Jon Mark Walls
My favorite place: in Europe that would have to be any corner cafe in Paris with a coffee in hand, in South America it would be the far end of the “W” loop in Torres del Paine national park in Chile, in Asia I was fascinated by the streets of Bangalore, in Africa it is a rooftop overlooking the Jemaa el-Fnaa in Morocco and in North America I’d say without a doubt my grandparents back porch in Houston Mississippi.
My favorite song: Southern Comfort Zone by Brad Paisley
My favorite book: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Three things I dislike: apathy, laziness and coconuts
My greatest adventure: Studying and working in Europe over the past six years while helping build a company across such a complex social, cultural and political landscape.
I think Europe’s biggest challenge is…staying strong in the vision. The biggest challenge for any society is not allowing itself to get to a place where it forgets that 100% of that society (whether local, regional, national or international) is composed of individual people. Human problems require human solutions and at the base of that is exchange, communication and, hopefully, increased empathy and understanding.
My changemaker idol: It’s a hybrid person with the heart of Jimmy Carter, the hustle of Jack Ma, the vision of Elon Musk, the long range business brains of Steve Jobs and Peter Thiel, the operations brain of Sheryl Sandberg, the global affairs brains of Richard Halbrook and George Kennan, the courage of Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. and the wit of Stephen Colbert. Sorry, I know that was a lot.
My message to the EYA community:
“Do not be content with the status quo…ever. Identifying, deconstructing, analyzing and understanding problems and then conceiving, constructing and executing solutions require insane amounts of creativity, humility and passion. Look for gaps and don’t be afraid to look foolish. You are already ahead of everyone else if you have identified the unsolved problem. Finally the most important thing is that nothing, nothing, nothing can be done alone. Build relationships constantly and protect them at all costs.”