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Pursuing a Passion

Two Thrivent members shift careers

"Every single human being was intentionally created for a unique calling and purpose in life," says Joseph Cavanaugh, president of life coaching company Equip 2 Equip. Finding that calling often takes years – and a few jobs along the way.

Bob Northrup, 55, became an active Thrivent Builds (Link opens in new window) with Habitat for Humanity volunteer three years before he left his job as the director of information technology for the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals in North Carolina.

He was so passionate about his volunteer work that he retired early from the court. Northrup became the family services coordinator for Sandhills Habitat for Humanity in North Carolina. He helped families qualify and get approved for new homes, a job he says he "dearly loved."

Then, at the urging of a friend, Northrup switched careers (Link opens in new window) again to become a Thrivent Financial representative. The first six months were a challenge – there was a lot to learn, and he had to build a client base from scratch. But the job wound up being the perfect fit for him. He helps people build their retirement savings, while working for the No. 1 nongovernmental sponsor of Habitat for Humanity.

"My position with Thrivent has allowed me the immense satisfaction of helping others be wise and generous with their finances and taken my passion for Habitat for Humanity to a whole other level," Northrup says.

Katherine O'Connell, 61, of Homosassa, Florida, also followed her passions to a different career. Eleven years ago, she left a job in the banking industry to become a youth counselor at a detention center. She is now a case manager, working as the go-between for 16 juvenile felons, their parents, the judge and the probation officer. O'Connell admits that the job is draining, but she feels called to do it.

"My mother brought us up in the church," O'Connell says. "We were brought up to love and respect our country. And I feel that, in some ways, I'm fulfilling their expectations. And I get the sense that I am giving back."

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