I have had parties for this company for years and was so excited to see that she and her husband have decided to serve a Mission for our church.
Jeff and I have always hoped that some day we too can serve a mission together.
My mission as a young 21 year girl was one of the greatest decisions in my life and truly the Turning Point in my life. Jeff served too and felt the same.
I realized as I served my Heavenly Father, and was a Witness and Representative for Jesus Christ ...that that is exactly what life is all about. Loving and serving others and staying close to my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. It has made me happier than I ever could have imagined.
So I am so happy for the Gardners to have this chance to serve. It will be something that they, their children and grandchildren remember! It was effect generations to come...for good.
CEO of multimillion-dollar company steps down to serve mission with husband
Two weeks ago, Utah-based Stampin’ Up! CEO and co-founder Shelli Gardner stood in the center of a well-lit stage in Orlando, Florida. She’s broken news to their independent demonstrators many times during the company’s 27-year history, but this announcement was different.
This speech wasn’t about finances, compensations or product rollouts. For the company with revenues in the millions — as in, hundreds of millions — plus 450 employees and more than 40,000 demonstrators in 10 countries, this announcement was about something much more valuable.
With 1,600 in the audience and thousands more watching online, most of whom are not members of their faith, Gardner revealed that she and her husband, Sterling, are stepping down from the company to step up to a full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
They’ve been called to the Hawaii Honolulu Mission and report to the Missionary Training Center on March 23.
I spoke the next day at this same conference in Orlando and I asked the Gardners why they chose such a public forum for a personal announcement. “This was always the plan,” Shelli said. “We decided that we wanted to tell our leadership base first. If they found out later, or from someone else, they might have been hurt or nervous about the company. But we’re a family. And if you didn’t tell your family first that you were leaving for a mission, their feelings would be hurt. So the same is true with the company.”
Her husband agreed. “We want people to be a part of this. We want them to know why we’re doing it and that we’re excited to serve the Lord. Maybe we can plant some seeds and they’ll become curious, ask questions.”
Though many might have been shocked by the choice to step away from the company she co-founded with her sister almost three decades ago, the decision was a long time coming. “We’d always said someday we’d go,” her husband offered, “but we weren’t specific about what ‘someday’ meant.”
Then a church conference turned “someday” into a real date on the calendar. “Our leaders have really emphasized the need for senior married couples. We were told to feel some urgency and go as soon as we were able. So, I wrote early 2015 on the calendar,” Shelli said and then laughed. “I’ll be honest. I didn’t think it would come so quickly.”
When our conversation turned to their other family, the children and grandchildren they will leave behind, the Gardners didn’t stamp over their feelings. “Yes, we will miss our family, of course. I even cried in sacrament meeting this week sitting next to one of my grandchildren singing the songs. But we know it’s only a short time and we want to be busy, focused and serve the best we can.”
Sterling, the more quiet and reserved of the two, became emotional thinking of those who will remain home while they labor for the Lord. “Aw,” Shelli said, “I have a tender soul sitting next to me.”
He quipped, “just allergies.”
The Gardners are confident the company will be in great hands. Their daughter, Sara Douglass, will take a more prominent role during their absence. “She and our corporate team have known for years we were going sometime. And Sara has been around the company since she was very young. She’s grown up with it.”
Those familiar with the company know that Shelli suffered a serious horse riding accident in 2013 where she fractured her wrist, sacrum, pelvis and collarbone. But the painful experience became a critical learning opportunity and reminded the couple what a powerful team they had around them. “It was such an eye opener,” Shelli said. “It was the turning point that proved we could go. Everyone stepped up.”
“As important as we think we are,” Sterling added, “we learned others can handle things just as well, even better.”
The couple spoke freely about their faith that the Lord will bless their family while they’re away, at the same time acknowledging not everything will be perfect. “It won’t all be hunky dory at home. Maybe the business won’t go as planned. But we know that if we live by faith, and do as we’re asked, it all turns out in the end.”
Even if everything fell apart while they were gone, they believe good comes from difficult situations. “We’re not naïve. Some people leave and serve missions and things go wrong. So they come home and start over.”
And that’s exactly what the Gardners would do.
When offered an opportunity to give advice to senior couples still deciding whether to serve, they counsel to push the envelope.
“Have faith,” Sterling said. “Serve. Learn. Do. Set the date and let people know. It commits you. Once you make that commitment, just get it done.”
Shelli added an energetic ending. “Jump!” She sounded like she was standing back on stage in Orlando with bright lights and anxious eyes on her. “Just do it.”
And what will happen after they jump, just do it and return home to their family?
They’ll take a breath, briefly return to the stage and do it all again.
found the article HERE:
Good Night dear friends!
Good Night dear friends!
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