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Keep your faith in business, executive tells students

By Rick Vacek
GCU News Bureau

The Colangelo College of Business teaches students to apply their Christian beliefs to the business world. At no point, however, is it ever suggested that everyone will adhere to that ideal.

Which is why it’s all the more important to inject business with the spirit of Conscious Capitalism.

Mark Snyder

Master’s degree business cohorts got a glimpse of the challenges to faith in the marketplace Thursday when, in another installment of the CCOB Dean’s Speaker Series, Mark Snyder talked about his career in the business of buying and selling hotels.

It was an opportunity for the President of Snyder Nationwide Real Estate to wear his faith on his sleeve, something that might not always be welcomed by other people when deals are being negotiated.

“I’m not just a Christian or a businessperson,” said Snyder, whose nephew, Karsten Kem, was President of the Havocs in 2017-18 before graduating and now works at Grand Canyon University. “I’m a Christian businessperson.”

Afterward, he said “almost never” meets another businessperson who feels the same way. But that doesn’t deter him from sticking with his principles – or talking about it openly.

“It comes up when I feel led to do it,” he said afterward. “I speak differently than probably other people do when I’m talking to people. If I sense that someone needs something, I’ll ask them. When you need to really dig down deep because you’re going through something, where do you get your hope from? That starts conversations.”

Snyder has Proverbs 3:5-6 on display in one of his hotels, Embassy Suites in Scottsdale:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

“Every one of my hotels is bathed in prayer,” he said.

He added that he refuses to succumb to the temptation of lying to get a more lucrative deal. For example, he noted, how many people negotiating to buy a car say they have a better deal elsewhere when no such deal exists?

“I find that the more times I do what’s right in my personal life or professional life,” he said, “God honors that. He delivers.”

Snyder, an active member of Scottsdale Bible Church, said he gets a lot of his spiritual reinforcement for business from Dr. Brent Garrison, a “CEO coach” for The CEO Forum in Colorado Springs, Colo. Garrison was on hand Thursday to introduce Snyder.

Snyder emphasized that being a Christian in business doesn’t mean letting someone take advantage of you. He sometimes has come across Christian businesspeople who are actually more difficult to deal with because they make bad decisions based on their faith.

“You’re in control of all the deals you will do or won’t do, and I’m not going to agree to something or be bamboozled into something,” he said. “When I do my deals, I know how much I need to pay and I know what I can do to get there. If there’s fraud or nondisclosure, the deal’s off.”

But he still recommends keeping Acts 5:29 (Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings!”) foremost in your mind as you conduct business.

“I’m going to do what’s right every time,” he said. “I pursue God daily. God’s the kingmaker, not your talents.”

CCOB Dean Dr. Randy Gibb was on hand for Snyder’s talk and said, “Many leaders talk about business as ministry, Mark shared how he lives it out every day. It was great for both our graduate students and a group of Hospitality Management students to hear how he leads his company in a competitive commercial real estate hotel industry and keeps his faith at the forefront.”

Contact Rick Vacek at (602) 639-8203 or rick.vacek@gcu.edu.






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