SAGU Business Unusual – Being A Flame

Photo by: Kimberly Balderas

The Southwestern Assemblies of God University’s College of Business hosted a 3-day seminar this week and invited three Alumni to give Ted Talks to inspire current students. The seminar was titled “Business Unusual”, and focused on how to be a flame in the dark world of business. The morning began with introductions of the MC, Brook Miller, along with a short, but profound description of the American Marketing Association by Grant Gates. He said about the marketplace, “6 seconds! That’s all you have to make an impression.” He encouraged students to get involved and learn more about the AMA. Gates and Miller are current students at SAGU.

Photo by: Kimberly Balderas

The first Ted Talk speaker was Samuel Broadus, currently working at Daymark Living. He shared several “God winks”, which were times that he knew God was intervening in his life to help him along or even change course, if needed. Some of these “winks” were difficult circumstances that ultimately made him better. He mentioned a time that his former professor and mentor, Dr. Shelly Zaldivar had an incredible opportunity to attend a business conference. He shared that he completely forgot about it until she called him the day-of and asked where he was. Of course, he felt terrible for letting her down and wasting a chance to learn more. But what he learned from that, and the subsequent forgiveness shown by his mentor was a significant “wink” that God used to teach him more about himself and the kind of person he wished to be.  He went on to encourage everyone to see their own “God winks” and how we can let those shape us as well.

Photo by: Kimberly Balderas

The second speaker was Heidi Hood, who is the Marketing Manager for the Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce. While Heidi’s background is in vocal and theater performance, she is also an entrepreneur who has owned several businesses, and now works with hundreds of business leaders in her current position. Heidi shared deep, personal struggles after she graduated from SAGU trying to find her way in the world. When she reached the end of herself, she found stillness in just sitting in the presence of God and letting Him speak. She realized what was missing – she didn’t love herself. As she surrendered to God, He was able to completely transform her life and perspective from one of darkness, anxiety, and hopelessness to light, peace, and hope for her future. Some of the things that helped her included: journaling the good things, speaking life over herself, focusing on all the good things that could happen instead of the worst-case scenarios, taking care of her body, always learning, praying and reading the Bible for herself. As she did all of these things the narrative in her mind began to change and transformation happened. She realized that when scripture says “Love your neighbor AS yourself”, you have to love yourself first. This then allows you to shine your light wherever you are.

Photo by: Kimberly Balderas

The third and final speaker was Hannah Lippert. Hannah is the Marketing Coordinator for John Houston Custom Homes, specifically within the JH Reach division. Her talk was “The Art of Adding Value”. She shared her own bouts with “imposter syndrome”:

Imposter syndrome can be defined as a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success. ‘Imposters’ suffer from chronic self-doubt and a sense of intellectual fraudulence that override any feelings of success or external proof of their competence.

With this inadequacy being the narrative you live in, it’s difficult to know your true value and what you have to offer the people you come in contact with every day. She quoted Herbie Hancock, “The most valuable things in life are priceless. They are courage, compassion, wisdom, respect for ourselves and others, and a host of characteristics that we call the beauty of the human spirit.” She challenged everyone with this: “How can you value someone today?”

What an inspirational morning learning from these leaders! I’m sure the SAGU faculty is more than proud of how these former students have grown and are now sharing their stories with those coming behind them. It’s encouraging to see the SAGU Business Department sowing into their current students by way of Alumni. Special thanks to Shelly Zaldivar, the Department chair, and her assistant Sandra Tucker for all of their hard work and planning.

At DownHome, we have a vision to be a light in this great county we live in. These three talks inspired me to look for the “God winks”, love myself, and see my own value and the value of others.

Ami Trull is the Content Manager for – She is a 5th generation resident of Ellis County. She and her husband, Jay have two sons. Ami is also a photographer and graphic designer. She is passionate about telling the stories that matter most.


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