Should Churches Strive to Be Multi-Ethnic?

Should Churches Strive to Be Multi-Ethnic?


Video Courtesy of The Gospel Coalition


For two and a half years, Ja’mel Armstrong and Matt Ness have jointly led One Church, a congregation striving to be diverse in a neighborhood in Louisville, Ky., that is more interracial than most.

It’s a work in progress, they acknowledge, but the African-American and white co-pastors say they believe their congregation, which is close to 50 percent black and 50 percent white, is more fulfilling than the more racially segregated churches they used to lead.

“On our own, we just didn’t feel like that’s who we were meant to be,” said Ness, who formerly led a mostly white church. “The picture we believed in was much broader than the local church I was pastoring and the local church Ja’mel was pastoring.”

The co-pastors’ congregation is part of the Evangelical Covenant Church — a small denomination that claims to be one of the most diverse in the country. One Church is part of a trend reported by scholars this month: Multiracial churches are on the rise and so is the percentage of U.S. congregants who attend them.

The percentage of U.S. multiracial congregations almost doubled between 1998 and 2012, from 6.4 percent to 12 percent, according to a study published in June in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. In the same period, the percentage of U.S. congregants attending an interracial church has reached almost one in five, advancing from 12.7 percent to 18.3 percent. The 2012 statistics are the latest available.

Co-authors Kevin Dougherty, a sociology professor at Baylor University, and Michael Emerson, provost at North Park University, defined multiracial congregations as ones in which no single racial or ethnic group constitutes more than 80 percent of the people in the pews.

But the co-authors point out that interracial congregations have long faced a number of challenges. And their recent findings show that while the average percentage of black congregants in multiracial congregations has increased, the percentage of Latinos in those kinds of churches has decreased in the same period.

“When you bring groups, different ethnic groups, together in a congregation, they come with different cultures, and those cultures include all types of expectations,” said Dougherty, citing music styles and food choices. “To help them develop a sense of shared identity above and beyond those cultural differences is a key part of the adaptability necessary for a multiracial congregation to succeed.”

Ness, co-pastor of the Louisville church, alternates preaching with Armstrong. He said before One Church opened its doors, they formulated a nontraditional approach to music. The worship team includes a gospel-style keyboardist, a blues, rock and country guitarist and a jazzy drummer and bassist. Singers represent a range of genres.

Ja’mel Armstrong is a pastor at One Church, an interracial congregation of the Evangelical Covenant Church, in Louisville, Ky. Photo courtesy of One Church

“We didn’t want to be defined by a particular style and so we didn’t tell you to stand up. We didn’t tell you to lift your hands. We didn’t tell you how to worship,” said Armstrong. “The goal was: If you are naturally contemplative in your worship style, then you be that. If you are naturally expressive, then you be that.”

It didn’t work for everyone. Armstrong said there was a gradual “mass exodus” from the 250-attendee first service in January 2016, with the congregation dropping to about 50. The congregation has since doubled to 100 after attracting new congregants.

The Rev. Michael Davis, the African-American teaching pastor at 10-year-old Downtown Church in Memphis, Tenn., said intentionality is key to multiracial churches. His congregation strives to have leaders of different races regularly preaching and making announcements. The church avoids identifying with political parties and instead seeks to foster an environment where various viewpoints can be aired.

“So nobody is trying to suffocate the identity of any of our minorities,” said Davis, who co-leads the fledging congregation with its white founder, Richard Rieves. “It’s intentionality, it’s empowerment and it’s sacrifice.”

The congregation, which Davis calls a “multiracial/class plant” or offshoot of the mostly white Second Presbyterian Church, meets in Clayborn Temple, a historic church that once housed a predominantly white congregation and later a mostly black one.

But Davis acknowledges that his Evangelical Presbyterian Church congregation that is 70 percent white and 30 percent minority (mostly blacks but including some Asians and Latinos) hasn’t achieved all its milestones toward integration, including among its smaller community groups attended by some of the 300 who worship together on Sunday.

“Are we doing it perfectly?” Davis said. “No. Because there are some times where I have to talk to some of my groups that are predominantly white and say, ‘How do we get more diversity?’”

As they strive for inclusiveness, leaders of multiracial churches say they sometimes feel like they are on their own without many role models.

Worshippers gather at the Downtown Church, a multiracial congregation of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Memphis, Tenn. Photo courtesy of Downtown Church

Ness, 39, who has pastored for 16 years, said, “I feel like I’m brand new at my job when I started this.” Armstrong, 38, agreed that the nontraditional church stands out from others: “We almost feel a lot of times that we’re on an island.”

The Rev. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, a Chicago Theological Seminary professor, informally polled former students and found they have seen evidence of the new survey’s findings about the growth of interracial congregations.

“One woman graduate who identified as white indicated that she had ‘pastored a black church for seven years,’” said Thistlethwaite, whose seminary is affiliated with the United Church of Christ. “A number of graduates emphasized, however, that there have been congregations that have been racially diverse for many years, with racially diverse pastoral leadership.”

The survey, based on data from the National Congregations Study, also found an increase in black clergy leading multiracial congregations, rising from less than 5 percent in both 1998 and 2006 to 17 percent in 2012.

The Rev. Cheryl Townsend Gilkes, professor of African-American studies and sociology at Colby College, said the willingness of white congregants to join churches with black pastors is a positive sign, given the long history of segregated Sunday morning services.

“Although white people have always been willing to appropriate style and music from black churches, they have resisted black leadership,” Gilkes said. “This new moment in American religious life could be quite helpful in countering many negative current events in the area of race relations.”

Despite the challenges of interracial cooperation, Davis said, he sees rewards as he helps lead his Memphis congregation.

“I experience the body of Christ more, the wider scope of it, and so it broadens my perspective of who the Lord is,” he said. “Being in a multiracial church, you see the beauty of different cultural backgrounds, different walks of life.”

What Could Kingdom Corporate Leadership Mean?

What Could Kingdom Corporate Leadership Mean?

Video Courtesy of the Associated Press


Reading the biblical narratives of Joseph, David, Nehemiah, and others, we often hear them described as political actors like the kings and pharaohs they served, not as corporate leaders. But the actions they took to trade agricultural commodities, do construction projects, and rebuild walls were more corporate than governmental. These biblical leaders lived in times when the hard separation we now perceive between public or political sector actions and private or corporate actions was not so clear. The kings of the Bible could and did tax, but just as often we see them building and engaging in commerce.

Many of the most substantial global entities today are corporations, not political entities. Apple’s $1 trillion market capitalization, a business first, exceeds the GDP of all but 16 countries globally. The combined total employees of the US tech giants Apple, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft now exceeds the population of over 75 of the world’s 233 nations.

God can and has directly used the business models and resources created by corporations to do tremendous good. Some corporations like ServiceMaster have had openly Christian CEOs who made it clear that their faith defined their leadership practices and principles. There have also been many examples of Christian entrepreneurs using corporate wealth to build charitable foundations. Joseph Newton Pew, the Presbyterian founder of Sun Oil Company (Sunoco), provided the resources to fund The Pew Charitable Trusts, which his children said honored his “religious conviction that good works should be done quietly.” Episcopalian J.K. Lilly and his heirs used their pharmaceutical corporation earnings to fund the Lilly Endowment, which is the fifth largest charitable foundation in the world ranked by assets and has been historically committed to “deepen and enrich the lives of American Christians.”

A lot of church and para-church entities have also found their greatest success emulating, practicing, or employing corporate business models. World Vision CEO Rich Stearns was formerly CEO of both Parker Brothers and Lenox before leading this more than billion dollar enterprise. He also has an MBA from the Wharton School. Compassion International CEO Santiago “Jimmy” Mellado is a Harvard Business School graduate. LifeWay Christian Resources, which serves the Southern Baptist Convention, has theologically trained leadership and a key executive structure that is distinctly corporate with the same slate of “C-level” executive positions you would find in any Fortune 500 company.

But Christians inside global business corporations can often change lives and express the love of Christ far beyond the work of local churches and para-church entities. The executives who implement free lunch in Silicon Valley technology firms keep employees in the building and boost productivity, but the same free lunch benefit in their Asian or African factory may be the best meal of the day for its workers.

Corporate business structures magnify outcomes both good and bad. Leadership failings echo through an organization on a global scale and can be devastating. The most centrally controlled “corporate” denomination, the Catholic Church, has been extraordinarily effective in transforming lives through schools, hospitals, and other global deployments of wealth and resources to effect social change and Kingdom outcomes. But the Catholic Church also illustrates some of the perils of centrally managed corporate type structures. From the indulgences that led in part to the Reformation to the recent covering up of sexual abuse by priests, it is clear that just deploying corporate management structures and tactics do not assure positive outcomes.

But what could Kingdom corporate leadership mean? Imagine if Apple CEO Tim Cook were to decide that pursuing Kingdom outcomes was of equal or greater importance than shareholder value creation. Assume that this might even increase shareholder value. More people would be employed and fed, healthcare would improve, consumption would go up, families stabilized, and poverty reduced globally.

Perhaps it is time for the further development of a corporatist theology. The faith, work, and economics movement is a good start. The examples in Amy Sherman’s book Kingdom Calling lay a foundation and Tim Keller’s theology of vocation outlined in Every Good Endeavor point the way, but we need thoughtfully considered next steps for those who want to more effectively use corporate entities or their positions in them to bring global Kingdom impact.

Corporatism in this sense means having the principles, doctrine, or system of corporate organization in an economic unit. A corporatist approach in Kingdom work could include a nonprofit or for-profit entity, even a church, that uses legal and business structures and strategies to accomplish its goals.

The focus would be:

  • Strategic collaboration between people with functional expertise to most efficiently use economic resources
  • Technologically enabled value creation activities
  • The pursuit of the common good

We need a “corporatist theology” to reach these ends better, and perhaps the milestone that Apple has achieved will become the most effective model for taking the whole Gospel of the Kingdom to the entire world.

C. Jeffrey Wright, CEO of UMI (Urban Ministries, Inc.), holds a JD from Georgetown University and is a graduate of Columbia University with an MBA in Finance and International Business. He spent nearly 20 years in Fortune 500 companies before leading UMI to become the largest media company serving African American denominations and congregants.

 

When ministry doesn’t pay

When ministry doesn’t pay


Mindy Mayes is a 29-year-old African-American woman with a second job many might find undesirable. Some might even call her crazy for sticking with it. She thinks about it almost constantly, and those thoughts often fill her with heartache. She sometimes feels that she is putting far more into it than she could ever get back. Her commute requires her to drive more than two hours, and in a typical month, she gets paid less than US$200. Some months, she does not get paid at all.

Why would anyone cling to such a second job? The answer is that Mayes, whose primary job is in public health, is also a pastor. During the week, she works full-time as a public health educator, providing health promotion services to the people of Grant County, Indiana. This job puts food on the table and keeps gas in her tank. Then each Sunday, she drives 100 miles each way to and from her church in Montgomery County, Indiana, where she serves as part-time pastor.

Mayes is ordained in one of America’s historically black denominations, the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church. Her congregation, Bethel AME, was founded in the 1850s and once served as a stop on the Underground Railroad. Years ago a thriving congregation, more recently it has fallen on hard times. The building has suffered from lack of upkeep, and weekly worship attendance has dropped to around 20 or so.

Mayes’ path to this role is a complicated one. She holds a master’s degree in public health. She always knew she wanted to make a big impact in a community, and she worked for a time in southern Indiana, helping flood victims move back into their homes. Just as funding for her position came to an end, she learned that she had been admitted to Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis on a full scholarship. “I sensed a call,” she says, “so I enrolled in the masters of divinity program.”

When she graduated from seminary, she imagined that she would become the youth minister of a church. But when AME officials contacted her about the Bethel church, she decided to accept the role of senior minister. Working two jobs is taxing, but she finds energy and inspiration in the members’ strong commitment to keeping their church going. “I come alive through this work,” she says. “They really need someone to love and care for them, and it is a privilege for me to do it.”

It hasn’t always been easy. During Mayes’ third month with the church, in the dead of winter, the pipes froze and then burst, causing the basement to flood. This in turn caused the furnace to go out, leaving the building with no heat. Yet the church’s members, wearing hats and gloves, still came to worship on Sunday. To Mayes, this speaks volumes. “Even though they knew the church was colder than a refrigerator, they were still there. They refuse to let their church and its rich history die.”

Economic realities are making bi-vocational ministries such as Mayes’ more common.

It is estimated that membership for more than four in five of the churches in the US has plateaued or declined, and about 4,000 churches close their doors every year. By the year 2020, only 15% of Americans are expected to attend weekly worship services. As church membership declines, so does financial support, making it increasingly difficult for many congregations to employ a full-time pastor.



Video Courtesy of Rob Pene


The life of even full-time ministers can be fraught with difficulties. This is reflected in a study showing that about 85% of seminary graduates leave the field within five years, and only about one in 10 new ministers will actually stay in the clergy until retirement. Part of the explanation lies in the fact that full-time ministers are poorly paid, with an average salary of around $36,000, meaning that many ministers’ families require two incomes to make ends meet.

Such challenges are amplified for the bi-vocational minister. Balancing two different jobs, many feel guilty that they cannot be available to their congregation at all times. Mayes, for example, is unable to provide Bible study classes during the week or attend youth academic and athletic events.

Another challenge is an unspoken but widespread assumption that bi-vocational pastors are neither as committed nor as effective as their full-time counterparts. If they truly cared enough about their congregation, some suppose, they would find a way to work full-time–– a perspective that flies in the face of hard realities. In answer to this charge, Mayes smiles as she points out that “The greatest Christian evangelist who ever lived, the apostle Paul, earned his living as a tent-maker.”

In contrast to such challenges, Mayes sees upsides in being bi-vocational. One is the fact that ministers like her need not contend with the high congregational expectations placed upon full-time pastors. People understand that bi-vocational ministers have other responsibilities that they must attend to if they are to continue to serve their church communities. “The challenge,” Mayes says, “is to avoid burnout by ensuring that people do not end up working two full-time jobs.”

Another advantage is the fact that Mayes spends many hours every week serving people who are not church members. In doing so, she strives to be a good example of Christian service to the community. “In some cases,” she says, “colleagues and clients who otherwise would never encounter a pastor have posed questions about my faith, requested that I pray for them, and asked me to preside at their wedding or funeral.”

In this respect, the nonclerical careers of bi-vocational ministers give them a chance to speak not only through sermons but also with their lives, reaching out to many people not affiliated with a church. Says Mayes, “Having a job outside of church keeps me well-grounded in the real world inhabited by people in the community. I see it as an opportunity to stay more relevant and responsive to the lives people actually lead.”

The ConversationMayes and other bi-vocational pastors understand from personal experience what it is like to work long hours at multiple jobs, to struggle with anxiety over job security, and to have difficulty securing such necessities as health insurance and child care. Mayes points out that Jesus devoted much of his life to the downtrodden and dispossessed, and “I like to think that treading a dual path keeps me close to the people Jesus would serve today.”

Richard Gunderman, Chancellor’s Professor of Medicine, Liberal Arts, and Philanthropy, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

This article was originally published on The Conversation.

Navigating Missional Work as the Lone Person of Color

Navigating Missional Work as the Lone Person of Color

leroybarber-resize

Leroy Barber, Global Executive Director of Word Made Flesh

In his book, Red, Yellow, Brown, Black, White—Who’s More Precious in God’s Sight: A Call for Diversity in Christian Missions and Ministry, Leroy Barber exposes the virtual absence of people of color in the mission field that threatens to compromise relationships with the people those organizations claim to serve. For more than twenty-five years Barber has led ministries serving the ones God loves: most recently as the Executive Director of Mission Year, a year-long urban ministry program focused on Christian service and discipleship, and now as the Global Executive Director of Word Made Flesh, an international organization that works among the most vulnerable of the world’s poor. Barber, who is a trusted voice across a breadth of cultures, spoke with UrbanFaith contributor Margot Starbuck about his book, his ministry, and the challenges of sometimes being the only person of color in mission-based ministry.

What from your experience in ministry caused you to write this book?

I guess, on a personal level, I am tired of being the only person of color in many of my ministry circles: Christian colleges where I speak a lot and teach a lot, also, conferences, and a lot of evangelical circles where folks are doing missions, there are few people of color around.

Selfishly that might be some of the motivation for the book.

I was going to ask about the challenges that you see among your colleagues who are men and women of color leading missional ministries, but now I’m wondering: Are they there leading?

The answer is yes, they are there, but not in mass numbers. The ones in leadership experience what I have for the last twenty-five years. It can be an experience of feeling like you’re the only one and that you’re expected to speak for people of color, to represent the perspective of people of color or your race. I am finding now that a number of churches are hiring a person of color on their staff because they think they “should.” And that person of color finds himself pretty lonely and always kind of speaking on the issue of diversity and race alone.

Today and for the last several decades, there has been an appeal, to many white evangelical college students, about living and working in an urban context. What is the risk of an all-white staff working in a more diverse urban area? How does it impact the ministry?

You are going to have more resources given to the ministry when staff is part of the white community. No matter how young the population of whites is, they are going to have some resources that automatically puts them in a position of power in many places, especially in struggling communities that don’t have resources. They’re able to host a kid’s club or after school program or a dance or whatever. But people want that for their kids.

A black friend of mine in a predominantly white campus ministry doesn’t have the same kinds of natural access to donors who have a vision for campus ministry as some of her white counterparts. What is your experience as a person of color relating to donors and fundraising?

I would say there are two aspects to that.

For starters, you don’t have a network of people with the resources to help you feed your family and pay your bills. So it can be extra stressful for that person of color. You’re invited to come do the ministry but you’re worried about your family eating and the money that needs to come in. That’s an extra tax. The burden of fundraising affects the person in ministry with fewer resources: it impacts how they’re thinking creatively about the ministry and the people around them—because they’re constantly having to worry about their funding. It takes away from their work.

The second part of wanting for resources is that it, unfortunately, makes people doubt their call. Should I be here? Should I be doing this? Because they lack resources. Financial lack serves to deny people’s call.

Are you describing the person on the ground who is running the kid’s club or are you describing the person at the top of the organizing or both?

Both. I am describing lived reality. A lot of times my creativity is stifled as a leader because I’m concerned about financial burdens as a person of color. But it’s the person on the ground as well. I have gone months without paychecks and that is also a reality for a lot of people on the ground. They do it and do it for literally nothing.

Is it hard to recruit younger people of color to work in ministries where you have to do this kind of fundraising?

Yes. It is hard to recruit because of the fundraising. A lot of times these organizations and communities are not culturally friendly enough. It is hard to find funding and one of the reasons is because of not understanding the different cultures among people.

I assume you mean historically white organizations. You are saying the organizations aren’t culturally friendly?

Right, they are not understanding. I was a missionary for a very long time in a predominantly white-culture organization: in its worship, and in the books they were reading, and the language that was used, and things like that. A person of color has to decipher some of those cultural practices.

Do you see any movement toward people of color leading organizations that are already serving primarily people of color?

Yes. I think in the last several years there has been an acknowledgment that we need to be more diverse, especially racially, and people are interested in hiring culturally diverse leaders. I do see organizations taking steps to hire people of color, that’s a first step. The challenge then is adapting an organization culturally and changing a system of funding. Leaders of color can lead as leaders of color and not leading as persons of color who are trying to conform to white culture. I’ll explain.

I am a person of color. I come into leadership, but I am expected to lead it the way it is and not bring in my cultural perspective or understanding into the mix. That is a whole different conversation. We need to be asking what does it truly mean to have a multiethnic and multicultural organization.

So how do you help people in the institution get there?

That is the big question.

A first step is hiring and making sure you at least have a diverse staff, but achieving authentic multiculturalism within your organization means an openness on the part of your leaders to learn. Quite frankly, it is difficult for established leaders to consider changing when they see that the organization is currently “successful.” They ask, “Why would we change this for diversity’s sake? Why would we change just so that we can have other people in the mix? Things are going so well.” That is a real challenge for people to get their heads around. They think, “It is going (well) why would we attempt something that feels like it could threaten the success that we already have?”

And so what is the motivation to implement change?

You have to go back to what God has to say about it. The only reason people are willing to entertain change is when they become convinced that this is closer to the kingdom and closer to God’s heart.

Check out Barber’s book, now available:

RED-BROWN-YELLOW-BLACK-WHITE

15 Questions for Success: Mike Smoke

15 Questions for Success: Mike Smoke

Recently, we have been working hard to bring you quality content on faith and work and plan to continue shedding light on people who are successful in making their work and faith collide in their respective industries. Each entrepreneur and professional featured in our “15 Questions for Success” series provides us with their road map to success and answers questions on how their faith plays out in their careers.

Our latest installment of the “15 Questions for Success” series features Mike Smoke, Second Vice President at Northern Trust Bank . Check out what Mike has to say about faith and work below:

 

1. When people ask you what you do, how do you answer that?

I work in the Wealth Management department at a bank downtown, I ensure my ultra-high net worth clients have all the information and resources they need to manage their wealth.

2. When you think of the word “successful,” who is the first person that comes to mind and why?

My grandmom, simply because she completed successfully the job that was before her, raising her children, having a successful career herself, and being a pillar in the family.

 

3. What role does faith play when it comes to your career?

My faith in God gives me the confidence to approach my job and give it all I’ve got. My faith helps me overcome challenging times, reminding me that there are bigger problems in this world, and helps me refocus to come to solutions faster.

4. What does the first 60-90 minutes of your day look like?

Emails, emails and more emails.

 

5. What are you world-class at that people might not realize?

I am in the people business, so understanding people, reading people to some degree, being high in emotional intelligence is something I consider essential for this role.

 

6. How has knowing your personality type affected your life and how has it played a role in any life decision?

I think greater than my personality type, understanding who I am and what I bring to the table has helped me in many areas of my life. Understanding who I am at the core, has helped me refocus when something temporarily throws me off my center. I can always go back to center, since I have a strong sense of who I am and who I aspire to be.

 

7. What do you most love about what you do?

I enjoy helping people, I enjoy solving problems, and thinking big picture about solutions.

 

8. What should someone ask to determine their passion?

What activity do you do that makes you feel alive? What, when you do it, makes you feel like you have superpowers?

 

9. How do you define success?

To me, success is feeling good about what you do, from the core of one’s being.

 

10. What habits or skills are most important to living a successful life?

Authenticity. Being true to who you are and not feeling moved off that block.

 

11. If you instantly lost everything, what steps would you take to become successful again?

I would rebuild from the place of what’s important to me. Then take baby steps until what I lost is recovered.

 

12. How do you maintain productivity throughout the day?

Since college, almost every day I write down my daily “TDL”—to do list. I only list 2-5 things, but these things are the big gains that I wish to accomplish by the end of the day. It helps me focus on what really matters.

 

13. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

Listen to your gut and stay consistent at the gym .

 

14. What books would you recommend on career and business to someone just starting out?

How to Win Friends and Influence People – my favorite.

 

15. What advice would you give someone interested in making a career change?

Research, research, research. Find peace within, then LEAP.

 

15 Questions for Success: Avril Speaks

15 Questions for Success: Avril Speaks

For the past few weeks, we have been working hard to bring you quality content on faith and work and plan to continue shedding light on people who are actually successful in making their work and faith collide in their respective industries. Each entrepreneur and professional that will be featured in our “15 Questions for Success” series will give us their road map to success and answer questions on how their faith plays out in their careers.

The second installment of the “15 Questions for Success” series features Avril Speaks, producer and director for BET. Check out what Avril has to say about faith and work below:

When people ask you what you do, how do you answer?

I usually say I am an independent filmmaker, or an independent film producer.

When you think of the word ‘successful’ who is the first person that comes to mind and why?

Ava Duvernay. She is someone who has defined success on her own terms. The movie “Selma” is not what made her successful. She owns and defines her own truth in which she was already successful. She had a unique voice within the film industry before that film and she continues to have one today.

 

What role does faith play when it comes to your career?

Faith plays a huge role because my relationship with God and my interest in film developed around the same time in life, so for me those two always go hand-in-hand. My faith inevitably shows up in my work somehow, even though it is often not in the way that many people would expect.

What does the first 60-90 minutes of your day look like?

It depends on the day. Some days I go to the gym early in the morning. Some days (when I think about it) I’ll read a passage of Scripture. Some days I jump right up and get in the shower. Sadly, other days I lay in bed and scroll through Facebook for an hour (I’m trying to break this habit).

How has knowing your personality type affected your life and how has it played a role in any life decision?

I’m an introvert so I’m not much of a schmoozer. But what that trait has taught me is how to seek out authentic relationships with people. So I’m not really one to “work a room,” but I’m pretty good at finding the one or two people in a crowd that I connect to and those people often end up being valuable parts of my life in some way. I’ve come to realize that my quietness allows me to be an observer, one who thinks thing through before acting out. When making decisions, I weight all the options, rather than jumping into anything too quickly.

What do you most love about what you do?

 Getting to collaborate with other creative people and seeing good stories come to life. I think that human stories and testimonies are powerful and any way I can be part of getting those stories told, it makes me happy.

What should someone ask themselves to determine their passion?

What is that something that makes you lose track of time? What is something that you love doing, even if you didn’t get paid for it?

How do you define success?

Success is having the freedom to do what you love. For some people, freedom comes financially (being able to make a living from doing something you love), for others it comes with time (making time in the schedule to do something you love).

What habits or skills are most important to living a successful life?

 Persistence in making space for those things that bring joy/success.

How do you maintain productivity throughout the day?

Making lists!!!

What advice would you give your 20 year old self?

Trust yourself and the knowledge that you have. I spent so many years doubting that I know anything and that I have something valuable to say (I still struggle with this, actually).

What books would you recommend on career and business to someone just starting out?

Hollywood Game Plan: How to Land a Job in Film, TV and Digital Entertainment by Carole M. Kirschner and

Imagination and the Journey of Faith by Sandra M. Levy

What advice would you give someone interested in making a career change?

Capitalize your strengths. Just because you are changing careers doesn’t mean you have to throw away all of the skills you have acquired in your previous occupation. My hairstylist was an accountant before opening her own salon. She may have switched careers, but that business sense went a long way for her when starting her own business, which is how she has been able to sustain herself for so many years. Think of none of your years as wasted time. Every job you have done in the past was to prepare you for where you are right now or where you’re trying to go.