5 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Became CEO: Mark Moore, CEO of Debut Model Agency

I had the pleasure of interviewing Mark Moore, President and CEO of Debut Model Agency. He is also the managing director of Debut Media, LLC a marketing and branding firm (www.Debut-Media.com) Mark is also a former Squash Pro, a 10th degree black and is the founder of Shojitsute an eclectic martial art that combines several aspects of self-defense, wellness and readiness. Mark also has a BS in International Marketing and Management from Wharton and a Masters in Applied Physiology from Columbia University. He is also a former certified personal trainer and strength coach.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory

I graduated high school six months early and had sometime before shipping off to college. My mother being ever so watchful, and not wanting me to be an idle teenager in New York City, said, “Well if you’re not in school then you will have to get a job.” I figured, because I was valedictorian with a 4.0 GPA that getting a job would be a breeze. Boy was I in for a rude awakening. Turns out that I interviewed very well but because I was in school for three and a half years that I didn’t have any work experience. Therefore could not get a job. I was so frustrated. I mean, I typed 85 words per minute, had a couple dozen awards, was well travelled and was top of my class. Yet, the people that dropped out of high school years before were the ones getting the jobs I interviewed for because they had work experience. It turned the notion of having a great education upside down for me. What was I going to do?

Someone suggested that I go to a career training institute. They’d test my aptitude and other skills then provide job placement. I thought, ok why not. Nothing else is working. So after an hour or so of questions and quizzes I was told I tested through the roof. Quote “You’re such an impressive and well-spoken young man.” Outcome from all of that from the institute, “We can get you a job at McDonalds.” What! I said. The institute’s response, “The problem is that you just don’t have work experience.” I was floored. Something needed to change.

An awesome lesson I learned from my mother was to focus on what you have and not on what you don’t have. I realized that what I had was three and a half years of volunteering at my high school, assistant coaching, and great relationships with my teachers, many of whom had PHD’s and their own businesses. So I got creative went to each of my teachers and asked them to write me letters of recommendation as if I was an employee. They agreed. Then, I rewrote my resume to reflect the actual experience I gained while in high school, packaged it with my 20 letters of recommendation and found another job opening. I managed to land a job as a personal trainer for an exclusive health club for celebrities. At 17 years old, I was training the likes of Ellen Barkin, Mia Sara, Isabella Rossellini, Jennifer Gray, Jennifer Beals and many others. 

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Kelsey Maskell