Founder, Executive Director
Executive Director of Rural Health Clinics,
Lakeland Hospital, Watervliet
Heather was raised as a missionary kid in Dakar, Senegal. From a young age, she knew she was called to share God’s love with vulnerable people. In her 20s, she began to see connections between communities overseas and people in her own backyard. While still passionate about providing support to families in developing countries, she was also moved by the poverty, addiction and abuse that darken the lives of so many Americans.
When Heather began meeting human trafficking survivors from the Midwest, she realized that slavery and sexual exploitation are not limited to communities halfway around the world. She could see first hand that trafficking also devastates individuals and families in urban centers and rural towns all over the United States. She began envisioning a network that would bring together survivors and anti-trafficking organizations in her home of Southwest Michigan with survivors and organizations across the world, so that communities could pool their resources and increase their impact. Heather is a Human Resources professional, and her concept for HRGlocal is that Human Rights would be supported by Human Resources work, both globally and locally. When united, communities have greater resources, strengths and abilities to fight for human rights.
Co-Founder, Director of Operations
Rik has always felt a calling to serve others. Having experienced physical and emotional abuse during his childhood, he felt a connection with children from broken homes and other victims of abuse. But for many years, he did not have a clear purpose or direction. He believed that God has a plan for the big picture, but that little details don’t matter and most things happen randomly.
Then a cross-country hang-gliding experience changed his perspective. Before launching, he was told that no matter how far he traveled, someone would come to pick him up when he landed. But after he was airborne for 5 hours and had traveled 80 miles into Wisconsin farm country, no one from his hang-gliding group would come for him. After he had trudged through the cold September night for several hours, a young woman pulled her car over, rolled down the window and said, “Excuse me, I have something for you.” She handed him a bag and drove off. Inside the bag was a coat, $40 and a piece of paper that said, “Jesus loves you.” That experience convinced Rik that God cares about the details of his life and has a path for him. When he met Heather, who had a passion for missions, his path became clear to him. By working alongside his wife to create HRGlocal, he would support survivors of abuse and help build a “glocal” community that shares God’s love in concrete ways.
Lynn Sweetland, Human Trafficking Survivor, Executive Director of Stomping Out Slavery Coast 2 Coast, Consultant for the National Survivor Network
Malynda Osantowsi-Hughes, Human Trafficking Survivor, Public Speaker, Author of Exposing the Darkness
Blake Thompson, Human Trafficking Survivor
Lauren Schultz, Nonprofit Development Professional