Entrepreneurship is hard.  Change is hard.  But both are necessary for progress.  We’ve made some progress.

We have a long way to go but there are a number of milestones we have crossed.  One is complementary co-curricular status (see Pivot).  Another relates to Momentum.

It’s important to stop at milestones and thank those who helped you get there.  Gratitude is good for the spirit and the spirit of community.


CFL is a lean startup.  We are looking for an [education] model that works.  From time to tim we “fire our plan.”  Even though it was becoming popular, we fired our academic minor.

March is the month in which Hope students register for Fall 2015 Courses.  Beginning next semester, Hope students will no longer be able to declare a Leadership Minor but will have more and better opportunities to develop as leaders and discern their gifts and calling.  This is because we no long wish to position CFL as an academic program, but as a resource for all students regardless of academic program, major or minor.

Our WHY? remains the same: to help students discern their gifts and calling, prepare for work, and transition from college with the courage and confidence of understanding who they are and what they can do.  We believe our success depends on whether our alums holistically flourish.

Our HOW? also remains the same: we invest in students.  One principle we wish our students to understand and apply and remember and practice — and thus one we seek to model — is that leadership and management involve Listening, Understanding, Building relationships, and Employing each others’ gifts.  To do so means to MOVE SLOW.  Thus we uniquely combine action learning with coaching and mentoring.

  • Action Learning involves critical thinking around understanding challenges
  • Coaching helps us discern and discover our strengths
  • Mentoring helps us prioritize and apply our values

It is the specifics of our WHAT? that have changed.  To co-create work experiences that matter we invest in students in three ways:

But within each way we have made significant modifications.

Scott and Sam T

CFL Integrated Learning

  • LDRS 201: Introduction to Leadership is now Introduction to Inspirational Leadership.  Tim Schoonveld, our new Associate Director, changes lives.  He does this as instructor of this course.  But more so, he does this by meeting with students outside of class.  Next fall Tim will be joined in this work by Doug Ruch.  As part of this course, two students, Kendall Dice and Logan Meeker, are helping us create an Inspiration Grant that will help us inspire more student to stretch themselves in the discovery and use of their gifts to do good things.  We hope to use the pattern embedded in the Great Commission Grant, which has been put on hold until we develop the Inspiration Grant framework and implementation strategy.  Hope Does is an example of what a small group of LDRS 201 students can do.  Joe Graham teaches LDRS 201 in Belt Cottage for the Emmaus Scholars Program.  We are equally excited about the work Joe does and the way he helps CFL integrate into an existing Hope program.
  • LDRS 231: Entrepreneurship is now Leading the Start-Up Process.  Entrepreneurship is a start-up process.  But more broadly, introducing any change means understanding the customer and consumer, influencer, decider, etc. and the source of the underlying pain or problem, and being willing to continue to modify the solution and business model until we find the ones that work. Recent alums Scott Brandonisio, Russell Fyfe, and Sam Tzou of Ring Cam have helped me tremendously in making this course more relevant, as has Seth Getz.  Alum Jordan Rose, while a student, wrote a very popular paper on what he learned.
  • LDRS 291: Leadership and Service I is now Becoming an Influential Leader.  One thing we all struggle with is how to influence others.  But our influence is not solely a matter of technique — even though we think and are told it is.  Much more deeply, it is a matter changing ourselves.  Doug Ruch will also join me in teaching this course.
  • LDRS 391: Leadership and Service II is now LDRS 292: The Trusted Adviser.  Another thing we all struggle with in the advising professions (accounting, consulting, law, medicine, nursing, sales, teaching) is giving advice.  The foundation of advising is trust.  Laurie Bos and Brenda VanderMeulen are now teaching this course.

Steve's pictures

CFL Consulting

  • We now have 15 active clients and 35 actively-engaged students (part-time employees).
  • Jim Cnossen and Virgil Gulker are leading an orientation program for new project leaders.
  • Tim Haines and I continue to beta-test and experiment with CFL’s new Digital Marketing Managed Internship Program (DMMIP).
  • We launched Consulting AcademE to develop our student consultants even more.
  • We created a LinkedIn site to help promote our students.
  • We are becoming known as strategy consultants specializing in early stage companies, ideas, and organizations.

Consulting AcademE #1 Jan 20 2015

CFL Incubator

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We have to get the word out — to enhance our word-of-mouth communication among students and community members.  What we do at CFL is different.

Think of when personal computers, microwave oven, or even cars were knew.  As Henry Ford supposedly said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”  What he gave them was a better traveling experience.

We don’t want to offer our student a faster or more convenient version of the academic program; rather, we want to offer them something that complements it, that helps them discern their gifts and calling, prepares them for work, and transitions them out of college with courage and confidence.  We want to add value to the college transition experience.

Unfortunately, people don’t know what they don’t know.  Many alumni tell us they wish Hope had what we offer when they were students.  But students don’t have the benefit of hindsight — to look back on their college experience — at least not yet!   Personally, as an undergrad I was an English major and without CFL-like experiences it took me until I was 30 to know what I should have known about myself at 22.  So we have to get the word out.  We need your help.

We are dependent on you not only for talking to others, but also for CFL itself.  The good news is that we are becoming known as a resource to our students and to the community which they serve and as change agents in higher education.

This is reflected in slow growing popularity of our CFL Instagram account and our CFL Blog, which has also reached important milestones:

  • Over 25,000 Pageviews (since September 2013)
  • Over 77 Pageviews per day
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Total
2013 1,098 943 992 486 3,519
2014 1,304 1,119 979 938 921 660 913 1,192 1,684 2,925 1,850 1,540 16,025
2015 1,851 2,790 888 5,529

Average per Day

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Overall
2013 50 30 33 16 31
2014 42 40 32 31 30 22 29 38 56 94 62 50 44
2015 60 100 68 77


All Time Most Popular Posts


Thank You!

Having reached those milestones and accomplished those pivots, I have many people to thank for helping us get here.   When I start thinking about who to thank, it soon becomes apparent that the list is very long.  My apologies if I’ve overlooked your name.

A heartfelt thanks to:

  • Margo Aposteleris, Marc Boersma, Zach Diener, Stuart Fraser, Matt Gira, Jessica Granger, Sophie Guetzko, Steve Holm, Cara Johnson, Ryan Johnson, Raechel Kamphuis, Jonathon Maat, Amy Morrow, Kelsie Nyenhuis, Evelyn Ritter, Macall Smith, Liping Wang, Matt Wright and all the other HEI Awardees and LDRS 231 students before them who helped us build our model for developing entrepreneurs and a good reputation.
  • Margo Aposteleris, Tim Bloemendaal, Christin Bothe, Kate Brudos, Ryan Campbell, Chelsea Chamberlain, Chalalai Chomchan, Zach Diener, Emily Forster, Alex Frederickson, Sophie Guetzko, Erik Groothuis, Laurel Hall, Ryan Havey, Israel Hipolito, JaLisa Hoekstra, Maddie Huegli, Alex Huss, Anysie Ishimwe, Ryan Johnson, Shanissa Johnson, Ivy Keen, Seth Layman, Jonathon Maat, Brennan Mange, Charles McCalla, Ellie McLaren, Rochelle Miller, Amy Napier, Kelsie Nyenhuis, Stefanie Olesh, Michael Savage, Ben Schipper, Stacy Sienkiewicz, Elizabeth Siepker, Bridget Stenger, Brandon Tarallo, Holly Thompson, Taylor Trapani, Adam VanderPloeg, Ryan VanderPloeg, Matt VanDixhorn, Olivia Volkmann, Tyson Walton and Consultants and LDRS 391/292 students before them who helped us build our model for developing advisers and a good reputation.
  • Robyn Allison, Doug Bazuin, Doug Breuker, Keith Buys, Scott Daigger, Kurt Dykema, Jennifer Fellinger, Matt Gira, Jessica Granger, Michael Gulker, Carl Heideman, Doug Huesdash, Stacy Jackson, Paul Kuiper, Jeremy Latchaw, Lisa Mathews, Brent Mulder, Lance Pellow, Ed Rietman, Mick Schorle, Jim Sullivan, Grace Theisen, Mark Tucker, Sam Tzou, Tim VandeBunte, Ross Vande Wege, Kevin Virta, Scott Waller and our clients past and future who understand our dual role — the value of what our students and practitioners can offer and our leadership development process.
  • Tracy Bolo, Peter Baumgarden, Laurie Bos, Becca Currey, Jim Cnossen, Mark deRoo, Russell Fyfe, Marcus Fila, Virgil Gulker, Tim Haines, Paul Jones, Sarah Kolean, Jeremy Latchaw, Ben Lichtenwalner, Kon Marcus, Gary Nielsen, Rob Pocock, Doug Ruch, Tim Schoonveld, Jon Soderstrom, Kathy Stanek, Sam Tzou, Mike Valz, Brenda VanderMeulen, Steve Wells, our project leaders, subject matter experts, and practitioner leaders who lead by asking great questions!
  • Margo Aposteleris, Laurie Bos, Veronica Bosgraaf, Scott Brandonisio, Cam Brieden, Tony Castillo, Jim Cnossen, Henry Cherry, Matt Gira, Sophie Guetzko, Jessica Granger, Chip George, Tim Haines, Jeanette Hoyer, Chris Jackson, Raechel Kamphuis, Denise Kingdom Grier, Andy McCoy, Phil Miller, Jeff Pett, Matt Rutter, Sam Tzou, Steve Wells, Ken Van Der Wende, Christina Tassoni VanTil, Dirk VerMeulen and all the people who visited my classes and Consulting AcademE this year and in years past, not to mention all those who have visited Brenda’s, Laurie’s, Tim’s, and Virgil’s classes, who inspire our students.
  • Sarah Kolean
  • Tom Pratt, whose encouragement I need.
  • Barb Mackey, who responds to my email updates.
  • HASP for inviting us (CFL Incubator) to present to their members.
  • Jodi Beckman, Tracy Bolo, Marty Boysen, Scott Brandonisio, Jessica Daly, Kathy DeVries, Dave Engel, Sheri Geddes, Seth Getz, Doug Iverson, Chris Jackson, Abbey Johnston, John Johnston, Chad Kleinheksel, Kathy MacLean, Tracey Nally, Brian Pageau, Nick Reister, Jim Schoettle, David Stavenger, Dave Tapley, Ken Van Der Wende, Jodi Vanderwel, Mike Valz, Steve Wells, Mari Wielopolski, Rick Wielpolski and the many pitch judges who have helpfully advised our entrepreneurial students over the years.
  • Rachel Bishop, Cheryl Cnossen, Hilary DeBoer, Kristi Dunn, Leah Dykstra, Karen Goodwin, Choonghee Han, Dennis Hendrix, Diane Jones, Paul Jones, Glenn Lowe, Paul Olesh, Nancy Miller, Pete Palazzolo, Abby Reeg, Tim Schoonveld, Bill Swets, Dave Tapley, Brenda VanderMeulen, Rick Zweering, and the many mentors who have walked with our students over the years.
  • Jennifer Fellinger, Shandra Martinez, Greg Olgers, Lynne Powe, Tom Renner, Sarah Skirpin, Brian VanOchten, and the many others who have helped get our stories and blog posts into the media.
  • My Economics and Business colleagues (Peter Boumgarden, Sarah Estelle, Marcus Fila, Sheri Geddes, Doug Iverson, Stacy Jackson, Marty LaBarge, John Lunn, Sarah McCoy, Steve McMullen, David Phillips, Brian Porter, Tom Smith, Todd Steen, Doreen Tank, Vicki TenHakken, Melyn VandenBerg) for encouraging us (CFL staff) to move into their VanZoeren Hall neighborhood and partner with them!
  • Janice Aslanian (ENGL 214), Carol DeJong (Registrar), Vanessa Greene (Director Multicultural Education), Mark Husbands (Director of Emmaus Scholars), Andy McCoy (Director of Center for Ministry Studies),  Bill Pannapacker (Director of Mellon Scholars Program and tireless supporter of the Digital Humanities), Alison and Aaron Schantz (Voorhees Hall) and many other faculty who have assisted our students, encouraged us, and sent students our way.
  • Our friends in Admissions, Campus Ministries, Career Development Center, and Student Life who have assisted our students, encouraged us, and referred students to us.
  • Our friends in CIT, Development, Physical Plant, and the Registrar’s Office for providing us the resources we need.
  • Jim Boelkins, Jim Bultman, Stacy Jackson, John Knapp, Nancy Miller, Rich Ray, Todd Steen, and Scott VanderStoep, administrators past and present who gave us the room to run.
  • Our donors.
  • To those who pay the tuition bills.
  • Jill, my wife, for understanding.
  • To everyone who reads this fledgling blog.  It matters!


To God be the glory!

It’s time to get started.

Run with us.

Join the Movement.

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