Monday, April 27, 2009

Executive Office Tells All


I am so excited to introduce myself today and share a little bit with all of you! My name is Cassidy Carlgren, I have been Nancy Alcorn’s Executive Assistant at Mercy Ministries for almost four years now. Before I talk about my role at Mercy, I’d love to tell you a little about myself…

I was born and raised in Hutchinson, Kansas. I invited Jesus into my life when I was five years old. It was my grandma who led me to the Lord. (My grandparents had been missionaries in Europe. They had a Bible School in Rome, Italy, and my grandfather pioneered bringing Christian television to Europe.) Ever since I was a little girl, I have had a heart for ministry. I also loved playing office – I remember getting office supplies for Christmas one year and was so excited. All of that to say, I knew from a very young age that I wanted to work “on the business side of a ministry” when I grew up! I knew I wanted to work in a place where lives were being saved and changed for eternity – somewhere I could use my skills in business and administration to support something much greater.

I met my husband, Jerrod, in college, and we were married the summer after our sophomore year. We moved to Nashville in 2004 after graduating from Evangel University in Springfield, MO. I graduated from college with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (I double majored in marketing and management), and like most college graduates, I was excited to find my dream job! I put my resume in at Mercy Ministries and several other ministry organizations. I got a job as a staff accountant with a privately owned company as I waited for other doors to open. Exactly one year later, in August of 2005, I got a call from Mercy Ministries and began the job application process. I was hired in September, and it has been such an amazing journey thus far.

As Mercy Ministries has homes in the U.S. and in five other nations, and is growing rapidly, my position quickly became too much for one person to manage…and that’s where Katelyn comes in…

Hi!! What an awesome journey my life has been that has led me to Mercy! I grew up in Amarillo, Texas with my parents and two older (and very protective) brothers. I was raised in a Christian family and gave my life to the Lord when I was eight years old. However, as many teens do, I lived my life the way I wanted to up until I was 17. It was then that I realized I had a heart for ministry. Although I didn’t know what that was going to look like, I knew that I had a heart for helping people and leading them to the saving power of Christ. After high school, I moved to Austin, Texas where I lived and went to school for three years, and then graduated from Texas State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology in May 2007. While I was living in Austin, my parents made the move from Amarillo to Nashville, Tennessee to be closer to the grandkids (my two nieces). Since they had moved to Nashville, I began to visit more, and honestly, I didn’t like it. I loved Austin! I used to tell people that I would never live in Nashville, I would never live in the same town as my parents (we were raised to be very independent children), and I would never live with my parents again. However, God had a different plan.

Soon after graduation, with no doors opening in Austin to pursue a job, I moved to Nashville to pursue event planning. Ministry was always something I thought I would do with my husband, not as a single woman. After several interviews, my mom (better known at Mercy in Nashville as the “Cake Lady” because she makes all of the residents of our Nashville home a birthday cake on their birthday) would not stop begging me to send in my resume to Mercy Ministries. Long story short, to appease my mother I sent in my resume and actually heard back right away. I had three interviews the following day (Friday) and was hired on Monday as the receptionist in July 2007. After working as the receptionist for six months, I was asked if I would be interested in interviewing for a position in the Executive Office. I was thrilled!! I knew it was the right fit, and after meeting with the leadership team, we began to move forward. It has now been 15 months since I started working in the Executive Office alongside Cassidy and Nancy, and it has been amazing and so fulfilling. I have truly learned just how much God knows me better than I know myself. He has already begun fulfilling the desire of being in ministry and being part of helping people find freedom through the power of Christ.

(Cassidy and Katelyn) -
It has been such an honor and an incredible opportunity to work alongside Nancy. As her Executive Assistants, our responsibilities vary from day to day and no day is the same as the last! Together, we oversee her travel and speaking schedule (and all the many details that encompasses), as well as scheduling most of her appointments when she is in town. We help her manage and keep up with most of her correspondence – including mail, email, and phone messages – which can sometimes be a full-time job in and of itself.

I (Cassidy) work closely with our Marketing and Development team and help oversee most ministry communication including mail-outs, publications, websites, lots of editing, and so on! Since Nancy travels ½ to ¾ of the year (depending on her schedule each year), I am also the point person who takes her calls, wherever she is in the world, ready to help with whatever question or need arises – and I can assure you it is a waste of time to try to guess because I never know what will come up!! Nancy is a cutting edge visionary leader who believes strongly in meeting needs on an individual basis – and that requires creativity and being led by the Holy Spirit on a daily basis.

Katelyn and I have come up with what we call our Executive Office Motto – “Making the impossible possible all over the world…and usually last minute!!”

To elaborate, we thought we would include a funny, yet informative list of some of Nancy’s quirks and preferences…
  1. Even though Nancy’s title is Founder and President, her dog Jude is the one who really runs the show. ☺ He loves to spend a day in the office with Nancy – upon his arrival, he demands a treat and cup of water before any work begins. Once he is satisfied, he takes a nap while everything else is business as usual. However, the minute Nancy tries to leave her office, Jude roams the floor looking for her until she returns.
  2. When flying Nancy prefers an aisle seat closest to the front (but not a bulkhead row because she likes to have her stuff under the seat in front of her and not up above…..don’t we all?!?!?!?)
  3. When either of us travel with her, we don’t allow her to carry her own boarding pass through the airport….she is most likely to misplace it (along with her wallet, her glasses, and/or her Blackberry). ☺
  4. When talking to Nancy, never use pronouns (such as she, he, her, or him) when referring to someone – always use their name – make every effort to get to the point and eliminate confusion in communication.
  5. The smell of gum or mint makes her nauseous….
  6. Nancy has a mind like a steel trap – she never forgets. Often we will be asked to find an email from years ago – for example, “Hey, I need you to find that email from that lady back in 2004 - I think it was in November - and she said something about a girl needing help.”
  7. Stray hairs gross her out…
  8. She prefers for the office blinds to be open all the way.
  9. Clutter stresses her out, yet she has a hard time throwing anything away.
  10. One of Nancy’s nicknames is “Eagle eye” because she never fails to notice something that needs to be fixed or is out of place (i.e. a burnt out light bulb, a dying tree on the property, or a picture on the wall that is crooked).
  11. Another one of her nicknames is “camel” because she drinks SOOO much water. (She’s actually a great example in this area. ☺)
  12. I (Katelyn) am known as Nancy’s race car driver because she is usually running late to make the bag cutoff at the airport, and I often find myself weaving in and out of traffic to make sure she gets to the airport on time and praying that her flight is delayed just enough, but not so long that she misses her connecting flight. We actually know many of the skycaps at the Nashville airport by name….shout out to Charles who is always a great help when we are running late!!
  13. Jude often rides with us to the airport. This is a love / hate situation for him – he loves going to pick Nancy up, but he hates saying goodbye and will pout, refuse to make eye contact, and refuse a goodbye kiss. It’s quite comical!
In all seriousness, it is an absolute honor to be even a small part of the magnitude of ministry that happens through Mercy Ministries. On a daily basis, all over the world, the ministry that goes on inside our homes and also outside our walls through Nancy speaking, our graduates sharing their testimonies, our books, our internet outreach, and all the other ways that lives are touched through Mercy Ministries is incredible and it is nothing short of a privilege to be a part.
Mercy Ministries operates with a high standard of excellence. We have each grown so much personally in our time at Mercy in the areas of faith, excellence, character, integrity, generosity, efficiency, and communication. Although we work very hard, we know that we have a part in the lives that are being saved and transformed every day through Mercy Ministries.

Stay tuned….on Wednesday, you will be hearing from one of Nancy’s closest friends in ministry, Christine Caine – you won’t want to miss what she has to share!


Van Wynsberg said...

This was really fun to read! :)

Dawn Vaculik said...

That was so much fun to read!! We all know it takes tons of effort behind the scene to accomplish such a top notch ministry. Thanking God for Nancy, but also for her wonderful team of ladies. Oh and of course Jude. :)

Ali Davis said...

cassidy & katelyn, you girls are FUNNY! it was great to meet you when i was in nashville last month, and you're just as funny in person! it's amazing how different your stories are, yet how similar, as well. thanks for sharing about yourselves with us, and for sharing nancy's "quirks and preferences." and having met jude, i can SO attest to his pouting!

Candace said...

Aww...Jude sounds like my aunt's cat Joi. When Joi has to be boarded, she refuses any eye contact or comfort, but when she gets picked up, she has a lot to say.

I do say, that Nancy sounds like an interesting person and so do you two.

KateyKat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
~Scot, Lisa, and Timmy said...

I so enjoyed reading about Nancy's quirks. It made me laugh. I can relate to the "camel" remark because I also drink a lot of water. It was also nice to read about the y'all. Nancy has such wonderful ladies working a long side her. Blessings to you all!

KateyKat said...

Nice to learn about Cassidy and Katelyn. And all the little odd/interesting/fun things about Nancy. Great to read! Needed it today (head all wrapped up measuring seizures) Reading about "Nancy's baby" Jude made me miss Mercy a little more. Of course I miss some of the people but those dogs..can sure lift a mood on a dark day rather quickly.

Tricia Oler said...

As one of Nancy's newbee airport runners, I can attest to Katelyn's mad driving skills!

Tamara said...

loved it!!! oh how i miss you all, including the jude man!