Marcus C White geeks out on creating experiences and environments that break down barriers and help people break the ice. (Speaking of ice, lace a pair of skates and meet him on the rink. Fun fact – he’s a former competitive figure skater!) As the founder and CEO of Seattle-based MCW Events, Marcus sees the world through rose-colored glasses and finds the possible in the impossible. He asked a client once to give him a title for what he actually does and she came up with ‘Minister of Make it Happen’ and it’s stuck. He has leveraged his nurtured relationships throughout the industry to partner with the likes of Tableau, Twitch and Valve Software (to name a few…) to foster relationships with attendees and customers by delivering human-centered and transformative programs. Marcus now splits his time between Seattle and Palm Springs with his hubby, Jason, and fur baby Sparkles.
Connect with Marcus at https://www.linkedin.com/in/marcus-c-white-cmp-9b54aa2/ and MCW Events at https://mcwevents.com/
By Jonnie Halstead, NWES Strategic Advisor
I first met Marcus C White in 2018 when he invited me to join a team of crack contractors to work on TwitchCon, a 3-day convention for 27,000 gaming enthusiasts in San Jose CA. We became fast friends based on his ability to foster deep communication and team culture. He really is a people-person, and that shows in his close community of clients, colleagues and employees. Every event professional can learn something from this man. This was evident during the NWES virtual industry conversation ‘Together We Rise’. So, we felt compelled to spend more time with Marcus, and share with you more of his infectious energy and life’s learning’s.
1. Pretend we’re speed dating. Can you describe yourself (personally and professionally) in 30 seconds?
Hello, my name is Marcus and I love airports – it’s the one time in my day as a planner that once you get past security (I’m really fast at that BTW) everything is decided for you…they tell you the gate you need to go to as well as when and where you are sitting, what you are eating and you get to look out the window for hours. It’s a perfect combination of good planning (the airport wayfinding) and letting go. All that said, I once missed a flight home to Seattle from London because I was having high tea with the most delicious scone and lost track of time.
2. Now you’re taking us home to meet your folks (only instead it’s the rest of the MCW team), how would you describe them, and should we be nervous or excited?
You should be totally excited and nervous – they are apparently the same neuropathways in your brain – it’s how you choose to interpret the feeling is how you experience it. That said, one of my rules in building my team is that at the end of the day, would I and do I want to have dinner with this person – if the answer is yes, you’re on the team! The MCW team is dynamic, type-A’s for sure (with a few exceptions) and are extremely curious. We’ll fold you right in, ask a zillion questions and will for sure make you giggle within the first 5 minutes.
3. In NWES ‘Together We Rise’, apart from your super cute bowtie winning hearts, you said some amazing things that opened our minds. Like when you said “Drop trying to be perfect, it’s boring.” can you expand on this and tell us more?
This idea of ‘perfection’ is totally a construct and completely made up. What is perfect, who defines it and what is the measurable? Instead, try to do your best and if you know that is what you did, then you have succeeded in trying which is the most important. In this time of change, we are all having a hard-enough time simply defining what virtual/digital events even are. So why try and perfect something you can’t even define? Lean in and go define it for yourself – try new things, be a leader. Have fun.
4. What, when and who have you learned the most from in your career?
I had this amazing boss named Margaret Hannan when I worked at a DMC many moons ago. She said to me once, “no” is a full sentence. No. I don’t think that we use this enough. We are trying to be accommodating all of the time. Editing down and getting to the essence of what you’re doing, might involve a no at times and that is ok.
5. What motivates you to work as hard as we know you do? And do you have any advice to help motivate rising NWEventProfs in their career?
What motivates me is the energy in the collective we. There is power when people gather and it is an amazing thing. When we went into lock-down in Seattle, I was very safe and only ventured out into the world for groceries and to walk my pooch for months. When George Floyd was murdered and the Black Lives Matter protests started I took to the streets with 60,000 others in Seattle. The power and statement that came from the silence of 60,000 in one place was immense and life changing. For those starting out, find the thing that you love doing and do it often and success will follow.