The ship-crewing CEO was one of two mentees selected for Lark’s New Normal Business Council and Mentorship Program out of 761 business leaders who participated in the Lark Your Way to Success webinar series.
Lark recently announced Mark Joseph David, CEO of Pal Maritime Corporation, as one of the business mentees under its New Normal Business Council and Mentorship Program.
The ship-crewing company provides seafarers as manpower for vessels belonging to their various partners located in the Isle of Man, Germany, and Bangladesh. Mark is a second-generation partner in the company, which his family acquired in early 2000s. He joined the team in 2007, and at first, his father sent him to work aboard one of the ships so that he could fully understand the business, and be able to relate to the people that they work with. After working his way up, he became President in January 2020.
Ship-crewing is a huge industry in the Philippines, and one that relies heavily on relationship-building and loyalty. The entire industry was hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic because most of their operations require manual processes, face-to-face interaction, and local and foreign travel. In the case of Pal Maritime Corporation, their movements became limited. The crew could no longer come to the office to sign their contracts, and activities like family day were suspended. Partners from abroad could not come to Manila, and Mark’s team was unable to fly out to Europe to meet with them either.
A lot of businesses were lost within the industry in the early months of the pandemic, and Mark says that it seemed hopeless back then. But he believes that it is always possible to find a way to overcome obstacles, when you truly want to. Over time, with the help of the government, the industry has been able to slowly adjust to the new normal. Many processes are now being done online, and Pal Maritime Corporation has started to adapt.
Mark feels that Lark would be a great tool for community-building, enabling his company to forge stronger relationships between their local team, seafarers, and partners abroad. He was quick to see how their team can communicate, hold meetings, and even host seminars on Lark. They could continue doing the same things they did pre-pandemic, but this time in a digital setting.
Mark shares this advice to fellow business leaders who are navigating into the new normal – In order to succeed, your heart needs to be in your business, and your business needs to be in your heart. When faced with struggles, it’s easier to fight for something that you love. “I always believe that if you love your business, if you take care of your business, the money will come after,” he says. According to Mark, if you enjoy the business you have chosen, you really can’t go wrong.