What Happens at e-boost?*

Visit a destination (incubator**);

get ready to launch


Encircle early stage start-ups***:

  • vision
  • milestones
  • constraints: what’s holding you back?
  • strategy
  • executable plan

Share ideas and ask for feedback


Learn from and laugh with others


Share life lessons

  • Success = pivots
  • Success = focus away from self


See old friends and make new ones!


*Thanks to Hope College and Trinity Christian College students and alums for attending!

**Thanks to Omar Sweiss (1871) and Ethan Adams (Future Founders) for the tour!

***Thanks to Mackenzi Huyser and Kendra Wright of Chicago Semester for hosting e-boost Chicago!

What is the Center for Entrepreneurship and Community Empowerment?

Advanced Learning

Trinity faculty and staff empower students through professional, practical, and personal educational experiences. And, in turn, we are inspired by their entrepreneurial spirit and moral character. That entrepreneurial faithfulness expresses itself through project-based learning in the classroom but especially through the Center for Entrepreneurship and Community Empowerment.

One of Trinity’s strengths is experiential education. For instance, all students at Trinity are required to have an internship or field experience prior to graduation. In Trinity’s Business, Nursing, and Education programs, students regularly engage in internships, practicums, and project-based learning. Specifically, in the Business program, all students work on interdisciplinary (Accounting, Entrepreneurial Management, Finance, and Marketing) teams to address a real-world problem faced by a local business or non-profit organization. We major in application. The Center complements such programs with advanced learning opportunities to build an even better bridge between college, career and calling.


The Center for Entrepreneurship and Community Empowerment engages students in advanced project-based learning experiences to empower students to discern, develop, and employ their gifts and calling. In so doing, it provides experiences that make students even more competent and confident of who they are and what they can do and therefore more competitive and transforming in the marketplace.


  • Various professional development events. For example, “Speed Interviewing” brings together first-and-second year students and alumni to help students better understand the culture of business and the various business functional areas and roles. Similarly, “Etiquette Dinners” that helps students appreciate and learn to navigate the habits and culture of more formal business settings. Also, “Reflective Best Self” experiences called “20/20” that invite students to reach out to people who know them to write about when the students were “at their best.”
  • A Community Health Initiative involving Business, Communication, and Nursing students, and Nursing faculty. The community health initiative collects data on health needs in our internal and external communities (from Harvey to Tinley Park) and provides health education.
  • STORY Consulting is a “Dream Team” of English majors who help organizations capture their stories for publication in multiple venues.
  • START Entrepreneurs are Trinity students coached by subject matter experts on their evolving and emerging business models. They participate in and are supported by events such e-boost Chicago, activities through Trinity’s “E-Club,” and organizations such as Future Founders.
  • START Consulting is an interdisciplinary “Dream Team” of Trinity students coached by subject matter experts and the CECE director to solve business-related problems for businesses and non-profit organizations.


Note from Finance Grad

I consider myself fortunate to have the job I do, but know that I would not be prepared for it without the education I received at Trinity….I still remember the day my junior year when I decided to focus on a finance degree and told you I wanted to work at a bank….I believe Trinity provided a liberal arts education that gave me a diverse set of skills in order to succeed in my profession. The business finance degree certainly provided the analytics and financial skills necessary to compete in the professional world, but the overall education and the incorporation of a Christ centered education allowed me to prepare for the real world requiring communication, problem solving, and a social responsibility overlooked in other programs.  Best, Josh

Speed Interviewing


Kendra Zantingh and Steve VanderVeen are teaching the Introduction to Management course this semester and creating a new course activity that provides students a venue to learn from Trinity’s alums. 
The purpose of BUAD 121 is to introduce students to the business disciplines (accounting, finance, management, marketing), the management functions (planning, organizing, leading, controlling), and to think about them from a Christian perspective. That means we also want students to better understand themselves and how they could engage business culture according to their gifts and calling.  
To do so we are creating an event we call “speed interviewing.
The speed interviewing event looks like this.  Students and selected alums will gather on Monday, October 17, from 5 PM to 6:30 PM, in the Vermeer Fireside Room in the Administration Building at Trinity.   After some light snacks, introductory comments, and directions, student teams will  interview alums in 15 minute intervals, according to the students’ current career aspirations. Students will ask questions such as:
  • What type of work do you do in your current role?  What do you like most about it?
  • What skills are especially needed to do your work well?
  • What did you major in while at Trinity?  How did that help you with the work you do?
  • How would you describe your career path?
  • How would you characterize your leadership style?
  • How would you characterize the culture of the organization?
  • What advice to you have for current students?

With the help of our alums we can accomplish our mission of empowering students to discern, develop, and deploy their gifts and calling!



“A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea” (p. 1).

“A group need only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate” (pp. 1,2).

“Human beings can’t help it: we need to belong.  One of the most powerful of our survival mechanisms is to be part of a tribe, to contribute to (and take from) a group of like-minded people” (p. 3).

“There’s an explosion of new tools available to help lead the tribes we’re forming….All of it is worthless if you don’t decide to lead” (p. 5).

“Tribes are about faith — about belief in an idea and in a community.  And they are grounded in respect and admiration for the leader of the tribe and for the other members as well” (p. 9).

“Heretics are the new leaders.  The ones who challenge the status quo, who get out in front of their tribes, who create movements” (p. 11).

“Great leaders create movements by empowering the tribe to communicate.  They establish the foundation for people to make connections, as opposed to commanding people to follow them” (p. 23).

“What people are afraid of isn’t failure.  It’s blame.  Criticism” (p. 46).

“Leadership is scarce because few people are willing to go through the discomfort to lead.  This scarcity makes leadership valuable” (p. 55).

“Change isn’t made by asking permission.  Change is made by asking forgiveness, later” (p. 70).

“Faith is the unstated component in the work of a leader and I think faith is underrated.  Paradoxically, religion is vastly overrated” (p. 79).

“Training a student to be a sheep is a lot easier than the alternative.  Teaching to the test, ensuring compliant behavior, and using fear as a motivator are the easiest and fastest ways to get a kid through school.  So why does it surprise us that we graduate so many sheep?” (p. 97).

Leader or Manager

  • “Leaders don’t care very much for organizational structure or the official blessing of whatever factory they work for.  They use passion and ideas to lead people as opposed to using threats and bureaucracy to manage them” (p. 22).
  • “Managers manage by using the authority the factory gives them.  You listen to your manager or you lose your job” (p. 22).
  • [Leaders are curious persons who explore first and then consider whether or not he/she wants to accept the ramifications] (p. 63).
  • [Managers are people who consider whether the fact is acceptable to his religion before he/she explores it] (p. 63).
  • [Leaders ask for  forgiveness] (p. 70).
  • [Managers ask for permission] (p. 70).
  • [Leaders have faith] (p. 80).
  • [Manages have religion] (p. 80).
  • [Leaders respond] (p. 86).
  • [Managers react] (p. 86).
  • [Leaders do things] (p. 87).
  • [Managers have things happen to them] (p. 87).

“The secret of leadership is simple: Do what you believe in.  Paint a picture of the future. Go there.  People will follow” (p. 108).

Start With Why

start with why

Who We Are Vs. What We Are Buying

“[The] art of leading is about following your heart” (p. 59).

“Great leaders and great organizations are good at seeing what most of us can’t see.  They are good at giving us things we would never think of asking for” (p. 60).

“When we are inspired, the decisions we make have more to do with who we are and less to do with the companies and products we’re buying” (p. 74).

“It’s hard to make a case to someone that your products or services are important in their lives based on external rational factors that you have defined as valuable….However, if your WHYs and their WHY correspond, then they will see your products and services as tangible ways to prove what they believe” (p. 74).

“The goal of business should not be to do business with anyone who simply wants what you have.  It should be to focus on the people who believe what you believe” (p. 80).

The Importance of Trust

“Trust is not a checklist.  Fulfilling all your responsibilities does not create trust.  Trust is a feeling, not a rational experience.  We trust some people and companies even when things go wrong, and we don’t trust others even though everything might have gone exactly as it should have.  A completed checklist does not guarantee trust.  Trust begins to emerge when we have a sense that another person or organization is driven by things other than their own self-gain.  With trust comes a sense of value — real value, not just value equated with money.  Value, by definition, is the transference of trust.  You can’t convince someone you have value, just as you can’t convince someone to trust you.  You have to earn trust by communicating and demonstrating that you share the same values and beliefs” (p. 84).

“Leading…means that others willingly follow you — not because they have to, not because they are paid to, but because they want to….Those who lead are able to do so because those who follow trust that the decisions made at the top have the best interest of the group at heart.  In turn, those who trust work hard because they feel like they are working for something bigger than themselves” (p. 85).


“Cultures are groups of people who come together around a common set of values and beliefs.  When we share values and beliefs with others, we form trust….That’s what a WHY does.  When it is clearly understood, it attracts people who believe the same thing” (pp. 88, 89).

“A company is a culture.  A group of people brought together around a common set of values and beliefs.  It’s not products or services that bind a company together.  It’s not size and might that make a company strong, it’s the culture — the strong sense of beliefs and values that everyone, from the CEO to the receptionist, all share” (p. 90).

“What all great leaders have in common is the ability to find good fits to join their organization — those who believe what they believe….Starting with WHY when hiring dramatically increases your ability to attract those who are passionate for what you believe” (p. 93).

The Role of a Leader

“The role of a leader is not to come up with all the great ideas.  The role of the leader is to create an environment in which great ideas can happen” (p. 99).

“When people come to work with a higher sense of purpose, they find it easier to weather hard times or even to find opportunity in those hard times” (p. 101).

“[Only] when individuals can trust the culture or organization will they take personal risks in order to advance that culture or organization as a whole.  For no other reason than, in the end, it’s good for there own personal health and survival” (p. 104).

“For those within a community, or an organization, they must trust that their leaders provide a net — practical or emotional.  With that feeling of support, those in the organization are more likely to put in extra effort that ultimately benefits the group as a whole” (p. 104).

“The question is, how do you get enough of the influencers to talk about you so that you can make the system tip?” (p. 114).

“Regardless of WHAT we do in our lives, our WHY — our driving purpose, cause, or belief — never changes” (p. 136).

“As a company grows, the CEO’s job is to personify the WHY.  To ooze of it.  To talk about it. To preach it.  To be a symbol of what the company believes….As the organization grows, the leader becomes physically removed, further and further away from WHAT the company does, and even farther away from the outside market….[The] CEO’s job, the leaders’ responsibility, is not to focus on the outside market — it’s to focus on the layer directly beneath: HOW.  The leaders must ensure that there are people on the team who believe what they believe and know how to build it” (p. 157).

“The leader sitting on the top of the organization is the inspiration, the symbol of the reason we do what we do.  They represent the emotional limbic brain.  WHAT the company says and does represents the rational thought and language of the neocortex” (p. 158).

For a summary, see: http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action?language=en

e-boost Chicago, Oct 7-8!




Announcing e-boost Chicago!

The purpose of e-boost Chicago is to strengthen, build, and harness the power of our e-tribe to give our student entrepreneurs a boost.

What’s in it for student entrepreneurs? An opportunity to be inspired and consulted by experienced entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial students, and a chance to grow their network of advisory relationships.

What’s in it for entrepreneurial students? An opportunity to experience a taste of entrepreneurship.

What’s in it for Trinity alums and friends of CECE? An opportunity to make a difference — to help empower the next generation of entrepreneurial leaders and leading entrepreneurs!

Session Schedule (Choose to Attend Some or All Activities)

  • 11:00 AM –  Stop at 1871 and Future Founders (222 W. Merchandise Mart Plaza, Suite 1212, Chicago, IL 60654) for a quick pre-e-boost Chicago event tour!
  • 12:30 PM — Meet at Chicago Semester (11 E Adams St # 1200, Chicago, IL 60603) for a quick lunch.


  • 1:00 PM — Welcome
  • 1:15 PM — e-circles: Student entrepreneurs pitch their startups, foreverUIKG, and Glacier Peak, to participants. Participants then form teams around student startups to: Assess the Situation, Brainstorm Goals and Strategies to Achieve Next Phase/Step (Boost!); Develop Implementation Plans (ASI);  What is Strategy?  Vision (where do you wish to be in 3-5 years), Milestones, Constraints (What’ holding you back?), Strategy (How will we overcome those constraints?), Execution Plan


  • 2:30 PM — Break (snacks)
  • 2:45 PM — Share Plan Highlights and Debrief
  • 3:00 PM — e-(Open) Mic — share your idea and ask questions of the audience
  • 4:15 PM — Break (snacks)
  • 4:30 PM — e-panel: Matt Gira, Co-Founder, Fathom Underwater Drone; Ryan Hesslau, foreverU; Scott Brandonisio, Co-Founder,  RingCam.


  • 5:30 PM – Break (light dinner)
  • 6:00 PM — e-speaker: Craig Steensma, Founder of Eshots (6:45 PM — Q&A)




Register by Wednesday, Oct 5, at https://www.facebook.com/events/320958918254856/. Thank you!


Thank you, Prof. Windes!


Dr. Windes,

Thank you for teaching me how to make a professional resume.  I have received a number of resumes that have ranged from terrible to professional…and have been further assured that a professional looking resume plays a significant role in leaving a first impression.

Thank you too for teaching me how to send professional emails. As many of these resumes have been attached to emails, I have also seen a wide range in the accompanying messages. I have found myself being most impressed by the people who have written with professionalism and have addressed me with respect as a potential employer…. On the flip side, I have received messages with mistakes in them or that are lacking professionalism that spark in my mind a thought of “this person isn’t the right fit for the job” even before I open their resume. These are just a couple of things that I have noticed recently that have reminded me of how grateful I was to have taken Professional Communications with you.  The lessons that you teach in that class are extremely important and truly do make an impact in the working world.

— Evan Geels

CECE: A Vision — Why, How, What


The Bible tells us we are uniquely created in God’s image to work and do good works.  Gallup tells us if we are engaged at work, we are 4.6x more likely to experience holistic well-being. Unfortunately only 15% of us are satisfied at work and most of us are not engaged emotionally on the job.  Holistic well-being is not a normal experience.

How can this be?  Why the disparity between what is and what could be? 

As Is

  • Lack of Engagement

There aren’t enough good jobs.  When there are good jobs, there is overt and systemic discrimination and structural segregation.   The disparities in wealth and opportunity are enormous.

But at least some frustration is the result of a dualist culture of work, even among Christians.

Is work the result of humankind’s fall into sin or was work meant to be something better?

Is our faith one of confessionalism (separation) or contextualism (conformity)?  Is there not a middle ground — a both…and?

If our faith is one of transformation, is being an “agent of renewal” limited to the time we are “off the clock?”  Is work not redeemable? Is work not a very significant part of life?

  • Lack of Alignment

Gallup also reports that we are 6x more likely to be engaged at work if we are using our strengths.  Thus another, related, contributing factor to work dissatisfaction is the lack of alignment or fit between our gifts and our job.   Without that fit and without our engagement, we are not reaching our potential.  If we are not reaching our potential, we are not creating as much value as we could and without that value there is less capital to invest in creating more jobs.  

We are all connected by systems.  Thus we are all part of the same community.  That community is a reflection of God.  The theological word for that connection is “Trinity.” 

To Be

Both mindset and fit can be addressed in college.  And should be.   A liberal arts education can be a tool to expose students to different types of work and work cultures, perspectives, and thinking.  A Christian liberal arts education can be a tool that exposes students to the idea that work is an opportunity for worshipful transformation of our economic system, including job creation, job design, and the organizational cultures they reflect. 

The idea of preparing students for work aligns with Trinity’s mission.

  • Trinity’s Mission

Trinity’s mission is “to provide a Biblically-informed liberal arts education in the Reformed tradition….In all programs, including the liberal arts and sciences, professional and pre-professional preparation, we strive to offer the highest quality of instruction to prepare students for excellence in further study and careers beyond Trinity.”  

  • CECE’s Mission

Congruent with Trinity’s mission statement, the purpose of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Community Empowerment is to:

(1) Complement Trinity Christian College programs by further empowering students to discern, develop, and deploy their gifts and calling via experiential learning, mentoring, and reflection

(2) Become “agents of renewal” in the city and in higher education: to build a strategic beachhead via a disruptive innovation — paid student employment that increases the value of Trinity’s pre-professional education by reducing financial burden and increases quality of professional program education; and to become a self-funding social enterprise

(3) Concentrate the collective wisdom of Trollnation (our secret sauce!) on serving the community.

(4) Resolve paradoxes: the employment/experience paradox:  Students can’t get a good job without good experience and they can’t get good experience without a good job; the scholarship/work and liberal arts/professional program paradox: Students can’t do work without good scholarship and they can’t do good scholarship without doing good work.

(5) Provide the College a strategically important program and the marketplace and students something unique: experiential and integrated project-based learning.


  • Develop the Student
    • Hand-on Learning via interdisciplinary initiatives and high level experiences  that involve learning from and loving our neighbors on campus and in the city.
    • Coaching and mentoring from faculty and practitioners (Subject Matter Experts); objectively seeking to understand our gifts and how to better use them
    • Prayer and Reflection; subjectively seeking to hear the voice of God and how to make our “general” calling “specific” and “immediate”
  • Create Value
    • What we provide students and our neighbors and alums has value, and what they provide us has value as well.  Some of that value can be measured.
    • We wish to capture what we can of that value so that we can become an economically sustainable organization.
    • Thus we strive to develop the student and serve our constituents well.
  • Apply and Enhance Critical Thinking Skills via Project-Based Learning
    • While some projects can extend over years, we work in 2-3 month chunks of time.
    • Our process is to analyze situations and provide theory and data-supported recommendations to authentic problems/challenges.
    • Our underlying project-based learning philosophy is to learn from and loving their neighbors.


  • Interdisciplinary Initiatives
    • Community Empowerment Initiatives
      • Internal: Experiences geared toward serving individual students and the Trinity campus community.  Examples:
        • 20/20 — An exercise that encourages people who know our students to share stories of when students were at their best to expose students to their gifts and virtues.
        • Speed Interviewing — An exercise that encourages students to learn about various business functional roles, challenges, and culture by interviewing practitioners.
        • Etiquette Dinner — An activity that helps student learn about professional business behavior.
        • Conversations on Career and Calling — Events involving generations of alums and students reflection on the experiences of a well-known practitioner.
      • External: Experiences geared toward serving Individual Student and the Chicago Community.  Examples:
        • A Servant Called You — A practical tool to help us think about how to learn from and love our neighbors.
        • Community Health Initiative — In partnership with Trinity’s Nursing Department, Business Department, and the Honors Program, a community-focused health education activity involving surveying and serving communities (on campus and off) to better understand health care needs.
        • Fundraising Tournament — In partnership with Trinity’s Student Life Office and faculty from various departments, a community-focused activity involving Trinity students and students from local high schools to raise money (Empowerment Fund) for a person or organization in need.
    • Entrepreneurship Initiatives
      • e-boost Chicago — In partnership with Chicago Semester and E-Club, an intense event seeking to give student entrepreneurs a boost by surrounding them with experienced practitioners
      • A Servant Called You — A framework for helping students think through service learning projects.
      • Idea Lounge — A space for encouraging interdisciplinary and entrepreneurial initiatives (reserved through Trinity Business Department).
      • e-Club — A student organization that beleives there is an entrepreneur in everyone.
  • High Level Work Experiences: START (Select Trinity Advisory Research Team) Scholars
    • START Consulting — Select junior-and senior level students (“Dream Team”) hired to lead a faculty and practitioner-coached professional strategy consulting organization with a triple purpose: develop students, serve clients, and be a resource engine for CECE 
    • START Interns — Select junior and senior-level students participating in high level, employer-paid management-training-oriented internships
    • START Entrepreneurs — Select junior-and-senior level students hired to work on their own startups and mentored by practitioners

Through interdisciplinary initiatives and higher level academic/work project-based learning experiences students can learn both more of God’s creation and how they may both fit into it and honor God through their work in it and be blessed by doing so.