Our Team

Nick Cienski, Mission 14 Founder and CEO

Nick and Sandi Cienski founded Mission 14® in 2011 after returning from a mission trip to Nicaragua where, for the first time, they encountered the issue of human trafficking. After spending time educating themselves on this issue, they realized that hundreds of wonderful direct service organizations already existed. These non-profit organizations do the hardest work on the front of this fight each day. The problem Nick and Sandi found after connecting with many of these organizations was that they were underfunded. Many of their important initiatives, including running safe houses, providing counseling and after care for survivors, and working to change state and federal legislation, were all very expensive.

Nick and Sandi’s vision for Mission 14 was to create a new kind of non-profit organization, one that is based on creating unique fundraising and awareness platforms. The end result is to use large-scale adventures that gain global media attention and then maximize that spotlight to bring awareness to the scourge of human trafficking. The second pillar of Mission 14 is to build partnerships with best in class direct service non-profit groups who are the recipients of Mission 14’s fundraising efforts. The nature of the adventures has the advantage of attracting corporate sponsors who cover the costs of the expeditions so that all individual donations to Mission 14 are directed to the partner organizations.

Mission 14 is a faith-based organization founded on the belief that love, justice and compassion are actions that can’t be accomplished from the sidelines. The name Mission 14 is derived from a Biblical verse, “And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah:6:8). (6+8=14).

Sandi Cienski, Director of Operations

Sandi is a professional photographer, artist, and co-founder of Mission 14®. With more than 18 years of experience running her own professional photography business, she will bring tremendous photography and videography skills to the expedition team.

Sandi will deliver a much-needed female perspective throughout the 6 Summits Challenge as a regular contributor on social media platforms and the expedition journal. Her punchy humor will compliment white-knuckle experiences in tense situations. She will be at base camp on each of the six mountains, and will play a vital role in supporting, encouraging, and praying for Nick as he pushes hard to complete the mission.

“I am terrified of the dangers my husband will face, but I trust in the Lord and know He will keep Nick safe and lead him to success. It is important for all of us to Be Brave on behalf of those that can’t stand on their own and to empower those that are on the front lines.”

Fabricio Mercado, General Manager of Mission 14 Sewing Center

Fabricio Manzanarez Mercado is an industrial engineer by training who has had two major life experiences through volunteering and teaching. The first experience was working for the Red Cross in Honduras where he was on the front lines of relief efforts helping people and needy communities affected by natural disasters, war, disease, and famine. The second life experience was as a university professor, teaching practical business skills he learned from his many years working for different businesses and industries in Nicaragua.

In 2015, Mission 14 hired Fabricio as General Manager of their sewing center in Managua, Nicaragua created to provide training and employment opportunities for at risk women and children in an impoverished area known as La Chureca. By partnering with an international clothing manufacturer, New Holland Apparel, Mission 14 has been able to secure donated fabric, machinery, and provide training to create a source of employment, fair pay, and hope for women as they become productive members of Nicaraguan society. Fabricio is inspired by his faith in Christ, his family, and passion for finding new ways to help those who are struggling to live a better life.

Mary Lou Gradisek, Administrative Manager

Christie Kajs, Program Coordinator

Mission 14 Board

Nick Cienski — Mission 14 Founder and CEO
Senior Director, Innovation Under Armour, Inc.

Sandi Cienski — Director of Operations
Mission 14 Board Member, Director of Operations, Artist

Corey Barnes — Board Member
Pastor, GraceCity Church

Dr. Robert Bingham — Board Member
President, 21st Vision

Paul A. Fenn — Board Member
Attorney – Conti Fenn & Lawrence LLC

Rick Grindrod — Treasurer
CEO, National Post-Acute Healthcare

Samuel Jeffrey Hollenbach — Board Member
Senior Innovation Engineer, Under Armour, Inc.

Public Relations / Media Contact