Mark Siljander - President & Founder
Former U.S. Congressman & U.S./U.N. Ambassador Rank
Mark Siljander skillfully blends 30 years in America’s political power circles as a man of faith. His journey includes life shaping stories beginning with his travels to over 145 countries. His private interactions with major political and religious world leaders, especially in conflict hotspots around the world, have gripped audiences as they compellingly defy the status quo of traditional diplomacy. Many of these stories are recounted in his award-winning book, A Deadly Misunderstanding.
Follow Mark’s personal story of spiritual transformation from an anti-Muslim, right-wing, war-hawk to a pioneer of unique international peacemaking. His bridge-building efforts were acknowledged by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who publicly recognized his, “…efforts toward a more just, humane and peaceful world,” with the presentation of Mohandas K. Gandhi International Peace Award in 1996. Mark regularly recounts his practical application of long-hidden linguistic and cultural common ground that connects followers of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in new and dynamic ways.
Mark’s track record of seemingly unbelievable results has inspired many of America’s friends – and enemies – toward a more spiritual path achieving tangible results in complex conflicts and crises. It is said that there is “no profit in peace”. At times Mark’s success in places like Sudan, Iran & Libya threatened certain financial and political “interests” of the hidden “elite” who will do anything to protect their agenda. This resulted in personal attacks and outrageous federal charges. After years of futile efforts seeking justice, facing hostile and unrelenting legal attacks - this chapter ended as so many do in today’s justice system; with a forced settlement, making Mark likely the only person to be convicted under this law for at least 40 years (an unregistered foreign agent).
Mark was surprisingly given a year and a day prison sentence (an unprecedented outcome), served not in a low-security “camp”, but among the general population of low to maximum security prisons; where assaulting or killing a former congressman would certainly be a badge of honor. Yet even this frightening prospect was used for “good.” Mark found hope in this storm as hundreds of inmates, including skinheads and gang leaders came together, affected by the transforming principles he has applied internationally. The more the prison guards attempted to humiliate Mark, the more his fellow inmates responded to the message of hope.
Days before his release, Mark was diagnosed with a rare and terminal cancer normally only found in infants. Facing a diagnosis with mere months to live, Mark was miraculously spared. According to Duke University Hospital, he may be the only adult on record to survive. These tests of faith, character, and courage provided for a deeper personal transformation. Mark has experienced life from the heights of political achievement to the depths of personal brokenness.
His academic achievements include a Masters Degree in Political Science, and post graduate work in International Business and Education. He has served on numerous boards and lectured in diverse and prestigious institutions including: Oxford University, Edinburgh University, Khartoum University, and Wheaton College.
Dr. David Hungerford - Board Chairman
Orthopedic Surgeon, Johns Hopkins
Throughout their lives, David & his wife Heide Hungerford have partnered to create opportunities and advancements around the globe in the field of orthopedics. With over 38 years in service, Johns Hopkins Orthopedic Surgery and The Good Samaritan Hospital in Baltimore have owed their success and reputation in total joint surgery, in large part, to David, who is considered one of the foremost hip and joint specialists in the world. In honor of his work, Good Samaritan Hospital established The David S. Hungerford, M.D., Chair in Orthopedic Surgery in 2000.
David Hungerford is also long recognized for his contributions to philanthropic medical organizations and causes worldwide. For 12 years (1996 – 2008) David was Chairman of the Board of Medical Assistance Programs (MAP), a program that promotes the total health of people living in developing countries.
Both David and Heide are co-chairs of CURE International’s Partners Association, an organization that establishes teaching hospitals in developing countries to serve the needs of the disabled. Though retired, David still participates in programs around the world to perform surgery in mission hospitals.
David was awarded the 2013 Humanitarian Award from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons in March of 2013. His philanthropic efforts are celebrated in this short video, which also includes his acceptance speech.
In 2009, David and Heide started a new organization dedicated to efforts to promote reconciliation between Muslims and Christians, A Common Path Alliance (CPA) - now merged with Bridges/Trac5. This is an ongoing effort to which they are currently dedicating their lives and their treasure. Due to complementary missions, David began serving Bridges to Common Ground in 2013.
Doug Fike - Board Director
Executive Coach, Business Leadership Advisor
Doug Fike is Executive Director of Growth Dynamics International (GDI), which serves leaders and organizations in the non-profit, business, government, education and arts sectors. As an executive coach he specializes in personal and organizational development and major-phase transitions. He has resourced executives and organizations in dozens of countries on five continents. Doug is an experienced member of our Crisis Response Team, having worked on a variety of complex conflicts in some of the worst "hot spots" around the world.
Doug is passionate about helping leaders run the race with excellence, bear lasting fruit, and finish well. Toward that end he spearheads the LifeLong Learning Community, an innovative, multi-discipline virtual community linking leaders on a journey of personal growth and transformation. Doug is a founding partner of New Africa Initiative as well as Transformational Leadership Coaching. He has a masters degree in Organizational Leadership.
Doug and his wife, Charlene have launched half a dozen successful businesses in sales & marketing, real estate, and the hospitality industry. The Fikes travel widely, challenging followers of Jesus to discover their unique design and live creative lives radically abandoned to God’s purposes.
Doug is a proactive husband and father of two enterprising twenty-somethings. He is a popular conference speaker, a seasoned mentor, and an avid photographer.
Todd Hendricks - Board Director
Business Leader, Non-Profit Advisor
Todd Hendricks is the CEO and owner of T.H. Properties (THP), a residential homebuilding and development company that he co-founded in 1992. THP’s rapid growth placed them on the INC 500 Fastest Growing Companies in America list three years in a row in the late 90’s.
Before starting THP, Todd completed degrees in International Business Administration and Economics at Temple’s Fox School of Business in Philadelphia. Immediately following his university studies, Todd and his wife Karen traveled to 35 countries with GBA Ships distributing educational books around the globe.
Todd has spent the majority of his time over the last 20 years advising (pro bono) non-profits and NGOs around the world. Todd has traveled to over 160 nations around the globe and travels frequently to Central Asia and the Middle East. He has spent time coaching NGO executives, speaking, and serving on non-profit boards of directors.
Todd also enjoys bringing leaders from academia, business, faith communities, and government together to work on solving intractable problems. He also spends time encouraging top business executives to get more involved in using their power to “do good!”
Todd is a futurist and inspirational speaker and also enjoys reading, politics, skiing, snorkeling and of course traveling off the beaten path. Todd and his wife of 25 years, Karen reside in Philadelphia with their twelve year-old son Austin.
Frank Kaufmann - Board Director
Interfaith & Non-Profit Advisor
Dr. Frank Kaufmann is founder and president of Filial Projects, founder and director of the Values in Knowledge Foundation, director of the Inter-Religious Federation for World Peace (IRFWP), editor-in-chief of Dialogue and Alliance, and editor-in-chief of The New World Encyclopedia.
He has worked in more than 65 countries, including in conflict-ridden and violent environments, and engaged 500 international scholars for New World Encyclopedia. Frank was nominated for the Guru Nanak Interfaith Award, along with other nominees including the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu.
Gary Waldron - COO
Strategic Advisor, Management
Gary Waldron served as COO for the 501c3, Bridges to Common Ground (BCG), a sister organization to Trac5. His responsibilities included financial and project management, creation of financial proposals, as well as maintaining donor relations. He directly contributed to BCG’s rise in web traffic by 931%, increased donor support by 276%, product development by 200%, staff growth by 200%, and annual income growth by 35%.
After completing his bachelor’s degree in corporate finance from Palm Beach Atlantic University, Gary began his professional career as a financial representative at Northwestern Mutual working with insurances, investments, and annuities. He then moved on to become an account manager at Oxford Global Resources outperforming the peer average in account generation by 300% within the first six months. For eight years, Gary branched out on his own to develop a technical analysis trading system for charting and trend analysis. Investments management included stocks, options, commodities and real estate with an average return of 25% ROI.
Sivy Bienert - Administration
Executive Assistant, Planning
Sivy was born and raised in the predominately Buddhist nation of Cambodia. She experienced poverty and many hardships including being an orphan at a young age. Sivy was later adopted by an American couple and attended Grace International School in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Sivy continued her higher education at Judson University in Elgin, IL and graduated with a degree in Intercultural Leadership.
Sivy has a heart for the poor and vulnerable. She has raised thousands of dollars to aid individuals in Cambodia for education and surgery. Sivy interned at World Relief and helped refugees resettle in America. There she had extensive interactions with people from different nations and faiths. Sivy loves to travel to different countries and experience the beauty of people, food, and cultures.
Mark Daniel Siljander - Marketing & HR
Strategic Advisor, Project Management
As the co-founder and CEO of Ultrasound Inc., Mark Daniel Siljander spent seven years building and managing a team of five medical doctors, three nurses, seven business advisers, and seven research and developers for device and patent research and the marketing of non-invasive cosmetic ultrasound, RF and laser systems. Mark is currently the COO/CMO of GSI, a specialized consulting firm focused on sustainable development in the areas of agriculture, mining, and energy. GSI has done business in 44 countries and have announced they will break ground into at least three more in 2018. He is also a member of Thrivent Financial’s donor board in Charlotte, NC that directed/raised $217.2 million dollars in outreach funds in 2016.
These business achievements were accomplished in the midst of earning a B.A in International Relations and Business at Harvard University and participating in the S.S.P at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. The following year, Mark received his PGDip in Theology at the University of Oxford in England. Theological studies focused on how culture shapes personal ethics, motivations, and beliefs, which provides a better framework for discovering where employee and company values converge.
Corey Loxen - Business Development Director
Client Relations & Development (616) 970-2272
A passionate follower of Jesus, I've been married for 18 years and have 3 sons. My passion is to make a difference in the lives of others by building lifelong relationships. By focusing on what I have in common with everyday people, I am building bridges on a daily basis for the Kingdom of God. I look forward to serving any & all of your needs here at Bridges to Common Ground.
In my professional life, I received my MSA degree in Business Management/HR from Central Michigan University. My undergrad work was at Baker College in Flint, MI in Business Administration. I have been a professional sales agent and entrepreneur for 22 years. I also graduated from Bethel & Dunamis Schools of Ministry. I enjoy praying for businesses so I hope to have the honor of praying for you and your great company.