Mark grew up in a traumatic home of physical abuse, poverty, his mother’s schizophrenia, and his father’s drug addiction. School brought challenges of peer rejection and bullying as Mark struggled with ADHD, depression, and behavior problems. He found he could not overcome these on his own. People of compassion called Mark to a life of strength and character. He responded by overcoming these challenges and devoting his life to help others in need.

Mark became an ordained minister, a professional counselor in private practice for 29 years, an educator, consultant, speaker, and author. He provided crisis counseling in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the Joplin, MO and Moore, OK tornadoes. He was awarded the PhD from the University of Missouri-St. Louis in Education with emphases in educational psychology, Positive Psychology, and character development.

Mark’s passion for kids caused him to develop and publish C2: Character Challenge © 2007. He constructed The Bullying Rubric © 2011, the first rubric of its type for use in schools. He created the Character Growth Index © 2014, the first valid test of student character.

He is an invited presenter at international conferences, provides professional development for K-12 school districts, and has trained over 35,000 leaders using up-to-date research in motivating presentations.

Mark has four adult children and the younger two, Erika and Josiah, helped him develop the C2 training when they were teens. He is founder and director of JoMo Counseling, Joplin, MO, and director of The Liston Group. Mark enjoys playing golf, distance running, and weight training.

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