- By Vision Synergy
We are excited to announce that Paula Rowland, Ph.D., has joined the visionSynergy Board of Directors!
A long-time friend to visionSynergy, Paula has helped us with several projects and assisted founder Phill Butler with research for his book on Kingdom partnerships, Well Connected.
Paula brings to our board a diverse blend of skills, multicultural competence, practical field experience, and world-class skill as a program evaluation consultant. We appreciate Paula’s deep compassion and tireless efforts to meet the needs of the poor and marginalized. From working alongside her missionary parents in Mexico city to living and serving on Mercy Ships with her family, Paula has lived her life in service to others in need.
While Paula has met tangible needs face-to-face all her life, she has also rigorously studied the best ways to meet those needs efficiently and at a large scale. In college she graduated with a degree in nutrition—knowledge she put to immediate use in the overcrowded Cambodian refugee camps feeding undernourished mothers and children with Care International. Later, Paula earned a Master’s degree in Public Health, concentrating on maternal and child health—skills she put to work at public health clinics in Los Angeles, Latin America, and abroad.
After adding a Ph.D. in Comparative International Education to her academic résumé, Paula addressed the needs of the impoverished at a multilateral and international scale providing program evaluations for the United Nations, state and national organizations, and philanthropic foundations. Though she’s working at a larger scale these days, Paula still helps people at the margins of life, especially children in challenging situations.
Giving changes your life…
When chatting with Paula about her story and how her life led her from Mexico City to Seattle (and many places in between!), she described a small moment from her childhood that had a powerful effect on her.
“We always had some errand to do on the weekend, even if only to go to the bank or visit the post office. So, when we were kids, my brother, sister, and I took turns going downtown with dad for a Saturday morning outing and maybe a treat. I’ll never forget this: on the way out the door, Dad would stop in the kitchen where we kept this big bowl of coins that people gave him for his preaching. There, he’d fill his pockets with change.
“He told us, ‘This is for the beggars. But, listen, we don’t give them money in order to change their life. It probably won’t. Instead, giving changes our life by keeping us tender toward the poor.’
“That tenderness toward the poor is one thing I so deeply appreciate from my family. The way my parents live is to live for other people. That’s a lesson I hope I never forget.”
Today, Paula’s mom is 87, her dad is 91 — and he still travels internationally and preaches four to six times a week.
When asked why she’s spent so much of her life traveling to and volunteering in some of the most dangerous parts of the world, Paula says, “God just gave me a deep compassion for people in need. I watched my parents live it out every single day. So, when I had the ability and an opportunity to be a part of the work, I took it.”
As a trained program evaluator, Paula helps organizations and networks work smarter, defining tangible, practical objectives for their mission and then creating ways to assess and measure progress with specific outcomes. Since we work to identify collaborative strategies to best live out the Gospel among unreached peoples, Paula’s professional skills, her vision for the Kingdom, and her focused compassion will strengthen our board’s effectiveness and visionSynergy’s work.
As we welcome Paula, please pray with us that God grant her the wisdom and insight she needs as she joins our mission.
To Paula, welcome — we are so blessed to have you on our board!