered in their skin no matter what color they are, or the shade. Young people are doing amazing things right now. So check that out as well.


Alan Olsen

Mark, it’s been a pleasure having you with us today on American Dreams.


Mark Sadovnick

Now. I loved it. Thanks and keep making a difference. Alan.


Alan Olsen

Thank you

To view more content like this, click here to subscribe to our YouTube channel

And click here to receive our FREE Newsletter.

Sponsored by:

Thank You!

Transcript generated by software and may contain errors.

    Mark Sadovnick on Alan Olsen's American Dreams Radio
    Mark Sadovnick

    By engaging with Leaders Who Care®, Mark is able to best represent our clients to attract, develop and retain the very best, ‘right fit, culture add’ talent, who are selectively seeking to only join leaders who do care about their financial, physical and mental wellbeing, and their global and local communities, around the Sustainable Development Goals.

    Recognized previously by Business Week as one of the 150 most influential headhunters in the world, Mark gained business and international awareness and relationships, from his experiences with Deloitte, Jaycees International, and as a Partner with two search firms, boutique and global.

    Mark was the only executive search consultant invited to the United Nations to celebrate International Women’s Day and be a Founding Signatory to the “Decade of Women” in 2018.

    He has worked with many middle-market to large companies, start-ups, and impactful nonprofits, and advising what it takes to be recognized as a preferred employer and how innovative recruitment of exceptional and diverse individuals, will impact their financial results as well as the organization’s reputation, brand and social impact. ‘Right Fit’ does not mean the same, yet rather and more so, to be ‘Culture Add’.

    Mark has initiated hundreds of video interviews with executives and continues his authentic conversations on the unique Leaders Who Care® series, recognizing leaders of all kinds and backgrounds making a difference around the world.

    He proactively introduces and recommends clients and strategic partners to each other, for the mutual benefit of all their resources, a clear omniwin. With extensive cross-industry, international experiences and relationships, he recognizes the value of understanding and respecting cultural diversity, and most importantly inclusion and women leadership, and the impact on people and business. He likes sports analogies and life lessons too. “It’s all about people, inclusion and trust, to win some championships and always have consistent winning seasons.”

    Mark sits on the Boards of Million Peacemakers (“Nonflict”), Knowledge Impact Network, World Language Communications, and VerdeXchange Institute. He has been involved in many sports & entertainment projects, including SportsFund, and owning professional cycling and roller hockey teams. Mark is a CPA, graduating from McGill University in Montreal, and is most proud of his three sons, and daughter-in-law, and when given a chance, will certainly tell you about them.

    Alan Olsen on Alan Olsen's American Dreams Radio
    Alan Olsen

    Alan is managing partner at Greenstein, Rogoff, Olsen & Co., LLP, (GROCO) and is a respected leader in his field. He is also the radio show host to American Dreams. Alan’s CPA firm resides in the San Francisco Bay Area and serves some of the most influential Venture Capitalist in the world. GROCO’s affluent CPA core competency is advising High Net Worth individual clients in tax and financial strategies. Alan is a current member of the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (S.I.E.P.R.) SIEPR’s goal is to improve long-term economic policy. Alan has more than 25 years of experience in public accounting and develops innovative financial strategies for business enterprises. Alan also serves on President Kim Clark’s BYU-Idaho Advancement council. (President Clark lead the Harvard Business School programs for 30 years prior to joining BYU-idaho. As a specialist in income tax, Alan frequently lectures and writes articles about tax issues for professional organizations and community groups. He also teaches accounting as a member of the adjunct faculty at Ohlone College.

Posted in