By Shannon Hendricks
Shannon Hendricks is the Murdock Trust’s 2020 Oregon Fellow. A recent graduate of Notre Dame (BBA, Business Analytics, Catholic Social Tradition; MBA, Strategy Concentration), she had the opportunity to attend the 2020 Vision and Call internship retreat held earlier this fall.
Built on the belief that some of life’s most important lessons are best learned through experience and best worked out through a community of mentors and peers, the Vision and Call internship program was created to assist college-aged students and recent graduates gain vocational direction while expanding their professional experiences and providing needed support to outstanding nonprofit organizations (more information on the program’s structure can be found here).
A key moment in the Vision and Call experience is the annual retreat. In early October, dozens of interns representing a wide variety of organizations gather to build relationships and immerse themselves in questions of vocation and faith. This year 30 different organizations were represented at the retreat with over 70 interns in attendance. The internships range from positions in communication to architecture to youth ministry. All 70 interns and their mentors attended the retreat, each bringing their own unique experiences and perspectives to the conversation.
While this year’s retreat needed to be held in a virtual setting due to social distancing guidelines, it was still an incredibly moving and impactful experience. Gathered through Zoom, my 70 new friends and I spent time learning about our calling, each other, and ourselves. Moving between large sessions led by John Hart and Stephen Newbie and small discussion sections led by our respective mentors throughout the conference, we were engaged the two days full of meaningful conversations and reflection.
Focusing on the main theme of the conference, redemptive leadership, we spent time reimagining how we can best use our gifts to serve those around us. Being a redemptive leader takes ethical leadership one step further. Redemptive leadership calls on us to be other-centered as an act of love and to center our vision and operating models on sustainable and human-centered approaches and solutions, something every one of us can bring to our future workplaces.
The conversations drew deep connections to my recent work studying for my MBA where my classmates and I spent a substantial amount of time talking about the ethics of business. We would work on cases and talk through real world examples weekly. A main theme of my graduate business program was asking more of business and using business as a force for good in the world. During the Vision and Call retreat I was reminded of these lessons I learned in grad school and I was given a new vocabulary to describe this practice of using business for good.
In addition to new language to describe this type of leadership, the Vision and Call retreat challenged me to think deeper and act more intentionally at work. Since returning to my day-to-day schedule, I have been working to incorporate lessons learned from the retreat into my work.
I am thankful for my time spent at the Vision and Call retreat and I am excited stay connected with other interns as we continue this year.