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Mark Gefteas '94

Maximizing Every Opportunity

By Kimberly Hildebrandt

Posted March 23, 2017

As a young boy, Mark remembers struggling in school. Mark could tell that he was learning differently. He remembers being self-conscience about the size of the books he was reading. He thought, “Everyone else is reading bigger books than me,” and his classmates noticed it too. Mark was often called stupid and made fun of by his peers and, as one could imagine, these struggles took a toll on Mark’s self-esteem. After 5th grade, Mark attended two different private schools in a year and a half trying to find a learning environment in which he could thrive. All along, Mark’s parents were drawn to Landmark based on its worldwide reputation, but knew his attendance would involve living away from home at a very young age.

Mark Gafteas '94So his parents made one of the hardest decisions they would have to make. At age 13, and in the middle of the academic year, Mark left home and began boarding at the Landmark School. While his parents knew that Landmark was the right decision, those first few months being away from his home, family, and friends was very hard. Looking back, Mark is thankful for the kindness and care of Landmark staff like Mr. Kahn for encouraging and supporting him and his parents through those first tough months. Even as a young boy, it was obvious to Mark how they truly cared. Mark continued at Landmark the next year and it got easier and easier. Five years later, at the time of graduation, he found it hard to leave a place he had become so accustomed to. While Landmark had a significant impact on Mark academically, he realizes now that Landmark gave him an even better gift. Through the kindness of his teachers, the one-to-one tutorials, the truly individualized education program, and friendships with peers that understood his learning style, Mark grew in self-esteem and confidence. This was the true gift of Landmark. As Mark says, “you can’t fake self-confidence.” It is this gift that he credits for his ability to be successful in the business world.

After graduating Landmark School, Mark went on to get his Business degree at Westfield State University, then his MBA at Clark University. He also studied abroad at Linnaeus University, where he studied and researched macro global business trends and the impact on the U.S. economy.

Mark is currently Vice President of Corporate Development at Conversant (part of Alliance Data), which is a Fortune 500 & S&P 500 publicly traded company that specializes in digital marketing. He is a frequent speaker at industry conferences on some of the most leading topics impacting the digital marketing industry along with writing and publishing several industry publications. Mark is also an Adjunct Professor teaching digital marketing classes at night to graduate students at several local Universities. He currently resides in Wellesley, Mass., with his wife, Estelle.

Mark’s advice to new Landmark students who may be struggling to make the transition is, “Listen to what your parents are saying, think long term and give it time. While leaving what you know is a hard decision, be open minded. Landmark is a great opportunity and in life you need to maximize every opportunity you can as you only get so many.”

 

Read more Alumni Spotlights.