Eve Annunziato

My Fabulous New Ministry Venture! August 12, 2010

Filed under: Leadership,Life and Leadership,Ministry,Missions — Eve Annunziato @ 6:12 pm

Dear Amazing and Wonderful Friends and Family,

I have some very exciting news to tell you about concerning my next chapter of ministry.  In one week I’ll be joining the team at Mercy Ministries.  I have the blessing of Pastor Pete and the entire Cross Point Leadership Team as they are supporting God’s next calling on my new journey!

For those who are not familiar – yet 😉  Mercy Ministries  is a non-profit  Christian based rehabilitation center for girls ages 13-28 suffering from physical and sexual abuse, sex trafficking, unplanned pregnancies usually from rape or incest, and many other sad situations.  I start Aug. 18 on their Management Team as Church Relations Director.  I’m thrilled and joy-filled about my next ministry trek.

Although I’m extremely honored about this venture, I am quite sad to leave my CP staff family.  In addition,  I will certainly miss leading a terrific Family Experience Worship Service (FX LIVE) and working with my awesome volunteers on a daily basis!   I’ve been so humbled and privileged to take part in helping to teach the precious hearts of our children and helping to bring kids and parents together to worship God and learn about His word.  I will continue to participate as a volunteer leader for FX and fight for this mission that I’m still immensely passionate about.  Consequently, this is not good-bye to CP as I’ll continue to go wherever and do whatever they need.  In my heart, CP is the best church to serve on the planet 🙂  Charlie will continue to serve on the CP Elder Board for many more years. Additionally, he’ll continue to be the FX Host each month at our Bellevue campus, therefore, we get to serve together as a family which always makes my heart smile as Oharah would say!  

We’ve been at this wonderful community since day one and I plan to have that place hold my funeral  – 50 years from now!  In other words, CP  can’t get rid of me that easily 🙂

In the meantime, continue to lift me up in prayer during this transition.

Much love and many blessings to all!

 

Can You Relate? January 4, 2009

On our way home from our annual Christmas trip to the Smoky Mountains (started this year!) while we were singing Christmas carols for three hours at the top of our lungs, I asked my typical question: “What was your favorite part of our trip?”   I expected my daughter to say visiting the aquarium, swimming in the heated pool, attending a show, shopping at one of three outlet malls (oh, wait, that was my fave!), eating the great food, or walking through the streets amongst the sea of beautiful Christmas lights. Instead, her response was, “Being with my family!”   She proceeded to elaborate – “When I was a little kid (as if she were no longer little), I had a dream of a mommy named Eve, a daddy named Charlie, and a brother named Gentry – and they all looked like you.  When I grew-up my prayers came true!”

It occurred to me that my 4-year old daughter gets it.  Even Oharah’s teacher told us she’s often the class leader befriending everyone along the way.  She understands the key to great leadership; management via relationship – what I consider MOST IMPORTANT!  If you don’t put the people you lead before your purpose, you’re not leading to your fullest potential.  It took me a while to learn this vital lesson, after I failed, failed, and then failed some more.

When asked by a very successful businesswoman and volunteer coordinator at my recent Team Building workshop, “Why should I get to know my team members?  Aren’t I supposed to send out schedules, make reminder calls, and organize my teams, only?” This is a common misconception and a popular reaction.  We spent 20 minutes on this discussion, but to sum up my response, leaders can’t afford to get caught up in administrative tasks.  You’re most effective when you have time to encourage, support, shepherd, connect, vision-cast, and interact.  This builds trust, loyalty and community among those whom you’re leading and you.

It’s seems insignificant, maybe even unimportant, but it’s the best part of the job.  Recently, I had lunch with four of my female team leaders.  We never talked “shop.”  Instead, we had in-depth conversations about marriage, kids, faith and life’s challenges.  I want my teammates to know that I first care about them and choose to do life with them.  Completing tasks are easier when they know their existence means something to the organization and me.  Here’s great news – it’s the best part of the job.  Forced leadership is overrated; building authentic relationships is much more inspirational, rewarding and fun!

If you feel relational leadership is over-hyped because it’s too “nurturing” and “feel good” and leading shouldn’t be about popularity, than frankly, you’re missing the point.  Unbeknownst to you, without it, you may unintentionally discourage, deflate, and dispirit workers. Take time to spend time with them and let them know they’re more than just a means to an end result.  No matter how much money you earn, how much power you possess, or what job title you obtain, if you’re missing this mark, you’re not where you COULD be.

By the way, the inquisitive volunteer and Company VP recently contacted me.  She started using this philosophy in her business, enjoying the relational part of her volunteer duties most of all and feeling more “helpful and fulfilled!”  In other words, she can relate, now can you?

 

Gifted To Lead PART 2 September 25, 2008

I could talk about this subject all day.  But instead, I’ll just dedicate one final post. As a refresher, we’re exploring the book by Author Nancy Beach called, Gifted to Lead, an inspiring and refreshing journey in which Nancy poignantly explores the art of leading as a woman (Men, don’t stop reading, this will help you manage, teach, lead, and understand the women in your world more). The following will resonate with women and men of influence:


“I believe it is no accident that Jesus was the first rabbi to teach women, to include them in his circles, to give them a level of dignity and opportunity that had been unknown.  We’re told in the eighth chapter of Luke that when Jesus traveled around, he went in a community that included the Twelve, along with women who, in some cases, came from pretty shady backgrounds.  Imagine in that day, a little group of men and women, mostly single, traveling together from town to town. Imagine the rumors and gossip!  Yet Jesus was so committed to creating a new kind of community where it was possible for men and women to relate to each other as brothers and sisters that he was courageously willing to run the risk.  And, so was born a new kind of community, where in Christ there was no longer male and female to stand as a barrier that divided humanity.”
John Ortberg, Forward in Gifted To Lead

Wow!  I love that.  This week a wise man pointed out that at the core of who we are, man and woman, we are the same.  Jesus looked directly into our heart, not our sex.  Leadership is an act of the spirit, an immense responsibility, an earned respect, a presence, a skill not to be taken for granted.  After all, on some level, whether mother, wife, employer, employee, volunteer, homeroom mom, community group facilitator, friend or daughter, we all lead in some capacity.  Embrace it, enjoy it, and accept it.

“I challenge all leaders – women and men – to discover their unique style of leadership and then to live it out with confidence and passion.  The church and our world need all kinds of leaders!  When I see a man lead a team by building strong community, or a woman who displays amazing skills of strategy or vision, I celebrate.  Being true to how God made us makes leadership less of a burden and more of a natural outpouring of how we function best.”  Nancy Beach, Gifted To Lead

I’ll leave you with that.  It will have to be all for now.  I have to sew a flag costume that includes a red, white, and blue wig for my son’s history project this week.  If you know me, I give you permission to laugh aloud.  Alas, it’s time for me to lead this costume making undertaking (Pray for me!).

 

Gifted To Lead Like It Or Not September 13, 2008

I remember it well.  It was our 8th grade end of the year assembly right before 4th period.  Time to hand out the scholastic and academic annual awards.  I got up three times to receive my Captain of the Field Hockey, Captain of the Basketball and Captain of the Lacrosse letters.  Then unbeknownst to me, Ms. Macklin, our athletic director, got up and announced that they had a special medal this year to one of the only female athletes to receive 3 Captain titles in the history of our middle school.  As she announced my name, I went up to receive my special award and when I turned around there he was.  My father was cheering from the back row standing and clapping (he was easy to spot, since he was the only person in the room standing and frankly I don’t even think he realized it or cared).   Surprised to see my dad, I ran up to him and gave him a big hug.  My dad never missed a game or an opportunity to encourage me.  Dad leaned over to me and said with a smile, “Eve, I don’t know what you’re going to decide do with your life, or all the places you’ll go, all I can tell you is, like it or not, you’re going to lead and people are going to follow.”

It was at that point I had my defining moment.  And from that instant on I set out to do just that – figure out how, what, and who to lead.   Sometimes liking it and sometimes not.  But, what my father neglected to tell me is that I was going to be one of the only women in my management circles.  He never warned me that the other department heads hanging out at “mahogany hall” weren’t going to look like me.  He didn’t elaborate that I was going to have to work smarter, try harder, and accomplish more than my male collogues while yearning for respect.  He didn’t share the stats that show women earn less money, get less important job titles and smaller office space (crazy isn’t it – but think about your work, do the men have bigger offices, better titles and more pay?).  And it never crossed my dad’s mind to make a list of setbacks that would befall me if, and when, I ever chose to start a family.  He didn’t advise me of the enormous challenges ahead whilst trying to balance being a wife, mother and employee that can sometimes result to even more gender hurdles, resistance, and loneliness. No, my father never put it that way. However, Author Nancy Beach poignantly illustrate this exact journey in her latest book, “Gifted To Lead: The Art Of Leading As A Woman In The Church.”  It’s inspiring, refreshing and filled with guidance, hope and truth coupled with Nancy’s passion and grace to help women navigate leadership roles in a man’s world.  Such experience from this pioneer, (that makes her sound too old) rather, this revolutionary woman of influence.   I’m going to spend some time unpacking her discoveries that will resonate with every leader – men leading other women leaders, women leading their household and/or the PTA or folks leading a team of any kind with her hard-earned wisdom such as:

“No mistake was made in heaven when God gave you a gift of leadership or teaching. …We must stop apologizing for our gifts and opportunities!  We are not taking up too much room if we are seeking to fulfill a God ordained calling – a calling which may just require us to get over ourselves, take a deep breath, and simply start leading.”

My dear friend, amazing leader and woman of influence presented this book as a gift with the following inscription:

“I love the leader that you are – encouraging, generous, selfless, humble, loving.”

Not quite sure I can live up to her kind words, but I’m going to work really hard trying. Sure, I’m going to fail along the way, and probably often. But no matter what, I’m going to follow my calling whether I like it or not.

 

Overreact & You Underachieve Part 2 June 16, 2008

Filed under: Leadership — Eve Annunziato @ 2:03 am

Last week we talked about the vast differences between reacting and responding to every life situation.  If we make a concerted effort to remain calm at all costs, especially when managing a team of people made up of very different personalities, we win.  In leadership, this can be a demanding exercise but worth the extra effort.   When the situation heats up, my challenge is for all of us to take a deep breath and try not to overreact.  This will prevent you from underachieving at home and at the work place. 

 

The person in my life that practices this discipline better than anyone I know is local TV meteorologist, Charlie Neese.  Charlie is a weatherman by day, but also a passionate public speaker who has dedicated many hours to teach leaders how to balance, prioritize, and live life to their fullest potential.  Charlie is also an amazing man of principle, wisdom and integrity and has dedicated his life to being an incredible father, husband, friend and professional.  I know first hand because I have the privilege to live with him as his wife! The following are Charlie’s words of insight from his own blog about the subject of responding with great honor:

Snow in Middle Tennessee is a rare treat so when it’s in the forecast, lots of people wait with bated breath for the first few snowflakes to fall.  Kids pray all night that they’ll be able to trade a ride on a school bus for a ride on a sled speeding down a hill   Folks in this region get very excited about the white stuff.  A few years ago, a forecast for snow didn’t quite pan out.  The next day, I had several e-mails waiting for me from disappointed viewers. But one was particularly harsh and personal.  It said, in part, that I was the worst meteorologist she had ever watched and she was never watching again! As I read, it made me angry. I started to fire back an e-mail, but then I stopped… I tried something different. I thought there must be a deeper issue; this woman was way too upset at me for what actually happened.  So, I decided to write back a note and told her that I, too, was disappointed with the missed forecast. I remembered how let down I felt as a child waiting all night for a snow that didn’t happen. Finally, I told her I appreciated her taking the time to write, whether good or bad, and that I hoped she would again one day give me and my forecasts a try.

Later that day, I received a note back. It was a note of apology. She thanked me for responding and went on to explain she was sorry for what she had written. She wrote a story of some very tough times she has been experiencing, and that she was just taking out her frustrations on me. Last, she told me that she would certainly watch again.

I learned a big lesson that day. What if I had reacted and fired back an angry note to her? Where would that have gotten me? I could have made the situation even worse. This is the way a lot of arguments with spouses start. Someone has a short fuse because of a bad day and then the other decides to overreact because of other frustrations. An argument escalates and by the end of it, you don’t even remember what you started arguing about in the first place. In the meantime, a lot of pain has ensued.  Sometimes it just takes stepping back and asking, “How can I respond in a composed and mature manner?”

So, watch out for those times when a situation seems completely out of proportion to the truth. There’s generally something else at work here. Try to remain calm and show a little grace. This could save you, especially in your close relationships, from some very hurtful and unnecessary arguments…

Thanks, Charlie, for talking the talk and walking the walk and for teaching me the lessons of grace you so commonly extend to me and our family. 

Friends, I hope you’ve enjoyed my husband’s thoughts.  You can check out more of what Charlie has to say about life balance, life lessons and leadership on my favorite blog at http://lifebarometer.wordpress.com

And, good news –   Charlie has generously offered to be my weekly summer guest blogger for the next few months, while I focus on an upcoming three month project.  I hope you enjoy reading more of what Charlie has to say – I know I’ll be tuned in!

 

Overreact and You Underachieve June 11, 2008

My daughter is quite spirited, head-strong and doesn’t appreciate the word, “No!”  Honestly, not a word I’m very good at accepting either.   I specifically recall an incident last year, in front of my girlfriend and her daughter, my then 3-year old had an absolute meltdown. There was screaming, crying, and a ton of drama

 

My response – remain calm, let her go, and ignore the big scene.  Once she finished her fit, I proceeded to explain to her in a low voice, that she made a poor decision.  I expressed to her I was disappointed and consequently she lost one week of gum privileges (it’s her favorite snack!).  Although disappointed, she stopped and began to apologize.  I obviously accepted.  Because I’m a bit of a softy, I informed her that when and if she started to make good decisions; she would then earn her privileges back.  Let’s just say, it took several days, but rest assured she was once again smacking on her “sugarless” gum before too long!

 

One of my friends who witnessed the entire situation was a little shocked.  A bit taken aback at my response to the embarrassing situation, she asked, “How can you be so laid-back with her?”  She exclaimed, “Don’t you ever loose your cool?”  Yes, I do, but I try REALLY HARD not to react and mimic that type of behavior.  Instead, I purposely respond composedly.  It’s not always easy, but reacting can make the situation worse.  If I did get excited and yell and scream, it would only fuel my strong-willed child’s fire.  Trust me I don’t ever want to justify that type of behavior.  

 

In the book, Scream Free Parenting, the author, Hal Edward Runkle, challenges all parents to transform their family dynamics:

 

“Every kid wants to have “cool” parents.  This does not mean parents hip to the latest styles, or parents with no rules whatsoever.  What every kid really wants are parents who are able to keep their cool no matter what.   Kids want parents to remain unflappable even when they flip out….  The ScreamFree way compels you to focus on yourself, grow yourself up, and calm yourself down.  By staying both calm and connected with your kids, you begin to operate less out of your deepest fears and more out of you highest principles, revolutionizing your relationships in the process.” 

 

There’s a huge difference between reacting and responding to every life situation.  I make a concerted effort when I deal with relationships personally and professionally to try and remain calm at all costs, especially when managing a team of people made up of very different personalities.  In leadership, this can be a challenging discipline but worth the extra effort.  Take a deep breath and try not to overreact.  This will prevent you from underachieving at home and at the work place.

 

 

 

My Leadership Crush Part 2 June 2, 2008

Filed under: Leadership — Eve Annunziato @ 1:03 am

Last week I made a public confession. I have a major crush; an affinity and admiration for any leader who possesses the virtue of humility – a rare find and not a feature I personally possess. I am drawn to people with authentic humility (aren’t we all) and I constantly aspire to embrace and acquire more of it as I grow as a leader.

The bible, what I consider the best-written guide for teaching and strengthening your leadership skills, puts it this way:

First pride, then the crash – the bigger the ego, the harder the fall. Proverbs 16:18 (The Message)

Leading a flock has a way of exposing the flaws of our own personal vanity. But learning the lesson that, “pride goes before destruction” can be a revolutionary discovery. If we can adopt a teachable spirit, we can begin to shift our management focus away from exalting our own successes, importance, accomplishments (or however we refer to our self promotion and security boosts). Trust me, everyone else embraces, expects, and celebrates your individual and unique gifts and skills. It’s why you are where you are and do what you do! I’ve learned (the hard way, of course) intentionally elevating team members channels motivation, confidence and wisdom to others. Promoting our own significance leads to stumbling.

“Focusing on glorifying God and meeting the needs of others gives us the perspective of the wise.” Dennis Fisher  Currently, we’re reading the C.S. Lewis Narnia Chronicles with my son, an allegory full of symbolism and positive life lessons. While focusing my effort to “teach” my 8-year old about effective human behavior, I myself am unpacking a ton. In “The Horse And His Boy” I was once again reminded of this illusion of arrogance. Bree, the intelligent horse, is condescending toward the main character, the young boy Shasta. Bree considers Shasta a “foul” and underprivileged kid well beneath himself. This self-proclaimed war-horse with great skill and courage gallops with conceit. Yet, when Bree hears the strong roar of the notable lion, Aslan, (considered the Christ character) he runs for the hills out of panic and ignorance. The horse was frightened and his failure, he soon admits, was a humbling experience. Yet Shasta, unafraid and in his unassuming fashion, proves his faith and courage therefore earning the respect of the tribe.

Proverbs advises that when pride comes, shame follows; yet when humility comes, wisdom follows. That’s the path I’m striving, earnestly, to pursue during my leadership trek.