Small business leader, humanitarian, and Chaldean American Spokesman, Mark Arabo has become one of California’s most respectable figures within the community.
In 1979, the Arabo family immigrated from Iraq to the United States in search of a better life and safety. Today, Mark is one of the most distinguished members of the Chaldean community in San Diego County. Mark has three brothers and one sister. One of his brothers, Auday Arabo ran for State Assembly in 2008. The rest of his siblings are accomplished business professionals.
Mark’s first career was in the retail grocery business. At 10 years of age he began accompanying his father and grandfather to work on a daily basis. Their first business was Wrigley’s supermarket in San Diego. His experience with small businesses and customers can be traced back to his youth. He has had a constant affinity for not simply profit margins, but relationships with customers. Part of his success in the early stages of his work life was due in part to his personable relationship with shoppers. Ultimately, the Arabo family owned and managed a chain of 3 supermarkets throughout San Diego.
As a life long San Diegan, Mark attended Valhalla High School before graduating from San Diego State University where he earned his Bachelors of Science Business Degree in Integrated Marketing Communications. During his time in San Diego State University he was named to the National Deans List for three consecutive years, 2001-2002, 2002-2003, and 2003-2004 and also earn a Certified E-Marketing Associate.
After graduation he was offered a role within Anheuser Busch Sales team of San Diego, a subsidiary of Anheuser Busch Inc. During this time, he was trained in seamless selling, viral marketing, promotional events, and was a key asset to their marketing department.
Soon after, Mark was offered the Vice Presidency of the Neighborhood Market Association, the largest non-profit Grocers Association on the West Coast. He served in this role for two years. Mark focused on strategic partnerships with major vendors in the industry. He negotiated all vendor programs that go before the Program Endorsement Committee, and carved out the five tiers of the Neighborhood Market Association. His innovative marketing practices established the NMA with a decisive advantage over every association in the industry.
As Vice President of the Neighborhood Market Association, Mark also became the Editor-In-Chief of the industry renowned quarterly magazine Independent Voice. This magazine served as an innovative method for strategic growth for Neighborhood Market Association throughout our members’ states. It continues to be published today with a vast amount of readership throughout California, Arizona, and Nevada.
On January 1, 2007 Mark was appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer of the NMA becoming one of the youngest CEO to ever serve in this position. He became president of the organization shortly after in 2008. As incoming CEO, Mark brought a new and refreshing vision for the NMA. He stressed that the success of the NMA can only be found in it’s member outreach, and community involvement. In 2009, Mark developed the program “Protected by the Partnership” where Crime Stoppers, San Diego Police Department, San Diego Sherriff’s and San Diego District Attorneys Office join forces to fight crime offering $10,000 dollars reward in case a crime was committed in any members’ stores.
Mark also serves his community as an honorary board member for the YES awards, Board member of San Diego Crime Stoppers, lector for St. Peter Catholic Cathedral, and Work Investment Partnership board of directors. He has been nominated to the Regional Advisory Committee for the FBI. Since his tenure, the NMA has seen a leap in membership by adding over 1,600 new small businesses.
Mark has engaged in constructive dialogue with many leaders both locally and internationally. Arabo has also been been a community leader within San Diego. He was the first to call upon the resignation of former El Cajon Mayor Mark Lewis in 2014 during his racism scandal. In 2011, Arabo met with President Barack Obama to discuss issues confronting Christian minorities within Iraq. And in 2014 he raised similar security concerns with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki during a meeting in Washington D.C. Mark has also met with various other leaders on a range of different topics that include Prince Mirad of Jordan, Former President Bill Clinton, George Bush Jr., and Jimmy Carter. Mark Arabo is the community proclaimed leader of the Chaldean people and has led numerous humanitarian endeavors for all minorities. Currently, Arabo, along with the likes of Congressman Juan Vargas is pushing for H. Resolution 663 which would lift the regional immigration ceiling for the Middle Eastern region, and expedite the Visa process for immigrants effected by violence in the country. As of 2014, Arabo is the newest member of the California Highway Patrol Citizens Advisory Board which is the highest level citizens advisory committee in California.
Mark currently resides with his wife and two young children in San Diego, California.