Mark Doughton learned the ropes of business sales while earning a degree in Business Administration in 1980 at the Belk College of Business. He also learned that the friendships and business relationships formed in undergraduate school would stand with him when he and his family took on the cause of fighting cancer. He is a recipient of the 2015 UNC Charlotte Alumni Hall of Fame Award.
What kinds of opportunities did you have at UNC Charlotte?
My fraternity, Lambda Chi Alpha, was a major part of my years at UNC Charlotte. I played intramural sports with Lambda Chi and held a fraternity leadership role. As a fraternity we volunteered at Thompson’s Children’s Home and coordinated an annual Red Cross blood drive on campus.
Why did you choose UNC Charlotte?
I chose UNC Charlotte because it was a modern university. In 1976 when I was a freshman, the buildings were all current architecture for the time period. Enrollment was not too large, and they admitted me!
What was the best part of your Belk College experience?
I enjoyed almost every aspect of the Belk College except for the statistics class. During my senior year in a marketing class, I shadowed someone in business and traveled with a sales person for a week. The experience really enhanced my interest in being a sales person.
What was your first job after graduation?
My first job was as a sale representative for Bocock-Stroud Sporting Goods, based in Winston-Salem, and then selling Armstrong Flooring products for Peerless Inc. of Lexington, N.C. Eventually I joined a start-up venture that was a division of Inmar where I spent 25 years and retired as company president in 2009.
What is your professional role today?
Today I have an independent consulting business where I focus on career development and preparation for the job market for recent college graduates or those changing careers and assisting small to medium-size companies evaluate their business development process. I also spend a significant amount of time volunteering and serving on various boards.
In 2008 your son, Stephen, also a UNC Charlotte graduate, was diagnosed with leukemia, which led to the creation of The Stephen Doughton Jr. Foundation, of which you serve as president. Tell me about the foundation’s accomplishments?
Stephen was diagnosed in May 2006 while in high school. In 2008, while he was at the Cancer Clinic at Wake Forest Medical Center, Stephen overheard a person asking if they could make payments for the cost of their treatment. When leaving the hospital, Stephen said, “I want to do something to help others who have Leukemia. We need to find a cure, and no one should be trying to pay for their treatments.” We formed the Stephen Doughton Jr. Foundation, which has donated over $100,000 to the Wake Forest Medical Center to assist the Leukemia Research Fund.
How important has the UNC Charlotte family been to the Foundation?
We have had tremendous support from my classmates and fraternity brothers and fellow UNC Charlotte board members and from the athletic department, primarily through our annual golf tournament. Stephen was a basketball team manager while earning his undergraduate degree and an athletic department employee for two years afterward.
What advice do you have for current Belk College students?
The classroom is very important, but the relationships you develop with other students will be important for the rest of your life. Put down the electronic device and find time to talk to someone in your class or someone you meet in the cafeteria.