How common is it that your first day at a new job coincides with your birthday? It has happened twice in the last five years for me.
After twenty years working with economic and community development in the Philippines and Zambia, five years ago on my birthday God blessed me with a business of my own and I became a first-time entrepreneur.
So why leave?
For me, it’s Partners Worldwide’s mission to end poverty through business that I am compelled to be a part of. As an entrepreneur I learned firsthand that thriving businesses can help eradicate poverty in communities.
Since this September 1st, on my 49th birthday – where in the northern hemisphere it signals the end of summer and the beginning of autumn – I have been diving right into this new season of my own life.
Over the past two months with Partners Worldwide, I’ve learned, discovered, and come to many new realizations. But most of the time, it has been a whirlwind of orientation.
First, at the Partners Worldwide office in the U.S.; then visits with leaders of our partnering Local Community Institutions (LCIs); meetings with various stakeholders and advisors; and road trips, site visits, and interviews with entrepreneurs across the Philippines.
But as I pause and reflect on the past two months of this new season, particular things stand out:
1. God is faithful in our journey.
God has consistently prepared me for the next step of life. Five years ago, he led me to become a business owner so that I can now be more effective in serving other entrepreneurs. I am excited and inspired by the entrepreneurs I meet, because I can relate with them and their journeys, and I know God will be faithful to them as their stories unfold too.
2. There is simply not a partnership blueprint or a formula for relationship building.
The complexity of relationships motivate us to dig deep, get creative, and be persistent in building community with one another. In the Partners Worldwide network, this challenges us to meet the diverse needs of our partners and the communities they work in.
3. Business training, access to capital, and advocacy are crucial – but aren’t enough on their own.
Without coaching and a mentor to faithfully walk alongside a businessperson, the application of learning is often limited. Mentors, like our Business Affiliate teams, play a vital role in setting entrepreneurs up for success and catalyzing their potential.
4. It’s more than the numbers.
We witness measurable outcomes, but the lasting impacts are evident in the lives of the entrepreneurs we serve.
As I continue in this new season with Partners Worldwide, I look forward to what God will continue to teach me through the entrepreneurs and leaders I meet. My conversations with them encourage and remind me what is possible when we partner together, each using our gifts to serve one another and our communities.