College Attended: Wheaton College
Current Title & Responsibility: Program Director, Edge Foundation
1.) What are a couple of most valuable things learned from your Southwestern Advantage experience?
- Positive attitude
- Keep knocking; don’t get down
- Keep it simple, stupid! It’s about the simple stuff; don’t over-think yourself
- Learn to love an adventure
- Selling is not something you do TO someone; it’s something you do WITH someone
2.) What was the most difficult part of your experience?
- Keeping myself going, especially at the end of the summer
- Staying professional: Being kind to people when they aren’t kind to you
3.) What are a couple pieces of advice you would offer a first year salesperson?
You won’t understand all the things you’re learning until about a decade from now. These skills are transferable to anything that’s worth doing—whether a profession or other endeavors.
4.) Before you were invited to sell, what was your plan after graduation (i.e. pre-med, law school, career job, etc.)?
5.) Tell about your career path taken after Southwestern Advantage.
Well, I went into church ministry (as indicated above, this was always the plan). I was a youth pastor for 10 years in 3 different states. I loved working in a church- it’s possible I’ll go back to it, some day. But I think what got me outside of church ministry is thinking about how much ministry there is to do outside of the church. For anyone reading this who isn’t a church-goer, another way to say this is that God doesn’t just care about what goes on inside the church, but God cares deeply about what’s going on in all segments of society: business, the home, justice, government, civic orgs, … and schools (which is where I ended up).
I thought that a lot of people who worked in the church tended to over-focus on what went on inside that building, and I wanted to get outside of the building. Probably the biggest professional frustration I’ve had is trying to explain an idea of something that doesn’t exist yet to someone who can’t imagine it. 5 years ago, we started our Schools Program with the idea of working in a specific way with middle and high school students. Everyone who heard us nodded their head without listening, thinking we were like any other intervention program.
Now our program is in 30 schools and 3 states. We’ve grown quite a ways—we still have a long way to go, but I feel we’ve already quieted many people who didn’t understand or didn’t care what we were doing. It takes a lot of time believing that something can exist when it doesn’t currently.