Enron Executive Speaks on Globalization

Oct. 8, 1998

At 44, Mark is vice chair of Enron Corp., a $20-billion integrated energy company based in Houston. She has been responsible for the globalization of Enron's businesses including development activities, constructing and operating assets and providing gas and electricity merchant services.

Mark received a bachelor of arts degree in 1976 and a master of international management degree in 1978 from Baylor. She spoke as part of the Hankamer School of Business' 75th Anniversary celebration, a lecture series that has included several high-profile business executives.

Mark, who also serves as chairman of Enron International, and of Azurix, formerly the Wessex Water Co. in the United Kingdom, emphasized preparation for a future that is changing, rather than reliance on the past. "The world is not what it used to be," she said. "History is not going to be the determinate."

In the business arena, Mark said that decisions made by world leaders have an immediate impact on the business world. "The flow of money is directly tied to communication," she said. "Information is becoming a competitive advantage."

"The press and the media are going to play a huge role in the future," she said. "Information flows. On the Internet you'll see things you never wanted to."

Mark said that in order to communicate effectively, businesses are going to have to become coherent with "a world that is much broader." Drawing on her own experiences with Enron, Mark said that when she first came to the company, Enron didn't know much about the world. "We simply decided to get out there and figure it out," she said.

The corporation chose gas as their product and began to sell the idea to other countries. "All of a sudden we became the market," she said. "We radically changed the way in which the energy market worked." In a short period of time, Enron changed the game for everyone in the industry and reinvented itself into a global enterprise.

Mark told students and faculty that one key to success in business is to get "one on one with people." She said while traveling around the world she has learned that people are "amazingly similar."

A firm believer in liberal arts education, Mark said the value of language is "that you learn how to live in someone else's head." She also strongly encouraged students who are interested in doing business in the U.S. to learn Spanish.

Lastly, Mark addressed the issue of succeeding as a woman in the business world. Her top two pieces of advice for women entering the business world: "forget that you're a woman" and "never forget that you are a woman."

Mark said that although it is presumed that other cultures do not accept women in authority positions, she has found her gender to be a non-issue. "Men in other countries are often curious to see how you got to that position," she said.

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