Becoming a GoTeach Champion – Mark Hart

Published on 01/02/2023

In 2021, Mark Hart became a GoTeach Champion building a direct relationship between Derby Moor and DHL. Mark knows the value of education and the importance of support for young people. Using the skills, he has built up, Mark wants to give something back and change the lives of young people, one young person at a time!

My time at DHL

Since joining DHL twelve years ago to work on the NHS Supply Chain contract, I have faced several personal and work-related challenges. The previous twenty years I had spent primarily within the retail & services markets within the UK, and joining DHL was my first experience working with the healthcare sector, servicing the NHS. Over the twelve-year period I have tackled challenging roles, from a Commercial Director to Procurement Director within NHS Supply Chain. In November 2017 I was appointed to the role of Managing Director within a newly created joint venture called ‘HST’, 50:50 owned between DHL Supply Chain & a USA-based company Vizient Inc. The last five years that I have run the business, it has truly been the most rewarding yet challenging time in my life, and I have loved working with my work family of 86 colleagues, driving savings and efficiency benefits into the wonderful NHS.  Little did I or anyone else know, what was round the corner.

When the pandemic hit, working on the NHS contract really tested my ability to carry out my job to a high standard, and it also massively tested my mental health. By Summer 2020, I had become very ill and was in a deep clinical depression. My life personally was in complete turmoil, with a difficult divorce, moving and setting up a new home, whilst maintaining parental responsibilities, and coping with total isolation. I was in a bad place, but with amazing support from DHL colleagues Roxi and my boss Jason, and the support, love, and friendship of my work colleagues at HST, I got the incredible support I needed to make it out the other side.

Supporting GoTeach

For me, it was going to be a journey from deep clinical depression to a fulfilled and happy life, and that journey took me the best part of eighteen months. I realised I needed to change my approach to life and decide what makes me truly happy, fulfilled, and be authentic to my needs. At the end of 2021, I invested personally in development time with a ‘life coach’, I determined what was personally important, the foundations being a resilient mental health, authenticity, and very much taking part in community activities such supporting young people.  I began volunteering for the charity ‘My Black Dog’ which supports those struggling with their mental health. When it came to young people, I was directed to GoTeach. It completely aligned with my values, and I knew it would take me out of my comfort zone and allow me to reach my goal of supporting young people.

Becoming a GoTeach Champion:

In 2021, I felt ready to take my GoTeach support one step further and become a GoTeach Champion.  A GoTeach Champion builds a long-lasting relationship with a partner school local to where the DHL colleague lives and delivers a range of GoTeach activities to their pupils. After my training, I was matched with a local partner school, Derby Moor. I had a great first call with the careers lead, Andrew, to determine what support the Foundation and I could offer.

I have supported schools in Coventry, Halifax, and Nottingham however, I love the work I have done with Derby Moor. Derby Moor is a large important school to be working in from a Go Teach perspective, and out of the 1,700 students on roll, 65% are living in what UK. Gov class as at the poverty level, a frightening and very sad statistic. I saw my mission being to educate around the opportunities open to them in preparing for life post schooling, as well as the ‘basics’ such as instilling a level of confidence, giving the pupils a consistent structure and form of support, work alongside a very engaged set of teaching staff.

My primary contact at the school Andrew has been a total inspiration. He is semi-retired and the living embodiment of the school, having worked there in various roles for over twenty years. The love, care and drive and total he had to serve the pupils really gave me the push I needed to really get stuck in. The first month of being a Champion was completely nerve-wracking. I had a tremendous inner critic, was feeling out of my depth and like I had made a massive mistake signing up. However, over time I learnt to push away my inner critic and fell in love with the work I was doing and very quickly!

During my time supporting GoTeach, I have had a few pupils come over to either thank me or tell me how much I have helped them. Not a feeling like it! GoTeach has not only helped me develop skills I can use in the workplace but also inspired me to become a better parent as I am developing my understanding of young people’s behaviours, to my own three daughters. I have loved my time with Go Teach, a real highlight that I know I will look back in future years and be proud of my involvement with such an important community service.

If I could describe GoTeach in three words I would say passion, education, and commitment. Being able to shape a young person’s thinking around their capability and potential is amazing and their ambitions as an adult operating within the workplace is amazing. To any colleague wanting to get involved I would say roll your sleeves up, get out of your comfort zone, meet new colleagues, and give it a go!