We had the good fortune of connecting with Mark Morales and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Mark, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I have found incredible success in my life by taking risks. I started saying yes to things that I would normally say no or if I didn’t think I would have the time. It started by saying yes to my first board position with the Los Angeles LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce. That position led to me attending an event put on by the CA Department of Insurance in 2014. I became the first LGBT person to their Diversity Task Force that following year and have made significant change and impact for our LGBT small business owners. I believe in the equation that Inclusion + Representation + Engagement = Measurable Results.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
20 years ago Charles Jacobsen, Inc became my business banking client. About 2 years later my partner (now husband) went to work for the company as manager. 10 years later the owner decided to retire and sold the business to us. We had not planned on being business owners but thought this was an opportunity we could not pass up. After the sale we got our business certified as an LGBT Business Enterprise with the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce and I started my community work in Supplier Diversity. I had always been a champion for diverse owned businesses with my work as an SBA lender at the bank but now I had the opportunity to help train companies on how to do business with large companies and get contracts. It has been my driving force to make this world more equal and open up opportunities for diverse and disadvantaged communities.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I am a big fan of art and museums and Los Angeles has many to choose from. I would take them to the Getty and Getty Villa, LACMA, the new Academy Museum and of course the Petersen Automotive Museum. Then for a day outside we would visit the Huntington Gardens and then head to Old Town Pasadena for some window shopping. On Saturday night we would have to drop by Revolver for music and stiff drinks. It wouldn’t be a trip to Los Angeles without visiting my friends at the Abbey for a drag show brunch on Sunday and a nice boozy afternoon.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Marquita Thomas, Executive Director at the Los Angeles LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce has been a role model, mentor and friend for almost 10 years. I aspire to be more like her.

Website: www.charlesjacobsen.com

Instagram: viimmm

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/markmmorales/

Twitter: viimmm

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/viimmm

Other: insurance.ca.gov/diversity laglcc.org

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.