Stayed  In The Marketplace
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“Helping Women Succeed in the Trucking Industry”
“Bringing Faith To Higher Education”
Dr. Phillip
“Giving The World A Smile”
“Mobilizing Money, Prayer & Manpower”
“Pictures Saving Orphans”
“Vision For Africa”
“Kids Against Hunger”
“Unshamedly Ethical”
“Building Into Others”
“Putting It All Together”

More who stayed in the marketplace here.
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Started Something New
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“Women at Work”
“The Rest Of The World”
“More Than Threads”
“Inner City Transformation”
“Leaving A Lasting Legacy”
“More Eggs to More Children”
“Serving Widows & Orphans”
“Youth About Business”
“Coffee Benefiting At-Risk Children”
“Fueling A Passion”
“Dude Ranch For Men”
“Life in The Intersection”
Dale & Dabbs
“Financing Rwanda”
“Ambassador of Compassion”
Cliff & Rose
“A Joint Partnership”

More who started a nonprofit organization here.
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Joined Another Organization
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“Diversifying The NonProfit World”
“Leading For Justice”
“Work Life Balance”
“A Greater Mission”
“Mercy Ministries”
“Home Improvement to Life Improvement”
“Financing Both Worlds”
“Rocking The World”
“Athletics Empowering Kids”
“Communications in Zambia”
“Catering The Rich To Feeding The Poor”
“Recruiting At Another Level”
“Age Is Just A Number”
“Leading The Community”
“Solving Global Challenges”
More who joined an outside organization here. arrow white 125

Diversifying The NonProfit World,

Before becoming the COO at World Vision, Edgar was the Vice President of Global Feminine Care at Procter & Gamble Company,the world’s largest consumer packaged-goods company. He was responsible for the Global Innovation and Marketing strategies and plans for this $5 Billion business across all developed and developing regions.  In this role he met a diverse set of the world’s consumers, customers and employees, from the modest neighborhood of Mumbai and South Africa to the luxury hypermarkets of Shanghai and Sao Paulo, Mr. Sandoval held steady to the belief that his biggest role was to build brands that advocate and empower women to live life to their fullest potential.

Throughout his career he played a leading role in inspiring the organization to consider what it is like to walk in the shoes of consumers with diverse backgrounds.  He has been an ongoing force in advancing diversity and inclusion and has had a profound impact on business culture at Procter & Gamble and beyond.

Now Edgar is using his experience at Procter & Gamble to change the lives of millions of children around the world as the Chief Operating Officer at World Vision U.S.

Leading For Justice,

Gary Veurink oversaw 23,000 employees, managed annual budgets of more than $6 billion and reported to the CEO at Dow Chemical.  When he retired from the Fortune 50 company after 35 years, he wondered what was next. Today he serves as COO of International Justice Mission using the deep wells of experience he accrued his first half.

Watch Gary‘s video below and see how he used his experience and leadership skills from his first half at DOW to fuel his second half.

Work Life Balance,

Many times we need an organizational platform for our second-half adventures. Paula Dumas had a blast in her first half learning the art of marketing from some of America’s best: Frito Lay, CNN, Apple, Disney and Kodak.

After taking a year off to focus on family, she had decided to re-enter the marketplace and her searching boiled down to two organizations. On the one hand, there was a job she “had absolutely jumped through hoops for.” She had passed all the IQ testing and the background checks. The company had one of the world’s leading brands, and it offered her an “astronomical salary” with a “Porsche in the color of my choice.” (As someone who loves horsepower, the Porsche sounded pretty tempting to me.) On the other hand, there was a job with FamilyLife, a nonprofit that could seemingly offer just a fraction of the other job.

Many Halftimers are having measurable ministry impact in a high-profile job inside corporate America, but Paula had zoomed down that road before and she knew where she now needed to go. Earlier that year, at a Halftime event that I facilitated in Atlanta, she was among a couple dozen marketplace leaders we were introducing to innovative ministries impacting their city. At that event, she says, she felt a clear longing for something more than just another job – she was looking for a sense of calling. “Do I really want to help save people’s marriages so that they can have a solid foundation for raising kids and know how to apply God’s word in their family life?” she asked herself. “Or should I sell them another car or soft drink that they really don’t need to get by in life? It was just sort of a very simple decision at that teaching sonpoint in time . . . it would be nothing short of greedy to go after the other opportunity, unless I thought I could do great ministry in that environment, but I didn’t have any indication that would be true.”

Paula realized her professional career – the stresses it had heaped on her family as well as the high-level training and broad experiences that came with success – had prepared her perfectly to lead the marketing efforts for Family Life. But that wasn’t something she envisioned starting out.“Early on, I had sort of big-scale ambitions,”she says. “I wanted to reach the nation and reach the world, and so I was really interested in organizations that had a very broad distribution and a strong commercial brand. Ministry was not on my radar except on a personal level.”In her 20’s, fresh out of college and working for Frito-Lay, Paula managed a$70 million ad budget with three agencies at her disposal. Success begot opportunity,and she went to work for CNN. She also got married, and soon she began wrestling with the conflicts of balancing marriage,family and a demanding career in a demanding industry.“Our marriage was tested big time,”she says. “We nearly split up in that very first year, but we stuck it out. It just gets better and better each year, only after we
endured some very early trials, mostly brought on by my career and the industry I was in.”

Paula left CNN for Apple and later went to Disney, where she helped launch a start-up division that would manage the corporation’s global partnerships.With every move, Paula learned more about her profession and continued to reach her goals of impacting broad weekend to remember signaudiences across the world. When her children came along, however, the career-family tensions increased. Paula left Disney for a more family friendly work environment offered at Kodak. But success again begot opportunities, and soon she found herself responding more to the needs of the corporation and less to the needs of her husband and children.

“That was my own failure to set boundaries,”she says. “I think God really called me to live out my values and demonstrate my faith, and I wasn’t doing it.”The defining moment came after she returned from a four-day business trip. She had called home one night during the trip, and her then 7-year-old son had told her that he had competed in his first golf tournament and won. “Then I came home and found that he hadn’t even placed and that he had lied to me,” Paula says. “I just cried because I thought it was so sad that my son would feel the need to get my approval on something like that, and I thought: ‘This is just not right.”

Paula made a decision to leave Kodak,but was able to stay another three years under a renegotiated agreement that made her the company’s only part-time vice president. Soon she began to value the things she did away from work more than the things she did at work.“The job became less satisfying as my work in ministry weekend to remember couple 2became more satisfying,and suddenly I realized that I was having an impact on people’s lives in my neighborhood,in my women’s group and in my church that my lack of time and margin never allowed,” she says. “And I definitely was able to serve and love my kids and help my husband in more ways than I ever could before. Life became more satisfying,even with less income and career prestige.”

Paula finally left Kodak and spent even more time with her family, while also taking on some consulting projects for her church and for corporations around her home in Atlanta. FamilyLife provided a platform for Paula to re-enter the marketplace with weekend to remember couplean organization led by Dennis and Barbara Rainey that truly valued family. “FamilyLife actually wanted me to be home to meet the school bus, to be the wife and mom I yearned to be.” The ministry,based in Little Rock, Ark., allowed her to take on the role of Chief Marketing Officer while staying in Atlanta, where her husband’s small business is based. She quickly adjusted to the smaller budgets while embracing what she came to see as a bigger vision.

“I had spent so much of my career dealing with change on a mass level,” Paula says.
“The most basic unit of civilization– the family – is in crisis, and needs help now. That’s a massive challenge.” Yet, in terms of scalability, FamilyLife provides an organizational platform for Paula to leverage her marketing skills for a global impact. It’s a well-run organization that already touches millions of families– more than 80,000 people experience one of their Weekend To Remember conferences each year, and for most of them it will change their marriage forever. Millions listen each week to their radio program and use their resources to find help and hope for their own families. And with her marketing skills, they can impact “even more” with the Truth. Could it be that she was uniquely prepared for this role and that, as wonderful as her first half was, her greatest impact and most fun adventures remain ahead?“ Even though we have a much smaller budget to work with than some of the other companies that I’ve worked for,” she says, “our playing field is even greater. We still have the world to reach, and it’s a daunting opportunity to do that.”

This is from The Second Half, by Lloyd Reeb

A Greater Mission,

Dean Niewolny spent 23 years in executive roles with three of Wall Street’s largest financial firms, finishing his career in the financial sector as market manager for Wells Fargo Advisors in Chicago, where he oversaw a $100mm market. While in Chicago, he and his wife, Lisa, traveled many times to Africa and, seeing the abject needs of widows and orphans, made life changes that enabled them to get involved, such as helping to complete an orphan home and a Hospice home in Durbin, South Africa.

In 2010, Dean traded his marketplace career for the Halftime Institute to help more people who, like him, wanted to expand their own “first half” success and skills into passion and purpose for meeting human needs and making a significant difference.  See Dean’s story in his video. 


Mercy Ministries,

Linda Hood and I sat down to chat in a noisy, crowded coffee shop – not the ideal place for me to ask Linda’s advice about something one of our teenage girls was wrestling with. In a matter of moments, though, the noise and confusion faded into the distance, and we were well past small talk and deep into life issues. From the tears in her eyes, I could tell Linda really cared about every word I shared. Like many successful women, Linda often gets pegged as a crisp, well-organized executive who knows how to drive for results. In my view, that’s only part of who Linda is. Yes, she rose to the top of Wells Fargo Bank by being effective. But down deep, she has a huge heart – particularly for young women in need.

Today she’s the executive director of a fast-growing international ministry that serves young women dealing with addictions, eating disorders and abuse. But that role often keeps her insulated from the pain and the triumph in the lives of these women. She has given up so many perks of the executive life that I was curious what had captured her heart about giving her second half to serving these women.

Linda Hood - pregnant and dogAs she looked across the coffee shop and into the distance, she told me about the first time she greeted a family as they dropped off their daughter at a Mercy Ministries home. The mom, dad and daughter looked worn down, physically and emotionally. Linda could see the sense of hopelessness in their faces as they hauled in baggage filled with pain: An unexpected pregnancy? Depression? Addiction? Abuse? Linda couldn’t be sure, but they were walking right toward her and the inevitable interaction caused her to pause. It wasn’t her job, but she knew in that moment she had to greet them.

“I thought, ‘I’ve got to let them know what we’re about,’” Linda says. So she introduced herself in a nice, formal handshake way, then opened up her heart. “It’s OK to cry,” she told the young girl. “We’re going to cry with you. We’re going to get you through this.” “I gave her a big hug, and she started sobbing,” Linda says. “I reached over and I gave her mom a hug, and I said, ‘It’s going to be OK. We’re going to love your daughter as much as you love your daughter.’ She cried, and she said, ‘Oh thank you so much.”

Linda sometimes feels her work life lacks pizzazz, and that used to bother her. “What I do is the stuff others don’t want to do,” she says. “I keep lists. I follow up on stuff.

At Wells Fargo I was known as the great nag.” So Linda keeps a photo album filled with images of women like the one she greeted that day. Each Linda Hood on couch with girlpicture reminds her that she’s right where she’s meant to be for the second half of her life. “I just make sure all the bills are paid, everybody has a paycheck, the lights stay on, and the food comes in,” Linda says. “But when you have those kinds of moments it’s like … well, you don’t lose those memories.”

So how’d she launch into this second half adventure? Linda grew up in a broken home, got a degree in speech communications because it didn’t require math, married and planned to work until she had children. But her career with Wells Fargo took her to unexpected heights. “It blew me away, to do as well as I did,” she says. “I never wanted it, but once you get in the wheel of it, it’s just an engine.”

Then she made an unusual decision that inexplicably led to a life-changing second-half career: She dumped the Minnesota Vikings. It sounds crazy, of course, but that’s where it started.

Linda and her family lived in Minneapolis, so they were Vikings fans. But one day a star player landed in trouble for mistreating the meter maid in the street. Linda’s son, watching it on the news, thought it was “cool” and Linda didn’t. Looking for better role models, as a family, they dumped the Vikings and adopted the Tennessee Titans. As she began to follow her new team, she noticed its head coach was connected to Mercy Ministries. Having gone through such brokenness in her own childhood, she was moved to tears by “seeing that there is someplace for people to get their life aligned with the Lord.”

Linda and her husband, David, began donating to the ministry and later she volunteered on projects she could work on from Minnesota. Then the founder of Mercy Ministry, Nancy Alcorn, asked Linda to join their team as COO. It was a perfect fit for her gifts and her 15 years of corporate experience. “The administrative gifting that I bring to Mercy Ministry really supports Nancy and allows her to be free to speak the vision, to carry that around the world,” Linda says.

There was a time when Linda hated her gifts. She saw her knack for managing projects and people as “boring” and lacking the glamour she saw attached to the work of so many other executives.

Then one day at work an employee walked into Linda’s corner office asking to go home. She was struggling with a decision about having an abortion. The single mom already had three children, and she told Linda she couldn’t afford another. Linda shut the door, and gave her not only her time but her heart. “I want you to pray, seek whatever higher power you believe in,” she told her. “And I want you to really reflect on whether or not it’s right to stop this pregnancy.” The company had supported the woman through her last pregnancy, and Linda assured her that she’d get that support again if she had this child. Then she promised to still love her no matter what decision she made.

Linda Hood thri photoThe woman had the baby and still stays in contact with Linda, who encouraged her to go back to school and finish her college degree.

For Linda, the experience opened her eyes to the impact she can have regardless of how much pizzazz her daily tasks involve. “I’m going to be the person behind the scenes, working one-on-one, kicking people in the pants to be a better employee,” she says. “This is where I shine; I will not shine on the stage.”

Linda gets plenty of satisfaction from seeing others take the stage, especially the women who come through Mercy’s program and tell their stories during a graduation ceremony. “They share the journey that they were on and the journey they went through at Mercy, where God transformed their lives and hope was restored in their hearts. They talk through that in front of their family, the staff, and they are just so grateful,” Linda says. “There are very few dry eyes. Not tears of sorrow. It’s just that you see how powerful God can be in our lives if we let Him.”

There’s even more impact from Linda’s second-half adventure than you can see in these photos: The impact on her own family. After all, her kids saw their dad put the needs and calling of his wife ahead of his own. And their mom has modeled for them that life isn’t all about her (or them), but about helping others.

“I brought my son to a Mercy graduation, and he left halfway through the testimonies,” she says. “He said, ‘Mom, I’ve got to go outside,’ and he just lost it. He started crying and said, ‘Mom that’s way more than I thought. That’s more than I realized these girls went through.’” That’s a lasting legacy that Linda simply can’t buy for her kids – she had to model it.

This is from The Second Half, by Lloyd Reeb

Home Improvement to Life Improvement,

Mark Malone was a corporate marketing VP at home improvement retailer Lowes and sensing a need to change. He connected with Lloyd Reeb and engaged in Halftime Coaching. In 2012, Mark began his new job as Chief Innovation Officer with World Vision. Watch the video for more of his story..

Financing Both Worlds,

Jeff Stedman might look like an analytical chief financial officer, but he feels deeply the pain of kids who are having a tough time growing up. His eyes fill with tears and his voice breaks when he talks about the privilege he now has of helping kids in trouble. What drives that passion? I wondered as Jeff and I visited early one morning in the dining room of the Broadmoor Hotel, just a short stroll away from his home in Colorado Springs, Colo. Turns out, Jeff had a tough childhood himself. His parents divorced. His mother was an alcoholic and drug addict. They spent a lot of time “moving around, getting evicted.” And he “went to seven different schools the first four years of elementary school.” As a result, he was just drifting, looking for some place to belong.

“In high school I plstedman 2ayed baseball, but I got cut because I was out drinking on weekends and wasn’t practicing,” he says. “While I did have a passion for it, I didn’t have a direction or any goals about it. Then, God sent me an angel.” In his senior year of high school, Jeff had a locker next to the “prettiest girl” in school. “It was amazing,” he says. “One day she offered me a Tootsie Roll lollipop … and I took that and parlayed it into some conversations, and I spent a lot more time around my locker waiting for her to show up. We became friends and later started dating and she became something that was, for the first time in my life, far greater than I ever thought I could achieve. “She asked, or demanded, a few things that I needed to change in my life, including hanging out with some of the folks I hung out with and doing some of the things I did, and so my life started changing. I quickly went from an underachiever to … an overachiever. When I got into college I got out three-and-a-half years laterstedman 3


stedman 4

stedman 5with a double major in accounting and finance.”

Jeff’s job with a public accounting firm opened the doors for him to work with entrepreneur Lee Roy Mitchell, who put Jeff’s energy, passion and analytical skills to work for Cinemark Theaters. At age 30, Jeff became the company’s chief financial officer. In the 1990s, Cinemark grew almost tenfold to a company with more than $800 million in revenues and 3,000 screens. Jeff, who helped raise more than $1 billion in capital during those years, credits Lee Roy with giving him the opportunities to pick up “a lot of creative skill sets – the ability to pass on a vision and tell a story and to follow through and execute on that story. It was an incredible journey.” Oh yeah, and along the way he married Lisa – the “prettiest girl” from high school, whose locker had been next to his. As he clicked through the milestones of success,however, Jeff felt a “sense of loss and emptiness” in his life. Then in 1997, at Lee Roy’s invitation, Jeff and Lisa went to a Young Life camp so they could learn more about the organization Cinemark supported financially. When they got to the camp, they were immediately struck by the sense of God’s love and compassion for the kids. Lisa had been a Christian since junior high, but Jeff didn’t begin a relationship with God until that weekend at the Young Life camp. He was 34 years old.

Lisa was “blown away,” he says, but also scared by where such a radical change in Jeff’s heart might take them. As it turned out, it took them to the Rocky Mountains, but only after Jeff and Lisa caught a vision for how his skills and experience in the world of finance could help meet the needs of millions of kids who are adrift like he was growing up. Jeff will tell you that his background has given him “an incredible amount of empathy for people that live in tragic situations and have dysfunctional families. You know, the kids that are lost but … may not know that God is going to be pursuing, protecting them and sending angels all along.” Now, as you may know, the theater business is all about “butts in seats.” The more seats that are full, the more money you make. Below the surface of that simple formula, however, there are complex financial systems that help make it work efficiently and profitably. Imagine taking the skills of the CFO of a large theater chain and using them to help a global organization change teens’ lives forever rather than just entertain folks for 90 minutes.

Jeff didn’t jump at Young Life’s offer to join their team. He loved what Young Life does for high school kids who are at a precarious stage in their lives. However, it seemed ridiculous to consider leaving the life he and Lisa enjoyed. His latest business venture was turning into a financial success. Plus, they had settled into their lives in Austin, Texas. It was home. It was where they wanted to raise their budding family. “It was probably the happiest we’d ever been in our adult lives,” he says. Increasingly, it became clear to Jeff that God had prepared him not only professionally for the role at Young Life, but emotionally and spiritually, as well. “God walked me through the first 43 years of my life specifically for this,” he says. “Lisa got to that same conclusion. I didn’t see how we could not do this. It was clear. We were supposed to be there.”

When Jeff arrived at Young Life as CFO, he realized just how helpful his skills and experiences would be. Within two years, he had replaced many antiquated financial systems enabling the organization to pass approximately $1 million in savings on to its field ministries while adding greater accountability. Most of all, Jeff loves the thousands of hours it saved Young Life staff that they can now spend with kids. He also helped redesign the model for funding camps scholarships, all with an eye toward getting more students involved. Now he’d come full circle, back to “butts in seats.”

Jeff knows that every empty place at a camp each summer is a lost opportunity to change a kid’s life, and seeing the changed lives in kids is what drives his passion and fuels his gratitude. “God allowed us to participate in all this stuff,” Jeff says. “He doesn’t need us to participate in any of this stuff. He allows us to do it only because He wants us to know how deeply He loves us. We are feeling that, so it’s an exciting way to live life. It’s an abundant life.”

Rocking The World,

You can see it in the pictures, can’t you? Sandy Griffith has an overwhelming love for these babies. But to be really frank, I find her faith somewhat unnerving.

We’d known each other for, I don’t know, maybe three years when I called Sandy to chat. She was surrounded by real storms in her life. Her sister was at her parent’s home recuperating from brain surgery when her father learned he’d need surgery on his spinal cord. And the stress of it all led to a full-blown flare up of her mother’s arthritis. “She’s on a cane, my dad’s on a walker, my sister’s on the couch, and I’m shuttle bussing here, there and everywhere,” Sandy said at the time. “Life’s just a little upside down.” If there’s one thing I’ve seen in Sandy, it’s the ability to find peace in life’s storms – in part by her practice of bringing peace into the life storms of others. A week or two before our conversation, for instance, on a rainy Friday morning when she could have stayed home from both the storms of nature and the storms of life, Sandy took on Sandy Griffith - coverthe rain and the traffic and drove into one of the toughest sections of downtown Houston to Ben Taub General Hospital. Then she made her way to the high-risk nursery unit, settled into a rocking chair with the baby of a heroine addict and counted her family’s blessings. It’s her calling but also her therapy. Unlike most of our peers at midlife, Sandy knows without any doubt that she has discovered her place of greatest calling for the second half of her life – right there in the rocking chair with the baby of a drug addict. “This little baby had just been taken off the Methadone … and he was suffering horribly,” she says. “As long as you were holding him he was happy, but if you put him down, even to change his diaper, he screamed.

“I just pulled up a chair, picked him up and held him for about three hours. He slept peacefully in my arms, and it was an amazing moment because his ability to rest in my arms was such a picture of my ability to rest while holding him. It was like both of us were being fed, because all I wanted in the world was a peaceful place. … So I’m sitting there holding this little guy, knowing that this is the only real peace that he’s going to have that day because there isn’t anybody else to hold him.” Years earlier, Sandy was rocking her own premature baby when she realized this was her area of passion. As she sat and rocked her son, she noticed there was no one to hold and love most of the other babies in the NICU. Their mothers had been discharged, and most had returned to work. The nurses could feed them and change them but did not have time to hold them.

Once her own kids had grown, Sandy realized that “raising kids was fun Sandy Griffith - 2 photosand significant, but they don’t need me like they used to. So who am I going to be now that I am all grown up?” As she explored opportunities with preemie babies, almost every door closed on her until she and a friend arrived at Ben Taub’s high-risk unit. She quickly realized that these were the babies who really needed what she had to offer. These were the abandoned babies, often the children of young drug addicts who come in, have their babies and then disappear.

“Looking back on it, I can see that God had been working on me the whole time,” Sandy says. “But until I went to the place where He wanted me to go, He wasn’t just going to let me get safe and comfortable in an environment that didn’t need me.” Sandy goes to Ben Taub Hospital almost every Friday to rock the babies, feed the babies, pray for the babies and hopefully intersect in the lives of those young moms. Along the way, she’s prepared the path for other women to do the same. She’s organized donations of rocking chairs, furniture and other wish-list items for the unit. In fact, her work helped the hospital build an apartment suite inside the unit so that those young moms don’t have to vanish in the middle of the night. They can live with, and learn to care for, their babies while still under the supervision of the  nurses. She and her friends are providing an alternative, some encouragement and support to moms in one of Houston’s most impoverished areas.
Sandy Griffith - holding babyA decade ago, she would have become jaded and depressed working in such circumstances, but she’s developed a faith that God’s at work even in the most horrific of situations. “There is hope in everything,” she says. “If He really is who I believe He is, there’s no end to the hope that God’s got it well in hand. If you look at the statistics and go read your Newsweek, chances are this baby has no life ahead of him. I just choose not to believe that.” See, this is the faith I see in Sandy that I find unnerving. Sandy regularly prays that God will pull the babies out of their bad circumstances and provide for them in ways that no one can foresee. She sees hope in the hopelessness. “I’ve seen it happen and I know it could, so I’m just going to pray that it will and know that He’s in charge,” she says. “As long as I’m where He asked me to be, and I’m praying the prayers, He’s going to honor that. I just have a confidence about it.

As Sandy’s rocking chair ministry drew attention outside her circle of friends and family, she and her husband David, a successful attorney, began seeing the greater significance of her obedience. “In the beginning, it was ‘another one of those little projects that Sandy has,’” Sandy reflects. “I think David’s come to realize that beyond the shadow of a doubt this is God’s calling, and I’m doing something important. Both of us have been on that road of learning. All I do is rock babies. It’s totally feeding me, and it’s so easy to do.” Too often, Sandy says, people do nothing because they believe what they have to offer simply isn’t good enough. In doing that, they might miss out. “I had to be available and obedient,” she says. “I didn’t have to have a million dollars.”

This is from The Second Half, by Lloyd Reeb

Athletics Empowering Kids,

Gib Vestal is a numbers man. As a former managing director with Morgan Keegan in Memphis, Tenn., he knows all about investing in startup ventures and reaping big gains. But he never imagined the even more fulfilling gains he would experience by merging his skills with those of others in a startup venture called Memphis Athletic Ministries (MAM). The results are direct and measurable – more than 13,000 kids a year are impacted, and the transformation in their lives is visible. Gib knows the children impacted by MAM’s programs are more balanced in their approach to racial issues, less likely to commit crimes, more likely to enjoy academic success and more likely to contribute positively to the Memphis community. So while just one child is important, numbers do matter. Getting to the numbers that matter to Gib, however, wasn’t a quick, easy journey. He wrestled with the decision for years until, ultimately, he literally had no choice. Gib came to one of our very first Halftime events in Memphis, sponsored by Kem Wilson (see the previous story, page 90–93).

vestal pic 1The Halftime Summit crystallized my thinking,” says Gib, “and made me feel more confident that MAM was the right thing to do. It represented the perfect application of a lot of talents that I had cultivated over my work career.” Still, Gib balked at making a move. Looking back, it’s easier for him to see how he was held captive by the “golden handcuffs” of his career. But not for long. “I went into work one day, and a 15-year colleague came in and said, ‘Gib, I’ve got bad news: The company is cutting staff and you’re one of them.’” Gib’s response? “That’s fantastic!” “It was God’s answer to my procrastination,” Gib tells me with hindsight. “One day I was hanging on and the next day Morgan Keegan was paying me to leave. God was saying, ‘Go ahead, Gib, take that step. I’vvestal quotee got something better for you.’” During his last few years at Morgan Keegan, Gib and his wife, Mimi, had regularly discussed the possibility of his leaving.

“We had talked about it,” he says, “kicked around everything from teaching school to starting my own business. So she was in that process the whole time. It wasn’t something that just occurred and I sprung it on her one day.” Sports had long been Gib’s passion. He’d been involved for years in coaching youth teams and had even helped start a basketball league. An assessment exercise had pointed to Christian sports administration as a best fit for him. So even before he heard about MAM he was thinking about ways he might combine his skills and experiences with a nonprofit that used sports as a platform for things like building character and promoting racial reconciliation.

“I went out and began to network with numerous inner-city ministries here in Memphis,” Gib says. He invited Larry Lloyd, a man who helped launch many of those ministries, to lunch. “During thatworking lunch Larry told me about a ministry that was still an idea, but not a reality,
and that was Memphis Athletic Ministries. It coincided perfectly with the desires I had for doing something.” So in 2001, shortly after Morgan Keegan freed him of his golden handcuffs, Gib became president of MAM, which had incorporated by that time but wasn’t doing much more than a few local sports clinics. Now kids participate in more than 3,000 sporting events a year through MAM programs, not to menvestal page 2tion after school programs and service projects. Looking around from within Gib’s office, it’s easy to get a sense of this new world he lives in.

Through a window in the office I see hundreds of rambunctious kids playing games and running off steam after school in the multi-gym facility. By contrast, Gib is calm and measured. His mind methodically works through ideas to improve the systems and processes,  ways to enable the staff and coaches to touch these kids even more deeply. But when I stand around in the gym, or near the soccer field, or at the golf course they’ve just been given by the city and when I see those little kids’ faces light up when their coach knows their names or because they sink a shot, I get a small sense of what has captivated Gib’s heart.

Excitement is one thing, but what Gib wants is numbers – numbers of parents who report that they see a difference in their child’s life, education and attitude. In fact, Gib surveys each parent, so he knows that “94 percent of parents reported a ‘positive difference’ in their child” as a result of MAM participation. MAM staff, coaches and officials are at every activity and are trained to reinforce behavior standards by integrating core values, encouraging and affirming the kids, building character and being role models. They often travel with the teams outside their neighborhoods, giving them exposure they might not otherwise have. The heart of the organization is to model the Christian faith throughout a diverse and racially divided city. By partnering with more than 100 other organizations, MAM creates opportunities for meaningful interaction and relationships between kids and parents of different races and economic backgrounds. “Through God’s empowerment, we’re creating a culture that changes the lives of kids and builds racial bridges in the community,” Gib said. “I love those results.”

Communications in Zambia,

Stephen Buckley was an award-winning journalist whose success earned him high-profile roles in the US and abroad at prestigious organizations like the Washington Post and the Poynter Institute. Knowing God had something else for him but not knowing what it might be, he and his wife Cathleen enrolled at the Halftime Institute and participated together in the year-long journey.
See how the Halftime process and a connection with Halftime Talent Solutions paved the way for the Buckley’s to find their next chapter impacting the lives of vulnerable children and engaging in a role that Stephen says “is a vision from God’s own heart”.


Catering The Rich To Feeding The Poor,

. . . Rich Stearns has never been happier.
  In this video, Lloyd Reeb interviewed Rich Stearns, U.S. President of World Vision, and he credited Bob Buford and his bestselling book as part of the process in his decision to leave a long CEO-level career in luxury goods for serving the impoverished everywhere on earth.

(video produced and edited by Joshua MacLeod, Watermelon Ministries)

Recruiting At Another Level,

Greg Barnes was a leading executive recruiter whose halftime moved him to found and head Halftime Talent Solutions (HTTS) and offer top-level management recruiting and talent placement to the faith-based, non-profit community. Before launching HTTS, Greg simultaneously was vice president of US Search Operations and managing director of Global Healthcare and Life Sciences Practice for Futurestep, a subsidiary of Korn/Ferry International.  He oversaw senior-level placement of high-demand candidates across the business spectrum and around the globe.

Age Is Just A Number,

If you’re like me, you want a life of significance – not just at midlife, but you want to finish well. At age 84, Erna Penner is not exactly at Halftime, but she sure inspired me when I first met her in Calgary, Canada. In fact, her story moved me to tears. So I want to share it with you as we wrap up this book. Her life is what I want my life to look like at age 84. Erna’s life-story is riveting, but what grabbed my heart most is that she is excited about the future – about the women and kids she is serving today. To fully appreciate where she is and where she’s going, however, you need to know where she’s been. She was born in 1923 in Ukraine near the Black Sea. Think about it – that was in the aftermath of the Bolshevik Revolution and during a time of brutal Soviet rule that left millions in Ukraine dead or starving. Her father died when she was three-months-old, and her mother carried out his plan to bring the family to Canada. Finding themselves in a strange country with a strange language, the family battled poverty. And while her two brothers and two sisters married and started families, Erna stayed home and cared for their ailing mother.

erna top 3 erna quote When her mother died, Erna, by then 33, enrolled at a university and eventually earned three degrees in education. She taught and served as a principal in Calgary schools until retiring when she turned 65. That’s when she really got going. “Don’t ever retire,” she says with a twinkle in her eyes, “it’s too busy. I wake up at five o’clock, do all the morning routines, have an early breakfast and dig into
my days.” Among other things, Erna’s days include organizing efforts to help the poor in Ukraine and speaking to and mentoring women around her home in Calgary. “You know, your heart gets so full when you can give,” Erna says. “And not until you’re knee deep can you really experience the joy of giving. … When you invest in people and look outside your pleasures and your interests – and that doesn’t mean to annihilate them – but you know, you get revived
totally.”erna page 2

When she retired from the sc hool system, however, Erna wasn’t sure what she’d do with her remaining years. “I got my retirement package, and I was totally at loose ends,” she says. “So now what? I have a lot of built in energy. That’s a gift. So what do I do? I had no family; I never married.” Then one day she got an e-mail from Lloyd Cenaiko, a successful real estate developer who fell in love with Ukraine while on a trip to trace his family roots. In the mid-1990s, Lloyd founded HART, a nonprofit that supports missions and relief efforts in Ukraine and other parts ofEastern Europe. He wondered if Erna could round up some folks to knit some hats and mittens for poor kids there. As often happens, her second-half calling started out small and grew to serve thousands of kids in Eastern Europe while engaging scores of others in service.

I wish you could see Erna’s eyes as she talks about sending loads of small running shoes (with the little lights that shine when you walk) for those children – it is priceless. Today she’s an honorary grandmother to more childrErna little girlen than you can shake a stick at – like she said, “God has given me a family like you won’t believe.” Using the stories of those poor children, she teaches a unit on Ukraine to elementary students at schools in Calgary, inspiring the next generation to care. Those efforts usually end with a donation drive that yields boxes of shoes, toys and other supplies that are shipped overseas by HART. She also speaks regularly, teaching everything from gardening to practical living skills to coping with singleness. People often stop at her yard to comment on her flowers. So now she teaches gardening to groups of women and uses it as a platform to encourage and mentor them. The seed that Erna planted in my mind (no pun intended) is to look for ways to combine things you love doing that also could serve others.

“My calendar looks like a dog’s breakfast,” she says with a laugh. Perhaps her core strength is her ability to get other people to think “beyond themselves.” When she speaks to single women, for instance, she reminds them that their identities aren’t in their “singleness” but in being children of a living God. “He had a purpose for me, and He has a purpose for you,” she tells them. “Let’s find it. If God sends a companion across your path, great! And if not, life doesn’t stop there.” She inspires groups of women who meet just to socialize to integrate a greater purpose to their time. “Find a purpose outside even your homes or your immediate family, focus on the broader world and let God open the doors,” she says. “God opened so many doors for me I don’t know which one to walk through first.” Erna no longer struggles with “loose ends.”

“So that’s my life,” she says. “You say, ‘Where is your reward?’ I tell you, it comes back to me with all the people, my family of God.” Now that’s a life-long journey from sacrifice to success to significance – what an inspiration!

Leading The Community,

My speaking engagement in Scottsdale, Ariz., ended on a picture-perfect 70-degree day, and I walked out into the sunshine with a spring in my step.My next destination: The bone-chilling, breath-freezing, 30-below-zero cold of Winnipeg, Canada. With a winter coat but no hat, I was somewhat unprepared for the 100-degree plunge in temperature as Steve Grisim and I crunched through the snow on the way to his car in the airport
parking lot. But what stung worse than the bitter wind in my face was the sense of hopelessness I soon saw around Winnipeg, particularly among the sizable aboriginal community. It first hit me when we stopped to buy a jumbo marker for my flip chart illustrations and I realized that you couldn’t buy such markers off the shelves in downtown Winnipeg. So many people sniff them to get high that stores keep them in a secure place well behind the customer service counters.

Negative-30-degree temperatures are enough to depress anyone, I thought, but what kind of pain must a person feel to want to get high by sniffing a jumbo marker? And what kind of culture has so many people experiencing that much soul pain that they have to hide the markers? And I especially wanted to know what motivated Steve to use his corporate leadership skills to enable thousands of ordinary members of
Springs Church to get involved in tackling these tough issues. As we arrived at the church, I begin to learn what’s happening deep in Steve’s heart.

He doesn’t know all of the 10,000-plus people who call this their church home, and many of them don’t even know what he looks like. And he’s fine with that. He’s most happy when the systems and processes, the staff and the leadership structure he is developing, are firing on all cylinders and changing people’s lives. There’s nothing more rewarding for him than mobilizing resources to address drug addictions or to see thousands of police officers and their spouses coming to learn how to grow a healthy marriage and deal with the stress in a way that will lead to peaceful homes. That’s a win in his book.

grism 3 photoBut Steve’s behind-the-scenes service has a deeper agenda: To see people finding more joy in life by following their calling, giving of themselves to meet the deepest needs of others rather than just settling for a life of comfort and security. Steve knows that many of his peers are wrapping up their first-half careers with an early retirement and a goal of moving somewhere like sunny Scottsdale – somewhere warm, somewhere relaxing, somewhere … else. But he fears they might be missing out on something much more rewarding. If Steve had blinked, he might have missed out on it himself. But his friendship with Springs Church Senior Pastor Leon Fontaine led to an unexpected change in course for Steve’s second half. As an executive for a large furniture manufacturer, Steve thought he and Leon had little in common when it came to work. But the more they met for coffee or lunch, the more they discovered the challenges of their respective careers weren’t that different. “We just kind of developed a friendship,” Steve says. “We both had a real love of leadership – reading, studying and learning everything we could about leadership.”

Still, it took Steve by surprise when Leon suggested he leave his fast-track career for a staff position as executive pastor. “I thought he was just joking,” Steve says. “I couldn’t see the correlation at all between the skills in the business community and in ministry or church.” “In hindsight,” he says, “God had a plan, and I didn’t.” Steve’s experiences setting up new divisions and operations for Palliser Furniture were “completely applicable” when it came to helping the church grow. The lessons he learned during a brief stint in the human resources division prepared him for dealing with staff issues at the church. He’s found common ground between mentoring junior executives and mentoring ministry staff. And his experience with operations has helped him implement things that free up Leon to be the organization’s visionary leader rather than getting bogged down in organizational details. As much as anything, he says, he’s putting the relationship skills required of any successful businessman to work in a ministry environment.

“You can’t be successful in the business community without being able to communicate with people at all different levels,” he says. “The ability in business to see the bigger picture, to see how things affect other things – it’s a huge part of what being in ministry is about.” The understandable temptation we face as successful marketplace leaders is to spend our time driving toward a goal of retiring somewhere comfortable rather than a goal of living out our calling. Steve told me he is neck-deep in learning that while that approach might lead to a comfortable second half, for him it falls short
of what our second-half adventures can be – and it inadvertently sends the wrong message to our children. It’s as if we’re engaged in serving others and giving of ourselves up until retirement. Then we coast. “In our community, I’ve seen a lot of children who have really cooled their Christian walk because they’re looking at their parents and it looks like Christianity is a phase you go through in your life,” Steve says. “It’s not something you live for the rest of your life.”

That’s why Steve has developed such a passion for connecting business leaders with serving opportunities that burn on the fuel of their gifts and passions, not just their bank accounts. “The thing is, this is everybody’s heart’s desire,” he says. “They may not be able to articulate it. They want to be part of something meaningful. Everybody wants to know that their life is making a difference – and not just a small difference because I gave $30 and now somebody in Africa can eat this week. They want to know that they themselves are impacting other lives. It’s tangible. They can see it. They’re a part of it. There’s an excitement in being aGrism box part of that.

“I think it’s a huge witness to the next generation that I’m not just talking about my relationship with Christ being important but that I’m going to live it my entire life.” For Steve, living it out meant leaving
the corporate world, downsizing his family’s lifestyle and not dodging the harsh winters to go pick up shells on the beach for the next 30 years. But for many of us, it will look different. Perhaps just rethinking our current marketplace role or a dual role in
the two worlds or transitioning into some other full-time role that isn’t connected to a church but that focuses on changing lives. I sure hope you get the sense, as I do, that part of the adventure is figuring
that out.

“Just living in North America, we’re successful,” Steve says. “We’re not truly significant until we realize there’s a reason we’re here. It’s way beyond ourselves. Once you figure that out and start putting the pieces together, yes, it’s a journey, but it really is an exciting journey.”

This is from The Second Half, by Lloyd Reeb

Solving Global Challenges,

Kevin Jenkins, now President of World Vision International, discusses his Halftime journey and how he released his time, talent and treasure to solve some of the world’s greatest challenges.