Justice Calling

Last week, Kristen Deede Johnson came to Trinity to speak about her recent book Justice Calling. She came to our BUAD 321 class to relate her research to our study of business.  
With us she discussed how God calls us to justice and ultimately, righteousness; but what does this look like at how do we know the distinction between justice and injustice? To answer that question one must look to scripture.  The Bible is our tool for distinguishing right vs. wrong or justice vs. injustice.  Christians often think that righteousness can be found by pursuing a life in the ministry such as being a pastor, a missionary, or a Christian school teacher.  What Dr. Johnson communicated to us is that it is also acceptable for us not to work directly in these fields. It is acceptable because the different institutions that we will work for can give us the opportunity to pursue justice and to seek shalom. We simply need to shift our attention to the structures and institutions around us because they can allow for individual and community flourishing. If we make the institutions work for everyone, not just ourselves, then everyone can seek justice and shalom together. It will no longer be an individual fight against injustice but, a community putting an end to it.
Overall, this relates greatly to my life because I am about to graduate and enter the workforce full-time. So, it really makes me think about the structures and institutions that I will be entering in the near future. Are there communities that are actively seeking justice? What are the structures that shape us and allow for individual flourishing? Can I enter an institution as a recent graduate and change the way it conducts business or do I need to create my own structure? How can I align myself with God’s calling while working in business? These are questions I have been asking myself since Dr. Johnson’s visit.
I want to follow my dreams of working in the renewable energy industry after college. I think that this is where God is calling me but I can not tell for certain. Right now, I can only go forward with my best intentions and trust that God will guide me to his path.  All along the way I know I need seek the justice and righteousness that God desires.  For me, that would be fighting the injustices of pollution and greenhouse gas emissions through the promotion of renewable energy sources. In whatever I do, I want to promotes justice and individual flourishing.  — Austin VanderVelde

The Relevance Partnership*

To assure relevance, education has to be a partnership between college and community. In a capstone business class, for example, the community may be represented by experienced practitioners who serve as both coaches and clients. The college is represented by students and faculty. Both faculty and practitioners, then, could coach students, helping them to apply newly learned business concepts and provide fresh perspective on existing business problems for organizational clients. We call such a class “Org Consulting.”

The syllabus looks like this:

  • Student teams meet with faculty at least once per week.
  • Before a semester begins, faculty and clients outline the scope and “deliverables” of a consulting project.
  • Once the semester begins, students are introduced to clients and continue the negotiation on the “statement of work” with help from faculty.
  • Students then meet with practitioner coaches to review the situation and get advice on “tightening up” the statement of work, including their problem statement and approach (research plan/methodology) to collect data to solve the problem, and what the students will provide the client at the end of the semester.
  • Student teams then seek approval of the statement of work from the client.
  • Halfway through the semester the student teams meet with their practitioner coaches to review the status of their methodology and hypotheses regarding the underlying problem (that is, their diagnosis of the problem underlying the problem statement) and solution strategies).
  • The student teams then meet with their client to review their progress, share their findings, and test their underlying diagnosis and solution strategies.
  • At the end of the semester the student teams meet one last time with client with their practitioners coaches in attendance to tell the story from problem statement to diagnose to solution strategy to implementation plan. The client and practitioner coaches (the community) then provide evaluation feedback for the faculty and students.

To assure relevance, education has to be a partnership between college and community.

*Special thanks to great students, coaches (Aaron, Cal, Jim, Seth, Virgil) and clients (Jordan Vande Kamp(AppProvider), Ryan Hesslau (foreverU), Chicago Semester, Palos Area Chamber of Commerce, Providence Bank & Trust, Providence Life Services, Royal Oak Landscaping) for a great Fall, 2016 Semester!

Good Company

Future Founders 2016 U.Pitch Semifinalists

  • Keyante Aytch, 3Dime Designs, DePaul University (IL)
  • Michael Black, ParkingBee, Pennsylvania State University (PA)
  • Linwood Butler, MT Music Transporter, University of Tampa (FL)
  • Claire Coder, AuntFlow, Ohio State University (OH)
  • Vinesh Kannan, Omnipointment, Illinois Institute of Technology (IL)
  • Arjun Kapoor, Scala Computing, Inc., University of Chicago (IL)
  • Tom Kruse, Win-Kel Peer-to-Peer Storage, Indiana University (IN)
  • Jason Lees, GoSpot, Northwood University (MI)
  • Jekolia Matuszewicz, UhTa Ancient Brews, Colorado College (CO)
  • Eddy Mejia, ShoeBoxOne, University of Illinois at Chicago (IL)
  • Dulbadrakh (Daniel) Natsagdorj, Urban Delivery, University of Illinois at Chicago (IL)
  • Gabe Owens, WiNot, Washington University in St. Louis (MO)
  • Matthew Rooda, SwineTech, Inc., University of Iowa (IA)
  • Pranay Singh, Averia Health, University of Chicago (IL)
  • Parisa Soraya, Find Your Ditto, University of Michigan (MI)
  • Riley Tart, MidTrade, Auburn University (AL)
  • Jordan VandeKamp, ApptProvider, Trinity Christian College (IL)
  • Ben Weiss, Zcruit, Northwestern University (IL)

Voice and Touch

(From http://depree.org/max-de-pree/)

In Leadership Jazz Max DePree focuses on the integration of voice and touch.

  • Voice is related to what a leader believes
  • Touch is related to a leader’s competence and resolve

Finding One’s Voice

“[A] leader’s voice is the expression of one’s beliefs….A leader’s touch demonstrates competence and resolve…” (p. 5).

“Leadership can never stop at words.  Leaders must act, and they do so only in the context of their beliefs.  Without action or principles, no on can become a leader” (p. 6).

“Leadership is…not a position but a job.  It’s also a serious meddling in other people’s lives.  One examines leadership beginning not with techniques but rather with premises, not with tools but with beliefs, and not with systems but with understandings” (p. 7).

“A jazz band is an expression of servant leadership.  The leader of the band has the beautiful opportunity to draw the best out of other musicians.  We have much to learn from jazz-band leaders, for jazz, like leadership, combines the unpredictability of the future with the gifts of individuals” (p. 9).

Five criteria for faithfulness in leadership:

  • “Integrity in all things” (p. 10).
  • “The servanthood of leadership” (p. 10).
  • “Accountability for others” (p. 11).
  • The “practice of equity” (p. 11).
  • Vulnerability (p. 12).

A Key Called Promise

“[The] goals of the organization are best met when the goals of people in the organization are met at the same time” (p. 23).

“Any follower has the right to ask many things of her leader….

  • “What may I expect of you?
  • Can I achieve my own goals by following you?
  • Will I reach my potential by working with you?
  • Can I entrust my future to you?
  • Have you bothered to prepare yourself for leadership?
  • Are you ready to be ruthlessly honest?
  • Do you have the self-confidence and trust to let me do my job?
  • What do you believe?” (p. 24).

What’s Fragile?

“From a leader’s perspective, the most serious betrayal has to do with thwarting human potential, with the quenching of the spirit, with failing to deal equitably with each other as human beings” (p. 34).

“Leaders must speak to followers; we must let them know where and how we stand on important issues.  We constantly make decisions and evaluate results in light of what we believe” (p. 36).

“Vulnerability in a leader enables others to do their best and to be fully accountable.  And, of course, being vulnerable to the strengths of other people also makes the leader vulnerable to their weaknesses” (p. 41).

“Preparation for leadership does not come from books. Books sometimes give you an insight or an outline, but real preparation consists of hard work and wandering in the desert, much feedback, much forgiveness, and the yeast of failure” (pp. 42, 43).

“Everybody battles for success; too few people are aware of its profound impact.  Success tends to breed arrogance, complacency, and isolation.  Success can close the mind faster than prejudice.  Success if fragile, like a butterfly.  We usually crush the life out of it in our efforts to possess it” (p. 47).

God’s Mix

“[The] mystery around potential is so great that even the most perceptive of us cannot look at a person and decide for certain whether or not she’ll be good at this or that, whether or not she’ll become a sales manager or vice president — or even the best shortstop you ever saw.  We really should be in awe of human potential” (p. 53).

“We are dealing with God’s mix, people made in God’s image, a compelling mystery” (p. 57).


“I like to think of management in two broad categories, scientific and tribal.  The tribal is certainly the most important and, while palpable is quite difficult to grasp and nurture….Tribal means shared goals but different and separate responsibilities….You can’t be hired into a tribe.  Joining a tribe results in a certain intimacy.  This intimacy links the talents and skills that each of us brings to the job and the corporation on behalf of our customers–with marvelously delightful and worthwhile results” (pp. 70, 71).

Leaders’ Leaders

“I happen to believe that a large part of the secret [to renewal and innovation and vitality] lies in how individual leaders in a great variety of settings make room for people with creative gifts and temporarily become followers themselves” (p. 94).

“How does a leader approach the process of creative work?

  • A leader protects unusual persons from the bureaucracy and legalism so ensconced in our organizations.  A leader remains vulnerable to real surprise and to true quality….
  • A leader works with creative people without fear…” (pp. 96, 97).

“A writer, when asked why he wrote, replied, ‘Because I have to, not because I want to'” (p. 102).

Take Five

“The lore of life, the way to one’s voice, comes more from mistakes than achievements, more from listening than talking, more from these teachers and enablers than from one’s own understanding” (pp. 111, 112).

“Have you taken five to ponder the nature of the contribution that other people make to your leadership?  I highly recommend it” (p. 114).

Give the Gift of Change

“Some gifts to ponder:

  • Space–to be the kind of person I can be.
  • Opportunity–to serve.
  • Challenge–constraints are enabling friends.
  • Clarity–in objectives, in evaluation, and in feedback.
  • Authenticity–that gives hierarchy its true value, that gives me the right to offer my gifts, that neither overlooks nor oppresses.
  • Meaning–a lasting foundation of hope.
  • Accountability–a result of love.
  • Conscience–that forbids people to enjoy apathy or debilitating ease…”

and “an ethos for change” (p. 141).


“A good leader says, “I love you enough to make you accountable.  You have the right to be part of this task” (p. 155).

“As I see it, delegation requires a form of dying, a separation of issue from self.  We must surrender or abandon ourselves to the gifts that other people bring to the game.  We must become vulnerable to every person’s need to do her best….This means to me that we must go beyond learning a single skill or specific knowledge to acquiring the art and grace of a job” (pp. 157, 158).

“As someone once said, in delegating, leaders give roots and they give wings” (p. 160).

Polishing Gifts

“Polishing gifts is different than career development” (p. 169).


“To be an amateur means literally that you do something for the love of it” (p. 188)”.

“Amateurs simply don’t know what they can’t do” (p. 193).


“I’ve often asked myself, ‘Are the poorest sandlot baseball players chosen last because they commit so many errors?  Or do they commit errors because they’re chosen last?” (p. 198).

Consulting Student Consultants

Many college students work in teams. Many engage in project-based learning. Some apply and test their knowledge, skills, and values by engaging in consulting projects, working on problems/questions given them by businesses and non-profit organizations.

Many times the students are advised by a faculty member, only ONE faculty member, their professor. But professors, even if they have Ph.Ds and years of work experience, have limited knowledge and wisdom. Their perspectives and perceptions are based on and biased by their own unique experiences. Think of the fable of the blind men and the elephant. Each of us is “blinded” by our own point of view. Thus the quality of students’ consulting work is limited by the professor’s and the students’ particular experiences (or lack thereof).

So bring in more “blind” people!

Here’s how wise practitioners add value (help us see the “elephants”):

  • Give insight into the client’s problem/opportunity
  • Give insight on the internal workings of the student team
  • Give insight on the consulting process
  • Give insight on the academic program
  • Give insight on what is holding us back!

Engaging alumni and friends in the education process is part of our not-so-secret sauce.

Asking them to advise (consult) our student consultants on intra-curricular and extra-curricular projects is just one way to do that.

And the best advisers do that simply by providing analogies and asking insightful questions.

What Makes Trinity Business Different?

We are created, called, and endowed by God to do good work. Trinity Business empowers students to discern, develop, and deploy their gifts and calling to do that work through personal, practical, and professional learning experiences.

  • PERSONAL: we offer individual students the attention and opportunities they need to flourish—we are a small college community networked into the immense City of Chicago.
  • PRACTICAL: we offer students the ability to apply their talents and knowledge through our project-based course-work (e.g., students who are coached by consultants to consult with clients) , Chicago Semester, and our Center for Entrepreneurship and Community Empowerment, which sponsors “speed interviewing,” a community health initiative focused on interdisciplinary research and education, a student consulting team (START Consulting), and student entrepreneurs (START Entrepreneurs).
  • PROFESSIONAL: we offer students specialized Bachelor of Science degrees in Accounting, Entrepreneurial Management, Human Resource Management, Finance, and Marketing. The result is that students develop Universal Student Business Qualities* and the particular skills of strategic analysis and innovation in those distinct but related business fields.

And in return students inspire us with their innovative spirit. For example, recently two of our students, Jordan VandeKamp and Craig VanderGalien, were named semi-finalists at Chicago-based Future Founders’ UPitch2016 competition along with teams from the Big Ten and other Division 1 schools. They were the crowd favorite, winning the Venture Award.

Trinity Business is a great system to be part of!



*Universal Student Business Qualities

  • Resourceful
  • Effective in Teams
  • Critical in Thinking
  • Faithful in Living
  • Innovative and Creative
  • Ethical
  • Professional
  • Technically Competent





4.6 and 6.0


Just 3% of college graduates have the types of experiences in college that strongly relate to great jobs and great lives afterward (Gallup).

A very strong predictor of a great life is whether one is (emotionally) engaged at work; people engaged at work are 4.6x more likely to thrive in all areas of well-being.


Strong predictors of being engaged at work are whether one attended a college that prepared students for life outside of college and was passionate about the long-term success of its students. Other strong predictors of being engaged at work are whether one had an encouraging mentor, a professor who made her/him excited about learning, and a professor who cared about her/him as a person.  In addition, strong predictors of being engaged at work are whether the student had an internship or job that allowed her/him to apply what they learned, whether the student worked on a project that lasted more than a semester, and whether the student was active in extracurricular activities.


Another Gallup study found that people who use their strengths at work are 6.0x more likely to be engaged on the job.

Translation: a strong predictor of whether a person is engaged at work and experiences well-being is whether they attended a college that was passionate about empowering students to discern, develop, and deploy their gifts and calling.


Ryan Hesslau Named CECE’s First START Scholar Entrepreneur


The Center for Entrepreneurship and Community Empowerment is proud to announce that Ryan Hesslau, founder of foreverU, has been named its first START Scholar Entrepreneur.   As a START Scholar Entrepreneur Ryan will be afforded time to work on his startup, foreverU.  In addition he will assist CECE’s director by mentoring other entrepreneurial students and representing CECE at various events.

The START Scholar Entrepreneur appointment is for the Fall 2016 semester.   To qualify, candidates must be Trinity students with a successful track record in leadership, a start-up beyond the Customer Validation stage, and the heart to make a positive difference guided by Christian values.

Last academic year Ryan was a member of the Future Founders Fellowship Program.   His start-up seeks “to revolutionize and enhance the understanding of bullying.”  In this capacity, he made a guest appearance on the Steve Harvey Show.

CECE will be making its home on Trinity’s campus, in the former Molenhouse Student Center.


What Is Your Personal Business Model?


Doing business is inherently personal.  The discipline of business also has creative tools to help us think about and implement our call to be good neighbors and good stewards of God’s creation.  One of those tools is the Personal Business Model Canvas.  (Note: See http://businessmodelyou.com/ for the genesis of this idea.)

Questions to Ask Yourself


  • Who will you help (Customer Segment)?
  • What problem are you trying to solve?  Why?  What motivates you?
  • How are the people in that Customer Segment currently solving the problem?  (That is, who are your Competitors and what are the Substitute Products?)
  • What solution are your providing?  What is unique about it?  What are you communicating to your customers (Value Proposition)?
  • How are communicating to your “customers” (Channels)?
  • How do you and your customer interact?  That is, what are you doing to build a Relationship? (Ultimately that is one of the primary tensions between loving our neighbor and trying to scale — make multiple sales.)
  • How do you measure success–what is your bottom line?  What intermediate metrics do you use to measure success along the way?

Operations (Production)

  • What exactly do you do (Activities)?  What are the essential tasks that have to be completed to serve your Customer/Neighbor?
  • What do you need to do those tasks?
  • Who helps you (Partners)?


  • What does it Cost you? What is the Structure of those Costs?  How leveraged are you?
  • What do you get in return for what you do (Revenue)?  Is there more than one revenue stream?  (Note that there is both qualitative and quantitative revenue.)

Operations (Management)

  • What can you do to the “system” that will result in more “throughput” – more Customer Problems solved, more of what you get? (Revenue)
  • What can you do to reduce what you need to do what you do (Inventory)?
  • What can you do to reduce the costs (both qualitative and quantitative) of what you do? (Expenses)
  • How can you scale?  What are your main Operating Plan Milestones?


  • How much funding does your business generate?
  • What funding do you need to fill in the gaps and meet your milestones so that you can solve more problems?

Trinity Business Logic


We empower students to discern, develop, and deploy their gifts and calling.  We do this via Trinity Business and the Center for Entrepreneurship and Community Empowerment.

  • Trinity Business: The Trinity Business program is unique in that it is…
    • Entrepreneurial and Experiential: Nothing in our work excites us more than to see students discover their gifts and become impassioned about a cause.  This happens when students lead and faculty coach.
    • Innovative and Integrative: In innovative ways we seek to integrate our faith in our business disciplines, the liberal arts with our business disciplines, and our business disciplines with each other.
    • Specialized and Strategic.  Trinity Business is unique in that it offers student specialized degrees in Accounting, Entrepreneurial Management, Finance, and marketing.  It is teaches students how to be Strategic Critical Thinkers.
    • Immersed in Chicago.  We seek to transform society.  But we do that by first seeking to understand ourselves, others, and the world.  Chicago is our world.
    • Grounded in Vocation.  We do what we do because as Christians we believe God calls us to do these things.  We desire to do so in love, mercy, and humility.
  • CECE: The Center for Entrepreneurship and Community Empowerment is unique in that it seeks to create a ladder to meaningful employment:
    • Support Interdisciplinary Initiatives.
    • Support Career-focused Student Clubs.
    • Troll Scholars:
      • Consultants
      • Interns
      • Entrepreneurs


We do what we do to increase students’ knowledge of God, themselves, and the world.  That too, we believe, is our calling.



In the long-run, beginning in college, our goal is that our graduates transform culture and experience holistic well-being.  This is based on an outcome of  knowledge — of God, themselves and the world.  That outcome and impact is based on the inputs related to empowering students to discern, develop, and deploy their gifts and calling in business and beyond.