Linda Egle of Eternal Threads Shares Her Story with Women in Business

Linda Egle with one of the artisans of Eternal Threads

“The women we work with are my heroes,” Linda Egle said yesterday as she spoke to COBA’s Women in Business group. Linda is the Founder and Executive Director of Eternal Threads, an organization that seeks to empower women in the third world by providing training and resources that jumpstart their abilities to provide for themselves and their families.

With an audience of nearly thirty, Linda talked about the entrepreneurial spirit of the women with whom she works. Linda explained that these women, her heroes, work tirelessly at their crafts, sometimes even walking for miles to purchase supplies. As Linda explained, Eternal Threads is able to partner with these creative, driven individuals and provide a market for them to sell their incredible craftsmanship here in the States.

The Eternal Threads website eloquently explains this mission and vision by saying, “Part of this vision was the desire to connect women in the developed world to women struggling to survive in underdeveloped nations.  By selling their handiwork Eternal Threads is able to tell the story of these women and by purchasing their work you can be a part of providing them with hope and a future.”

A true social entrepreneur, Linda transitioned into her current line of work from a job as a flight attendant. She explained that her years of traveling experience empowered her to work independently in countries all over the world. Interestingly enough, Linda also believes that part of her success comes from the fact that she started Eternal Threads with nothing more than her own money.

Linda explained that this monetary independence has helped Eternal Threads maintain its integrity. She explained that because the organization was able to keep its focus on the end goal of empowering women rather than on the importance of maintaining donors or earning back investments.

This integrity is something that Eternal Threads has retained over the last ten years as it has expanded to employ over two-hundred-and-fifty women from countries such as Nepal, Madagascar, and Afghanistan.

Be sure to visit the Eternal Threads website to learn more about what they do or to do a little bit of Christmas shopping!

PayCom Offers COBA Students Job Opportunities and Career Advice

ACU’s College of Business prides itself on the frequency with which it brings distinguished employers to campus in order to speak to and meet with our students. Last week, one such employer, PayCom, sent Kathryn Thompson to talk about professional sales and to interview future COBA graduates for sales jobs with PayCom.

PayCom began providing mid-sized companies with payroll software that they could use over the Internet back in 1998. Since then, PayCom has expanded into a wide range of fields including HR, Benefits, Background Checks, Tax Credits, Applicant Tracking, Document Management, Expense Management, and On-Boarding/Off-Boarding.

In addition to providing customers with a wide array of services, PayCom is unique in its dedication to providing a “one-to-one service model.” This model ensures that customers will only have to work with one point of contact at PayCom. As a result, customers received personalized service and attention.

Because she was on campus interviewing students to go into sales, Kathryn focused her presentation on the topic of personal branding and the fact that people are perpetually branding themselves through their actions and words. The brand individuals create affects their ability to effectively market their skills to potential employers.

In order to develop their ideal personal brand, Kathryn advised students to be three things: personal, intentional, and consistent.

In today’s job market, networking is everything. As a result, being personal is important and allows you to set yourself apart from competition. The reality is that if no one remembers you, no one is going to hire you.

When searching for internships and trying to prepare for their intended career, it is critical for students to be intentional. By moving in a specific direction and seeking out opportunities that fit their skills and desires, students provide themselves with the opportunity to have a personal brand that differentiates them from those who may be competing for the same job.

The last step of Kathryn’s advice, being consistent, can be invaluable when leaving a favorable impression in employers’ minds. Networking, well-developed resumes, following up on interviews and deadlines, and sending thank you notes to people who help you out along the way are all small ways to prove your ability to consistently perform at a high level.

By following Kathryn’s advice, you will find that you are able to create the kind of personal brand that companies want on their team.

To learn more about working for PayCom or about interviewing for one of their entry-level jobs with a starting salary of $50,000, visit www.paycomonline.com or contact Tim Johnston at johnstont@acu.edu.

Business Meets Missions at Mission Lazarus

What sells coffee, necklaces, leather goods, and carpentry while simultaneously educating children, providing medical care, and employing local people?

Mission Lazarus, of course.

What’s even better than an organization that does everything listed above?

One that serves in the name of Jesus.

“Our projects are a mean to an end. Our end is bringing people to Jesus Christ,” said Jarrod Brown, President and Co-Founder of Mission Lazarus.

Jarrod, who spent about a decade in Honduras before relocating to Nashville, Tennessee, joined professors Andy Little and Monty Lynn this week in a three-part lecture series on social entrepreneurship at ACU’s annual “Summit” conference.

Jarrod Brown, President and Co-Founder of Mission Lazarus

Social entrepreneurship, which can be defined as mission-driven entrepreneurship with a distinctly social focus, is a rapidly growing segment of the nonprofit landscape. In order to further explore this elusive concept, Drs. Little and Lynn left the textbooks behind and joined Jarrod in providing a unique intersection of principles that have been taught in air-conditioned classrooms but applied in the mountainous jungles of the third world.

As he discussed the rare marriage of business and missions that is Mission Lazarus, Jarrod talked about the dangers often lurking behind short-term missions. As he pointed out, Americans often take advantage of orphaned or impoverished children when they visit for a week, post the highlights of their trip on Facebook, and then return to the States feeling as if they have utterly changed the world.

However, the sad reality is that when Americans go home on emotional, self-congratulatory highs, monetary poverty continues to run rampant throughout the third world.

So how does Mission Lazarus differ from this standard model of self-fulfilling aid work?

It’s structured, in some ways, like a business.

You see, like any successful business, Mission Lazarus is focused on perpetually raising up new leadership, much of which is actually from Honduras. By partnering with local people, Mission Lazarus is able to form relationships and provide mentoring that goes beyond the typical workplace interface and that extends beyond a week. As a result, these relationships provide the opportunity for Christ to be shared through the work Jarrod and his co-workers are doing in Honduras.

COBA Students on a Study Abroad trip to Mission Lazarus

Another business-like aspect of Mission Lazarus is the fact that it actually contains several for-profit agricultural ventures, like a coffee plantation. (To buy Mission Lazarus coffee, click here.) Through these ventures, Mission Lazarus is able to cover 12% of its total expenses…by itself.

This self-sufficiency not only provides donor confidence in where money goes, it also means that as Mission Lazarus needs less and less money to run its current opportunities, it has the chance to continue growing and expanding.

Through this stellar example of social entrepreneurship, Jarrod and his entire team have followed God’s lead and found themselves right in the middle of God’s work in Honduras. As a result, lives are being changed, not just through the provision of food and education, but through the knowledge of who Jesus is and how He can utterly transform lives.

In Tuesday’s session, Dr. Lynn made a profound point: “Development must be both inward and outward.”

At Mission Lazarus, inward and outward development are every day occurrences.

What are you doing to develop yourself as both a leader and a follower of Christ today?

For more information about Mission Lazarus, click here, and to find out more about COBA’s Summer Study Abroad Trip to Mission Lazarus, email Andy Little at agl95t@acu.edu or Jim Litton at jdl97a@acu.edu

COBA Students in Honduras

For Dan Austin, Social Entrepreneurship is Just Like Riding a Bike

This Wednesday the Griggs Center for Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy kicked off its Entrepreneur Speaker Series with a lunch presentation by Dan Austin, co-founder of 88bikes.

With an audience of nearly one-hundred-and-fifty, Dan spent the better part of an hour regaling his audience with tales of life as a social entrepreneur.

Dan Austin, Co-Founder of 88bikes

Originally an author and filmmaker, Dan began his journey with 88bikes in 2006, when he and his brother, Jared, took a biking trip across Cambodia. At the conclusion of their journey, the two donated their personal bikes and 86 additional bikes to children at the Palm Tree Orphanage in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Seeing the joy elicited by their gift of 88 bikes, the pair was moved to action, and they began pursuing their vision of “joy-inspired philanthropy.”

Since their initial gift of 88 bikes, Dan and his coworkers (none of whom receive salaries) have connected donors with children all over the world through their one-to-one giving model.

Because of the unique giving model implemented by 88bikes, donors know exactly where their money goes. Furthermore, they receive a picture of their child standing next to their new bike with a picture of their donor in hand. Through this photo exchange, 88bikes is able to create a unique international connection.

Children receiving bikes and photos of their donors from 88bikes

As Dan explained, this one-to-one connection is fundamental to 88bikes, and—in his opinion—to any social entrepreneurship venture.

As part of this presentation, Dan offered three critical pieces of advice to budding entrepreneurs:

 1.  Connect one-to-one.

2. Raise the bar.

3. Go local.

As Dan went on to explain, the success that 88bikes has found is largely due to these three components.

88bikes’ one-to-one connection creates loyal donors who are truly invested in the organization and the children it serves. In addition, the organization raises the bar set by traditional aid agencies by focusing on the intrinsic human need for joy as well as physical needs like hunger. Finally, 88bikes employs local bike merchants and mechanics in order to boost the local economy. As a result of these strategies, 88bikes is continuing to grow and thrive.

Cassie Powers, a junior here in COBA, is currently in a Social Entrepreneurship class. “The biggest issue that I have learned so far in social entrepreneurship is that you need to set yourself up for failure because it is going to happen,” said Cassie. “You have to work around it to make it work or come up with a new idea.”

Dan talking with ACU students after his presentation

While listening to Dan, Cassie was really impressed with the way that she saw her class curriculum align with Dan’s real world experience and advice. “It really connected when Dan Austin spoke about the barriers he had,” continued Cassie. “One thing he said was to have your organization grow organically. Meaning if it happens it happens.”

All in all, the inaugural event of the Entrepreneur Speaker Series was a huge success, and undoubtedly had a profound impact on everyone who attended.

Be sure to check out the next speaker in the series, Jarrod Brown, who will be joining us next Tuesday to talk about his work in Honduras with Mission Lazarus. For more information on the Entrepreneur Speaker Series, please click here.

For more on 88bikes and the incredible work that Dan and his organization do, click here, and be sure to thank the Griggs Center and the members of our CEO organization for all that they do to make these events possible.

Dan with COBA students after his presentation

The season for Springboard

If you have ever taken the time to sit down and jot out a plan for starting your own business, you need to enter our Springboard Ideas Challenge. If you ever even just thought about a cool idea for a business or service, you need to enter our Springboard Ideas Challenge. You never know! YOU could win $10,000! There’s even a high school category for competition this year. Click here for more information about the competition, divisions, awards and prizes.

Registration is now open for our fifth annual Springboard Ideas Challenge!

Don’t worry if you don’t know how to write a business plan, there are training sessions scheduled to help you learn!

Also, mark your calendars for Tuesday, April 17th for the Springboard Ideas Challenge Awards Dinner. We’re honored to welcome William (Bill) E. Greehey, former Chairman and CEO of Valero, as our guest speaker. Click here to learn more about Mr. Greehey. He now serves as Chairman of the Board for NuStar Energy L.P. and is an active philanthropic patron in the San Antonio area.

We hope you can join us during this exciting Springboard season. 

Career Connect: the CFO of the Texas Rangers to visit ACU

After being pushed from the fall, due to their appearance in the World Series, we are thrilled to welcome the CFO of the Texas Rangers, Kellie Fischer, to our campus on Feb. 7th.

Here’s Kellie’s bio, from the Rangers website:

Kellie Fischer was appointed Chief Financial Officer of the Texas Rangers in March of 2005. She oversees all financial matters, human resources, information technology and legal operations for the Texas Rangers. Kellie joined the Rangers in 1999 and has served in many roles for the Rangers former parent company, Southwest Sports Group and the Dallas Stars.

We're excited to welcome Mrs. Fischer to our campus this semester

Prior to joining the Rangers, Kellie spent four years at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in the audit division of the Dallas office. She earned her B.A. in accounting from Baylor University in 1995 and is a Texas CPA. Kellie serves on the Executive Board of Directors for the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, the Board of Directors for the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation, the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas, and the Baylor Hankamer School of Business Advisory Board. In addition, Kellie recently served on the Baylor Accounting Department Advisory Board.

In October 2010, Kellie was awarded Chief Financial Officer of the year for private mid-size companies by the Dallas Business Journal.

Kellie and her husband Scott reside in Dallas and are active in promoting cancer awareness for the American Cancer Society Relay for Life.

The luncheon event, where Mrs. Fischer will be speaking, is free and only open to ACU students and faculty. For more information, click here.