Janelle FuhrmannManaging Partner at Thrivent Financial
Janelle Fuhrmann’s leadership style stems from this idea: Don’t be afraid to live out your Christian faith in the workplace.
What does it look like to be a woman in a leadership role? How does Christian faith impact leadership? And what happens when you put the two together?
To find out, we caught up with Janelle Fuhrmann, Managing Partner Northeast Wisconsin and Upper Peninsula of Michigan Region for Thrivent Financial. Janelle has worked her way up into her current leadership position during her 30 years with Thrivent. She holds a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, her CFP from the College for Financial Planning in Denver, CO, and her CHFC from the American College of Financial Services in Bryn Mawr, PA. Janelle is also speaking at the upcoming WLI National Conference where she will lead a workshop on Finding Spiritual Peace in Christian Leadership.
We asked Janelle a few questions about her job and her views on Christian Leadership:
What’s the favorite part of your job?
Encouraging and training our financial advisors to approach planning with their clients with a different point of view that links faith and finances together and leads people to be more generous in their lives.
How would you define Christian leadership?
Modeling Christian values in both your personal and work life to help and motivate others on their faith journey.
How do you bring your Christian values into your work?
We pray before meetings and I let people know I’m praying for them during difficult times. We highlight activities within the workplace that foster sharing and generosity with others.
Looking back, is there a time on your leadership journey where you perhaps felt uncertain about the future, but God had a bigger plan?
I had some circumstances the last couple of years that made me question whether I wanted to continue in my leadership role, but God’s plan seemed to be steering me to stay. What I thought might be a time to do something different turned out to be a reawakening in spirit and a sign to continue the leadership journey where I’m working currently.
Who are your biggest role models as a leader?
I would say my entire family, from my parents to my brothers to my husband of 24 years.
Is there a passage in scripture that resonates with you as a Christian woman in leadership?
For God has not given a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7
What most prepared you to be a Christian leader in the workplace?
My upbringing and being raised by parents who led with Christian values. My dad was the mayor of our town and had a passion to help the community. In addition, my parents sent my brothers and myself to a parochial school that helped instill Christian values.
I also have the benefit of working for an organization (Thrivent Financial) that helps people live out their values by linking faith and finances together.
My husband and I try to live out our faith in our community. We have tried to instill the importance of these values to our children.
What is the most important piece of advice you would want to pass along to other Christian women in leadership?
Don’t let fear stop you from carrying out your purpose in God’s plan. Remember that fear doesn’t come from Jesus; Jesus came to make us brave!