Most often,the news you’ll find here is about forward momentum in badging. But today, we’re going to take a look back because the badging community has lost one of its pioneers: Mark Johnson. Mark lived with an aggressive form of cancer before his death on January 20, 2015. He was laid to rest January 25,2015.
To be completely transparent, Mark Johnson means a little more to us here at Acclaim HQ. He was the founding father and driving force behind Acclaim. Even after developing cancer, Mark worked tirelessly to launch our product because he strongly believed in the potential for badging to revolutionize the way individuals manage, share and verify their professional achievements.
More than our leader, Mark was an extraordinary guy. “There was something irresistible about Mark,”said Heather Young, marketing manager with Acclaim. “Call it force of will or enthusiasm - I’m not sure it has a name - but it was heartfelt and genuine.”
That force of will pushed Mark - and the rest of us forward - even during difficult moments. Jarin Schmidt, business development manager for Acclaim recounted,”I’ll never forget the time Mark announced Pearson’s commitment to the Open Badge Alliance. He had just begun treatment and his vocal cords were damaged such that he could barely speak.
Mark got up on the stage and opened with, ‘Pardon my voice. I guess I must have a little badging fever…’ It’s that tenacity and wit that will be missed most by our team, company and the community.”
One of Mark’s defining characteristics was his unique ability to build a team by first building relationships. “All of us who met Mark along the way were embraced immediately as his friends,” said Pete Janzow, business development manager for Acclaim. “His approach was on the level, gregarious, welcoming. Mark made you want to join in his adventure.”
To the very end, Mark’s personal mantra was In it to win it - his friends and family all sported rubber bracelets with that phrase inscribed as a show of support. His positive, open approach to life - and even death - was winning exemplified.
Mark’s gone off to the sunset ahead of us now. But he left all of us on the team - and everyone he encountered - with an incredible gift: the ability to stay focused on the positives and keep pushing for tomorrow, regardless of the uncertainty or headwinds we might encounter. For that, and so much more, our entire team will be forever grateful.
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