Thursday, April 26, 2012
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Sunday, April 22, 2012
DONNA-MARIE: Kevin, it is my pleasure to interview you about your new book: Faith at Work: Finding Purpose Beyond the Paycheck published by Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Company. Could you kindly give us a little background of your financial and executive-management roles?
KEVIN: Yes, absolutely! After graduating from Franciscan University of Steubenville with a degree in Accounting, I began my career in a CPA firm. At the same time, my wife Kathi and I began having children and looking for a Church home. We became Catholic after a long journey (another story, but a good one - http://gratefulconvert.com/about/conversion-story/)
Life revolved around faith, family, and career – and it was extremely intense. We never seemed to take the easy road, having our first three children in less than three years, emigrating to the Catholic Church (it was like learning a completely new language and culture) and deciding to keep Kathi at home with the kids. So I worked like a maniac to provide for the family. It was hard.
Twice in my career, I left positions due to family reasons – initially after our first three children were born, when I became a Controller of a health care company, and later after our seventh child was born with serious medical challenges. At that point I left the CPA firm I was with and became VP of Finance for a large service company.
At every step along the path, I attempted to live out my faith in my work. This wasn’t always easy, but there are many examples of grace. For example, at one point I was scheduled to lose my job as the result of a corporate acquisition. Yet instead, I was actually promoted to Senior Vice President and was given responsibility for the Ohio operations of the organization.
The punch line, if there is one, is that I’m now privileged to work for The Coming Home Network International as chief operating officer. I’m enjoying it immensely!
DONNA-MARIE: That's wonderful, Kevin. This book seems very unique, what made you decide to write this book?
KEVIN: When I was young, my dad was a Presbyterian minister in full-time ministry, even though he has a Ph.D. in business from M.I.T. He was later a technology entrepreneur along with my uncle. So throughout my youth, our regular dinner-table conversations would often include matters of faith and work.
In becoming Catholic, I saw that the Church had a wealth of wisdom that was properly applied to our work. This is part of the beauty of the Church – we have such a rich heritage of great thinkers. I truly believe that as we strive to be faithful Catholics, we become better workers – and by being better workers, we become more faithful Catholics!
DONNA-MARIE: I notice that you offer "Action Steps" as well as reflection questions at the end of each chapter. What do you hope you'll accomplish with these?
KEVIN: Yes, to me this is an important aspect of the book – it’s meant to be extremely practical, and the action steps provide ideas for concrete steps you can apply to your faith and work immediately. I hope the book encourages people to step out in faith and make positive changes that truly have an impact on their lives and those of others.
A friend of mine from Legatus (a terrific organization for Catholic business leaders) also suggested questions for reflection at the end of each chapter as a way of making the book useful for small group study. It was a great idea, and helps people relate ideas in the book to their own experiences.
DONNA-MARIE: What type of readership do you have so far? Are women reading this book too?
KEVIN: Yes, thanks be to God! The book is really intended for anyone who does any work whatsoever, even if there’s no paycheck involved – like Kathi, a full-time mom. Lots of women have given me great feedback, and said the book was directly relevant to them. A couple were surprised, they thought it was just for people with paying jobs!
There are a lot of people who are buying the book as a gift for others – whether they be co-workers, family members, etc. Unfortunately, there are lots of people struggling with work these days. I hope and pray the book serves as a source of encouragement and hope.
DONNA-MARIE: Would you be able to share any part of the writing journey/process with us?
KEVIN: The journey was great! I had an outline, of course, and tried to focus on areas that would have the greatest impact on the lives of individuals. Then it was just a matter of coming up with illustrative stories – many based on my own mistakes! I figured Jesus used parables in the bible, so stories were the best way to discuss some of the concepts about how to practically integrate faith and work.
In an attempt to honor my family, I would frequently write in the midst of the chaos of our family room in order to be accessible to Kathi and the kids. It took some getting used to, but worked out well. I had fun with it too.
DONNA-MARIE: Sounds like you had an interesting journey writing! Are you getting any feedback on the book?
KEVIN: Yes, it has been overwhelmingly positive. I spoke with one gentleman who had been in police work for many years, and who spoke about the healing he had experienced through reading the book. It was amazing to me – although I recognize this as the work of the Holy Spirit. The book is just the instrument.
DONNA-MARIE: Thank you very much for all of this. Finally, Kevin, where can we get your book?
KEVIN: Signed copies can be ordered through my website, http://gratefulconvert.com/ with free shipping (and a free copy of my conversion story in The Coming Home Network’s newsletter). There are also links at the site to order paperback or Kindle versions through Amazon. It can also be ordered directly from Our Sunday Visitor, the publisher, to whom I owe a great debt of gratitude! Their website is http://www.osv.com/
Thanks so much, I pray the book is a blessing to all those who read it!
DONNA-MARIE: Thank you very much, Kevin. I'm sure it will.
I am including additional helpful information here:
Trailer for Faith at Work (by Kevin's son T.J. and his classmates at Franciscan U., Scott Lenahan and Joseph Houde) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P7D1OmSagD0&feature=share
FoxNews.com interview - http://video.foxnews.com/v/1573787293001/is-there-an-appropriate-way-to-show-your-faith-at-work
April 2 Journey Home episode - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=In3Dy9-6ziw&feature=player_embedded
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Monday, April 16, 2012
DONNA-MARIE: Karen, it is my pleasure to interview you about your latest work within the book Style, Sex, and Substance: 10 Catholic Women Consider the Things that Really Matter published by Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Company. The title alone sounds intriguing. Can you share with us how you got involved in this project?
KAREN: Thanks to Hallie Lord (whose alter-ego is the delightful Betty Beguiles) and to a terrific editor at Our Sunday Visitor, I was asked to weigh in with my thoughts on what it means to be a Catholic woman in the world today, and about what it means to strive for and maintain spiritual strength in our busy, sometimes chaotic lives.
DONNA-MARIE: Would you kindly share a bit about yourself and your background?
KAREN: I’m a wife, a mom, and a writer and I homeschool our three daughters (though our eldest is graduating this spring -- next year I’ll have only a high school junior and a fifth-grader.)
I am a convert to the Catholic faith. I once thought I'd be a lifelong atheist but then I became desperately unhappy, read up on philosophy and various religions (while assiduously avoiding Christianity), and waited for something to make sense. I was initially appalled when Christianity began to look like the sensible thing, surprised when I wanted to be baptized, and stunned that I ended up a Catholic. But I wouldn't change a bit of it. Life is happier and makes far more sense than it ever did before.
DONNA-MARIE: Our Church is so blessed to have you, Karen. How did you decide what type of chapter you'd write for this book?
KAREN: Hallie had a clear vision for the book and there were specific topics she wanted to cover. I was asked to zero in on spiritual strength, prayer, and the sacraments, but how I wanted to do that, and what I really wanted to say about them was left up to me.
DONNA-MARIE: Have you received any feedback about this book?
KAREN: People love it! The reactions I hear the most are: smart, fun and funny, real, meaty, and helpful.
DONNA-MARIE: That’s great. What are your hopes for this book, Karen?
KAREN: I hope that women (and men!) will laugh, identify (okay, not the men on that one), pick up new ideas, feel less alone, feel strengthened, and will be encouraged to be themselves and to find themselves in Christ.
DONNA-MARIE: What wonderful hopes! Is there anything else you'd like to tell us about this book?
KAREN: I admire every individual who contributed to this book but when you round all these women up to create a single package, they pack a powerful wallop. I feel privileged to be a part of such a terrific project. (And no, I didn’t actually mean to create that much alliteration.)
DONNA-MARIE: Finally, Karen, where can we get this book?
KAREN: From the publisher -- Our Sunday Visitor (www.osv.com) -- and from Catholic and Christian booksellers, and online booksellers, too. If your local store doesn’t carry it, ask them to get it for you!
DONNA-MARIE: Thank you very much, Karen. I hope this book inspires many!