May 4, 2019, Washington, D.C. – National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement on the passing of Leading Authorities President and CEO Mark French:
“With his unbridled creativity and a relentless entrepreneurial spirit, Mark French made a name for himself as a leader in the association and speaking industries. And with his warmth and generosity, he made friends across this country. I consider myself extraordinarily fortunate to have been counted as one of them.
“Losing Mark is a gut punch. And we send our deepest sympathies to Mark’s wife, Carol, his daughter Lauren, and his son Brian. We’re holding them close, and we take some measure of comfort in knowing that though he has left us, he is now reunited with his daughter Kathleen.
“Mark offered the world so much and had so much left to give. From building Leading Authorities to publishing CEO Update, he dedicated himself to making the association community better and our country stronger. His legacy will be defined in part by the countless leaders who today are better stewards of their organizations and more selfless champions of their causes thanks to Mark’s work.
“Mark made all of us better in the way he lived his life. His resume included everything from founding a successful company to serving on association and hospital boards to notable achievements at national organizations. What he built is impressive, but even more impressive is who he was.
“In what would be his final Facebook post, Mark offered encouraging words for us all: ‘I remain optimistic despite my challenges and I have faith in God. None of us are forever. We must treasure our blessings…. Finally, be optimistic, or at least as optimistic as you can be. Sometimes that can be hard but…optimism will make you a much happier person.’
“It’s hard to be optimistic today. But like so many others, I will do my best to live by my friend’s creed, to be as optimistic as I can be and to treasure the blessing that is having known and learned from the impressive Mark French.”