Woman, Mother, Servant Leader
From a Middle East bomb shelter to the founder of non-profit Purposeful Living, Inc., Nadine McGowan shares an incredible story in Woman, Mother, Servant Leader.
I’m in awe of her resiliency and steadfast trust in God. Not only is she completely inspiring, but it was also easy to see how she leads. From the heart while simultaneously focused on listening to God and fulfilling His purpose through her work.
Nadine was born and raised in the Middle East. Lebanon more specifically.
Ever since I was born, there has been a war. I remember being an 8-year-old and sitting with my cousins in a bomb shelter. In fact, I spent a lot of my childhood sitting in bomb shelters. This particular time though, I remember we were playing a guessing game of where the bomb would land. This was normal.
Can you even imagine? I know I for one, cannot.
However, at the age of 10, Nadine, her two younger siblings, and her parents moved to the United States. First to Long Island, NY and eventually to the Detroit, MI area.
10-year-old kids can be cruel, and I didn’t want to be the weird kid. Therefore, I learned English very quickly in my efforts to fit in.
She now embraces the weird. Without a doubt, it’s given her a different perspective on diversity than most. Moreover, Nadine has a grateful heart. As a result, finds herself encouraging her own son to be kind to others who are different.
Enjoy Nadine’s inspiring journey of faith, hope, and purpose in Woman, Mother, Servant Leader.
CUTCO SALES EXECUTIVE
Even though Nadine’s degree was in elementary education, upon student teaching she had an epiphany. Frankly, her heart wasn’t in it.
On the other hand, she was selling Cutco knives to put herself through college and loved it. Through Vector Marketing and a combination of sales and leadership roles, she felt at home.
I did really well at Cutco. They saw, in particular, the leadership in me and while still in college, I was promoted to run a branch office. Crazy, right? I then took on the District Manager role and trained college students. Teaching and coaching, but in a entirely different manner than I ever imagined.
The district manager role brought her from Detroit to Indianapolis, IN. While in pursuit of establishing her own community in a new city, she became a Christian.
Before, religion was just a checkmark for me. However, as I plugged more and more into the community of faith, my questions started changing. What was the impact I was going to have on this world? How could I be of service and help? I was studying scripture and could feel myself changing.
Nadine and her husband, Jim, were married in 2008. Along with Nadine, Jim was also employed by Cutco.
We wanted to start our family and embarked on infertility struggles. Simultaneously, I was changing as a person. Spiritually, mentally, even professionally and that was confusing for some, including my work family. Ultimately, I decided to leave Cutco and a week after I did, we got pregnant.
Their son, Josiah, was born in 2013.
Nadine describes herself pre-motherhood as busy, driven, self-focused, but with a servant’s heart hidden underneath.
Nonetheless, after motherhood she discovered her servant leader’s heart was the hidden tool.
I began coaching people. Initially, it was previous co-workers who wanted advice. However, I began to feel called to coach full-time. Bringing my business to life shifted me. Specifically, I had a deep desire to work with women.
MISSION TRIP- SERVANT LEADER
On a mission trip to South Africa, everything seemed to come into focus for Nadine.
Here I am on a mission trip to South Africa to help and serve these women. However, I couldn’t help but notice even with superficially nothing, the women in Africa seemed happy. I’m coaching women back in the United States who have successful careers and seemingly everything they could want, yet they were miserable. It didn’t add up.
Nadine began to think about the differences and landed on this:
We have become a completely isolated culture. The women I worked with were unhappy because they lacked community. Women desperately wanted to be supported by other women. To know they aren’t alone. To hear, “I support you. I believe in you.”
And as they say, the rest is history.
It should be noted, there was still a lot of work to be done and plans to figure out. Arguably, this is still happening for Nadine and her team. Even so, the premise for Purposeful Living, Inc. was born in this moment of clarity.
PURPOSEFUL LIVING, INC.
The Africa mission trip was in October of 2015. Purposeful Living, Inc., however, didn’t launch until January of 2017. Consequently, the 15 months between were spent in prayer, visioning, talking to people, and allowing God’s hand to guide her servant leader’s heart.
I came back from Africa and just wanted to give coaching away. We’re such an isolated culture and once I came into the realization of what was missing, my servant leader heart wanted to act. As I described my thoughts, someone said, “this sounds like a non-profit.” That definitely seemed like the next right thing, so I started down the path.
The vision became providing authentic community. Creating a girl posse even. Through a business coach and consultant, Nadine knew she wanted a faith-based organization to support the modern woman.
We define the modern woman as the woman who looks like she has it all together, but behind closed doors she’s hurting, searching, or lonely. We’re here to talk about real things with real women. To heal, to grow, to inspire, encourage, and empower women to be who they were created to be.
Nadine’s key steps to founding a non-profit:
First, trusting what God was putting in her heart through prayer.
Second, stepping down from other volunteer obligations.
Finally, putting an effective board in place.
I prayed so hard on the board. In fact, it ended up being key because it served as accountability for me. Someone to report to. The wisdom and council they provided was invaluable. Effectively, showing me the benefits of surrounding yourself with the right people and how results come.
Nadine dove in headfirst. The first fundraising conference raised $17,000. There were 125 ladies in attendance in the rain!
Women were hungry for a purpose and to serve. It was amazing and simultaneously overwhelming. Our first-year goal was to serve 50 women through coaching. Conversely, we served 307. I just continued to lead us to the next right thing. It was overwhelming to keep up. Our biggest challenge was understanding exactly who we served and how.
Nadine continued to pray on this. Feeling as though God would give her the answer in a “here’s the next right thing” manner. Starting with events, then workshops, then bringing on and training volunteer coaches, and eventually groups.
It took about two years for us to decide who we are and who we are not. Big picture, I just keep envisioning 100s of thousands of women dressed in glowing white, linking arms together sharing in community and faith.
Whether your goal is starting a non-profit like Nadine or venturing into business for yourself, I asked Nadine for words of wisdom in tackling what may seem like an impossible endeavor.
Try to figure out early what you do and what you don’t do. As I look back, figuring that out earlier on would have saved some time and effort. What do you do and for whom? What is your mission? Make this as simple as possible and you’ll be more effective.
What’s next for Purposeful Living, Inc.?
Being a culture shifter. We want to reach the unreachable. Women who are at home depressed. Lost in their day to day, we want to reach them.
Because of Nadine’s tumultuous upbringing in a war-torn country, she recognizes her desire for safety and stability. In addition, she has a strong sense of fighting against entitlement. Whether consciously or not, these traits have found their way into what Nadine has created in Purposeful Living, Inc.
We believe in authentic love and support. Moreover, support without strings attached.
Purposeful Living, Inc. being the constant. The stability and safety for women when they may not feel this anywhere else in their lives.
SUMMARY- SERVANT LEADER
As Nadine began to evolve as a person, it was met with some resistance.
“What are you, trying to be Mother Teresa?”
Change comes with resistance whether it’s from within or from those surrounding us. Ultimately, Nadine followed her heart and put her trust in an unwavering faith in God.
Just do the next right thing.
Finally, I asked her best piece of advice in motherhood.
Don’t let your child’s choices define your identity. Allow theirs to be theirs. In fact, their decision doesn’t mean something about you. Women, especially, can get so caught up in feeling their children’s life choices reflect on them. Stay attuned into what they want and do your best not to force your own will upon them.
Nadine may have what some consider an unconventional path to get to where she is, but frankly, that’s the beauty. Actually, this servant leader’s journey made her who she is today and created a non-profit honoring everything she believes in.
Thank you, Nadine, for sharing your story with The Mom Huddle!
Connection is the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.
– Brene Brown
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