Whole LOTA Love

Mark Rosenthal

I owe my grandfather for my existence. As a young man and newly married, he was serving in the French army during World War I. His wife, my grandmother was living in Poland, which at the time was not an independent state. The German army was beginning to occupy Poland. He sent her a telegram to join him in Paris for the wedding of his cousin which did not exist. She understood that message, and she pleaded with her family to leave with her. They scoffed at her and she ended up being on one of the last trains before the Germans full occupation. Unfortunately, her family perished. Our family still has that telegram.

My grandfather ended up moving to Morocco with her where my mother was born. There, she met my father; an officer in the US Army stationed in Casablanca, during World War II. They fell in love and married. She eventually moved to the US where I grew up speaking French.

I attended the Waldorf School, a private school. I was going in the wrong direction in my life, and the Waldorf philosophy really grounded me. It taught me acceptance and love of myself and other people. It also gave me the opportunity to do things I never dreamt of doing. The athletic coach at my school had defected from the 1960 Hungarian Olympic basketball team. He introduced me to a sport called Team Handball. I was pretty proficient at it and eventually became a member of the US Junior Olympic Team.

After graduating from Waldorf, where I eventually became president of the alumni association and served as a trustee on the school board, I attended Boston University and majored in business. During my summer before my senior year, I got a job as a runner on the floor of the New York Commodity Exchange trading gold, silver, and copper futures. It was a mindless job, but my eyes and ears were wide open. I tell you, it was one of the most exciting places to be, as events in the world were immediately translated into the price of gold.

After I graduated from college in 1977, I was offered a full-time job as a runner. Shortly after I began working, I was invited to try out for the US Olympic team for Team Handball, which had just become an Olympic sport in 1976. To my excitement, I made the team. Then we were told, we're going to be training and traveling for the next three years in preparation for the 1980 Olympics, which would mean I would not be able to continue with my job. I was at a crossroad. I had to choose between the beginning of my career in the exchange, or the Olympics. I chose my career. It ended up being the right decision. The US boycotted the 1980 Olympics in Moscow, Russia. I would have trained for three years and not been able to participate. It would have been devastating, no Olympics and no career.

But things turned out, and I began a 30-year career as a floor trader having purchased a seat on the exchange. I also became a member of the New York Board of Trade which eventually became ICE Futures. They're the ones that own the New York Stock Exchange. When floor trading ended because everything migrated to online trading, I had to reinvent myself. That’s when I came upon an ad for Online Trading Academy. Though I knew absolutely nothing about sales at that time, my past experience and training helped me get hired.

With the great training and mentoring that I received, especially from people like Mark Patrick and others at OTA, along with a great sense of community and love that is a part of the OTA culture, I flourished. I've been happy to pay it forward by sharing my best practices to my colleagues - new and established. It's a great company to work for. 

What I'm most proud of are my six children. They have brought so much joy to my life. They all have very interesting paths and careers. Among them, one is a senior in college, one is a banker, and one's in advertising and marketing. I also have a daughter serving in the Air Force. She is an officer currently involved in the drone program stationed in Qatar. I am very proud of her.

They're all very unique individuals, and I'm extremely close with each of them. Come to think of it, I imagine their different personalities and their life choices have prepared me for all my different responsibilities at OTA. It's the circle of life! Working with students and helping them achieve their goals, aspirations and dreams. The ability to transform lives continues to be a very rewarding aspect of both my personal and professional life in which I am tremendously grateful.