Lauryn Mark shares with us that, “Anyone that hears me speak, wonders where I am from. I was born in the US. I live in Australia and I currently work for Qatar. I have been married for nearly 20 years. Together, my husband and I have 3 children. My step daughter is 24. We were lucky enough to add two more children into the mix, Sierra 18 and Indiana 16. Besides being a wife and mother, I own a business called Go Shooting and also work for the Qatar Shooting Team as a High Performance Manager and Women’s Skeet Coach. In my current role, I am focused on closing the gaps of elite athletes to help them achieve their ultimate goals.”
What were your initial years of growing up like? Tell us about your life before starting your professional journey/venture/initiative and what inspired you to choose this career.
When people ask my children what they want to do when they grow up, I often laugh in reflection at my own life. To this day, I tell people I still don’t know what I want to do. My entire life has been built off of what started as a hobby with my father, which turned into an Olympic dream and onto an entire life that revolves around the sport of Clay Target Shooting. At the age of 11 I started Clay Target Shooting with my father as it was one of his passions. A year later the Olympic Trials were held at my local gun range. I was inspired by the athletes walking around with the USA on their jackets and knew that one day I too wanted to go to the Olympics. In 1997 I made my first World Championship Team as an impressionable 17 year old. That further motivated my ambitions. In 1999, after meeting on the international circuit, I moved to Australia to be with my inspiring and caring boyfriend who had won an Olympic Gold Medal in the 1996 Olympics, Russell Mark. In order to give us the flexibility required to shoot competitively at a high standard we needed a job that would allow us the income and flexibility to further pursue our Sporting endeavours. That is how we came up with the idea of Go Shooting (previously known as Corporate Shooting Stars). This business has been running since 2000. I no longer run the day to day operations as we have handed that off to two energetic license holders so we can be available for our new roles with the Qatar Shooting Team.
Was there any turning point in your life that changed your journey? If so, what was it? Please tell us the backstory behind it.
Meeting my further husband was a major turning point. I was originally shooting for the US team and had a life in America. Once I met him, the opportunities that presented in Australia were very different to life I had planned in America. The other major turning point was through Covid which I have touched on below.
Tell us about your goals, interests, and role models.
My current goals are based around trying to get the athletes from the Qatar Shooting team to qualify for the Olympic Games. In addition, I have always been focused on trying to be successful both professionally and personally. That can always be a constant juggle. My role models are anyone that wakes up every day willing to do their very best.
Everyone has their own set of challenges when starting an entrepreneurial journey. Still, the most essential part for others to learn is how you deal with those. Would you like to share with us your challenges and your coping mechanisms?
Besides the life balance aspect, I spoke about above, the other major challenge is the ability to evolve and adapt to new systems through time.
What impact do you feel you have been able to create with your work so far and how would you want to grow in the next few years?
Through Go Shooting we have exposed hundreds of thousands of people to a sport that most know very little about. We have been able to show that Clay Target Shooting isn’t just for the elite athlete, but also for anyone that wishes to try a unique sport for the first time or go on to an enjoyable hobby. Through our Corporate, Bucks/Hens and Have a Go sessions we have exposed a large variety of people aged 12+ to our incredible sport. In the future we hope that our new license holders will be able to grow the business further at our existing venues in Victoria and Queensland with the idea to expand to other states if successful.
While the global pandemic of COVID-19 is associated primarily with adversities, it has also brought about a true boom in startups, with successful entrepreneurship in many countries. The pandemic has impacted all of us in one way or another. Would you like to share your experience on a personal and professional level?
Due to boredom in Covid, we started a YouTube channel on the technical aspects of clay target shooting. The channel got a lot of exposure and through that new opportunities presented themselves. After 22 years of running Go Shooting, we started working for the Indian Shooting Team initially. Following 14 successful months with them, we have just started with the Qatar Shooting Team who will take through to the Paris Olympics.
Your journey and your vision are very inspiring, but are there any achievements or accomplishments you would like to mention?
Dual Olympian including a 4th place finish in Athens. 3 x Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist.
Would you like to share with our young budding women entrepreneurs the change you would like to see in the world if given an opportunity?
I would like to see the World continue to accept all people as equals. Women all over the World should have the same opportunities.
What’s the most important thing you have learned in your personal life and professional journey? What is your personal motto in life?
Don’t live your life wondering ‘What if?‘. Life is too short not to take risks and make the most out of opportunities that present themselves.
Women are a growing force in the workplaces worldwide, standing shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts. There are cracks in glass ceilings everywhere, with many women breaking through to carve out a space right at the top of the pyramid. What are your thoughts about women’s leadership today?
Women can make incredible leaders. Any human that is focused on a goal and strives every day to achieve great results whilst continuing to learn and develop in the process, whether it be a male or female is capable of achieving greatness.
With your grit and determination, you are making a considerable impact, breaking through, and serving as role models for many budding entrepreneurs. What would you want to say to our young women leaders/audience reading this?
Every journey starts with a first step. Don’t be afraid to take the first step and see just how far you can go. Set a goal and then make a plan on how you will get there. It generally takes 8 years in our sport for someone to say “I want to go to the Olympics” to get there. That takes tireless effort through the good and bad days and building the right team of people around you to help you achieve your dreams. Whether it is sport, business or your personal life, nothing worth having comes easy. Our failures allow us to build resilience and better appreciate the successes. Go for your dreams!