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An unlikely blend of skills and passions

“Wow, those two majors really don’t make sense together!”

That’s the response Mikhal Szabo came to expect whenever she told new acquaintances she was double majoring in accounting and French. Her interest in languages, culture, anthropology, and international studies didn’t seem to mesh with the risk-averse accountant stereotype, but she followed her passions anyway.

As she went on to earn her MBA in international economic development after a few years in private accounting, Mikhal learned about microfinance and, ultimately, about HOPE International. She was impressed both by HOPE’s holistic approach to poverty alleviation and their openness to learning. As part of her graduate work, she served as a finance intern with HOPE in the French-speaking Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Suddenly, Mikhal’s seemingly unlikely double majors made sense. A lot of sense. In fact, her rare blend of language, finance, and intercultural skills was exactly what HOPE needed. Continue Reading…

Keeping Christ central

A weekly series from HOPE’s director of spiritual integration

You could feel the excitement in Roger’s voice.

“I think this might be the one. Significant leadership in a multinational bank—check. CPA license—check. Speaks the local language and English—check. Active in his church—check.” Everyone silently wondered, “Did we finally find the needle in the haystack?”

The position in question was CEO of one of our African microfinance institutions, and we felt the heat to get this role filled ASAP. The program needed leadership. The Central Bank required a technically savvy CEO. HR wanted closure. Everyone wanted him to be the right fit.

And then someone asked,

Does he have a demonstrated passion for making disciples and guiding our spiritual integration efforts?

Aside from our personal connection with Christ, there is nothing more critical to fulfilling our mission than hiring the right staff. Each new team member either deepens our Christ-centeredness or distracts, dilutes, and discourages it. This is especially true of leaders but applies to every role from top to bottom.

Continue Reading…

Professional volunteer Lindsey in Peru

I have lived my life in comfort. I have always had enough to eat, a place to sleep, a way to get to where I need to go, a loving family. I have never wanted for anything vital for survival. The hardest decisions I have made to date are where I would like to go to college and which job I should accept. Probability would have indicated a life very different from the one I currently live. I am an outlier. I cannot ignore my location outside of the bell curve. How do I respond to this? More importantly, what is the work God has crafted me to do? Continue Reading…