BY STEVE LINEBERRY
May 4, 2017 – Whether volunteering behind the counter at the Homeless Coalition’s “Fabulous Finds” resale shop, leading a small business seminar or working with clients in one of Charlotte County’s leading law firms, Mark Martella has the same goal in mind: to help others. He has worked with the business elite of Charlotte County, but his personal experiences have also given him an insight and empathy for those less fortunate — which is why he serves on the board of directors of the Homeless Coalition.
¦ Where did you grow up?
Belleville, New Jersey, home of Frankie Valli.
¦ Where do you live in now?
We moved to Punta Gorda four days before Hurricane Charley struck, Aug. 9, 2004.
¦ What did your parents do for a living?
My dad, a mechanical engineer, owned his own business and designed manufacturing and packaging machines for Fortune 500 companies. My mom was an administrative assistant in the public relations department, New Jersey Institute of Technology.
¦ What is the greatest lesson your parents taught you?
Dad taught me to give back to those I can help and to have high expectations for myself. Mom taught me the importance of family traditions and stressed the need to be always learning.
¦ Name a real-life childhood hero.
My dad was my childhood hero. One of the things he gave me was a love of food and fine dining. Beginning when I was 7, he would take me once a week to a different Italian restaurant.
¦ What hobbies/interests do you have now?
I love to cook, play the guitar and write.
¦ What do you consider the greatest accomplishment thus far in your life?
After a span of 18 months, during which my dad passed away, I was divorced and I lost my Italian deli to bankruptcy, I moved to Florida, became a new husband, had a new home, established a thriving law practice and was named president of the Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce. I learned that failure can lead to success.
¦ Name something most people may not know about you.
I was a morning drive time radio news announcer in Franklin, New Jersey, on WSUS. I can also make fresh mozzarella, which takes skill and patience.
¦ How do you define success?
Being excited to get up in the morning to do whatever your chosen career/life path may be.
¦ How long have you been with your company?
I have been an attorney for 29 years and just recently celebrated one year with Icard Merrill.
¦ What was you first job?
In high school, I flipped burgers at Burger King.
¦ What attracted you to your current position?
My main law practice is bankruptcy. Because of my personal experience, I have found it rewarding to be able to help change people lives from stress and despair to hope and a fresh start. I can convey with my clients that no situation is permanent, and there is light at the end of the tunnel.
¦ Describe yourself in one sentence.
I am a passionate jack of all trades — and attempting to master one or two.
¦ As an adult, do/did you have a personal or business mentor?
Rob and Kate Oliver, local marketing gurus, taught me how to market my business in new and exciting ways.
¦ What is the best business/professional advice you’ve ever received?
Write down your goals where you can see them every day.
¦ What do you believe is your greatest strength?
Grit — the courage and resolve to overcome any situation.
¦ What is the one, most important trait every leader should have?
A leader needs the ability to listen to opposing views within the group and build a consensus for a common vision that will achieve the goals of the organization.
¦ What have you achieved in your profession that you’re most proud of?
After years of practicing law in a large corporate environment, working with casinos and insurance companies, I now work with individuals and families in a niche that has changed their financial lives for the better. ¦