I've always believed one person can change the world.
At best, that probably sounds quaint; more likely, it seems naïve, unrealistic and silly.
But it's true, and I've seen it happen (more than once).
When I was growing up, my mother learned of the hardships being suffered by a young family in Moscow. They wanted to leave the Soviet Union, hoping to start a better life in another country.
For 9 years, the Soviet regime tried to crush their dream of a brighter future, refusing to let them leave. The husband had a Ph.D. but was forced to give up his job as a scientist and was working as an elevator operator. The son was kicked out of school. Their phone calls were monitored. Desperate, they went on a hunger strike.
So my mom decided to do something about it. She organized a campaign across all 50 states, using telegrams to urge Soviet President Gorbachev to release them. She wrote to President Reagan. She met with our Congressman. She mobilized young people to mail postcards. And she publicized their case in the press.
3 months later, the Uspensky family was freed. And their entire world changed.
My mom never claims credit for their release, and it's impossible to know what effect her efforts had on the outcome.
But her initiative made an indelible impact on me.
During almost two decades working in the U.S. Congress, I focused everyday on trying to make the world a better place - first with Congressman Ed Markey in the House of Representatives and then, after his election to the Senate, with Senator Markey.
Change is hard to achieve. And sometimes it takes years to make a difference.
Sometimes the changes we won touched only a few people, like when we added a new pilot program to a Medicare law in 2003 to improve the quality of life for the most severely disabled Americans.
Sometimes our victories were in preventing very bad ideas from becoming law, like in 1995 when we stopped the Department of Energy from moving forward with its plan to build a nuclear reactor that would have produced material for nuclear weapons and polluted the environment.
And other times, my work on Capitol Hill led to sweeping improvements in the lives of millions of Americans across the country, like when I:
- Managed the successful effort to enact a bill creating the first national strategy to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease - the National Alzheimer’s Project Act - signed into law by President Obama in January, 2011.
- Spearheaded passage of a landmark bill signed into law by President Obama in October, 2010 to enable Americans with disabilities to use the latest telecommunications and video devices and services, including smart phones for accessing the Internet, closed captioning for online video, and audio descriptions of television programming.
- Led the successful multi-year effort to pass amendments and conduct oversight of U.S. airline security policy, resulting in enactment in August, 2007 of the first-ever law to require that all of the billions of pounds of air cargo carried every year on passenger planes had to be screened for explosives.
- Coordinated the activities leading to enactment of the Improving Access to Clinical Trials Act signed into law by President Obama in October, 2010 to increase the ability of people with rare disorders like Cystic Fibrosis to participate in clinical trials to find new cures.
- Led the successful legislative strategy to improve the quality of health care for Medicare beneficiaries with multiple severe, chronic diseases, culminating in enactment of the Independence At Home demonstration program as part of the Affordable Care Act signed into law by President Obama in 2010.
But we couldn't do it alone.
To succeed, we needed to build support from others who cared about the issue – other Members of Congress, groups affected by the current way of doing things, individuals victimized because the status quo left them vulnerable and disadvantaged.
We had to construct a strategy, harnessing efforts from allies in Congress, the Executive Branch, and outside of Washington, DC.
And once we identified our supporters, we needed a coordinated action plan to make the most of their activities. We had to expertly employ a range of tools to get our message out, making the case for change in compelling, easy-to-understand language.
For me, when we won, I knew we’d changed the world for everyone impacted by our efforts.
Whether change means pushing for a bill to be signed into law or advancing issues vital to the success of your business, I've always been driven to fight for improvements, for reforms and for better ways of doing things.
That’s the commitment I can bring to your priorities for 2018.
That’s my passion and my professional approach.
It's the way I was raised and the way I work.
Mark Bayer is a results-driven, proven communicator and strategist with deep experience in the government, corporate and non-profit sectors.
Mark began his professional career in the Capitol Hill office of then-U.S. Congressman, now U.S. Senator, Ed Markey. Mark was responsible for a variety of legislative issues, including foreign policy, defense, international trade and human rights.
Graduate School Training
Mark left Capitol Hill to attend graduate school at Harvard University. During graduate school, Mark was active in a student organization that brought together Jewish and German students. In this capacity, Mark conceived and implemented a program that brought a Holocaust survivor to speak on campus, running the press outreach that resulted in coverage by two network television affiliates.
Private Sector Experience
Following graduation, Mark began work as a management consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). At PwC, Mark advised senior executives at two city agencies in the District of Columbia government.
In an atmosphere of historic transformation following the mayoral election of Anthony Williams, Mark led a variety of initiatives designed to restructure and reform operations at these government agencies. He also did speechwriting and press relations, prompting a DC government department head to offer Mark a position leading communications strategy for his agency.
Mark left PwC after being recruited to join a small Internet start-up that offered online brand management services. As an Internet Strategist at the firm, Mark worked with major media, manufacturing and financial services firms to help protect their reputation on the Internet.
While working full-time, Mark co-founded and served on a volunteer basis as chairman of the board of directors of Coaching for College, a nonprofit organization that provided tutoring and mentoring to disadvantaged students in the District of Columbia public school system.
In addition to helping to build all aspects of the organization from the ground up, Mark developed marketing materials, stakeholder communications, fundraising solicitations, website content and other written materials to highlight the organization’s accomplishments and seek support.
Return to Government Service
After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Mark received an unsolicited offer to return to Capitol Hill in a senior position with then-Congressman Markey. On the Hill, Mark specialized in a range of policy issues, including homeland security following the Congressman’s appointment to the first-ever Congressional Committee on Homeland Security, and telecommunications policy.
During Mark’s second term of service on Capitol Hill, he held a number of senior positions in the office over the years, including Deputy Chief of Staff & Legislative Director and Chief of Staff. Mark also handled press on an interim basis after the departure of the office’s Communications Director.
Prior to founding Bayer Strategic Consulting, Mark served as Chief of Staff to Congressman Markey in the House of Representatives and also served as Chief of Staff to Senator Markey in the Senate following his election to the Senate, handling all management activities and supervising the Senator’s legislative and oversight activities.
Mark graduated magna cum laude from Cornell University where he was named to the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. Mark received his graduate school training at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, graduating with a Master in Public Policy and a concentration in Business and Government Policy.