Interview With Dale Gifford

Dale Gifford was a dear friend and mentor.  I met Dale in 2009 after he had retired as the CEO of Hewitt Associates.  It began the start of a nine year relationship where he was my mentor and advisor.  Dale was a role model to me and I love him so very much. I wanted to share an interview I did with Dale a number of years ago.  

For more information on Dale Gifford please visit Dale Gifford Memorial.

What role has your faith played in your career success?

My faith affects how I view my responsibility and my role in life. I wouldn’t say it has a dramatic impact every day, but it does have an overall impact in recognizing the importance of people and the impact I have on people. It is not just about valuing people for what they do, but valuing them for who they are.

Can you identify a moment where your faith may have been a driving force for what you do?

The recognition of the calling of my role affected me more earlier in my career than in the middle. I felt my calling was a result of my giftedness in mathematics and academics. I knew I should use them, but was unclear how. As I got into increasing roles of leadership, it was obvious to me that God had created a platform for me. This platform for influence and impact was one that I didn’t deserve on my own, or could orchestrate on my own. That is when it became clear that I had a responsibility to impact employees, their families, and those connected to our organization.

Do you use a different measuring stick when you measure the success of your past company versus charitable nonprofit?

The principle measuring stick of profitability does not apply the same way for churches or ministries. In fact, I wouldn’t want to invest in them if they accumulated a lot of money and didn’t use it for Kingdom purposes. It is important to be provided with stories, data, and information on the impact organizations are having. I look at which ones are driven more by stories rather than by financial impact. Also, in general, I would prefer to provide significant support to organizations that have a broader base of investors and supporters.

As a person in your position, how does one responsibly select investments of your time, resources, charitable contributions, etc.? How do you make those choices and selections?

It takes intentionality and discernment. What takes highest priority? I choose to focus financial resources on organizations that coincide with my passions and where I want to invest my time. For me, it is events and organizations related to my church, leadership, and those that help emerging leaders.

What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about leadership development and emerging leaders. I am becoming more involved with and concerned about the injustices existing in the world, such as poverty. I want my heart to be softened even more in that area, but know that my skills could be put to better use for leadership than injustice issues. To provide a greater impact on the Kingdom, it is important to help the next generation, and to help them better utilize their skills.

For these emerging leaders that you want to influence, what is the message you want to give them?

There are multiple messages:

  1. Pay a lot of attention to what your passion is. Ask yourself how God has influenced your capabilities and passions.

  2. While you are creating an impact, continue to recognize that your capabilities and passions come from God.

  3. Don’t be pulled into the world’s perspective of being too proud about what you accomplished. If we don’t do things for God’s will, then we won’t have as much of an impact.

What kept you from being engulfed in outside pressures?

I recognized that my gifts and interests didn’t come from a lofty role. My wife and and I both came from humble backgrounds. We have experiences that are different and interesting than most. I enjoyed applying my skills to whatever situation came my way. Rather than seeking, I got pulled into expansive opportunities. I feel content and a responsibility to work hard and be all that God wants me to be.

If you were to give yourself advice when you first started off you career, what would it be?

Dear young me, God has a plan for you. It’s a wonderful plan. You should have some intentionality, but don’t think you have to have it all figured out. It will become clearer to you as you become older. Continue to be goal-oriented and do the best you can do. Be the best you can be, and do it all for God.