This month we spoke with Joe Sampson, Executive Director of One Spark.
Why the First Coast? What do you like about this area?
We’ve got everything here: a bit of an urban, metropolitan area, amazing waterways, the beach, or you can get lost on a hiking trail and feel like you’re 100 miles away from the city. There’s no shortage of things to do. I’ve lived in the region for about 10 years. I came to Jacksonville from St. Augustine about 5 or 6 years ago to work with a Jacksonville-based event production company. As general manager and vice president of marketing, I was blessed to lead the company through a series of buyouts and expansion of service offerings. When I exited to join Elton and the team here at One Spark, we had grown the company by greater than 300%. It was tough to leave a job I loved and my team, but I’ve not looked back.
What do you do when you’re not planning One Spark?
Right now, I spend the majority of my time doing what I love – leading One Spark toward a successful production of One Spark 2014. When I do find time, I’m blessed to have great friends in my life that I love spending time with and I LOVE golf – both playing and watching.
Do you have a favorite superhero?
Hands down, Spider-Man. Spider-Man had all of this amazing power. But because he understood what it was like to be the average-Joe (no pun intended), he operated under the mantra, “with great power comes great responsibility.’ Anyone in a leadership position should be able to identify with that – and I definitely do.
Has your experience as a member of the Jacksonville community changed since you joined the One Spark team?
Absolutely. I thought that I had a big network before I became involved, but it’s grown tremendously since starting with One Spark. Now, it seems like people always want to invite me to things simply because of my role. That’s cool, but at the same time I’m still focused on passions – taking action and well, growing stuff. This city has a lot of potential and as my role within it grows, so does my desire to be an action-driven leader here.
Do you have a real-life hero or mentor?
At age 60, my dad is still the hardest working man I know. I grew up in a blue-collar family, working nearly fulltime from my early teen years while juggling school and athletics, and I’ve never slowed down. I picked up his work ethic, but I’m still working to be just half as selfless as he is. He doesn’t believe it, but he’s an incredible man – and someone worth modeling myself after.