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March 2015 Event Recap – Hoeft, Graves & Rogers (Panel Discussion)

“Connecting Faith with Work”

Every second Friday of the month, the Bellevue chapter of KIROS meets at Maggiano’s to enjoy great food, small group discussion, and a presenter that shares their story of how they connect their faith with work.

This month was special in that we were treated with a panel discussion from Diane Hoeft, Paul Graves, and one of the founders of KIROS, Jeff Rogers.

A little bit about the panel:

Diane Hoeft is a Digital Media Professional who started out in the fashion industry. If you’re wondering, ‘wow, she looks like a model,’ you are correct. Diane has modeling in her background along with some pretty savvy business experience. Her career in digital media and consumer social platforms has taken her into roles all across the globe. She helped operate digital media partnerships for Microsoft in the US and UK markets.

While in London she built the EMEA sales and operations unit for the digital advertising business of the Dow Jones consumer media division. Diane is a co-founder of Shopvolution, the developer of social shopping app Shopcade, and also the KIROS Seattle Chapter Director. Whew, ok, pretty much a rock star. She talks, we listen.

Paul Graves puts the “OOOOO” into COOOOL. His creative gifting has helped businesses improve their branding strategy and innovation. Paul helps organizations become more effective users of design, by integrating brands, corporate cultures and customer experiences to create increased performance and enduring value. He has worked with some of the world’s most recognized brands including Pepsi, Kellogg, Virgin Atlantic, AT&T and Toyota.

Integrating his Christian faith with his call to the world of design, Paul’s passion is to help clients think differently about who they are, what they do and why they do it, so that in turn they can create a bigger, positive difference in our communities. If after reading all that doesn’t captivate you, just wait until you hear his accent.

Jeff Rogers had a vision of connecting, encouraging and equipping the faith-based community in the Puget Sound. Now over 15 years later, KIROS is thriving with three chapters in the state of Washington (Bellevue, Seattle and Tacoma).

Jeff is the Chairman and CEO for OneAccord Partners, a west-coast firm building value for mid-market organizations and the consummate networker. If you need to know someone, chances are Jeff already knows them.

His family founded the Doingood Foundation which is working in Uganda to bring sustainable development to a region, including school, business, and economic development.

The panel was moderated by Al Erisman, a KIROS director and Co-Chairman of the Theology of Work project. The first question asked was something that everyone could relate to.

Q: How do you connect faith and work?
Jeff answered first, with a surprising revelation. Well, surprising to me. “I was once an atheist” Jeff shared, “and I like to bring the redemption story that greatly impacted my personal life to my clients.” Jeff uses his faith-based values as the driving force to help bring redemption and restoration to broken companies.

Diane felt that she was called to the fashion industry. An industry that may not be God-driven didn’t water down how Diane communicated to her peers within fashion. Knowing that God called her to be where she was gave Diane confidence to witness to others and even carry her Bible around with her daily. A few years later she moved to Seattle, within the tech industry, and learned immediately that shared faith wasn’t appropriate here, and she couldn’t share openly.

I would have loved a follow-up question: Why is that? But time didn’t allow. It was great to see the honesty in her answer, and I thought of how we have a passive-aggressive culture here in the Puget Sound, compared to the “tell it like it is” culture on the East Coast.

Paul’s response was especially unique because he currently serves as a Pastor at a local church. His role at the church is to work with members on effective ways to integrate faith and work. Paul is also an employer that has employees, allowing him the opportunity to lead others in the workplace. This mix of “Priestly” and “Kingly” duties within an individual may be the future of the modern day church.

Each answer revealed to me that connecting faith with work starts with the desire to do so. There was a purpose that each described and although the answers weren’t scripted, everyone used the word “calling.” They feel “called” to integrate faith in their work…a great example to all of us that we should have that same purpose.

Q: How does God show up on your worst day?
Paul was prepared to answer this question and answered it beautifully by referencing what Joseph went through with his brothers, and in Egypt. When Paul has a bad day, he looks toward scriptures as an example. Joseph could have reacted differently as he endured all the hardships, but he didn’t. He kept a positive outlook trusting that God was in control. Then Paul made an interesting point. If you read through some of the passages in that story, a lot of what happened started with Joseph. How he shared his dreams, etc. During a worst day experience, Paul evaluates how he may have contributed to it and trusts God that the outcome will come out the way God wanted.

Diane didn’t hesitate and almost shouted when it was her turn to answer. “PRAY! Our first and foremost calling is to follow God. My worst days bring me closer to God. That has been the greatest time of my growth.” Gah! I couldn’t write fast enough, this was some great stuff and what I liked about it most was how easy and practical it was. Pray. Simply pray.

Jeff’s turn was next. I was curious to see how he would answer. Jeff has a lot of Pete Carroll in him in that they are always so positive. I’ve never seen Jeff frown or complain about anything. Does he even have bad days? I waited in anticipation.

Nope, he didn’t, (I knew it!) Jeff didn’t call them “bad” or “worst” days he called them hard days. Jeff shared that a hard day for him was when he had to fire himself. This was a company that he started and led, but the right thing to do was dismiss himself from that position. In hard times like this, Jeff talked about community, looking to them for support, not necessarily a shoulder to cry on, but why not?

As Jeff spoke I looked around to everyone who was listening. We (KIROS) are a community. Church is a community. These are places that you can be open about what you are going through because someone else most likely has gone through it already.

The founder of KIROS said that on his hardest day, he finds his community as fast as he can. “The devil thrives in isolation” Jeff said. What a powerful statement. So often we feel alone with thoughts of failure on our hardest days. These thoughts can grow with every moment that we hold on to them. It’s almost a reverse form of pride that develops in us because it’s our hard day; we deserve the misery.

No. No, we don’t.

Finding others in community to remind us like Paul Graves did, to read the Bible during bad days. Or hearing from Diane Hoeft to PRAY! Duh, of course, it’s that simple: Pray! Jeff Roger’s vision of bringing working professionals together has turned into a community that is rich with experience and insight that you won’t find by yourself.