People of Faith: Rich Stearns
- Thursday, January 23, 2003
It may be the world's largest privately funded Christian relief and development organization, but World Vision maintains a streamlined focus - to call people to a life-changing commitment to serve the poor in the name of Christ.
World Vision helps communities, families and their children trapped in the vicious cycle of poverty to overcome difficult circumstances and achieve their dream of self-sufficiency. Whether through emergency relief or ongoing development, World Vision staff represent Jesus Christ's love and compassion for people impacted by wars, poverty, or disaster.
Leading staff in this effort is none other than Rich Stearns, who became president in 1998. Formerly CEO and president of Lenox, Inc., Stearns has more than 20 years in marketing and management for firms such as Gillette Co., Parker Brothers Games and The Franklin Mint. Prior to being appointed president, Stearns had been a donor to World Vision for 15 years and had visited its programs in Haiti.
The World Vision U.S. Board, led by Chairman Dr. John Huffman, remarked that Stearns "first and foremost, has a strong personal faith."
Stearns views his position as "an opportunity to make a significant difference in the lives of people throughout the world. This is a job unlike virtually any other." Taking a break from a very busy schedule, Stearns graciously subjected himself to Crosswalk.com's version of "10 Questions":
What do you most enjoy about your work?
I enjoy visiting the work of World Vision staff around the world. They serve as the hands and feet of Christ in caring for those in need, and transforming the lives of the poor. World Vision tackles the root causes of poverty and seeing that work first hand is quite inspiring.
What is a typical day like?
When I am at World Vision headquarters near Seattle, a typical day is spent in meetings to discuss a wide range of business issues affecting the organization, including budgets, marketing and a major internal initiative to re-engineer our data systems. If I am traveling domestically, a typical day is spent making speeches, meeting with donors and visiting World Vision's domestic projects.
What do you most enjoy doing outside of work?
Spending time with my wife and five children.
What would you consider your most memorable moment?
One of my most memorable moments was visiting a woman two years ago. Her name is Octavia and she lives in a very impoverished community at 16,000 feet in the Andes Mountains of Peru. My wife Renee and some of our Peruvian staff were meeting with her and she informed me that she had spend several days praying that God would bring her someone who could help her and her family. I realized at that moment that I was the answer to her prayer.
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