They buildOn: Mark Webb from British Airways Inspired by buildOn’s Mission

British Airways is making a significant commitment to get buildOn students overseas. This year it is sending 50 of our high school students and program coordinators to Africa for free (Read more here). British Airways is also raising funds for and mobilizing employees to get involved in buildOn’s afterschool activities. These efforts wouldn’t have been made possible without the enthusiasm of Mark Webb, the company’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing in North America and a member of buildOn’s New York Board of Directors.

Mark’s involvement with buildOn runs deep. He and his niece, Bridget Webb, raised money and built a school in Nicaragua during September 2007. Since then Mark has truly been an ambassador for buildOn. He and members of his leadership team at British Airways are going to break ground on another school in Nicaragua in June.

“BA is rolling up their sleeves and breaking ground on a school to demonstrate the commitment we have to buildOn,” Mark said. “Hopefully this will lead to a greater knowledge of buildOn for the BA community where another eight or ten ambassadors will experience it directly and help spread the word.”

Time affiliated with buildOn: 5 to 6 years.

How were you introduced to buildOn?

A friend of mine went on a trek to Mali. After hearing his experiences, and ultimately meeting Marc Friedman (buildOn’s Chief Operating Officer), I was interested in getting more involved. In 2006, my niece was fresh out of college and I was on sabbatical. We raised the funds and we traveled to Nicaragua. I was really impressed and inspired by how organized buildOn was in the country, with the selection of the village, the mobilization of villagers, their appreciation, and obviously the need was stunning. That was a very satisfying experience.

I raised funds to do two more schools, and then I joined British Airways in November 2009. I figured out a way to get BA involved with buildOn — and that was by initially providing free tickets, business class and first class tickets, as part of fundraising work at buildOn’s events. My partners and I have also donated our use of a ski house in Colorado for a few events. Lastly, I invited Marc (Friedman) and Jim (Ziolkowski, buildOn’s Founder and CEO) to come out here to BA in New York and meet some of the senior executives, to explain the mission of buildOn. Based on that, we ended up making a commitment in the form of free tickets to take high school students to Africa this year.

How have you seen your contribution with buildOn make a difference?

I’ve seen it make a difference with my own eyes when I was in the village and saw the need and the level of excitement among the villagers at the prospect of a brand new schoolhouse.

What buildOn initiatives mean the most to you?

I think buildOn has a unique and compelling combination of domestic inner-city afterschool programs, that make a huge difference to the students who get involved, as well as the international programs, which make an enormous difference in the lives of villagers who benefit from a proper school. I think that it’s made a tremendous impact. And when you bring them together, it’s magnificent; when you take those inner city kids and actually bring them to a poor country it empowers them and it changes them forever.

Complete this sentence: buildOn is… working very well.