We are super excited to have Tiffany Clark joining us in Indy. I met Tiffany when I served as a pastor at Green Lake Presbyterian Church and she was a college student at the University of Washington. We reconnected a couple of weeks ago when she bought a painting at Jackie’s Big Art Sale and had a great talk on the phone. As she shared her gifts and passions I went out on a limb and invited her to join the team going to Indy to launch Faith of a Mustard Seed. She’ll provide business and economic questions for this new social purpose business. As you read this interview, I think you will understand why!
Tell us something about yourself? What do you do? What are you passionate about?good at?
Let’s start with the easy question – as far as skills: I can still throw a frisbee with both hands and nearly always have one with me. My superpower is sitting with people and listening to their stories. There are very few people whose stories don’t fascinate me and I am fortunate that most of my adult worklife has been about listening to people’s stories and finding places of connection. I am currently both an MBA student and have been in my industry for 18 years. As far as passion, I believe in understanding that each of us reflects a different piece of God’s infinity. We ought to be curious about people in our path because they reflect pieces of God that are foreign to us. I don’t care how well you know a person, if you can’t be awed by the way they are uniquely created, you are missing out. We each bear God’s image differently So, unless we are curious about each other, we miss an opportunity that is bigger than just this moment. We miss that small piece of eternity in our path. We miss that piece of our Creator. To borrow a phrase from C.S. Lewis – each of us is ultimately an immortal horror or everlasting splendour and it is a gift to walk together.
How did you get connected to the F.O.M. project? What do you hope to bring to the project?
I am still learning about the project but Jason and I were visiting after Jackie’s art show and the project reminds me of other projects I’ve gotten to be a part of over the years. I have ended up with different connections to Indy over the years – some of them surprising! And I look forward to having a better answer to this in the future.
What challenges do you see as a business leader thinking through economic development and biblical perspective?
Before I answer this, let me just say that along with the challenges I see a hope for waste places to be rebuilt in families and communities. I see a hope that conversations about economic identity and community development can happen without fear or apathy. We are not in those times and that challenge is huge but let me explain a little more.
Often when we start talking about the Bible and economics, people shutdown. So much of the decay and fear we see in our cities and in our culture revolves around economic identity. Historically, those with resources and power have been the ones to write history, to build cities, to decide whose voice matters. The ideals that are upheld outside the church are of wealth, power and privilege. In the church, you see a lot of confusion. We fund and run our churches through those things but aren’t those things bad? As a church, we repent of racial injustice. We repent for condoning abuse. We repent for not loving our brothers and sisters as we ought. But do we repent of our economic sin? The way we use our resources in our communities against our brothers and sisters and stir up strife? The way we use resources to hold family members hostage or to win people to our side?
As a business leader, I long for the day when communities are built because we see the different gifts that individuals bring and we form business and community to rebuild cities and families by knowing each other’s gifts in a way that allows glory to shine through the work of their hands. I long for a day when rather than seeing each other as threats, we can see an opportunity to build fuller and more vibrant businesses because we have been built up and encouraged by the gifts of others. I long for a day when businesses in our cities are woven into the fabric of our communities in ways that stick – reflecting the hands and feet of Jesus and pulling each other along by loving each other well.
Tell us more about how you hope to change business in the future.
This is a really fun time to be in business. There are conversations being had that have been decades if not centuries in the making. When I started my MBA my goal was to change the way economic identity is discussed today. Eighteen years into a career I never could have imagined, I find myself believing that business can be done differently. Through my studies, I’ve had the opportunity to listen to the stories for quite a few start-ups and companies that are working to develop their identity and change business. I’ve met founders who changed the ways they did business by acknowledging the humanity in their people after decades and I’ve seen really powerful people lose their privilege overnight. My hope for the future is to enable people to have better conversations about the fears and burdens of economic identity so that they can make better decisions. Ultimately if we are driven solely by our fears or limitations, it will be impossible to thrive. More than anything, it is living in a way that allows others to thrive which I hope to bring to business in the future.