Kristi Schliep (’00) recently partnered with Youth for Christ Asia to create and launch EMBARK Asia Pacific, a new cross-cultural youth ministry internship based in Thailand. EMBARK Asia Pacific is an effort by YFC to develop young leaders from around the world through a 10-month ministry internship. Schliep serves as the EMBARK coordinator and works in a variety of capacities, from developing curriculum to recruiting participants. “My goal is to see eight to 12 young leaders from at least four nations participating in EMBARK. ... I want to see these young leaders developed and unleashed as workers in the harvest wherever God calls them,” Schliep said. “I want to see EMBARK serving a vital role in fulfilling the Youth for Christ vision of seeing every young person, in every people group, in every nation have the opportunity to make an informed decision to become a follower of Jesus Christ and become part of a local church.” Schliep’s involvement with YFC spans more than 11 years and began during her first semester at Biola, when the Southern California Youth for Christ executive director came to one of her classes. “I went up to chat with him afterward,” she said. “At the end of that conversation, he offered me a job.” Schliep continued working for YFC during her two years at Biola and stayed with the organization even after she graduated with a degree in Christian education ministries. Biola served as a sort of training ground for her before she went into full-time ministry, Schliep said. Through the encouragement of her professors, Schliep said she was prepared for her current ministry role and through their investment in her personal and professional development she was encouraged to take risks and exercise her gifts.
After earning a degree in biblical theology from Biola, Jon Talbert (’89) spent four years as a chocolate broker for Helen Grace. Today, as the “compassion pastor” of Westgate Church, he uses the skills he learned selling chocolate to build relationships in the city of San Jose. In 2004, Talbert launched a program called Beautiful Day, which engages the church with its neighbors, encouraging members to do good deeds — from running after-school programs to participating in the annual AIDS Walk. Lately, Talbert has found himself navigating the difficult political arena where Christians and the gay community intersect. He said his goal is to let the Word of God and the Holy Spirit do their work in revealing Christ. “We’re right in the middle where we think Jesus would have been,” Talbert said. “We’re not trying to be weirdly evangelical and we’re not trying to be way liberal.” Talbert is working to incorporate Beautiful Day as a nonprofit, and hopes the program will continue to spread across the country. “If we can do it in the Bay Area, you can do it anywhere in the world,” Talbert said. Talbert and his wife, Cheri, have four adult children: Jaclyn, Lauren, Cathryn and Sam.
After graduating from Biola with an accounting degree, Donald Flynn (’81) went straight to work for a public accounting firm in Southern California. After 30 years of working and living in California, Flynn and his family were ready for a change. In April 2012, Flynn accepted a position as CFO of the Colorado Association of Realtors, based in Colorado Springs, Colo. After what his boss called a “four month job interview,” Flynn was promoted to the CEO position of CAR in September 2012. “They’ve asked me to evaluate and look structurally at the organization,” Flynn said. “They’ve allowed me to put my own plan together ... to kind of reorganize the association, both from an operational point of view and from a strategic point of view.” In addition to his promotion to the CEO position of CAR, Flynn will still maintain his previous role of CFO for the organization. Throughout his career of working for Romberger, Wilson and Beeson, the Auto Dealers Association of California and the California Association of Realators, Flynn said he has consistently recalled concepts taught to him while at Biola. “The instructors and professors took a practical approach to accounting principles in the workplace ... They didn’t get stuck on the theory and provided a good background for applying business and accounting principles in the workplace,” he said. “It prepared me for all the different things I’ve seen in my career.” Flynn credits his accounting professors for helping to guide his career choices and said he aims to be a similarly good leader in his new role at the CAR.