We are a team of brand, marketing, human resources, and communications strategists offering our clients authentic insight and unrivaled expertise to brand and market their unique employment experience from the inside out. And like our clients, we at exaqueo, have our own unique and authentic stories to tell from the perspectives of our brand, our company, and our individual colleagues. Today, we are excited to tell the story of Mark Hornung.
Mark joins us as a Senior Brand Strategist, responsible for working with clients to help them create holistic employee and candidate experiences. He brings more than twenty years of helping employers discover, articulate, and communicate their employer brands.
Onboarding is an important step in building a new employee’s confidence and sense of belonging with a company. At exaqueo, we like to build that sense of belonging by assigning each new hire an “exaqueo buddy.” As Mark’s “exaqueo buddy,” I have the privilege of supporting Mark throughout the exaqueo immersion and onboarding journey. In the first few days we realized we both drove Volkswagens for our very first cars; I drove a Volkswagen Beetle (picture Herbie from The Love Bug) while Mark drove a Type 117 (a Beetle with sunroof and left-hand drive).
We took a few minutes to grab a virtual coffee, and I am excited to share some highlights from our conversation.
What made you want to join exaqueo?
I have always had a high regard for Susan and the team. For a long time, exaqueo was kind of a mystery to me, I didn’t quite understand exactly what they did. That said, they have always had a stellar reputation and when I saw they had a role posted online, I knew I should apply.
What excites you most about your role at exaqueo?
The quality of the work and the quality of the people. I’ve been able to sit on client calls already, I can see the work product that the team provides for our clients, and I’m really excited to get started doing the same level of work.
While I have roots in creative, I have gravitated toward strategy over the years of my career. I have always had a natural interest in research and have tried to bring research into previous roles. I am extremely interested in what motivates people and what makes them tick—and being able to dive into that type of research here with an impressive client list is exciting.
What impact do you hope to make at exaqueo?
It’s my goal to bring the benefits of my experience to the team. I have worked in many industries over the years (aerospace, high-tech, healthcare, retail, CPG, and energy, to name a few) which has taught me a lot over the years; I am also fortunate enough to have a good reputation within the Employer Brand space. It’s my hope to add to the current luster of exaqueo’s reputation with these experiences and connections.
What are three words that best describe you?
Witty, handsome, ... just teasing!
People describe me as thoughtful. As mentioned, I have really enjoyed the research aspect of my work and this is because I appreciate spending time with and marinating in data. I once had a client whose motto was “go slow to go fast”, and I absolutely relate to that.
Friendly is another word that comes to mind. Mainly because we’re in a space where we meet so many people across roles, tenure, levels, and I’m able to connect with all of them pretty naturally. I pride myself on being able to relate and integrate with a variety of groups, establishing relationships along the way.
Knowledgeable is the last word I’d use to describe myself. I often geek out about various topics and love reading about a variety of things to expand my understanding. I then hold onto this information, useful or not.
What do you like to do outside of work for fun?
My wife and I both love to cook. There are specific days of the week where one of us is responsible for cooking that night—and we’ve started to kind of one-up each other. She’ll cook something super fancy, and then I’ll try to beat her the next night. It’s kind of evolved into us cooking some semi-ridiculous things, but we’re really enjoying the fun challenge and unspoken competition.
My sons, my wife, and I do a cooking and wine-tasting challenge via Zoom each month. We have a theme and all of us cook meals within the theme and sample a wine varietal—it’s a great way for all of us to “see” each other on a regular basis.
Outside of cooking, I’m a huge motorsports fan. Don’t ask me about motorsports if it’s not your thing because you’ll be bored in 5 minutes and tied up for 60. Luckily, my neighbor across the street loves it just as much, so we meet up for coffee and cars regularly. I’m currently restoring a 2000 Volvo C-70 convertible.
And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention our rescue, Milo. He’s a “bitsa” breed—bits’a this and bits’a that—and the two of us go on several walks a day.
What’s the most interesting thing about your home office set-up?
My wife and I share this office space. Well, it’s her craft space that I overtook when the pandemic hit. She often shakes her head at me when I’m on a call and walks out of the room with her sewing machine in hand.
If you look around, you may see some very ornate Santa Claus dolls that she makes, a unicorn princess costume that she’s currently sewing for our youngest granddaughter, and there’s also a painting directly behind me that was painted by my mother-in-law, so my wife gets it honestly.
It’s a pretty peaceful space to be in, and I’m grateful she’s sharing it with me—even if she leaves the room slightly annoyed that it’s now become an office.
What motivates or inspires you to do your best?
Growing up in a military family and having spent a short time in the Navy myself, I learned about completing the mission. I always have a sense of, “I’ve been entrusted to do this, so I will do this to the best of my ability.” Making excuses never goes over very well, so to the best of my ability—I get things done.
Please join me in welcoming Mark as he dives into working on #teamexaqueo and contributes to helping organizations work with meaning. You can congratulate and welcome Mark on LinkedIn.