At A Glance


In short, Mark is an experiential trainer, author & speaker and the #1 content contributor on playmeo.

Mark Collard delivering Serious Fun Professional Development workshop, China 2015

He is best known for his remarkably fun training workshops, interactive keynote presentations, and three best-selling activity books, including No Props, No Problem, Serious Fun, and Count Me In.

Over the course of his 35+ year career, he has delivered more than 2,000 program days and presentations which have helped 100,000+ people have fun and connect meaningfully with others in 11 countries around the world (translated in 4 languages.)

Mark has written 5 books and leverages a massive repertoire of 800+ fun group games & activities to help people connect.

He has produced 350+ video tutorials (which have attracted more than 12.5+ million views), worn-out 3 rubber chickens, formed over 5,000 circles, stayed in 300+ dodgy hotels and spent 5 months of his life in a plane crisscrossing the globe to travel to & work with his groups.


“Hi, I’m Mark…”


My story could start as far back as the kid I sat next to in kindergarten, but…

Let’s start with my reluctant decision to attend a ‘youth leadership’ retreat as an unassuming 20-year-old. A conscientious, polite young man, I was unwilling to give up any time over my Easter break because I had lots of homework to do.

Okay, I was a geek. I had very few friends, spent most of the time in my bedroom studying and barely knew what a girl was.

But, thankfully, I did attend and I am forever grateful.

Pivotal Decision #1

Mark Collard headshotThe impact of this leadership retreat was akin to the power of a locomotive. I returned home, cried in the arms of my mother like I had never cried before, and took my first nascent steps towards becoming a leader, as much of my own life as my soon-to-be discovered profession.

I could not have possibly known this at the time, but I look back today and believe my passion for helping people to connect (with themselves and others) is solidly rooted in my experience at this four-day, residential, life-changing event. Interestingly, the very same interactive group games & activities that I enjoyed as a participant back then, now form part of the media I use every day as a program leader today.

As I completed my Bachelor’s degree (Accounting) and earned a scholarship to study for my MBA in New York, I was very busy honing my program leadership skills as a youth group leader at my local church and working as a camp counsellor on summer camps in the USA.

Then, in 1990, fresh from being retrenched from a local management consulting firm, I was confronted with my second pivot point. I could easily have jumped back into another well-paid job (which I loved but was not a fan of suits) or… I could pursue my passion for playing games and helping people connect (in t-shirt and jeans,) but… I just had no idea how this would pay the bills.

Choosing the Latter

I moved back in with my parents, assumed a number of volunteer positions in the camping industry to keep an ear to the ground, and then, there was the serendipitous tap on my shoulder. I was in the right place at the right time.

Invited to undertake a six-month training internship at Project Adventure in the USA, I jumped at the opportunity and returned in 1991 to establish the business of Project Adventure in Australia. The business blossomed for ten years, and then, having built it to a level where I found myself in the office more often than in the field, I jumped again.

I had always believed that it was necessary for a group to “turn up” to get what I had to offer. After all, this was experiential learning, so you had to be there to experience it, right? But, even if Melbourne was my only market (and it wasn’t,) I did not have enough days left in my career to get to every teacher, youth leader and corporate trainer in Melbourne alone to learn what I had to share.

This inkling was the motivator of a third pivot.

I Wrote My First Book

The original 60-page monograph No Props was released in 1996. In the first decade of the 21st Century, I wrote my second and third books – No Props and Count Me In, both published by Project Adventure. Slowly, it dawned on me that books were a great way to share what I had learned without having to turn up.

Then, the internet happened. Leveraging the power of the interweb, I discovered that this was the simplest and most powerful way to share my expertise. So, I started blogging, every week. New activity ideas, videos and any information that I believed other people using interactive games would find useful.

I called my blog Over the next two years, I attracted a massive following of 30K visitors every month. People clearly loved the content, so much so that some suggested I should charge a fee to access it.

Hmmm, an Interesting Thought…

In 2012, following the surprise success of my free blog, I launched playmeo – an online membership platform that creates training workshops and resources that help people connect.

Put simply, playmeo has come to represent my life’s work.

I continue to be super-passionate about sharing the fun and value of interactive group games & activities with program leaders all over the world. Happily, I don’t (have to) turn up as often as I used to, perhaps an average of 25 to 30 days a year. My time is largely devoted to writing and creating content for playmeo members and other users.

If you are responsible for the well-being of a group of people – and you like using interactive games – then playmeo has been designed for you.

playmeo is best known for hosting the largest online database of group games & activities in the world. When you join, you get all of this (and so much more) in the palm of your hands.


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Professionally Speaking


These days, when not sourcing and writing new content for playmeo, I am often engaged to design and deliver many educational and professional development programs including:

  • Mastering Group Facilitation Skills
  • Team-Building & Development
  • Professional Keynote and ‘Playnote’ presentations
  • Independent Facilitation of business meetings & conferences
  • Delivery of various interactive conference sessions
  • Master of Ceremonies

I bring a natural warmth and energy to everything I deliver. My fun and vibrant approach not only makes participants feel at home but also assists them to learn more from their training experience. Visit my professional website for more details.

I have worked with a long list of clients over the years, including schools, corporations, government agencies, community organisations and universities, in every corner of Australia, and a growing list of other countries including the USA, China, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Japan, Russia and Turkey.

In particular, I lectured at a major university for 7 years (2 x adventure education subjects,) worked at a huge summer camp in the USA for 8 summers and am listed on the ‘Expert Witness’ register of Victoria’s County Court for litigations involving the use and application of adventure programming activities.

I’m a proud, card-carrying member of a number of state, national and international peak organisations.

In 2015, I was appointed as a Director to the Board of Outdoors Victoria. I am also proud to form a part of the Advisory Team for Bottomless Bag Publications (established to honour and celebrate Karl Rohnke’s contribution to the adventure programming field.)


On A Personal Note


You may be interested to know that I have…

  • Been struck by lightning twice (yes, twice!)
  • Never been able to back-up a car while towing a trailer;
  • Camped on the lawns of Australia’s Parliament House for three days (as part of a logging protest;)
  • Walked gingerly on a bed of nails (a crazy stunt;)
  • Been lucky enough to find five four-leaf clovers;
  • Been unlucky to have my push-bike stolen five times;
  • Seen a moon-bow (a rainbow at night;)
  • Spent more than five months of my life (I estimate) trapped inside a metal tube (flying through the air at 900 km/h;) and
  • Discovered that my eyes disappear when I laugh.

I live in the outer eastern suburbs of Melbourne with my gorgeous wife and son.

I count my time devoted to inspiring groups to play, share and learn as some of the most rewarding and funnest times of my life!


Contact Mark