Marketing / Art Director
Mark Sequeira was born in Southern California and moved to Phoenix to become Communications Director for a large non-profit organization. His background is in language and intercultural studies having studied Arabic in London and Russian as well as Classical Turkish at UCLA. He spent many years as a graphic artist and marketing specialist. Mark joined the East Valley Tribune as their Senior Graphic Designer and worked for eleven years in their Marketing Department. He then started his own studio/consulting business, MJAStudios, doing consulting work for GNI before working part-time and in December, 2010 full-time as GNI’s Marketing and Art Director. Mark loves to travel and has spent a number of summers overseas. He has studied, visited or done relief/business development in Pakistan, Russia, Thailand, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, the Caucasus, Malaysia, Belgium, Finland and England. He loves his work, the discipline and craft of creating good design, and reading. He’s been married for over 20 years, and has four children.
Five Questions For Mark
1.) What do you do for Good Neighbor, and how does it help non-profits, charities and individual travelers?
I have been the Creative and Marketing Director for Good Neighbor Insurance for the last few years. I am happy to help “get-out-the-word” because so many people have a desire to help others or volunteer, but often put themselves at risk unknowingly in doing so. If I can help keep even a few of them safe so that they can keep on serving and volunteering, and have good experiences doing so, versus a traumatic experience, then I am very happy indeed!
Having been overseas myself, seeing the needs of refugees and the need for business and job creation, I want to use my job to increase our numbers and help more people get “turned on” to the rest of the world. In that sense, it’s not just a job, it’s a calling. And I am glad that they both overlap –That I can do what I love, and know I am making a difference at the same time.
2.) What does “Good Neighbor Insurance” mean to you?
Good Neighbor Insurance is an amazing workplace and business. They truly are one of the most upstanding, caring, dedicated groups of people I have ever known. They look after those far from home and often in very unique circumstances.
I guess I see Good Neighbor as kind of like a “Big Brother/Big Sister”…Maybe a wise mentor that saves people a lot of time and grief…Or that picture of the Good Samaritan looking out for a fellow traveler (Like that Samaritan, I’ve realized that insurance folks are often avoided or viewed suspiciously,…I’m glad that regardless of our collective “reputation,” Good Neighbor is caring for people, looking out for them quietly and purposefully).
3.) Where have you traveled to/lived? What did you like about it, and what has it taught you?
Wow. So I have traveled a lot. Mostly before I was married and had a family. My dad always said to travel as much as you can while you are young and before you have too many responsibilities. So I have been to England a couple different summers studying Arabic; Been to Russia numerous times on both personal trips and leading trips on business exchange; Been all over Central Asia (The ‘Stans) after studying Uzbek at UCLA; and have done a little work with Afghan refugees in Pakistan. Of course I’ve also crammed in sight-seeing around the world as well, but I think I left my heart in Central Asia and the Caucasus region of Russia.
Since I’ve mostly been on shorter summer trips, I think what I liked best was staying in one place longer and getting to know people. And I’ve mostly learned that apart from all of our differences, (and struggles and pain), we all want many of the same things. Also, I’ve learned about hospitality. I thank the many, many people I have met and their love for me, sharing what they had, their gracious hospitality and helpfulness along the way. They have changed me forever.
4.) Your Bucket List: What are the next three places you’d like to go, or things you’d like to do, if money were no object?
I’d like to someday move back to the Caucasus and finish what I had just begun – which was helping with exchange, job creation, peacemaking, stability, cultural understanding,…Maybe do my job from there?!
I’d like to see Africa someday and maybe climb Kilimanjaro for purely selfish reasons, but I’d also love to see Thailand again – It’s an amazing place!
I’d like to have my kids learn what it’s like to grow up in another culture and learn the value of that away from America and everything that we have/take for granted. TCKs have advantages that go way beyond how many stamps they have in their passports!
5.) Tell us your best travel tip, or bit of expatriate advice, to help those traveling or living overseas:
Okay, I’ve already put some of mine up on our Pinterest page at goodneighborins but if you’re traveling, take gallon ziplock bags! You can store all kinds of things in them, keep smelly items from the rest of your clean stuff, can add a few drops of detergent or soap and wash your stuff in them, use them to keep treated (clean) water, and more. And if you buy cheese in France, you can double bag it, so your rooms don’t reek of cheese.
Culturally, do everything you can to learn the language and get away from the western crowd and English speakers and make local friends. The faster you lose your inhibitions when asking for help, the better! Especially if trying to learn the language. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. The biggest mistake is being afraid to make language mistakes speaking to locals or not asking for help!
Travel light – You really don’t need all that stuff and again, you can ask locally if you need something.
Lastly, as my dad told me, “Travel often and travel young before you get too tied down.” Getting to know other people and their viewpoints/culture is the best way you can help the cause of world peace; end culturally superior attitudes; learn respect; as well as learn humility, and gratefulness for all we have been given.
Name two things you are grateful for?
1.) I am grateful to God for the life I enjoy: For freedom of conscience, freedom from living with regret, opportunities I’ve had, my health, friends, an amazing wonderful family, some of this is due to being born in America, some of this is due to choosing to allow God to set me straight and lead me on a much better course than I could ever pick for myself, and some due to providence/opportunities to meet my wife when I did, etc..
2.) I am grateful for the ability to work. At a place where I can use A.) My talents and gifts, B.) My passion, and C.) My ability to earn a living wage and feed the family. The wisest man in the world once said, “To enjoy your work, to enjoy your food, to enjoy your family, this is a gift of God.” In a world where so many are happy to simply have a job (whether it allows them to use their gifts and talents or not), I realize that I am extremely fortunate to be at Good Neighbor and serving some of the most amazing, well-traveled, and compassionate people I’ve ever met.