“There is no lack of
EXPERIENCE out there…

Just a shortage of
asking people to SHARE theirs.

It’s amazing what a little vulnerability
and collaborating with the right people will do.”




When I struck out on my own right after college I realized that I had a LOT to learn. I connected with successful people and asked how they created opportunities. I then immediately applied their advice in my own life and shared what I learned through speaking engagements. Those conversations gave me the content for my first gigs – which were entirely interactive.

That was my “a-HA!” moment: All collaboration starts with an idea exchange; it doesn’t have to be some convoluted, complicated process. Collaboration happens when conversations turn into action.


During my journey I’ve been fortunate to collaborate on exciting projects such as running book launches and tours for New York Times bestselling business authors, working with the Founder of TED to create an event with 50 world class luminaries, helping the world’s largest chapter of Meeting Professionals International create their branding statement, conducting interviews at the news desk at DellWorld and building organizations and mentoring programs for startups, nonprofits and young professionals.

Along the way I accidentally stumbled into the improv world. One of my best friends asked me to be in charge of talent and after parties for the 10th Annual Chicago Improv Festival in 2007. Conversations in the green room with improvisers from television and film lead to another “a-HA!” moment for me: Improv ISN’T about being funny; it’s about collaboration. It’s an art, a science and a lifestyle. After 9 years of integrating improv rules into my business presentations, interviews and everyday life it’s changed my communication style and shifted my world view. I currently serve as Board President for Chicago Improv Productions, the 501(c)3 nonprofit. We produce the Chicago Improv Festival and we’re launching the first ever Chicago Podcast Festival in November 2016


Instead of only sharing my own life lessons I draw from my interviews with successful people that LOVE what they do. I continue asking successful people I meet how they collaborate to achieve amazing results. I ask people that have failed what they would do differently. Those conversations have turned into an ongoing, active research project – that means I apply their advice in my own life and projects. Just “researching” and collecting data means nothing if its not put into action.

Everything I create today is based on the patterns I’ve recognized from those conversations. I take great notes.

17 years, thousands of conversations and hundreds of events later I’m still learning from amazing people and building events and programing. Now I have a LOT more experience to share and great team to work with. Through that experience I have created my body of work , Idea Climbing™, that shows people and organizations how to solve problems and create opportunities through collaboration.

Contact Mark

Mark J. Carter & ONE80, LLC
Chicago, IL

Office: 312.818.1321
Cell: 847.710.1517