This week, we have the pleasure of introducing you to Alana Walker Carpenter, founder and CEO of Intriciti.
Alana lives in Toronto with her husband and best friend, Kevin, and their four-year old son. Her passion is to inspire business leaders to integrate faith and business through the five practices she and her team have developed. That vision is what she chatted about with us.
4word: What first gave you the passion to create a ministry to business leaders?
Alana: When I first started out, I focused on women. There were four other business ministries in downtown Toronto, but for one reason or another, the men hadn’t invited women to participate. My passion was to have a place for women at the table.
Later, what propelled me to create Intriciti was our unique approach to sharing our faith. I knew that to be effective, we needed to be relationally driven – sharing the Gospel through relationship, not confrontation. I wanted to create a space that valued what we valued.
I want to help people integrate faith and business because I have a huge passion for the Gospel. I think this is something the church hasn’t championed. Not that I am blaming them – I realize there are so many pressing needs – but this is such an incredible opportunity! Where are people Monday through Friday? At work!
4word: What is your approach to sharing your faith?
Alana: We believe each person is so unique that there’s no single, right way to approach evangelism. I feel so strongly that God created us all individually, that we need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit rather than follow a blanket rule.
Our organization is known for relationships. That’s our trademark. That’s what gains us access to some of the most influential people in Toronto. People sense our interactions with them are genuine. Someone once asked, “Alana, I spend hundreds of thousands on people’s salaries, but I can’t get them to do what you get yours to do. What’s your secret?” I told him it’s that I love people when I do not need them.
4word: In earlier posts, Diane Paddison has shared some of her experiences integrating faith and work. Do you have a rule of thumb for how you integrate your faith into the workplace?
Alana: I guess my rule of thumb is to not have one! We’re all created so differently. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, or in the corporate world makes a big difference. Entrepreneurs have much more control over the values and vision of their organizations. At Intriciti, I do different things with entrepreneurs than I do with people working in corporate Canada.
For me, it’s all about relationships: getting to know people, responding to their needs and earning the right to influence them. Unless I’ve earned that right, regardless of the decision made, those I meet with still aren’t going to have listening ears.
4word: Can you tell us about a time when you earned the right to influence a coworker?
Alana: I’ve had the pleasure of listening to many people over the course of my career. People come to me for advice on a variety of issues at work, with their kids, etc., but I’ve found they most often ask for advice about relationships. Listening is sometimes more impactful than offering advice.
4word: Your vision statement says something intriguing: that you strive to lead by sharing best practices and failures. What have you learned from failure?
Alana: Absolutely! So often, we only share from a place of success, but there is so much we can learn from our failures. I keep a list of things I have learned through failing miserably. Here are a few:
First, people can’t relate to perfect people. When I started out, I was obsessed with achieving perfection, but I learned that gets in the way of sharing the gospel. If I’m not being authentic and real, then others can’t relate to me and build a relationship.
Second, relationship over task. I have high expectations of myself and of those who work with me. When I began my career, excellence dominated my relationships. Now, it’s the opposite.
Third, we’re not called to be liked but to be obedient. Being liked was very important to me in my 20s, but I realize now that’s not what God calls me to. Instead, He calls me to obey.
Finally, I’ve learned the importance of going deeper in relationships, not wider. We’re all focused on how wide our network is, but how deep have we gone with those people?
To hear more from Alana, visit Intriciti’s website, find them on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter.
What have you learned from your own failures? Share with us in the comments.