September 29 9:00am - 3:00pm
Hyatt Regency Milwaukee
$99 general public / $35 undergrads
The WLI 2017 National Conference is located inside the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee. For your convenience, we have secured a block rate for king and double queen rooms at the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee. Book your room(s) early to ensure you are included in this block rate. Rooms are $119.00 a night, $20.00 for each additional person per room. Included with reservation is one breakfast voucher for each paid guest to be used in the Bistro 333 in the lobby. Hotel guests will be responsible for parking fees. The cutoff date for reserving a block rate room is September 12, 2017.
Hyatt Regency Milwaukee
333 West Kilbourn Avenue
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, 53203
Designed for both men and women Christian professionals and college students, the Pressure Points event will tackle four topics where workplace expectations and responsibilities can create pressure points. Four experienced speakers will share their personal journeys of being a Christian professional in corporate and public life and share tips for navigating the grey areas when Christian values and workplace expectations don’t always reconcile. Each topic will be followed by reflection time, interactive table discussions with like-minded professionals, and online discussion boards for further connection and engagement.
Participants will also receive lunch and refreshments and have to walk through our exhibitor tables and connect with other organizations that support Christian professionals in the workplace. This will be an event you do not want to miss! Click through to see the schedule, speaker bios and topic descriptions.
- Christian business leaders share how to lead and influence in the secular workplace
- 4 Ted Talk-style presentations with small and large group discussion
- Admission to the WLI National Conference Exhibitor Hall
- Buffet lunch and refreshments
by Peggy Kuethe
Words are transformative.
Recall Genesis 1 when God spoke the universe into existence, and Genesis 3:15 when He spoke the promise of a Redeemer. Recall John 2:1-11, when Jesus spoke the water into wine and 1 Peter 1:3 where He gives us new life in Him. God’s words have immeasurable transformative power.
Language is an intentional gift from God. He also intends for us to use words to communicate with Him and with others. It is the foundation of our relationships.
You are fashioned in the image of a creative God. He gives you words and language, a mind and a heart and a voice. Along with that comes the desire to connect with others, to establish community, to form social bonds. Perhaps, as you do, you feel compelled to share a message, to communicate from your Spirit-inspired point of view. Sometimes a few words via Twitter or Facebook just aren’t enough. You want more space to express your thoughts, to tell your story. You want … to write a blog or a book or a Bible study!
Our words cannot do such miraculous things as transforming one thing into another thing or to give life where there is none. But they have transformative, intentional power. One of the most exciting ways you can influence others is through the written word made public. Thanks to technological advances and the Internet, publishing has never been easier. If you want to publish, you can.
Perhaps you’ve heard that eight out of ten people say they want to (or “should”) write a book. It sounds so simple. Write it. Publish it. Check that off your bucket list.
On the surface, it really is that simple. Scratch that surface though, and things begin to get a little complicated. Writing can be tedious. Publishing can be difficult. And selling—that’s a real challenge.
Eight out of ten say they want to publish, but how many do it? If just one person gets it done, why not let it be you? After all, the Holy Spirit may be nudging you. Your best friend is encouraging you. The members of your Bible study group are asking you. But where do you begin?
First, you write.
- Every writer discovers a process and a work style that, well, “works.” An hour first thing every morning. One day a month sequestered with the computer. Midnight the day before a deadline. Something in the middle is more likely. Find what suits you and stick with it.
- Decide what to write and who you are writing to.
- Edit. Revise. Repeat. (A few writers get it perfect the first time. Most don’t.) (Don’t even ask me how many false starts I made while writing this short article!)
Second, you publish.
- Make an informed decision between traditional publishing and self-publishing.
- Market, promote, and sell. The work you do after you write, regardless which publishing route you choose, is key to getting your message out there, to making it public. (See the second bullet point above.)
I’m writing this on a Monday. Yesterday, one of our communion hymns was “Take My Life, and Let It Be.” The third stanza brought to mind all of you: “Take my voice, and let me sing / Always, only, for my King; / Take my lips, and let them be / Filled with messages from Thee.”
As Christian writers, we have the responsibility—and the joy—of filling our messages with the hope, peace, mercy, comfort, and truth that are Christ’s own Gospel. Let us serve Him with our talents and our words!
Peggy Kuethe is the Senior Editor of Women’s Resources and Children’s Books at Concordia Publishing House. Peggy has worked in the publishing industry since high school (if you count the yearbook and student newspaper, that is). In the years since, she has worked as a newspaper reporter, periodicals editor and writer, marketing copywriter, and book editor.
Dr. Tamara Ferry works each day to educate Christian leaders by helping them serve with the gifts God has given them. Read on…
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 friend of WLI and past presenter Tamara Ferry who is the Director of Institutional Research and Director of Assessment for the School of Pharmacy at Concordia University Wisconsin. She holds a B.S. in Elementary Education from Concordia College, Portland, an M.S. in Secondary School Guidance Counseling from St. Cloud State University, and a Ph.D. in Urban Education and Education Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Tamara is all a speaker at the upcoming WLI National Conference where she will lead a workshop on Identity Theft: Putting on Christ, an Identity the World Can’t Steal!
We asked her a few questions about her job and her views on Christian leadership:
What’s the favorite part of your job?
Everyday I’m amazed at how the responsibilities and expectations of my job build on and match the interest and skills the Lord has given me. I’m so thankful for my calling here at Concordia and I’m blessed to work in a position where my gifts and the needs of the university overlap. So, I guess my favorite part of my job is the sense of purpose I feel every day.
How would you define Christian leadership?
I would say that for me Christian leadership means living my life centered on where and how the Lord has called me: living my vocation basically. Such as living my vocation as a spouse by being the best spouse I can be, living my vocation as a professional by being the best employee I can be. Christian leadership also entails servant leadership. As a servant leader, I try to serve and lead by helping those around me live their vocations. In my relationships with colleagues and students at Concordia I find myself asking, “How can I help them be servant leaders?” “How can I encourage them, highlighting and acknowledging their gifts, calling, and vocation?”
How do you bring your Christian values into your work?
I bring my Christian values to work by interacting with my colleagues and students in a way that I hope inspires them toward engagement…engaging in a life of service and leadership that comes from knowing we are God’s handiwork created in Christ Jesus.
Can you remember a specific experience where you relied on your Christian faith or values to lead you through a tough decision or important task?
My professional role encompasses a multitude of tasks and responsibilities, most of which feel difficult to me! So it’s hard to separate out a specific experience. I’m constantly relying on God’s guidance and strength in all my undertakings. But lately a tough challenge has been gaining a better understanding of the concept of “big data” and everything “big data” entails. We are working toward bringing all of our somewhat isolated and fragmented data structures into a “data warehouse” that will enable us to answer complex and strategic questions in a more consistent and timely fashion. The process and technology behind this project is tough for me to comprehend so I’m relying heavily on some very talented and smart colleagues!
Looking back is there a time on your leadership journey where you perhaps felt uncertain about the future, but God had a bigger plan?
Well, 20 years ago when we received the call that Pat was chosen to be president of Concordia we were shocked! At 38-years-old he had no administrative experience and we were completely planning on a cross-country move to Texas, where Pat had already accepted a new position. Our house was sold! But God’s plan was bigger so we trusted in His plan for our lives and how He would use us according to His will to fulfill His purpose.
Then, a couple years later, Pat asked me to take on my current position of being Concordia’s Director of Institutional Research. I said, “No way!” I really just wanted to teach and I thought this position sounded really hard and, frankly, boring. But here I am, 18 years later, working as both the Director of Institutional Research and Director of Assessment for the School of Pharmacy and loving it.
How does working in a religious or secular setting change the way you lead as a Christian?
Working in a religious setting allows me to freely convey my faith and express who God intended me to be. It enhances my ability to reflect the love of God in Jesus in all of my conversations, meetings, decisions etc…. I hope my co-workers see that I’m grounded in the knowledge that God has a plan and that He is using me according to His purpose. The Lord says in Jeremiah 29, verse 11: “For surely I know the plans I have for you, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.”
Who are your biggest role models as a leader?
The president of Concordia! Over the years, I’ve watched my husband solve complex problems and sticky situations with great integrity and strength. I’ve witnessed Pat’s tenacity, humility, and patience. He is steadfast, disciplined, and visionary. His faith is active in love! I can’t count the number of times Pat has encouraged, comforted, and inspired others through the gospel message. He’s also a loving and devoted husband, father, and grandpa and our family is his highest priority. For over 30 years he’s supported all of my personal and professional endeavors, encouraging me to fully use my talents however I’d like.
Is there a passage in scripture that resonates with you as a Christian woman in leadership?
Be still and know that I am God – Psalm 46:10
What most prepared you to be a Christian leader in the workplace?
I’m a lifelong LCMS Lutheran and my passion for the value of a faith inspired university experience stems from the experiences I had growing up as a professor’s kid on the campus of a Lutheran college. In fact, after I was born my parents brought me home from the hospital to a college dorm where they lived as dorm counselors. So it feels like God has been preparing me for this work since the day I was born!
What challenges do you face as a Christian leader in your workplace?
The challenges I face stem from personal limitations. There are aspects of leadership that I don’t do very well, probably because I have a tendency to avoid risk and stay in my comfort zone. So my biggest challenges involve trusting and surrendering…trusting God’s plan and surrendering to His will. Also technology!
What is the most important piece of advice you would want to pass along to other Christian women in leadership?
My words of advice are God’s words, “Be still and know that I am God.” Leadership can be demanding and draining. So, don’t forget to take time to be fed and to rest in God’s promise of peace. When you’re having a crazy, hectic day, and your patience gets short remember these words – even better, say these words. “Be still and know that I am God.” Your future is in God’s hands and He will carry you there.
On a still Saturday morning in September, on the campus of Concordia University Wisconsin, fifty women of all ages and educational backgrounds journeyed together on a Road to Becoming a Confident Leader led by founder, speaker and author of the Backbone Institute, Susan Marshall.
Susan described a three-ring diagram, in which our comfort zone lies in the center, surrounded by our learning zone and outwardly a panic zone. As human beings, we tend to operate in “safe mode,” engaging in conversations and interactions with others where we feel most comfortable. Periodically, we have an opportunity to venture out and discover more, perhaps even welcome a period of information gathering and learn more about a situation or opportunity. When conflicts, contradicting values and the otherwise unknown alter our critical thinking, decision making and ultimately shake our confidence in our leadership ability, we’ve entered the panic zone.
After sharing her personal leadership journey, Susan invited the women to share with one another their own journeys, and then set out to dispel the myth of total confidence, all couched within the spiritual perspective that God has a plan for our lives (Jer. 29:11) and that sufferings produce endurance, character and hope (Romans 5:3.)
- Confidence is having a positive expectation for a favorable outcome.
There is no such thing as total confidence. When worried, fearful or unsure of our leadership abilities, critical thinking is not making assumptions, wishful thinking or based on memories.
- Critical thinking is the willingness and ability to see reality as it is, and make decisions accordingly.
When faced with a challenge or dilemma, critical thinking involves:
- Recognizing other people involved in the situation and their thoughts on the matter
- Addressing any assumptions you may have made about the situation itself, those involved and your leadership
- Considering who might be impacted by your decision, and what kind of impact
- Identifying compromises, and whether you can live with any of them
- Naming your desired outcome
- Taking action; even just by doing one thing to begin resolving your challenge
Things to remember:
- Consider those around you. Perhaps ask them which zone they fall into regarding the conflict – comfort zone, learning zone or panic zone.
- Consider the impact your decision may have on those around you.
- Not acting is not a strategy.
- Compromise is a potential strategy.
Susan’s workshop allowed ample time for the women to identify their own challenges and immediately apply the above critical thinking process. She called on us to both prepare our minds for action (1 Peter 1:13) call on the Holy Spirit for power, love and self-control (2 Tim 1:7).
- Feedback is another person’s response to something you do, which results in an emotional response by you. You then have an opportunity to accept it and act on it, or leave it be.
Whenever you receive feedback, “Sarah” is there:
Upon receiving feedback, whether good or bad, it is common to experience some or all of the above emotions. Consider asking yourself, or, if you’re feeling courageous, the person giving you the feedback, three questions:
- What can you do more?
- What can you do less?
- What should you continue to do?
Alternately, if you are the person giving feedback, prayerfully and thoughtfully do so with compassion, but be direct. Be certain the person knows exactly what they should do more, do less, and continue to do well.
After spending time together, the attendees were given the opportunity to give feedback about one another, which certainly produced some emotional responses (Sarah). However, this ultimately led to an awareness of the effectiveness of feedback in a leadership setting. Susan reminded us that God is on our side (Romans 8:31; Isaiah 41:10.)
The women leaders left the workshop with renewed feelings of encouragement, hope and confidence, as well as tools to equip them for exemplary Christian leadership in the home, church, workplace and the world.
"This photo is from the workshop is of all undergraduate and graduate students from CUW who attended. Twenty-one of our registrants were students! We are so excited to see the involvement of CUW and other university students with WLI! This group is truly for everyone."