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Telling Your Story – by Abby Tisdale

Telling your story…

As a first semester MBA student, I was eager to find a way to make my mark on the program. On the first day of orientation – with our jitters, smiles, sweat and all – Dr. Jason MacGregor stopped by to promote the Baylor Missions London Spring Break trip. He enticed us with, “Learn how to tell your story, by helping someone else tell theirs.” Isn’t that what I was trying to do as an MBA student? Learn to build and tell my professional story?

In the first brainstorming meeting with Dr. MacGregor, he asked me, “What does success on this trip look like for you?”

To be honest, even as someone who grew up in the church, participated in missions, and even worked multiple summers at a Christian camp, I still wasn’t completely sure. This was a new call to take my professional business skills and use them for mission work. Talking through my aspirations to work in branding and my experience completing my senior capstone project at Trinity University creating a crisis communication manual for a Fortune 500 company, Dr. MacGregor looked at me and said, “Would you consider yourself an expert on crisis management?”

Starry eyed and dumbfounded, I laughed and said, “Well, I spent at least over 140 hours in research and who knows how many more creating the manual, but I wouldn’t say that I’m an expert…”

Deciding to ignore my insecurity and self-deprecation, he said, “Let’s plan a seminar for young professionals who need help with different business problems in their non-profit start-ups.”

My ears perked up and my London experience began right then and there – in Waco, Texas. We would be working with Paul Unsworth, the Pastor and CEO of Kahaila. Paul started Kahaila when he realized that since Christ meets us where we are, so why not meet the people of London where they are? Turns out, on Sunday mornings, they were all at a market on Brick Lane Street. So, he decided to open a coffee shop there and hold church.

Wanting to live up to Paul’s incredible church base with young professionals starting their own mission-driven businesses, I imagined this grand seminar with 30-40 young professionals who were all looking to me to lead them in a workshop to further their business skills.  After we met Paul, the Lord quickly reminded me that the purpose of this trip was for me to go and use my expertise to serve humbly, not gloat about my past accomplishments. Paul encouraged me to plan an evening workshop that would serve 15-20 people; we could provide a meal and topical discussions for the attendees to ask specific questions.

This was far from my original picture of the event, but the Lord exceeded my expectations. After planning, touring, and eating my way through the first four days of the trip, the evening was finally here. We had 15 guests join us for dinner. During dinner, they rotated tables between each course. Several of our Baylor Missions team members helped set up, welcome guests, and serve the food while Maria Morales-Menendez, Dr. MacGregor, and I lead the table discussions.

It was humbling to hear about what all the young professionals were looking to accomplish with their non-profit ideas. In fact, I was so nervous to begin to teach them, I could not even eat my own meal throughout the evening. This is a huge deal if you are at all familiar with my habit of constantly eating. However, at the end of the evening, we received incredible feedback from the attendees with one of the only critiques being that they wished they had had more time.

Now, I am sure you are wondering, “Well, did you pay attention to the mass amount of history, architecture, and food surrounding you?” Of course! Although four to five days were spent solely in a coffee shop, we were blessed to have experienced a more authentic London by traveling to places like Brick Lane market; all while maintaining a necessary amount of tourism (see our bright yellow rain jackets below!). The trip concluded in Edinburgh (pronounced Eh-din-ber-uhh, get it right), Scotland where it was 38 degrees and raining, but the city was so engaging that no one missed a beat. We even woke up to a fresh blanket of snow the morning of our departure.

Spending eight days across the globe with my team, which included MBA students, Baylor faculty, and one senior accounting student is a story that I am grateful for and excited to tell. I’m writing my story in the Baylor MBA program. What will be yours?

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