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Life & Work with Mark Loranger

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mark Loranger.

Hi Mark, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I received a degree in Electrical Engineering from UC Davis (perfect nontraditional preparation for a nonprofit executive!) and took my first job with IBM on the East Coast. I worked as an engineer for a few years but then transitioned to sales and marketing. I found I enjoyed managing projects and working with people to solve problems rather than designing circuits and systems. After eight years, I moved back to California and started a restaurant delivery service in Los Angeles. Think Doordash or Grubhub—but this was the early 2000s before online ordering and these services were commonplace. My business partner and I ran the business for 13 years, eventually selling it to a competitor.

After selling the business, I took some time to consider the next step in my professional growth. A friend told me about Chrysalis. At the time, the organization was looking for someone with business experience to run Chrysalis Enterprises, our Employment Social Enterprise. I got the job and fell in love with the place and had the opportunity to become CEO about a year later. I’ve now been here nearly 15 years, and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
I came to Chrysalis at the beginning of the 2008 Great Recession. It was a challenging time for our clients, our community, and for our organization. In some sense, it was trial by fire, but we had a great team, many of whom are still at Chrysalis today, that believed in our mission and worked through the tough times. Of course, the past two years with COVID has been a tremendous challenge; we are emerging as a stronger organization, but it has taken its toll—emotionally, physically, and financially—on all of us.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
Chrysalis serves people navigating barriers to the workforce by offering a job-readiness program, individualized supportive services and paid transitional employment. We empower our clients on their pathway to stability, security, and fulfillment in their work and lives. Our clients—many of whom have experienced homelessness or been impacted by the justice system-are ready, willing and able to work but need some help to achieve this goal. Our programs help clients realize their human potential, as well as revive or gain the dignity and respect that comes from a job. This year we will work with nearly 7,000 individuals who are seeking support and resources during their personal job search.”

What quality or characteristic do you feel is most important to your success?
Curiosity, listening more than talking, and openness to new viewpoints are characteristics that I have found to be very important in this role. I have grown in these areas over these past 15 years but have more work to do!

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Image Credits
Courtesy of Chrysalis

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