Story by Mark Sears, Founder & CEO, CloudFactory.
Reflecting on what has shaped and enabled me to become the person I am today is harder than I first thought.
I initially thought about great quotes, books and authors that have inspired me, and then I thought about people who more recently have helped me to grow personally and professionally. But I kept coming back to my family, friends and faith – the things that helped form the core parts of who I am and how I view and interact with the world.
My wife – Today is our 8th wedding anniversary and Laurel truly is my better half. I remember so distinctly praying for a wife whose heart is pure and that was definitely answered. As Laurel and I became best friends 10 years ago, I loved seeing her in many different contexts be the same genuine and loving person. Whether it was in a boardroom of professionals or serving the poor downtown, she was comfortable and caring to everyone no matter how rich, poor, important, or overlooked they may be. Laurel is also the funniest person I know – always quick to break the ice and unite people with a comment that brings smiles, laughs and sometimes even snorting. She also has a deep and strong work ethic gained from her parents and growing up on a farm in small town Saskatchewan, Canada. She is the love of my life and for 10 years, I have been challenged and influenced by her integrity, joy and work ethic. For 5 of those years, this amazing woman has also directly and indirectly affected the culture of CloudFactory.
My family – My mom was a single mother when I was young and her determination and hard work to make ends meet and put my sister and I first is an important part of who I am today. While she never got the opportunity to pursue a lot of formal education, she is one of the smartest people I know, and it is inspiring to see her always challenging herself and researching new things. Her thirst for knowledge and life-long learning is something that I thankfully picked up somewhere along the way.
My step-dad was pretty strict with me when I was younger but then I grew up I finally realized that his heart has always been for me. In fact, he has a heart of gold and strong integrity similar to my precious wife. Together my parents have taught me that true love involves discipline and sacrifice.
My sister is 6 years older and the gap was just big enough that we didn’t fully connect until my 20s, when we even got the chance to be roommates for a couple years. I continue to be inspired by her determination and spirit of generosity. She is always thinking of others and going the extra distance to help people.
My friends – Junior high is such a formative time of life for most kids and I was no exception. I met my three life-long friends in junior high and their influence is beyond anything I can describe in a few sentences. I remember in grade 9 when Raymond challenged me and then assisted me in running for School Prime Minister. His “Bark for Mark” campaign and belief in me gave me confidence at a time in life where a lack of it can be disastrous. As we played sports together he challenged me to not settle for second – that it is OK to win and stand out, or lose knowing I left everything on the court. My friend Mike has always been a steady and loyal voice in my life. Some of my deepest times of true friendship were simply hanging out with him doing everyday things. Kory is another dear friend who is a risk taker and he has always used his passion and hard work to accomplish big things.
Living overseas for 7 years has brought some distance between my friends and me, but I will never question their love and support for me. I am thankful for the years of adventure, competition, learning and growing together – both behind and hopefully still ahead of us.
Faith – I started reading scripture in college and things would never be the same again. Truth hit my head and love pierced my heart. Now every day I wake up seeking to love God and love others.
Like every company, CloudFactory is very influenced by me as its founder (for the good and for the bad). Our culture is born out of a set of values that the people above and many others have lived out and displayed to me in relationship over the years. I am thankful for all those who have joined our leadership at CloudFactory to bring in all they have gained and learned from their relationships. Together we are on a great journey and we can honestly say we are standing on the shoulders of many who have made us who we are today.
Read other stories by Mark Sears: CloudFactory Introduction, The Future of Work is Bright When We All Work Together.
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