The dog-eat-dog business climate might seem like no place for faith. But in Toronto, Darcy Keeler has figured out how to combine the two.
The 39-year-old sales engineer serves as one of over 100 small group leaders nationwide with LeaderImpact, Cru’s marketplace ministry.
From his first moment in a CEO boardroom with older leaders, Darcy knew he wanted to get involved.
“It was a little bit intimidating, being with vice-presidents or business owners but hearing them share their struggles at home or work. I thought, ‘I want to invest my time and my heart here.’ LeaderImpact provides such a safe place for people like me. I can invite friends from work to our forums, which so reflect God working in the lives of top business leaders.”
At a recent forum, after going through the breakfast buffet, 52 business professionals sat down at rows of tables to learn how to attract and keep new clients from sales trainer Howard Olsen. They laughed and took notes on Howard’s enthusiastic, high-energy presentation, but the room grew quiet as he began telling his story.
“My identity was based around my deals,” says Howard. But when he lost his job and couldn’t get work for two years, and all the money, prestige and titles disappear: “So did my sense of self.”
At the end of his story, Howard invited everyone to come to a local small group with the friend who invited them and to try it out for four weeks.
Typically, attendees will stay for the same reasons Darcy did.
Although he lives an hour north of Toronto, five years ago Darcy took a new job downtown, riding the train in twice a week.
“I said, ‘OK, if I’m moving to this company, let’s open up a new group,’ so I put my hand up as a new leader.”
He currently has five guys coming regularly, some whom have been involved for years.
According to John Havercroft, LeaderImpact regional director, “In this cutthroat business climate, God empowers Darcy to relate to his peers with warmth, genuineness and acceptance, which gains their trust very quickly.”
“You connect with someone on a project,” says Darcy. “You share about family, experiences, history, and where you get your strength from, and then go towards fellowship, church and faith. I also love hearing people’s stories. What are the challenges, the history? That’s an easy path to gain someone’s trust, understanding their problems, their stories, and it just builds from there.”
Canadian hockey legend Paul Henderson started LeaderImpact with just three men, and it’s grown to over 100 groups in 45 cities across Canada. They host mission trips to three other countries, which Darcy looks forward to joining.
“Opportunities for new training, going international, new groups spreading and the chance to impact people driving the economy of their country — leaders that have hundreds of people behind them — seeing them changed for God: That’s very exciting,” he says.
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