Presence Without Sacrifice

Mark and his wife, Marissa.

Mark and his wife, Marissa.

A wood carver, a musician, a father of six, and a successful Real Producers Publisher: Mark Menezes can’t remember the last day he woke up dreading work.

A Publisher going on two years, Mark has learned a lot along the way. With a large family, he wanted a career that would allow flexibility without sacrificing success, and Real Producers allowed him to do exactly that.

“In my previous career, whenever I took off to be with my family, I was always thinking, ‘I should be there, I should be at work.’ But now, I have the ability to choose when I do or don’t work, and it doesn’t hurt the success of my business.”


Mark and his wife, Marissa, have been married for five years. Combined, they have six children: Josiah (17), Ethan (16), Alex (15), Tristan (14), Ella (13), and Thatcher (7). Marissa, a family photographer, joined Mark as a full-time photographer for his N2 publications and currently for the Triangle Real Producers magazine. High school sweethearts, the two reconnected six years ago and blended their families into one.


While in High school, they would talk for hours about one day having six kids together, publishing a magazine, and driving a Toyota 4-Runner. Although the path had a few unexpected turns along the way, their predictions were amazingly accurate as they now find themselves with six beautiful children, an incredible magazine they work together to produce, and a Toyota Sienna (close enough).


Previous to working in the publishing business, Mark owned two Cold Stone franchises for seven years. While the opportunity was lucrative and his stores achieved national recognition, it came at a price: missing out-of-town tournaments, watching the store video cameras on his phone at the dinner table, and spending weekend evenings at the store (because, of course, Friday and Saturday nights are prime time for ice cream).

“I thought that being my own boss would allow me to be at school, at teacher-parent conferences, at games. And technically I could, but if you wanted the business to do well, you had to be there.”


Once Real Producers launched, Mark was immediately interested in the innovative freedom that comes with a new endeavor. “In Real Producers, I didn’t miss out on the things I loved -- telling stories, making connections, and spending time with my family -- but I got to work on something that was new.”

But it’s not just the thrill of a new endeavor that brought him to the opportunity -- it’s also the storytelling component. Mark, along with his wife, loves capturing someone’s life or business as it is just in that moment and cementing it in time. Because, as they say, print lasts forever. “If you write an article on the Internet, you can go back and edit or delete the post. But once we print our magazine and put it out there, it’s done. It’s a memory.” Alongside telling stories, Mark is passionate about adding value to the lives of those involved in his business. He loves providing a way for good businesses, through their print advertisements in Real Producers, to connect with great customers.

“There are so many layers of value in Real Producers, and I don’t ever have the thought in my head, ‘What am I doing? Does this really matter?’”


The flexibility to just be there, that’s the greatest thing.”

Some of Mark’s boys are musicians, and since his career as a Publisher, he’s been able to provide a music room filled with drum kits, sound equipment, and guitars . More than providing financially, he’s been able to attend his kids’ music lessons, listen to their progress, take them to concerts, and ultimately connect on a deeper level with his children. His daughter Ella plays soccer competitively, and often has out-of-town tournaments. Over the past two years, he has been able to attend every single one, without worrying about the success of his business.

“It's one thing to be able to financially give your kids something, but it’s another to be able to experience it with them.”


Article by Grace Sanderson, Real Producers Team