EMMA ROUTLEY/THE CHRONICLE
Mark Molina at his home base of operations.
Mark Molina wears many hats in the Springfield community – and he’s proud of all of them. A U.S. Army veteran, pastor, entrepreneur, and board member for the HIV Alliance, among others, Molina can now add yet another to the list: “Emerging Leader,” the category he won during the Springfield-Area Chamber of Commerce awards program two weeks ago.
Molina’s increased presence and influence might seem sudden, but only for the uninitiated. While he is “emerging,” Molina has been putting in the work for years. Trying to grow his business during the pandemic has forced him to develop new skills – more specifically, he learned how to become a podcaster.
The podcast platform – which is an online radio-like format – has opened a new avenue for storytelling that differs from traditional media for Molina. Inspired by others, he has found a niche with podcasting as a way to help local residents tell their stories.
Molina began a year-long series of podcasts in December 2020 called “Women in Leadership.” The emphasis of the series is to demonstrate the many forms of leadership, and the fact there are so many women making critical differences, Molina said.
The series features women from a range of life and leadership experiences, with guests ranging from CEOs to a lifetime of motherhood.
“A lot of people think that they live an insignificant life,” Molina said. “Then you start helping them tell their story and they realize, ‘I am doing something special. I am doing something that matters.’”
Molina already has 20 episodes recorded, and his goal is for 100 episodes in 2021.
He said one of the most important things the city of Springfield can do is encourage expression and sharing.
An Oregon resident since 1995, Molina is involved in the community in multiple ways; running in local elections, coaching football and soccer, and serving on multiple boards. Getting the difficult conversations started is one of the ways to begin healing, Molina said.
“Springfield has come a long way,” said Molina, who noted he’s faced racial hostility throughout the years. “People are working really hard to listen to different voices, opinions and perspectives now. People are looking for the next opportunities on how we can include more people and let their stories be heard.”
Like many entrepreneurs, the pandemic caused financial hurdles just as Molina started his leadership consulting business.
And avid long-distance runner and competitor, Molina wasn’t about to give up. So he looked for a way to use his platform that could benefit the community at large.
He began hosting interviews with local government representatives and candidates, then turned the interviews into podcasts.
One of his latest interviews was with recently elected Springfield City Councilor Damien Pitts, which can be found on Molina Leadership Solutions/Facebook and Spotify.
“This is my form of community service to the place in which I live and the people that I participate in this life with,” Molina said.