WALNUT CREEK – Mark Sanford may have come into the audiology field by chance, but there’s nothing coincidental about the impact he’s had during his three decades of professional practice. “When I first went to college, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do,” he remembers. “At one point, I took a class on communication disorders, which is where I first encountered audiology. I found it interesting on both a medical and technological level, and I also appreciated how versatile it was: you could work in a hospital, have a private practice, do research or go into education. With all of these different avenues available, I decided to stick with it and see where it took me.” Ultimately, Mark chose to go into private practice, where he’s been helping people preserve and improve their hearing ever since.
Today, as president of Better Hearing Center, Mark says his favorite part of his job is the opportunity to change people’s lives. “I love helping someone who’s suffering from hearing loss and reconnecting them with their loved ones. It’s not unusual to have a patient come to tears after being fitted with a hearing aid, because they’re suddenly able to hear and communicate clearly again. It just doesn’t get any better than that.”
A resident of Carmel (where he lives with his wife, Pam, and their daughters, Isabel and Natalie), Mark expresses his appreciation for life in the South Bay Area. “The quality of life is great here. The people are wonderful, and I think the technological advancement over the last 30 years has made a big difference. If you find a better place to live, let me know and I’ll move there!”
Outside of work, Mark enjoys activities like golf, gardening and travel, but most of all, he likes spending time with his family. “On a typical weekend, my family and I might go on a hike or head to the beach. Right now, our lives revolve around what the girls are doing, which includes activities like Irish dance and musical performance. They’re involved in a lot of things.”
In regard to his professional practice, Mark believes in taking a team approach rather than trying to be a one-man show. “I think my staff and I share the same passion for changing people’s lives, so we’re all on the same page in terms of our commitment to quality care,” he says. “Instead of micromanaging my staff, I give them space to make decisions. Certainly, the buck stops with me, but at the end of the day, we’re in this together as a team.”
When asked what his future retirement might look like, Mark says he’ll be intentional about staying active. “I’ll probably do a lot of the same things I do now: go for runs on the beach, play golf and hang out with my family. I think it’s important to stay active, especially in retirement—you need to have a reason to get up each day.”