The common thread through all Mark’s work has been his desire to help others rebuild their lives and find redemption, prevent tragedy and honor those we’ve lost, and “make interest payments” on the debt he owes to society. His passion for criminal justice and addiction comes from his personal experience. 

Laura and Mark in an undated photo.

On February 9, 2008, after a birthday party she planned for him, Mark caused a drunk driving accident that resulted in the death of the woman he loved and planned to spend the rest of his life with.

Her family forgave him and remained a part of his life, but he was convicted of negligent manslaughter and sentenced to jail time. Using his incarceration as an opportunity to reflect on his mistakes and the need to honor Laura’s memory, Mark dedicated himself to finding purpose in his pain and loss.

While struggling with intense grief and trauma, Mark met his wife, Maria, who had recently lost her father to cancer, and the two bonded over their mutual grief. They married in 2012 and have been blessed with three children. 

Mark and Maria

Mark believes we can make our suffering more meaningful by allowing it to shape our outlook and priorities, to guide us toward greater meaning, better relationships, deeper spirituality, and a life more in line with our core values. He often says that we can let pain and grief define us; we just can’t let it defeat us. His raw honesty about his own experience and empathy for those struggling with hurt and adversity have inspired countless others to grow from trauma, shame, and grief.

To contact Mark about public speaking or media opportunities, click here.

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