Mark Wittcoff
Mark Wittcoff
Chairman, KW Commercial Landmark

Mark Wittcoff, who completed the Public Leadership Credential (PLC) at the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), has always been deeply invested in the communities he works in. With a career in commercial real estate spanning almost four decades, his 38 years in the industry allowed him to develop both his business expertise, as well as a strong understanding of what it takes to create space that allows for individuals to flourish. This commitment to community led him to serve on nine nonprofit boards that help create opportunities for improved access for young people in education and healthcare, and he was recognized for his civic leadership on the cover of a top industry magazine. As Mark puts it, “My thirty-eight years of experience managing all types of investment real estate helped me learn how the value of commercial buildings are entirely dependent on the wellbeing of the communities they are located in.”

With his robust experience to support him, Mark began the PLC with a clear goal in mind: gain the skills needed to become the most effective board member he can be, with his north star always pointing towards bringing optimal value to the people he serves. 

Still, despite having a set vision of what he wanted to achieve when he enrolled, he was pleasantly surprised by what he also ended up learning. “I thought that the PLC would improve my understanding of people who I deal with in the public sector and in nonprofit organizations. Instead, the PLC gave me a whole new understanding of myself,” he said. “I previously believed that I must reach agreement with people in order to work together to accomplish something. Completing the PLC made me a more effective leader, a more understanding board chair and a better father with new tools I gained to collaborate more successfully.”

These new skills have paid off both in interpersonal and tangible, quantifiable ways. “The PLC approach of operating within an ethical framework of principled moral leadership equips me to work with anyone,” he said. “Creating effective policies using PLC methods of evaluating and measuring outcomes enables me to advocate more effectively for my organization's impact. Learning to interpret and analyze data from divergent interests and present data to support my objectives has been incredibly helpful.”

Mark’s time completing the PLC made such an impact on him that he was eager to further his work with Harvard Kennedy School, where he now helps fund scholarships for deserving learners in public service to receive the same opportunity he was able to have. He also serves as one of twenty-five members of The Harvard Kennedy School Dean's Council Leadership Circle, who confer with the Dean and with the administration on overall policy and planning for the school. 

“It has been fun for me to meet my fellow Dean's Council members and to see how many of us are using what we've learned at HKS to help improve our communities,” Mark said. His commitment to bettering the communities he joins is as strong as ever and continues to be the most important part of his daily work. 

With the completion of the PLC added to his professional accomplishments, Mark has clear advice for anyone considering the PLC for themselves: “I encourage leaders in business, public service and academia to choose the Public Leadership Credential over any other leadership program because of its depth of learning and the breadth of its learners. Both the program content and my fellow learners were equally fascinating and fun.”