Who is Mark Haggarty?
My greatest satisfaction comes from setting up teams for success. I love working behind the scenes to make sure that everything goes off spectacularly when the lights come on.
I am motivated by smart people, novel ideas, sound systems, supportive environments, and humor. I strive for equity and honesty at every turn.
The ability to foster genuine relationships with a vast array of constituents is what I do best. I create circumstances that allow connections to flourish. I combine quantifiable evidence with emotional intelligence. I listen without prejudice.
If I can help you, I will. And if I can’t, I’ll know that and tell you that too. I promote honest and direct discussions, in real language, borne out of mutual respect and a realization that one way or another, the job at hand needs to get done to the best of our ability. Because it’s not just about us, it’s about the people your organization serves.
I have a bench of smart and talented experts that I call upon from time to time to take on pieces of Projects. They are not my employees, they are my peers and collaborators, as subcontractors. You might meet them if we work together. They all have other full-time gigs in their areas of expertise, so they stay fresh. They are financial minds, operational gurus, DEI leaders, deft fundraisers, persuasive writers, elegant designers. Storytellers. Artists all. I love and respect them.
How I Got Here
Originally from New York, I graduated with a B.A. in English from Kenyon College in 1996, and then was privileged to participate in the fast-paced Internet Boom (1.0) with startups in both New York City and San Francisco, before transitioning in 2002 to the non-profit space as a career. I worked in direct service and program delivery for the College Track organization in East Palo Alto, CA, and volunteered my time in summer workshops for College Summit (now PeerForward), until 2006 when I became a father for the first time and relocated with my wife Amy to her native Chicago.
After muscling my way through an MBA at Loyola University Chicago, I opened my first nonprofit consultancy in 2008, with clients across Chicago and the Midwest specifically focused on education reform efforts and college success for first-generation, low-income student populations.
My biggest client became the OneGoal organization; I was the lead author of the OneGoal three-year curriculum (version 1.0) that governs student progress through the program. From 2013 through early 2018, I put my consultancy on hold in favor of full-time employment as OneGoal’s National Director of New Site Development, leading the internal and external efforts to open new regions annually for OneGoal around the country. We went from two regions to six. I loved my job, and love OneGoal, but the extensive travel wore on me as a dad and a husband and a man, so I returned to the world of consulting and advising under the auspices of Spacebar Projects in 2018. I’m still willing to get on a plane for the right assignment. I can otherwise be found in/around Chicago.
What’s the Name All About?
The professional spaces I have most often experienced are the in-between spaces, the interim, the gray area. I’ve worked for a lot of small agencies that became much larger and more sophisticated. I’ve had a hand in nurturing that growth. I’ve leapt into voids, enough to know the only constant is change, and now I most enjoy standing alongside of you while you’re managing your own changes, when you’re really going for it, especially when organizational bravery is required. Because growth is hard, littered with as many cautionary tales as successes. ‘From the forest itself comes the handle for the ax.’ Matisyahu taught me that. Proceed with equal parts caution and conviction. Together.