Mark Prendergast

I am persistent in the face of resistance. In entrepreneurship, perseverance and sheer grit are necessary traits.


Mark Prendergast is the president of AB Mauri North America, a division of a global leader in yeast and bakery ingredient products. He is a senior executive capable of combining a strategic and analytical approach with creativity, commerciality, professional judgment, and a personal drive to get results. He is an articulate and influential leader with an energetic style and a commitment to collaboration and the development of teams.

Where did the idea for your company come from?

AB Mauri North America traces its roots back to 1868, when Charles and Max Fleischmann introduced the iconic Fleischmann’s Yeast to bakers across the United States. Since then, the company has evolved to offer a broad range of baking ingredients that includes leaveners, dough conditioners, malts, syrups, mold inhibitors, and much more.

What does your typical day look like, and how do you make it productive?

A typical day is a blend of scheduled meetings, conversations with my colleagues, and time to manage various issues. I always try to include some work time for myself, though the productivity of this depends on the day. I make every effort to check in with several of my direct reports every day, though it can be a challenge considering not all of them are based in our St. Louis office.

How do you bring ideas to life?

There is no single perfect approach to anything, but I’ve had success by finding team members who share my enthusiasm for various ideas. I then give them the freedom to run with the concept in whichever direction it leads.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

The acceptance and utility of synthetic biology and genetic engineering of yeast.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I am persistent in the face of resistance. In entrepreneurship, perseverance and sheer grit are necessary traits.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

I’m not in sales, but that doesn’t prevent me from selling on a daily basis. I help sell team members on initiatives and projects, spreading excitement for my ideas and finding supporters along the way.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Aligning our baking ingredient technology with emerging consumer trends. When our customers are ready and willing to embrace these technologies, we are equipped to help them launch.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

When it became apparent that we would not be able to secure additional funding, I faced the reality of the situation and moved heaven and earth to find a buyer. Had I not dealt with this problem in a timely manner, the window for selling the business might have closed.

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

I have started to use Twitter as my de facto news source. It helps me stay on top of general news and other topics of interest much more efficiently.

I am also a huge proponent of Zwift, a multiplayer online fitness program. The software allows cyclists to use stationary trainers to pedal their on-screen avatars through gorgeous animated environments. It can be difficult to get exercise during the cold winter months — particularly for cyclists — but Zwift helps make my basement training sessions a lot more fun.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

“Start With Why” by Simon Sinek. I wish I had been able to read this one 30 years ago.

Tell us something that’s true that almost no one agrees with you on?

The St. Louis Blues will win the Stanley Cup. Eventually.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Most of the stuff you are worried about doesn’t happen.

What is your favorite quote?

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” — Peter Drucker

Key Learnings:

  • Find team members who share your passion for projects, and give them the freedom to take things in whichever direction is necessary.
  • Stay on top of technology trends in your industry; you’ll be better positioned to help your customers do the same.
  • Persistence is a crucial trait for entrepreneurs.
  • Check out “Start With Why” by Simon Sinek. The insights contained within the book are well worth the time necessary to read it.


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