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Olivet recently hosted the 2013 Christian Business Faculty Association (CBFA) conference on campus. The three-day conference provided a time for encouragement and academic, professional and personal growth.

Dr. Don Daake, professor in Olivet’s Department of Business, served as the conference director. Attending were 175 participants and 30 guests, representing more than 30 universities or organizations. During the conference, more than 70 academic papers and presentations were made. Special speakers for the event were: Dr. John C. Bowling, president of Olivet; Ray Hilbert, CEO and co-founder of Truth@Work; and Martin Ozinga III, owner of the largest privately-owned, family-owned concrete company in the U.S.

Nearly 80 people attended the pre-conference workshop, which focused on “Management as a Liberal Art: Insights from Peter Drucker, Our Christian Faith and the Practice of Management.” Dr. Joseph Maciariello — the world’s foremost expert on the life and work of Peter Drucker — was a featured speaker. Other speakers included:

  • Gloria Nelund, former CEO of Duetsche Bank and considered one of Wall Street’s most successful and visible executives in international management industry
  • Dr. Al Erisman, executive in residence at Seattle Pacific University’s School of Business and Economics
  • Shundrawn Thomas, managing director and global head of the Exchange-Traded Funds Group for Northern Trust Global Investments
  • Steve Tourek, senior vice president and general counsel for The Marvin Companies

Insights from Christians in business

“As a woman in financial services, I was usually the only woman in the room,” Gloria Nelund said during her presentation. Yet, she knew that business was her calling and realized that “it’s not about money.” Her priorities shifted toward her understanding what she was to do in her life. That’s when she founded TriLinc Global, a private investment company serving stable, emerging markets.

Steve Tourek spoke about his journey through business and seeing the purpose in his own work. He recalled the ultimate “elevator speech” in his life: when a young woman told him that Jesus loved him. That was when he began to figure out his place and purpose.

“Business and law are part of God’s redemptive work in the world. Our purpose is to make the invisible kingdom of God visible,” he said.

He spoke of the adversity his company went through during the recession. In order to provide jobs, they abandoned profitability, yet still paid bills in full and on time. He sees work as “a spiritual event,” noting that a spiritual and economic crisis can occur during layoffs.

Affirmation of efforts

Dr. Daake received one of the four major awards presented by the CBFA at the conference. He is the 2013 recipient of the Barnabas Award for outstanding service to the organization.

“I want to acknowledge the entire Olivet community for its support to make this conference a success,” Dr. Daake said. “The cheerful, dedicated hard work of Tammy Galvan-Barnett made this conference a model and example for future CBFA conferences. We did and continue to receive many commendations from the members.”