This week we feature an interview with Diane Paddison, Chief Strategy Officer for Cassidy Turley in Dallas, Texas. She is the founder of non-profit 4WORD and author of the book Work, Love, Pray; Practical Wisdom for Young Professional Christian Women. For resources and to get connected into her community, follow her on Twitter @4wordwomen and Facebook.
Diane Paddison is something of an expert. Sure she can negotiate multi-million dollar deals for fortune 500 companies, but that is not what I am talking about. Her expertise is in the area of balancing “the Big Three” (family, faith and career).
Her expertise comes through the hard work of trial and error in respect to achieving her own work/life balance and a heart for helping other women striving for the same. She sees that women have unique opportunities in today’s world to contribute to culture in ways they have not been free to in the past, but many of them do not have strong examples of how to find balance among multiple values.
To fill this gap, Diane released a book entitled Work, Love, Pray in September 2011. This is also when she established the non-profit 4WORD which works to connect and support 25-40 year old women on their journey to contribute to the world through their careers. She is helping to build local 4WORD chapters that meet in different cities throughout the country. Currently, there are groups in Dallas, Texas and Portland, Oregon.
With this background, Diane has a unique perspective on being On Call in Culture. Here are some questions that we asked and her responses:
1. What does the idea of being “On Call” mean to you?
As a professional woman, focused on my faith first and my family second, “being On Call” means that you have set boundaries and say “no” /delegate enough, that when God opens doors or provides opportunities, you aren’t so caught up in the pressures of life that you aren’t able to take advantage of these open doors or opportunities. In Ecclesiastes 3: 1-11 we read that there is a time for everything. We need to put up boundaries (go home from work at 6 pm each evening) or say “no” to even great opportunities, so that we can take advantage of our gifts and focus on what he has called us to do.
2. What are the fields/spheres in which God has you On Call in Culture?
As the only women on the executive teams for three fortune 500 companies, it was important that I took time to connect with women in the workplace when they reached out to me. In that case I needed to serve God and my employer.
In other words if someone that you meet at a party or event were to ask you what you do, how would you respond?
I have been blessed today to have the opportunity to do what God has prepared me to do by founding a not for profit, 4WORD. Its mission is to lead, connect and support professional Christian women to reach their God-given potential and wrote a book Work, Love, Pray as a foundation for 4WORD. In addition, I continue to serve on three boards and consult in the commercial real estate industry and serve on four not for profit boards that are either faith or education based.
3. Why did you choose your field?
God opened doors that made things happen that I can’t explain; however, this is my “sweet spot” when you look at my life in the mirror.
4. Describe how you moved into your role.
I was the global COO of Prologis and the world collapsed in 2008. A new CEO was brought in and he wanted me to move to Denver. With my faith and my family as my priority, I had written in my contract that I could live in Dallas, Texas. When he wanted me to move, I chose to leave and executed my contract, then God did the rest as I focused on my giftings throughout my life.
5. How do you feel that your work has contributed to culture and blessed the world?
There is no other global platform with resources and content focused on serving professional women. We get emails daily about how 1) Lead: through the book, Work, Love, Pray, 2) Connect: Our social media and our local groups; and 3) Support: Our resources on our Web site have improved someone’s life and spiritual walk.
6. How do you see God working in you as you work in your profession?
God has shown me that it is all out of my control, and I need to leave it up to Him. He has made things happen that I couldn’t have ever engineered. Being a COO (arranger and connector in Strengths Finder’s 2.0 terminology), I wanted to direct my path. Today, God is totally directing my path.
7. What is the “big dream” you want to accomplish in that sphere? In other words, what is the one main change in culture that you would like to see happen in your sphere?
With over 50% of women getting advanced degrees and over 70% of women with children in the workforce, and with 40% of women in dual career marriages making more than their husbands today, there has been a shift of about 30% in these three statistics over the last 30 years. My dream is to unleash this new time, talent, and treasure for the kingdom. Today, 27% of churched professional women are leaving the church, so not only do I want God to use 4WORD to reverse that trend, but grow it in the future.
8. How would you encourage younger people in your field seeking to be On Call in Culture through their work?
It is unbelievable the opportunities God will give you if you just “Do what Jesus would do” because it is so counter cultural in the work environment, it is obvious.
Pray every day that you are open to God using you in whatever way He wants to use you. Take risks. Focus on being in a place professionally where your gifts are used so that you are energized. Don’t let yourself get too consumed so that you have time to “Hear Him.” Be humble. Know that God has you where he wants you and He wants to use you.
9. What are some ways you influence culture in small ways on a daily basis?
It’s the little things: encouraging a man I am sitting next to on the plane (Dave) to follow his passion; to share with my sister as we deal with family issues that these earthly problems are nothing compared to what the Lord has in store for us in Heaven; to encourage Bob Doll via email, as he finished an interview on CNBC “Squawk Box.”