An Interview With Mark Fewell, Leisure Activist

Mark Fewell is one of the most adventurist people I know.   He lives life with passion and purpose and does the craziest things that he writes about in his blog Leisure Activist.  Even with all his worldly travel and cool experiences, the thing I remember most about him from the first time we genuinely connected was how truly genuine and kind he is.  We took a long walk away from the hustle and bustle of our tribe and I got to know why he is so beloved.  He cares about others and he is very down to earth.  So it’s no surprise that he’s currently working with the most incredible organization – Movember – as they work to have an everlasting impact on the face of men’s health.

Thanks Mark for participating in my interview series!

In one sentence, who are you?

I like to think I’m a discoverer, of interesting places around the world, of brands, of new ways of doing business, of interesting people, of coffee, of wine, of my own limitations or lack of them.

What experience have you had with the toy and game industry?

At Boost Mobile one of the coolest things I got to do was lead brand extension projects.  I had an amazing team, and we were early into the street artist collaboration space.  We did some work with some great artists that included vinyl toys.  We also did a very early mobile games around some of our events in action sports, including the Boost Mobile Pro Surf at Trestles (it’s the next stop on the present World Tour), which featured world champions like Andy Irons, Kelly Slater, and Sunny Garcia.  Looking back it was pretty basic, but a lot of fun to conceive and make happen.

What was your favourite toy or game as a child?

Lego and Mechano.  A lot of people would say Tonka trucks, but I grew up in Australia on some construction sites and mines, and as an 8 year old was driving real bulldozers and vehicles, so I skipped the little one.

How did growing up in Australia influence who you are today?

I lived all over Australia as a young kid (having moved out from England with my parents at 4).  I then went to about 10 schools in 6 years.  It embedded in me the ability to adapt, to make new and varied friends, and to explore. 

You have succeeded at many different roles in your life, lawyer, sports commentator, journalist, marketer, and blogger, what is one common thing that you’ve learned from all of them?

For me the common theme is about connecting the path – whether it be a deal, a story, an interview or a new way of bringing something to life.  If you aren’t excited about it, it will never draw the best out of you.

How do you approach the unknown?

Mostly with a sense of excitement.

What’s something most people don’t know about you?

I wrote a children’s book for my godson, using photos of street art from about 15 countries around the world as illustrations.

What are your passions?

Life, friendships, new experiences, exploration, media work, surfing.  I’m really passionate about the work I’m doing with Movember now too

Tell us about your work with Movember.

The Movember Foundation is a global men’s health charity committed to changing the face of men’s health. With campaigns and funded programs in 21 countries, we focus on raising much needed funds and awareness for prostate cancer, testicular cancer and men’s mental health. However, as an organization we take a holistic approach to men’s health and as such have an interest in all issues relating to the health of men, as evidenced in our Awareness & Education program. 

To date, 4 million Mo Bros and Mo Sistas have raised over $500 million dollars, funding programs aimed at achieving our vision - to have an everlasting impact on the face of men’s health. It’s an extraordinary success story and one which has been driven from within by a passionate team, empowered by a strong culture that is innovative and fun. I was fortunate to be on the global Board as a non–executive director for four years, before moving into my current functional role, as Head of Market Development, where I work with the global leadership team. Every day I wake up feeling I’m contributing in a positive way and I can’t think of a better job for me right now. 

You seem to successfully mix your business with your passions.  What advice can you give to help others accomplish this?

Set big goals, hold to your dreams, and authentically connect with people who are experts or connected to the area.  Be patient and don’t force it – it all has to flow naturally.

What is one mistake you've made and what did you learn from it?

Every mistake is a learning opportunity.

We met at HATCH, a community that unites creative thought leaders to hatch a better world. How would you help to HATCH a better world?

Make sure that at least half of the world’s leaders were women – it would be a less aggressive world.

Throughout your life, your career has been centered around creativity.  What advice would give inventors who are looking for inspiration?

I’ve never invented anything, other than a good story, so not sure I’m qualified to answer.  But I’d say put yourself in whatever state of mind, physical position, or place of inspiration that allows you to be the most connected to your own universe.

How to you activate creativity?

Moving.  For me my best thinking and problem solving comes when I’m on the move – ideally surfing, or running or yoga.  Clearing the mind encourages creativity.

If you could only have two things to create with on a desert island, what would they be?

Mary Ann & Ginger

What's the most important thing you learned this year?

That you never stop learning.

What is your place of inspiration? 

Fairy Bower, in Manly in Sydney; Bali; Swami’s surf spot in Encinitas, CA

You are an avid traveler.  What has been your biggest adventure?

Been fortunate to have had a lot, but I have to say my first motorbike adventure in 2007, when I rode a vintage Royal Enfield across the Himalayas and the world’s highest road, with my Dad and Will Travis.  Will and I had only learnt to ride bikes 4 months before.  In retrospect it was madness.

What do you read every day, and why?

Surfline – to check the surf report.  First thing I do each day, along with a latte.

If you could learn one random skill, what would you learn?

Fly a plane.

Who is or has been your mentor? What piece of advice did s/he give you?

I’ve been fortunate to have had some amazing mentors in life and business.  It may seem obvious to say, but the encouragement to follow areas of passion in business has helped enormously. 

When is breaking the rules okay?

When no one gets hurt, and it results in innovation.

What makes you smile?

Sitting in the ocean on a sunny, windless day on my surfboard with a few fun waves.  The laugh of my girlfriend.  A hug from my goddaughter.  Surfing with my godson.  Friends.  Shared times with good peeps (like fellow Hatchers).  Riding a remote road on a motorbike with my Dad

What would your DJ name be?

DJ Errol Chilz

If you knew then what you know now, what would you tell your 18-year-old self?

Don’t fear your emotional self.

Describe the best day you ever had....

Hopefully I haven’t had it yet.

What are you grateful for?

The life I’ve been fortunate to have had.  My health.  My family and friends.

What is your Superpower?

The power of speech (and something I love)

If you had the opportunity to get a message across to a large group of people, what would your message be?

Guys, participate in Movember and support men’s health this year by signing up at www.Movember.com.  Ladies, encourage the men in your life to participate and to talk about their health.


 Thanks, Mark, for a very inspiring interview!