Thursday, March 9, 2017

Serving Others

At 25, I was President and Founder of a company that was the largest buyer of home furnishings accessories in the country.  I had Sears, Rhodes Furniture, and Farmers Furniture chains as several of my clients.

I felt like I had hit a pinnacle in my career.

Ever since college I had been so focused and driven to make something of myself.  But when I turned 25, I looked around at my life, and while I had achieved some level or success, it didn't feel like what I thought it would.  I suddenly  had a desire to "give back," although I wasn't sure what that would look like.

A lot of people I knew were volunteering on non-profit boards, but that didn't feel right to me.  I wanted to really get involved.

So I started doing some research and came up with the Guardian ad Litem program.  I decided to go through the training and become a volunteer.

What I soon discovered is that I had the power to truly make a difference in a child's life.  Judges listened to what I had to say because I did my homework and my focus was to help that child.  I could get services put in place and move that child through the system faster.

It sparked a passion inside of me to find other ways to help kids within the foster care system.

I soon saw so many needs that were going unmet and I got on the Guardian ad Litem Guild  as a Board member to loosen their purse strings and use money to recruit and retain more guardian volunteer. 

Then after a year I decided to create my own non-profit to get kids adopted out of the foster care system and help support some basic needs that were going unmet.  Up to that point there were no marketing programs letting people in the community know about these children languishing in foster care.

I have always found the greatest satisfaction from empowering others with what they needed, providing tools or resources.  And also helping kids in particular, find their gifts or talents, and helping them unleash their desire.

Ephesians 2:10 ~ "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do".   

Thursday, March 2, 2017

One Day Can Change Everything

In our lives we have days that have a certain significance ~ Good or Bad, that we will always remember. 

Some of the Best days may have been when you met your husband or wife for the first time, the day your children were born, maybe when you graduated from college, or reached a milestone in your career that you had been working towards.  Each one of those days may have changed everything in your life.

The other morning I woke up remembering one of those days.  I was 24 years old and I had been working with a serial entrepreneur since college.  His latest company created Marketing Videos for  accessory manufacturers in the home furnishing industry.

Recently we had taken on furniture manufacturers as clients such as Bassett and Schweiger Furniture.  One day the V.P. of Bassett was telling us about a problem he had been having getting accessories shipped to his furniture galleries.  The manufacturers wanted large minimum orders before they would ship their lamps, pictures or mirrors, which left holes in their room setups in the store, as customers bought the items to take home.

The VP asked if we could do anything, since we knew most of the owners of these companies.

We then talked to Schweiger Furniture and found they were having the same problem.

What if we could create a new company to solve this problem, broker a deal with these accessory manufacturers to create a "just in time" delivery system for these gallery programs and their particular items, and we would become the middle man to process the orders?

I jumped at the change to start a new company and run it!

The first company that I created was while I was in college ~ it was a balloon bouquet delivery business at USF and around the city of Tampa.  This one could be even bigger.

I knew I could process all the orders on a Quattro spreadsheet in my office and work directly with the manufacturers, who I knew already.

After a period of time of managing orders for Bassett and Schweiger, and everything was running smoothly, I wanted more business.

So I went to my partner and asked him to find me more clients.

He started calling around and heard that Sears was opening up free standing furniture stores called Homelife stores, so he cold called the buyer at Sears, and soon we had a meeting set up at Sears Tower in Chicago in the middle of winter.

We brought information with us showing them what we had been doing for the 2 furniture manufacturers and within an hour we closed a deal.

In that meeting we closed a deal that would give us ALL the orders for all their 736 Sears stores nationwide, as well as the 12 new Homelife stores they would be opening up over the next year.

We said we could do it, but it would take us a little bit to get our system set up to handle their business.

We left Sears Tower trying to figure out how to handle ALL that business.

Within a month, their first order arrived in the mail in buckets and buckets.  I had to figure out how to process them all into a computer system and send them out to the  manufacturers.

It was a $1.2 million dollar order!
In one day we closed a Multi-Million Dollar deal and Everything Changed. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Waking up to Bible Verses

As I have been reading The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, I am getting a better understanding of the purpose behind all the challenges and tests that I have endured throughout my life.

I most recently read the chapter on "It Takes Time." It talks about how "Great souls are grown through struggles and storms and seasons of suffering.  Be patient with the process. James advised, Don't try to get out of anything prematurely.  Let it do its work so you can mature and be well developed."

Waiting periods for me seem to be another test.  Learning to Wait on the Lord, while he works behind the scenes in my life, as well as within me.

In this latest waiting period that God has me in, he is pulling me towards my Bible, to read through verses and parables that are running through my head as I wake up in the morning.  As if he is sending me messages.

Instead of rushing to my computer to get work done, he is drawing me into his Word.

John 16:10 ~ Whoever can be trusted with very little can be trusted with much.

Matthew 25:14 - 30 ~ Parable of the Three Servants:  The servant who received 5 bags of silver began to invest the money and earned 5 more.  To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance.

In searching for this verse and Bible parable, I realized how much I knew of the Bible in parts but not the whole.  I know about the characters and parts of their stories, but not everything about them.

The Bible had always seemed too overwhelming to read as a book.

Acts 20:32 ~ God's Gracious Word can make you into what he wants you to be and give you everything you could possibly need.

As God calls me to his Word, I am starting at the beginning and taking it a few pages at a time, absorbing all that he wants me to know.