Skip to main content

What Inspires Me: Love and Power

Chicago mental health services provider CEO Mark Ishaug works to change hearts and minds and structures of oppression.

wim mark ishaug

Fall 2020

Mark Ishaug, CEO of Thresholds

“My hero, Martin Luther King Jr., famously said, ‘Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic.’

“My whole career has been dedicated to working for and with underserved populations. I’ve always felt deep compassion and empathy, indeed love, for those most marginalized and stigmatized, those made to feel less than worthy by those with power.

“And I’ve always believed love is compassion in action, and action is a display of power. But the only power I’ve ever been interested in is the power to heal, the power to transform and uplift, the power to change hearts and minds, and the power to change systems and structures of oppression.

“So what inspires me? Doing good, doing it well, doing it powerfully and, most important, doing it with love.”


Mark Ishaug ’89 MA has served eight years as CEO of Thresholds, one of Illinois’ largest community mental health providers. Earlier he served 13 years as CEO of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, which he joined in 1991. Last year Ishaug was named to Leadership Greater Chicago’s inaugural class of Daniel Burnham Fellows. He is an avid photographer, dog lover and forest preserve aficionado.

Share this Northwestern story with your friends via...

Reader Responses

No one has commented on this page yet.

Submit a Response