The Difference that Friendships Make


Emily (second from the left), with Diane (left) and the other SoCal 4word gals.

We mention 4word local groups rather frequently here on the blog. They are a huge part of Diane’s vision for 4word, and today we’re bringing you a story to demonstrate why they are so important to her. Emily Knigge is a former member of the 4word Portland chapter. Since she moved to Orange County in May 2012, she is eager to found a 4word chapter down in Southern California. Last week, we chatted with Emily to ask her how 4word Portland made such an impact on her life.




4word: How did you find the 4word Portland chapter?


Emily: I went to college with Maria Schell, one of the founding members. She sent me a Facebook message out of the blue inviting me to go to a happy hour and meet other professional women who were seeking an environment that’s open to discussing faith. It couldn’t have been better timing as far as where I was in my life. I loved the people and loved the messages at the lunch meetings, they consisted of women who were CEOs, senior executives, authors, reporters, and educators. I identified with their personal stories of career and business achievements, individual struggles, desire to balance work with personal life, and connection with God.


4word: And what was that exactly?


Emily: I’ve been very fortunate to have a fulfilling career in Investment Banking, where I advise founders, CEOs, and shareholders on mergers and acquisitions, public offerings, and growth capital raises.  I’ve had struggles such as a failed engagement. I didn’t grow up in a very religious household. We went to church occasionally and on major holidays, but once I got to college I didn’t attend church or think about faith at all. After graduation, I had all these goals for things that I needed to achieve to feel fulfilled.

I was on a path I thought would make me happy, but it left me empty.


4word: How did the friends you made through 4word Portland help you through that struggle?


Emily: Many of them came from a stronger Christian background than I did. They taught me certain tools to help me grow spiritually: how to pray, how to reflect on God’s will for me and how to study Scripture and apply it to my everyday life.

Before 4word,  I compartmentalized many of my relationships, I had family, work, college, and childhood friends. None of which I discussed faith with. The women I met at 4word Portland became my core group of friends with whom I could share every aspect of my life.


4word: You mentioned in an email to Diane that being part of 4word Portland transformed your thinking. Can you tell us more about that?


Emily: I’ve always had a spiritual mindset. When I was happy, I would take time to thank God for it, but it wasn’t until a major relationship of mine fell apart, that I actually reached out to Him in prayer when I was struggling. It was amazing how praying when you’re struggling can ease your mind. Giving up that power I’d tried to hold onto for so many years was very freeing.

I also realized that God is with you in the great and terrible periods of your life. Our whole life is a transition period. This is just a moment in time – whether it’s good or bad – and it too will pass. It was always easy for me to get frustrated and dissatisfied if something that I wanted to happen didn’t happen on my timing. Now, I still make plans and work to accomplish them, but I’m not trying to force things.


4word: Now that you’ve moved to Southern California, do you want to start a 4word chapter down there?


Emily: Absolutely! The moment I got down here, I wanted to get something going. It’s been a struggle, just because of geography. I’m in Orange County, we have some gals up in LA who are interested, and there is a woman down in San Diego who’s also interested. That’s a span of a four hour drive!

I think we’re going to start with conference calls and see where that goes. I think there’s definitely a group of women down here who are interested in being a part of 4word, and I’d be ecstatic to help that take off.



Are you interested in helping start a 4word chapter in your city? We’d love to hear from you! We have chapters brewing in Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, NYC, Philadelphia and DC, but if you live in a different city, you can be a catalyst for starting a chapter. Just email to let us know you’re interested.