Blown away by this college junior
Jordan Raynor sits down with Jenna Fortier, Founder of PASTA - Peers and Students Taking Action, to talk about her genius habit of emailing God her prayers, why the truth that you can’t be anything you want to be is paradoxically freeing, and how to use being relatively unknown to your advantage at work.
[0:00:05.3] JR: Hey there, welcome to the Call to Mastery. I’m Jordan Raynor. This is a podcast for Christians who want to do their most exceptional work, for the glory of God and the good of others. Each week, I’m hosting a conversation with a Christian who is pursuing world class mastery of their jobs, of their vocation. We’re talking about their path to mastery, their daily habits and routines and how their faith influences their work.
Now you guys know how hard my team and I fight to maintain the integrity of who we deem a master of their craft but today’s guest has demonstrated a mastery as an entrepreneur and leader and an entirely different level than anybody else I know at her age. Her name is Jenna Fortier and she’s still in college, she’s a rising senior at High Point University in North Carolina. But get this, in the eighth grade, Jenna founded a nonprofit called Peers and Students Taking Action or PASTA for short.
Today, that nonprofit has 30 chapters across the United States and has connected high school students with opportunities to serve and volunteer with more than 16,000 elementary school kids across the United States. I was so impressed with Jenna before the call, before this conversation, I was even more impressed afterwards that once we stopped recording, I actually offered her a job right there on the spot.
Jenna and I sat down, we talked about her genius habit of emailing God her prayers when she did an internship at Hilton, you’re going to love that part of the interview, we talked about why the truth that you can’t be anything you want to be is paradoxically freeing and we talked about how to use being relatively unknown in your career especially early on to your advantage at work.
There’s so much wisdom from this young woman at such a young age. You guys are going to love and be inspired by this conversation with my friend Jenna Fortier
[0:02:18.0] JR: Jenna, welcome to the podcast.
[0:02:19.1] JF Thanks for having me, Jordan.
[0:02:21.2] JR: Months ago, you sent me this unbelievably kind email after reading Called to Create and my assistant screens all these messages and so I only see a portion of them but she forward it to me and I was reading your story like I have to talk to Jenna. We got on the phone, I was even more impressed with you. I basically told you, you have to come work with me. I’m always spotting young talent and offering jobs.
But at a minimum it was like, I have to have Jenna on the podcast. You were the first active college student on the show, maybe the last but welcome to the show.
[0:02:56.7] JF Thank you so much, yeah. I’m so excited, it’s crazy because I’ve never emailed an author before. I was like, is this even allowed, I don’t know what’s happening. But I was so moved by call to create ion so many ways and I was like, I just have to let him know.
But when I was emailing you, I was like, wow, maybe in 20 years, he’ll call me to be on the podcast like that would be cool. This is unreal for me.
[0:03:17.6] JR: You know what’s funny, my team and I debated this, right? Because we’re very careful who we point to and say they’re a master of their craft. It’s hard to call a college student a master of their craft, no offense to you as offense to –
[0:03:29.9] JF No, I understand.
[0:03:31.2] JR: I wouldn’t have said that on myself. But my team’s case was basically, “hey, she is clearly more masterful than anyone else in her stage of her career and she’s clearly on the path to master and so we should have her.” I thought that was really good rationale. Speaking of, you’ve created this amazing organization called PASTA. What is PASTA?
[0:03:52.5] JF Yeah, PASTA stands for Peers and students taking action and it’s a completely student led and student run organization and our mission is kids helping kids in the community. When I was in eighth grade, I had, this was about seven years ago now. I realized that service was really becoming nothing more than a box of check and a requirement to fill, especially with kids applying to college, there’s so much pressure to get a ton of community service hours and I saw them just kind of engaging in things that weren’t as meaningful to them and I saw that as actually a threat to society because this whole generation of kids was now going to grow up not really valuing service for what it was and more as a burden.
I wanted to change that by creating an organization that would bring the meaning back into service and the way we did that was through expanding the societal boundaries of volunteerism and leading that movement through hashing driven and project based service so kind of what that means is we’re organized in chapters and governed by a student board of directors so when I say student led, I literally mean our board of directors is completely made of high school students.
Over the past seven years, we’ve launched 38 chapters and we encourage all of our members to first identify a problem facing kids in the community and then use their passions and unique giftings to solve that in the form of a project. An example of that is one chapter was really passionate about music, and they discovered that private music lessons are extremely expensive wherever you are.
Lower income families couldn’t really give those opportunities to their kids. They started a free summer long guitar lesson program and have been running that for three years now. This way, I feel like our members in this model are really being encouraged and empowered because they’re learning at such a young age how to walk in their giftings and use those to help other people which is honestly just what you talk about in both of your books, this idea of using your gifts for the glory of God and the good of others and although that’s my motivation and not particularly the motivation of all of our members, that’s kind of my way that I’m bringing them into that storyline.
[0:06:04.7] JR: I love it so much. By the way, you’re getting a lot of job offers, I have to say. 38 chapters and is a chapter on a high school campus, is that right?
[0:06:18.0] JF It’s actually not affiliated with the school system at all. When we started my chapter, literally we’re just meeting in my basement and so there are kids from all different high schools, technically right now, it’s like in the loud county area in northern Virginia where I am so it can be kids from different high schools in particular chapters, we started with 12 kids in a chapter and realized very quickly that that is too many and not very efficient.
Now it’s about four to eight is our sweet spot we’re finding but it’s from all over and they’re not affiliated with high schools.
[0:06:53.3] JR: But then the chapters are recruiting obviously high school kids to volunteer and create these projects and to serve kids in the community, right?
[0:06:59.7] JF Yeah, it’s actually start as early as I had a fifth grade chapter that I was mentoring when I was on the board so all the way from fifth grade to high school students because honestly, a big part of PASTA is growing leadership and it’s really cool. Every chapter has to be mentored by a preexisting pasta member because obviously, there’s no parent leadership so you can’t just ring a bunch of kids together and be like okay, go off your pasta chapter now. They have to be mentored and the mentor has to go through this extensive mentorship training program and get certified and all that.
There’s these different levels of leadership that the kids can have and I mentored a six grade chapter and it’s really cool because now, that was six years ago so that chapter that I mentored is now 12th graders, they’re still in PASTA and the one girl that was the chapter leader is now the president of the board of directors so it’s kind of cool like getting to see and pinpoint the leadership potential six years earlier and then growing them and seeing them mature into what they are today.
[0:08:01.4] JR: That’s amazing. When we spoke by phone a few weeks ago, you mentioned that you basically received – I mean, what’s essentially an acquisition offer of PASTA which is weird to talk about in the nonprofit space. Have you made a decision about that?
[0:08:14.8] JF Still talking through the logistics of it, we weren’t sure exactly, a lot of people are saying, the really cool thing about PASTA is that we’re just so unique in the fact that we have very narrow mission and we stick to that and we almost spend no time fund raising. We spend probably like 2% of our time fundraising because a lot of our projects are more the kids spending their time and their talents rather than their money. One of our projects don’t really cost anything.
The worry we had of merging with another organization was just taking away from how special that was and from being student led and having a student board of directors and all of that. We’re kind of still sifting through all of that to see what is the best step for our future but yeah, we’re considering it and it’s kind of crazy to think about it.
[0:09:04.0] JR: I’m so glad you’re learning this at such a young age but just this lesson of knowing your lane as an organization and just staying laser focused on that thing. I mean, this is what Master of One is all about and I think that’s true of organizations but also individuals. Speaking of futures, you’re a junior in college, is that correct?
[0:09:23.3] JF Yes.
[0:09:24.0] JR: What’s next for you professionally, right? You got graduation coming down the pipe in a year, what do you want the rest of your career to look like?
[0:09:31.0] JF Yeah, honestly, it’s kind of crazy, High Point is doing some pretty cool things in responding to the coronavirus and how that’s impacting students.
[0:09:41.0] JR: Real quick, High Point is where you go to school, right?
[0:09:43.3] JF Yes, high point university in North Carolina and they just notified us about this interesting opportunity.
All these colleges right now are giving refunds because of housing and food that they’re not paying for right now. They’re giving students the option to not take that refund but to come back on campus for an extra year, stay on campus housing and get a completely free master’s program for one year and all they have to pay for is housing. Tuition is free and it’s a master’s in communications and leadership and so, I’m in a unique position because I was planning on graduating in December but I’m actually done with all of my credits and classes and stuff.
I could have graduated right now in May but I couldn’t fathom like graduating a whole year early from college because I love it so much so I was just going to take some classes that were extra but I’m thinking about graduating now and then doing that program so that will be in the future and then I had the most amazing internship last summer with Hilton.
I worked in their corporate office near DC and just fell in love with the hospitality industry and how that really can bind my passions for marketing which is my major and then also serving others because literally their business model is people serving people.
I just loved it so much so I would love to work with them in the future, other than that, I don’t really know, I’m keeping an open mind, not trying to put God in a box and obviously with everything happening right now, it’s just another reminder that your plans can change so quickly.
[0:11:15.7] JR: Yeah, there’s a lot of wisdom in that. I never had a five-year plan for my career. I think that surprises a lot of people. I’m like, just kind of do what sounded interesting and where I thought I could really express my gifts well in service of others. For you, whether you lead another venture or nonprofit in the role of founder or whether you lead a marketing department at Hilton one day.
What are some mistakes you think you made with PASTA that you’re going to look to avoid in the future?
[0:11:47.2] JF I think honestly a big mistake going along with that story that I told you, before of the chapter that I mentored in sixth grade and I’m growing up. Honestly, when I was mentoring that chapter, I didn’t know if they were going to make it, they just weren’t getting it, didn’t understand.
[0:12:03.7] JR: Sixth grade for crying out loud, cut them some slack, yeah.
[0:12:05.2] JF Yeah, they’re in sixth grade, yeah. I was just doubting if that was a possibility and honestly, a big lesson I learned from that was just being patient and waiting and growing them in their leadership because now she’s the president of the board, that chapter has produced so many amazing leaders. I guess just patience, I’ve learned a ton of patience through leading PASTA and that’s been a huge thing.
Also, I think early on, I just had a lot of doubts about the organization and especially in the beginning, we were trying to do these big things, we had these big dreams and wanted to get into schools and help other nonprofit organizations and we had these big projects and honestly, we would get turned down all the time because we didn’t have any parent leadership, we were just a bunch of kids and people didn’t trust us which I understand but yeah, that was really hard and I was like, are we really doing the right thing here?
I think one thing I just learned from that is really just to never underestimate the difference you can make because if I had let fear come in and tell me that I wasn’t good enough, that these people who I looked up to were turning me down and I let that overtake me then nothing would have come of it but I just felt like that was what I needed to do, I felt like we could just change so much in the community for good and so lot of persistence that I learned too. Those are kind of broad lessons but yeah.
[0:13:28.7] JR: No, that’s good. I was just talking with one of my favorite entrepreneurs, this guy named Brett Hagler, we’re going to release his episode the podcast on April 22nd, you got to make sure you listen to it, it’s one of the best ones we’ve done so far. And, he talks about just this idea of dreaming big but starting small. Which sounds so simple but I actually think that’s hard to practice especially when you’re leading a new organization, you have this huge dreams and you think you got to do it all from day one.
It’s like no, just do the next right thing, take the next action, start small, start with one chapter, conquer your own backyard before you conquer the world, you know? You’re wise beyond your years. Hey, you read Master of One and in that book, you know I outlined these three lies of career and calling that I think keep a lot of us especially young people from focusing on and mastering a particular craft, right?
To refresh your memory, those lies are number one, you could be anything you want to be, number two, you could do everything you want to do and number three, your happiness is the primary purpose of work. I’m curious, because you’re getting a ton of this advice right now, right? You’re in college, this is when you hear these lies. Which of these lies and the corresponding truths resonated most deeply with you?
[0:14:42.7] JF Yeah, I mean, they all did but I think especially this idea that you can do anything in the world and be anything in the world and be anything and I feel like there’s such a narrative around that, especially for young people being in college, it’s like, you can make the world whatever you want it to be and you can do anything in the world. I grew up kind of believing that because there was such a narrative around it.
I think it’s kind of freeing to know that you actually can’t and I think especially like an organizations and in leadership, if you’re the CEO or you are leading your team, I think you think that you have to be the best one in the room and you have to be the one that can do everything and anything.
I think that’s just really false and every leader that I talked to that I really look up to has always told me that it’s so important to be self-aware of the things that you do really well and the things that are your weaknesses and the things that you’re’ like hey, I actually can’t do that very well and that’s okay. Because then you can build your team around that and fill in the holes and to not be the smartest person in the room because I think that also just creates this unhealthy level of competition. If you’re the leader.
You’re always trying to compete with the people under you, making sure that you earn the authority that you have and I just think it’s cool to lead with vulnerability and to tell them, “Hey, this is what I actually am not so good at but that’s why I need you.”
[0:16:07.9] JR: There’s a great book that I’d love to send you. By the way, do you read physical books?
[0:16:11.0] JF Yes.
[0:16:12.5] JR: Shoot me your physical address and I’ll send you a copy of this book called Strong and Weak by Andy Crouch. It’s this exact idea, right? That great leaders are able to project genuine strength but also show vulnerability and admit what they’re not good at and it’s written by one of my favorite writers through a gospel lens, it’s really great.
I want to go back to something you said, this idea of you can’t be anything you want to be is freeing because before the book came out, I was speaking a lot of universities and that’s actually where I initially tested this messaging out.
I remember the first time I did it, I was really afraid of backlash of me telling colleges saying hey, you can’t actually be anything you want to be and I was genuinely shocked because in every time I’ve spoken to college students, they have come up to me, multiple of them saying the same thing. Hey, thank you for telling me I can’t be anything I want to be, this is freeing news and that was like jarring to me, at first I didn’t get it but as I had more off this conversations, it started to make sense to me so can you talk about why that’s freeing to you personally?
[0:17:19.6] JF Yeah, I mean I think there’s so much pressure on college students now that they should and have to be good at everything because they have so much time and this is your time to explore all these different things and honestly, I point back to, I know you love the book Essentialism, it’s one of my favorites. I think I really used to equate my level of success with the amount of things that I was involved in.
Because to me, that was my message to the world that yeah, I can do anything, I can be in this club and this club and I can be a leader here and here. Actually, that’s not really helping anyone, it’s just hurting yourself more and being an essentialist and able to look at a pile of good things and pick out the few really great things is both freeing because you let go of that pressure to have to be good at everything.
You’re just accepting and doubling down on the things that you can do masterfully well.
[0:18:11.6] JR: Yeah, that’s so good, very well said. That’s when I took on this follow your passion’s advice pretty hard, right? Arguing that passion is a byproduct of mastery. It grows in tandem. Passion grows proportionately with competency; you get the love what you do by getting really good at it. How did you react to this argument. I think this is a pretty controversial thing to say, what was your response to this?
[0:18:35.9] JF Yeah, I actually loved that and I think it was the first time I had really heard it before because everyone’s like yeah, follow your passions and do what you love and all of that stuff. If I was super passionate about I think you use some example close to this but if I was really passionate about singing and I’m a terrible singer by the way, that would not bless anybody because I’m not good at it.
And that doesn’t give anything to the world. It is not going to change anyone’s life and yeah, I thought that that message was actually just really freeing as well because I think for a while everybody feels that. They feel like when they are good with something that they fall more in love with it and they become more passionate about it but I think people honestly tend to feel I mean, at least in my experience, I almost felt bad about that because if I was talking about it to other people like:
“Oh I actually really love this thing” they’d be like, “You just love it because you’re good at it” and that would just make you feel bad almost like, “Wow, do you I only love the things or love the games or whatever that I feel like I am best at?” and almost like that was wrong to think that way but I think it was incredibly freeing knowing that that is actually a great way to think about something and that passion follows mastery. I love that.
[0:19:50.8] JR: Yeah, I think it is rooted in this idea that work is service. I mean this is what this podcast is all about. Work is about serving others first and then serving our own happiness second, then giftedness trumps passion every time or at least pre-existing passion, initial passion. We get to love what we do by serving up those well and serving our Lord well and then he invites us to share in his happiness, right? Graciously, so you mentioned your internship, I want to go back to that.
You mentioned this internship at Hilton. I think you have done a couple of internships and I always tell college students. One of my number one pieces of advice for college students is do as many internships as you possibly can, right? What has surprised you about the value of internships?
[0:20:36.4] JF: Well, internships are so important I think even more important than anything than you’ll ever learn in the classroom because it’s application and it’s real world and it was so cool. So last summer, I interned at Hilton and that was my first really big corporate internship where I was working 40 hours a week with everybody else and I don’t know I think the reason why I love internship so much and why I saw this at Hilton was you literally can just be a sponge and soak in everything that you can.
No one has these super high expectations for you because you’re an intern, you are not supposed to be at the level that they are but I am a big learner. I love learning and it’s just the prime opportunity to learn when I was there last summer, I literally met one on one probably with 40 people but every day I had a one on one with somebody in the company doing something different.
[0:21:31.8] JR: So smart by your own design you just reach out to people and like, “Hey, can I get a copy?”
[0:21:36.9] JF: Yeah I just emailed them. I was like, “Hey, want to grab a coffee with me?”
[0:21:41.1] JR: Oh my gosh you are the female version of me in college. This is the – when I was at the White House I did this nonstop. I would see the chief speech writer, I remember this. I saw the chief speech writer in the hall way in the White House once and I was like, “Hey” I think his name is John. I was like, “Hey, you’re John right? You are the president’s chief speech writer” he says yeah, I was like, “Can I grab a cup of coffee with you and just pick your brain?”
And you know what? I found people like that are unbelievably generous because most of them had somebody else do that with them but this guy, he took me to lunch in the White House mess which is the super fancy restaurant, right? Outside of the situation room of the White House, it is one of the greatest experiences of my life all because I just had the audacity to ask. You brought up an advantage of internships, not just internships but just placing little bets and humbling yourself to others.
That I have never really thought of especially with the label intern, the expectations are so low for you. You could almost be this covert student and just be the sponge for this, now I love that. Jenna it is too early in your career to have really entrenched work routines but you know we talk about routines, it happens a lot. I am curious if you started developing any time management habits that you find particularly effective.
[0:22:55.7] JF: Yeah, I mean I feel like since coming to college I really learned to value my time in the morning a lot and the first time I realize that really because I was not like that in high school but last summer, my commute to my internship was about 45 to 50 minutes on average and I was like, “Oh man this is going to be a drag” but I loved my commute. It was time for me to unwind, spend time with God and I am a very structured person.
So the rest of my day is literally blocked out by the minute and so to have that time in the morning to kind of relax and reset myself was perfect and I just have all of these memories of me driving on the highway to work and I would be listening to podcasts, sermons and singing at the top of my lungs and I would get so pumped for the day like I am a big Frank Sinatra fan actually, which is a surprise to most people because I am so young.
I know every word to almost every Frank Sinatra song ever so I would belt that and the also Hamilton gets me pumped like nothing else does.
[0:23:58.2] JR: Oh man, let’s go down this rabbit hole. Our listeners are saying, please no Jordan please stop. That is awesome, what is your favorite Hamilton song?
[0:24:08.4] JF: Honestly, Wait for It, pumps me up a lot. The Election of 1800, such a good little moment.
[0:24:14.6] JR: So good, such a pivotal moment in the life of our country, preach. You are taking me back to my days of my internships, this is very nostalgic for me. Yeah, I remember when I was in DC, I was living in northern Virginia where you live and commuting to the White House every morning that was an experience. I mean it took me an hour or so to get there. I think I had to be at my desk at 7 AM or something like that but I loved it.
I loved it, I remember watching Arrested Development on my iPod in the metro on the way to the White House and listening to Billy Joel on the way home so no, that’s great. Hey, so you’re at this really exciting time in your career. Obviously, you are ambitious for your career, what drives that ambition for you?
[0:24:58.0] JF: Oh, I really think honestly it is just I feel like I have been so blessed in my life. So many blessings I have, an incredible family. I have had incredible education growing up and I really think I’ve been blessed so I can be a blessing to other people and that is really just simply what I live by in any way that I can help others, I try to do that and I just feel like God has gifted me in so many cool and unique ways and I should use that and it is my responsibility to use that to be a blessing to other people.
[0:25:31.9] JR: A lot of people when they say that, they want to be a blessing to other people, I think they are speaking strictly in financial terms, right? I have been blessed with abundance thus I should give freely of that wealth, which is obviously true but I mean you are talking about skills, right? You are talking about talent and gifting. So you see that as an expression of extending blessing, is that right?
[0:25:52.6] JF: Yeah, definitely.
[0:25:53.7] JR: I love it. How is your faith informing how you think about this next chapter in your career?
[0:25:58.5] JF: Oh man, I think a lot of ways. I mean I talked about this to you Jordan before but this has really been a journey for me because I feel like before I thought and I don’t know if this was the church making me feel this way or just me believing this narrative that my faith was supposed to be separate from my work and I think it was because I believed people saying the only way to glorify God with your life and your career is to be a missionary and a pastor and all of those things.
And I thought that these entrepreneurial desires that I had were the same as me pursuing worldly desires as it talks about in the Bible and I don’t know why I believed that because it is so wrong but I did for the longest time. So I was trying to suppress that and last summer is when I read Called to Create, which as you know changed that whole narrative for me and I think it was so freeing to just realize that actually the first characteristic God reveals about himself in the Bible is that He is a creator.
He was the first entrepreneur and when he bought Adam into the picture and asked Adam to name all of these animals and creatures and it would be so, to me that is such a beautiful illustration of the invitation God gives us to co-create alongside of Him. So that switched everything for me and honestly, last summer during my internship was the first time that I experienced God as my coworker, which is the coolest thing because I think before even if I would pray about things of work.
It would be like I would go to work and then I would go home and then I would pray about it but I wanted to see what it would be like to bring Him into that process and I am totally outing myself here but what I did was because I was trying to figure out how do I do this in this big corporate office. I can’t necessarily just pull out my Bible but I created an email so I could email God my prayers and so during meetings, if I’ve just gotten a project and I didn’t know how to handle it I would email Him just like He was my coworker and ask for advice and pray and ask for wisdom.
And it was really cool because at the end of the summer, I got to look back on those emails and the ways that He answered all of those things and I don’t think I have ever really felt divine multiplication as you talked about so often as I did in that internship.
[0:28:15.8] JR: This is one of my favorite things I’ve ever heard from this podcast. I love this what a practical way of “bringing God into our work” and just being aware of His presence, shooting him an email. What was God’s email address? I have to know what God’s email address was.
[0:28:33.2] JF: It was firstname.lastname@example.org.
[0:28:36.9] JR: That’s amazing I am going to start emailing at that email address, it would very cool in the world isn’t it? I want to say a couple of things in response to your very generous comments. Number one, your former lack of theology of work is not your fault.
I think the vast majority of Christ followers around the world just lack of really good understanding of the Biblical narrative of work. I think the vast majority of Christians that are way older than you don’t get these concepts.
I didn’t get this concept for such a long time and when I did, when I understood it, when I read Every Good Endeavor by Tim Keller five or six years ago, however long it has been now, it changed everything because it gave me this massive story to live for, to work for. It is why I do what I do today. This is why I am spending all of my time. I mean honestly, I don’t foresee an end to this work. I think this is the work that I am going to be doing until the day I die because I think you got to say this a million different ways for the church to get it.
I want to read not to congratulate myself but I want to read what you read me because it was so impactful for me and your first thing is you said Called to Create, “It brought me to tears, realizing that my passion for entrepreneurship was not born from this world but strategically woven inside of me by the one who called me to create” and I want to read that because one that brought me to tears when I was prepping for this podcast I was crying reading over that.
And I don’t cry that much and I want our listeners to hear what you said because actually you said it better than I can, right? Our desire for good work, our desire to create has been strategically woven inside of us by the one who has called us to create. So thank you so much for doing that. Hey, I want to go back to PASTA for a second. So within PASTA, you are not preaching the gospel, right? And yet you are very much view that as ministry. Talk about why?
[0:30:31.5] JF: I feel like the whole purpose of that is to teach them how to use their giftings to help other people and that is such what God calls us into. So that is like I said before, the way that I am bringing them into that story line, they all know about my faith. They know that I am Christian and whenever the opportunity comes up I can talk about it but yeah, I would think the vast majority of our members are actually non-believers.
And honestly, it is just so cool to see their transformation and I can see God working through it and they might not realize it yet but I do because our whole why is to inspire doers because we have a lot members that come into PASTA for the soul purpose of getting their community service hours and that’s okay because we are trying to inspire them to be doers and we have seen them work because come senior year, they’ve already turned in their applications and they are still in PASTA.
Six, seven years later they’re still there and I think it is God’s story line that is keeping them in it no other reason that I can think of and they’re just learning how to walk in their giftings, they are learning how to serve others and that’s what it’s about. So that is how I am preaching the gospel in a subtle way to them.
[0:31:46.8] JR: Most people wouldn’t say that they are hungry for the Christian message, the gospel is offensive to people but I think most people hunger for truth and we have to remember as Christians we have truth at our disposal every day in the word of God and can impart those principles of truth in our organizations and our workplaces, right? And when we do that whether or not the people that we’re surrounding ourselves know it or not, they are becoming more like him, right?
And that is a good thing because we are creating a greater hunger for truth and goodness that is ultimately found in him alone. Hey Jenna, so you know the three questions I love to wrap up every conversation with. So I am sure you are very well prepared, first one, which books do you recommend or gift most frequently to others?
[0:32:34.0] JF: Obviously I have given Called to Create to so many people so that would probably be number one, so thank you for that. Essentialism is another big one. I actually forced my friend group to start a book club just so I can have them read it because I thought that they needed it and I think every college student needs it honestly and if you can learn those fundamentals so early on I think it just sets you up for success. So that is a big one too and then The Go-Giver, I love The Go-Giver.
[0:33:03.6] JR: That has been recommended I think two times on the Call to Mastery, I have never read it.
[0:33:09.1] JF: Yeah it’s great, you haven’t read it?
[0:33:10.1] JR: No.
[0:33:10.4] JF: Oh my gosh it is so great. It is a really short read and it’s just this beautiful – I don’t know if it is a Christian book or not or if he is a Christian, the author but honestly I love when that happens when it’s like a Christian book but they didn’t mean for it to be that way.
[0:33:27.9] JR: Oh yeah, have you read anything by Jim Collins yet? Good to Great, Built to Last, Great by Choice?
[0:33:32.7] JF: Good to Great, yes.
[0:33:34.7] JR: Yeah, so Collins has been very transparent about his struggles with faith and I am not exactly sure where he is but when you read that book, I’m like, “These are gospel principles right here” he is talking about the servant leadership of Jesus Christ. All right, by the way I am not sure if you have hear this, we just launched a new page on jordanraynor.com. Well it is not going to be new by the time people are hearing this episode but jordanraynor.com/bookshelf.
So all your book recommendations there and we now have a leader board running of the most frequently recommended books on the Call to Mastery. I think The Go-Giver is about to be number two or three on that list and Essentialism is already on there. So thanks for recommending those. Who would you most like to hear talk about the intersection of faith and work on this podcast?
[0:34:17.1] JF: Yes, Sheryl Anderson. She is a great family friend of us and she’s a screenwriter in LA and I just think it’s fascinating –
[0:34:26.7] JR: Oh I’m in, say no more I am in, yes.
[0:34:28.7] JF: Yes, it is so fascinating to me to be in that industry and she’s one of the strongest people in her faith that I know and she is writing a Netflix show currently and everyone always asks her, “How can you survive as a Christian in this industry?” and her answer is beautiful. She says, “I don’t know how you can survive without being a Christian in this industry.”
[0:34:47.8] JR: That is really good, if you introduce me to Sheryl, we’ll have her on the show.
[0:34:51.6] JF: Oh yeah, definitely yes.
[0:34:52.7] JR: Guaranteed, I love that one. All right last question, one piece of advice to leave this audience, maybe some young people, maybe old people in this audience who like you are just trying to do their most exceptional work for the glory of God and the good of others.
[0:35:04.1] JF: I think I could speak mostly to young listeners since I am so young.
[0:35:08.2] JR: Well let’s do that yeah.
[0:35:09.6] JF: One thing I would say because this was so evident through PASTA is it is okay to step out without knowing all of the answers because I didn’t even know I was starting PASTA. I didn’t intend for it to be that way it just happened and I didn’t know how to start a non-profit. I didn’t know how to write bylaws. I mean I was in eighth grade, I didn’t know anything and I just think that is the beauty of when God calls you, he calls you to trust Him.
And if we had all of the answers, if we had it all figured out there is no reason to have to rely on Him anymore and so I guess it is just to embrace the unknown rather than be fearful of it because I just think fear has caused so many great things to not happen and it is sad to me.
[0:35:55.8] JR: Yeah that is really good. Jenna I want to commend you for the phenomenal start to your career. Thank you for leaning into God’s clear calling on your life to create new things and serve other people through your gifts. Thanks for providing a platform to help teens serve people well, serve kids well in their communities and thus reveal the sacrificial nature of our Savior, Jesus Christ and thank you for joining us on the podcast.
Hey, if you want to connect with Jenna, you can find her, I am assuming LinkedIn is the best place to connect with you, right Jenna?
[0:36:26.2] JF: Yeah LinkedIn is great, yep.
[0:36:26.9] JR: Yeah so LinkedIn.com/in/jennacfortier and of course you can find out more about PASTA at wearepasta.org. Jenna, thanks again for being here.
[0:36:43.1] JF: Thank you so much Jordan.
[END OF INTERVIEW]
[0:36:45.2] JR: Man, I’m glad we took the bet on bringing Jenna onto the podcast. What an unbelievable guest, what incredible wisdom from such a young person. I was telling my wife after the interview sharing some of Jenna’s wisdom with her, she’s like, “How is this girl, this kid…” I am just kidding you Jenna if you are listening, no that was such a great episode. One of my favorites that we’ve recorded so far, I hope you guys agree.
Thank you guys so much for listening to this week’s episode. I’ll see you next time.