We are thrilled for you to meet Liz Johnson, the newest staff member of Seed Effect USA!
Because of your generous support, Seed Effect continues to grow! We’ve got an ambitious plan to empower over 100,000 South Sudanese refugee and Ugandan families, impacting over 500,000 children over the next five years, and we must ensure our team remains fully equipped to reach this goal.
That’s why we are thrilled to announce that we have recently expanded our Seed Effect USA team with the hire of Liz Johnson! Liz will be serving as the Director of Operations, and resides in Dallas with her husband Kyle, and their son, Jonathan.
When you hear the title Director of Operations words like processes, efficiences, structure, and streamlining might come to mind, and thankfully, Liz has already hit the ground running to help Seed Effect continue bringing Christ-centered economic empowerment to the hard places with the most effective tools and modes of operation possible.
To make the hire even more seamless, Liz has had a special tie to Uganda since 2015, after travelling to Lamwo (where we launched our 6th Seed Effect Branch in Q3 of 2022!) with her church to help train and support local Church leaders in the topics of Conflict Resolution, Forgiveness, Marriage and Parenting, Health/Hygiene and HIV/Aids, and How to study your Bible.
Learn more about Liz Johnson in the Q&A below!
1. You have been to Lamwo, Uganda?! Why did you choose/what brought you to Lamwo and when were you there?
I got to go to Lamwo in March 2015 with a group from Watermark Community Church. I was overwhelmed when I was preparing for that trip. The tragedies and struggles they have faced in Uganda and Sudan for decades was more than I could fully wrap my mind around as an American. Then I got to actually meet the people I had read about. Their joy in the midst of extreme poverty and oppression was astonishing!
We spent a week in Kitgum teaching church leaders from the surrounding areas on multiple topics – Conflict Resolution, Forgiveness, Marriage and Parenting, Health/Hygiene and HIV/Aids, and How to study your Bible. I also got to share my story of overcoming sexual assault on their national radio program – something that is not openly acknowledged or talked about there. It was a life-changing experience for me. I’m not normally a crier but I cried the minute we walked into the room with 100 women praising God, excited to learn how to look more like Christ. I fell in love with the Ugandan people at first sight and have been asking the Lord for a chance to go back ever since!
How do you get your news in the morning?
I do a quick look at Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and Reuters after I get our little man Jonathan (see cutie on the right :)) out the door for school in the morning!
Tell us one thing your co-workers should know about you?
I am a learner and I love a challenge. In my career, I have become a SME in multiple areas, only to move on to the next ask…and that doesn’t bother me! I love the process of researching to inform decisions and make things happen. I fully believe that every problem has a solution if you’re willing to take the time to find it. I’m also an Includer. I hate for anyone to feel left out, unimportant or unseen. Case in point, when Kyle and I bought our first car as a married couple, my only request was seating for 8 so our entire community group could ride in one car. I love having “my people” with me every chance I get!
If your wife was to answer #5 – what would she say?
“She is a messer at her core. She loves pranks, jokes, a good meme or gif, but will rarely deploy her messer gifting on anyone other than me…But seriously, Liz is fiercely loyal and always makes time to care for the people she works with. She is an “I see you” leader. Liz is also an incredibly quick problem solver. When Liz offers a solution to a problem, she has already thought of the 7 different ways you could approach it and the pros and cons of each option. But she doesn’t usually share all the options and why they weren’t the winner unless you ask. So ASK! She will always slow down and explain her thought process. She values efficiency, but she also loves to teach.”
– Kyle Johnson, Liz’s husband
What was your previous job and what made you decide to join Seed Effect?
My most recent role was working with a remote Consulting firm focused on smaller businesses using EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System). I learned a ton as I took on all of their marketing, from strategy to design and implementation. But most of my career has been in the nonprofit world. I started off as a guidance counselor/teacher/coach at a small private school. I loved getting to build relationships with the students and their families. I learned so much in that season about how I am gifted. Then I made a move to work at my home church, Watermark. I grew in so many ways during my 8 years on staff there. I learned how to handle conflict Biblically, how to meet people where they are in pastoral care situations, and how to build processes that could be easily repeated. I also learned that I love operations. Building policies and procedures, documenting processes, and thinking about the future when making decisions are natural giftings of mine. I then got to work with a for profit company who serves churches around the world creating digital media products. I got to put my construction experience to work as we
underwent a massive renovation project on our building, all while caring for our tenants and staff.
When the opportunity came up with Seed Effect, I was so excited about the prospect of joining a team who loves Jesus, loves serving the “unseen” population and to bring my operational experience to the table.
What has been the hardest thing about making the shift to this role from your previous organization?
Waiting for the door to open to walk through! It has honestly been such a stress-free transition for me as I have seen the Lord’s hand at work at every step to get me here. When thinking about the challenges with nonprofits vs for-profits, there are different challenges in each. With nonprofits, the need for faithful donors is always there. But there is typically a very family feel between the staff and volunteers. On the for-profit side, the pressure to land the next sale never ends.
The challenge to be a good steward with what God had given us was present for me in both. The hardest part about working in the for-profit space with my last role was the lack of Biblical communication and conflict resolution practices. It was the first role I had in my career where I was not allowed to point to Scripture for a guide because our owner was not a believer. It made me realize how privileged I have been to primarily work in organizations that try to operate like Christ.
What makes your heart beat faster (aka what are you passionate about)?
I love getting to serve people on the fringes, those who don’t feel seen. Sitting down with an individual or couple and helping them see a path forward through any challenge with Christ gets me fired up in the best way. Advocacy is a huge passion for me.
Liz’s first exposure to Seed Effect back in 2012 at Seed Effect Turns 3!
What else?! What are we missing or something you would like to share with the Seed Effect family?
Kyle and I have been married for almost 9 years. The first 5 years, we went through infertility. That season grew my empathy for people more than anything I had ever walked through. We finally had our amazing son Jonathan in 2019! He is a miracle I thank God for every day. We found out he has Childhood Apraxia of Speech when he was 18 months old. Basically he thinks a word, but the muscles in his mouth have a hard time getting it out. About 6 months ago, we found out he also has a rare genetic disorder called TLK2. It is the cause of the motor delays he has had to overcome. You would have no idea he’s dealing with anything by looking at him, and because it is so rare, we don’t fully know what to expect for his future. But he is such a hard worker! He can count to 20, knows his ABC’s, is obsessed with elephants, loves everyone he meets and more. He is full of joy and a total mama’s boy and makes every day better!
There you have it! Liz is amazing and an answered prayer as Seed Effect continues to grow. Thank you for taking the time to read to know her more and learn just a few of the many reasons she will be (and already is) such an asset to Seed Effect!
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