Mark Richardson

Mark Richardson has parlayed a career in tourism and economic development into a business as a career counselor and entrepreneurship facilitator. The business he co-founded last year, GigBlender, uses technology to connect companies with talent.

Name your top 5 MCs. Tupac, Dre, Kanye, Adam Yauch (Beastie Boys), Jay-Z

What motivates you more, doubters or supporters? Doubters tend to be more of a catalyst than motivation, especially if I’m working on something new. People telling me that I “… can’t …” is a great way to start something. But supporters are much more motivation for me – they tend to be more committed.

What does it mean to be Black in Madison? I can only speak for what it means for me. And for me it means: that I have to be better than good, because good isn’t good enough. It means that WHOM I know is at least as important as WHAT I know. It means that I am working uphill most of the time. It means that I can’t miss opportunities to change perception. It means that I have to be more careful … AND take more risk. It means I have to find ways to work with some people who don’t want me at the table. It means that I engage with many, but I surround myself with a trusted few. And it means that I have to be ready to push … in the ways that I can.

What three leaders in Madison under 50 have impressed you the most? Everett Mitchell, Rebecca Ryan, Brandi Grayson

What’s the biggest stumbling block in Madison to turning the corner on our racial disparities? Fear of failure.

What are your top three priorities at this point in your life? My friends & family, my entrepreneurial efforts, and mentoring young professionals

What made you take the risk to start your business, GigBlender? Two things: First, I knew it was time to invest in my own vision, the same way that I’d invested in others along the way. Secondly, it was an opportunity to build a team and create a working culture from scratch.

You’ve worked at the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce, Urban League of Greater Madison, and the State of Wisconsin Department of Tourism. What did working in those different organizations teach you about Madison? It taught me a lot of things! But among the most important things it taught me was a) how important professional relationships are, and b) how to bring my unique skill set with me no matter what sector I might be working in or with.

If you had the chance to go back in time to give advice to the 20-year-old you, what advice would you give? I would tell me to “PAY closer ATTENTION to the people you cross paths with.”

Name three things you would love to bring back from the ‘80s. My parents, The Bears supremacy over the Packers, and Old School House Music

What are your five favorite restaurants in Madison? Pig in a Fur Coat, Five Guys, Taqueria Guadalajara, Monsoon Siam, Tornado Room

Can black people be racist? Aren’t black people, people?