Mark Jeffreys: Imagining & Building Together

Mark is running for City Council to create equitable opportunity for ALL.  Mark started out pushing a broom and like all of us went on to succeed only through the help of others. He’s running to build a Cincinnati where people like him who started out collecting trash and on food stamps have the same opportunity to achieve their dreams as children of Fortune 500 executives.  

Mark has one of the most diverse set of experiences: an entrepreneur, a father of  CPS children, a former P&Ger,  Trustee for a neighborhood council, founder of a non-profit, former ballet dancer and son of an immigrant who came to this country without a dime.

Fighting for working families is personal for him growing up working poor and working his way through college as a union laborer, waiter and janitor. Mark has a track record of humble leadership that has made life better in Cincinnati that he will bring to council in a way that will help restore trust and create that equitable opportunity for Cincinnatians.

Mark's personal story is one of resilience

Mark’s father came to this country from Holland with nothing and worked as a janitor to support his family.  His parents were working poor in New York City and at times relied on food stamps to get by.  Mark attended public school, and is a former ballet dancer – picked by George Balanchine to be in a Special Men’s apprenticeship program at the age of 13.  But when he lost his mother to a heart attack at the age of 15, Mark stopped dancing.  He worked as a union bricklayer (Local 59), janitor, waiter, mover and security guard for 6 years to pay tuition for the University of Chicago.  After earning a college degree and working first in Washington, DC for a Member of Congress and then promoting U.S. exports in Asia, Mark completed an MBA from Georgetown University.  He chose Cincinnati as his home 20 years ago when he joined Procter & Gamble in marketing.  But life is full of curveballs.  After going through a divorce over thirteen years ago, Mark met Pamela, a pediatrician at West Side Pediatrics, and a fellow lover of the arts.  Pamela and Mark have built their blended family together in Clifton, and are members of Wise Temple.  Their children – Kathryn, Victoria, Evelyn & Nicholas – are all Cincinnati Public School kids.

Mark’s backstory is not unlike many in our community where things have not always been smooth sailing.  But the life experiences that he carries with him daily reinforce his belief that community is something we build together and with the help of others.

Mark is a proven, effective but humble leader

Mark spent more than 16 years at Procter & Gamble as a Marketing Executive building brands including Pampers, Gillette and Always and managing multi-million dollar budgets – learning how to solve complex problems by bringing the right people together.  When he left P&G 3 years ago, he chose to stay in Cincinnati and build his own company because of the deep roots that he had laid down.  He built and sold Mobile Agent Now (a review response company) and then turned his attention to founding 4Sight, which leverages algorithms to mine online data for insights that companies can use to shape their business strategies.  That has meant creating jobs right here in Cincinnati.

Mark understands what it means to have a small business and the choices involved in making payroll – creating something from nothing – and the role of innovation in our economy.

Mark imagined a healthier Cincinnati and is making it happen

Eleven years ago, Mark founded the non-profit go Vibrant to make each of our neighborhoods healthier. He envisioned, and then spearheaded, the renovation of a dilapidated parking lot into the P&G goVibrantscape at Smale Park (Foot Piano & Flying Pig) by convincing P&G to donate $1M toward that vision.  It is now an experience enjoyed by over 2 million people a year, young and old alike.  When Mark realized that that there no organized athletics in many CPS elementary schools, he energized P&G and Kroger to partner with CPS, resulting in hundreds of children having access to soccer, track and cross country.  Similarly, Mark’s vision of getting people walking brought walking routes to 21 neighborhoods in partnership with local community councils and neighborhood leaders, and inspired thousands of Cincinnatians to start walking.  Mark’s passion for parks and greenspaces also led him to serve on the Cincinnati Park Foundation board for the past four years where he has helped focus attention on neighborhood parks.

Mark imagined safer, more bike friendly neighborhoods and is making it happen

Mark serves as an elected Trustee on Clifton Town Meeting (CTM) and leads both the Parks and the Transportation & Public Safety Committees.  This has given him a first-hand understanding of how neighborhood councils work.  In partnership with others, Mark gained approval for rush hour parking restrictions on Ludlow Avenue, which has reduced traffic accidents by 25% and has improved pedestrian safety.

Inspired by temporary bike lanes popping up in other cities, Mark imagined bike lanes along Clifton Avenue.  He energized CTM, CUFNA, Hebrew Union University, Good Samaritan Hospital, the Cincinnati Parks and the University of Cincinnati to support this effort, and is working with Councilmember Jan-Michele Kearney and DOTE on implementing them in Spring 2021.  Mark has also engaged the community in establishing a ‘road diet’ along Ludlow Avenue, from the viaduct to the business district.  This process involved everything from handing out flyers and hours of meetings with volunteers to organizing surveys and engaging with government leaders.  It is a lived experience that will make him more effective on City Council