Driven by Mission Not Geography

25 Sep

Kevin and ESince I began my position at Feed The Children last year, the number one question I’ve gotten around our Oklahoma headquarters is, “When are you buying a house in Oklahoma?”

(Feed The Children’s international headquarters is in Oklahoma City, OK).

Currently, my wife and I own a home in the Washington, DC area and have a apartment in Oklahoma City. We consider ourselves people who live in both places. If you look at my monthly calendar you’ll notice large chunks of time spent in both places. Feed The Children opened an office in DC this year.

The Washington DC area is where my wife, Elizabeth and I were employed and living before the FTC opportunity came to us. It is the city that we both have many professional and personal connections that are of benefit to furthering the mission of FTC. Washington DC is not only home of the US capital but is widely recognized in the non-profit industry as the NGO capital as well. When I set my agenda and goals for my first year, I felt it was very important for FTC to have a physical and personnel presence in DC as we seek to both be in step with our counterparts but also to grow our reach of influence.

I understand what they are getting at when the Oklahoma staff ask about home ownership, though. They want to know when they can be certain I’m all in– fully committed to Feed The Children. Owning a home in Oklahoma is perceived as a sign of my permanence at FTC.

But, what those closest to me could testify to is: I’ve been “all in” since day one. I love my job. And am so proud to be the CEO of Feed The Children.

With this said, the “being both” lifestyle is the best decision I feel not only for my family but for Feed The Children. There’s a much bigger story at play.

Our family is driven by mission not geography.

When Elizabeth and I sit down and plan our schedule for the upcoming weeks, we do so with one big picture question in mind. “Does this _____ fit our mission?”

While the headquarters in Oklahoma is a very important part of the identity of FTC, I also recognize that FTC is an international organization. We have country offices all over the world. We have employees stationed all over the US. From the Philippines to Malawi to Tennessee and California, there are reasons for me to engage my physical presence in lots of different places.

To best understand the kind of visionary leader I need to be, I have to often physically get out into the field. I have to see the work with my own eyes. I have to be wherever our mission has already or might take us in the future. I can’t be in Oklahoma all the time and do my job well.

I want to do everything I can to ensure that no child around the globe goes to bed hungry.

And as I learn and lead, Oklahoma City and Washington DC then just become two of the many landing points my schedule might take me in the year.

Our family mission also includes things my wife feels called to as well. She’s a writer, a preacher and passionate nurturer of building community with folks all over the world. In the past year along with supporting my international travels with FTC, she’s found work both in Oklahoma and Washington DC as well as in places such as Tennessee, Georgia, and soon Hawaii.

We certainly know about how to find good deals on plane tickets.

Is this a traditional life? Is this a life I ever thought I would have? No and no.

But, because Elizabeth and I feel so called both to the mission of Feed The Children worldwide and also the mission of the global community we feel so naturally a part of right now, this is our life.

It’s not easy living this kind of life. Some days I can’t remember where I left my favorite brown belt. Some days I wake up and have to quickly remind myself where I am. Some days I think it would be easier if we just lived in one place. Then I remember our mission and I know I’m in exactly the right place.

The wide world is truly our home. And this includes Oklahoma too.


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