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EU Alumni Perspective: Michael Fencil

Name: Michael Fencil

Graduation Year: 2008

Major: Business

Current Position: Founder & CEO, SHIFTSPACES

City and State: Naples, FL

 

Tell us about your career and what you do now.

In 2020, just as the pandemic began, I started our company, SHIFTSPACES, to support remote workers. The concept was simple-people all over the world were working from home, from unprofessional spaces that lacked unity in design, image, and professionalism. With all of these spaces being different, how could companies, organizations and agencies find a way to unify and professionalize their remote workforce? I had a vision in mind to answer that question. If you’re curious to know what it is, visit www.shiftspaces.com

What is your favorite memory from Evangel?

As a student working part-time, playing a sport, and studying, I was struggling to afford the basics or the extras. It was tough. I remember wondering all too often if I could make it. One of my professors called me to his office and he handed me an envelope with a card inside that offered me words of encouragement and $100. How in the world he knew I needed encouragement and a blessing like that, I will never know, but I remember being so thankful. I also remember hiding my face as tears began streaming down because in that brief exchange, I could see God showing His faithfulness in an unexpected way; it was as if he was saying, “Even when you have nothing left, I always have ways to get you what you need.”

How did Evangel help you identify/develop your calling?

Finding your “calling” isn’t a linear path, and it doesn’t come at a predictable time. It was difficult to come to that conclusion because I wanted to know when I was at Evangel, and it wasn’t coming to me. I was being stretched and prepared, but I didn’t know what that was going to lead to; I couldn’t fully see or understand. I had to become comfortable being uncomfortable. While that might not be a great marketing message (as it’s not very appealing), Evangel was a good place to be to go through that process. The doors that closed during that stage of my life became a great gift to me later in life.

How did your experience at Evangel prepare you for life after graduation?

There were “leaders” at Evangel that invested in me. These were people that didn’t know me a day before I set foot on campus, but from the time I got there, they showed they cared, and they wanted to see me succeed. They were willing to sit with me, learn about me, and I learned a lot about leadership, a lot about serving, and a lot about putting others first through them. At Evangel, I found mentors and role models who made their life about building others up. People like Bernie Dana, Dennis Wubbena, Rebecca Rhoades, Bert Caple, and many others. Each of them unique and yet consistent in their approach with the students they shepherded over. These people made an impact on me and were a part of shaping my life after college. And, while the university is filled with so many leaders like this, there are also so many people in the Evangel community that make a difference in the lives of students each day. In fact, two of my favorite people, Kyle and Gretchen Moorman, were directly connected to the university and their kindness has stood out to me from the day we met in Ozark. It is the people that make the difference, and they all did in my life.

What advice would you give a current student preparing for the workforce?

You don’t have to know! Let God lead you. In letting go of your plans, you get His.

What would you look for if you were in a position to hire new graduates from Evangel?

A heart to serve. If you have that heart in you, you’re going to put others ahead of yourself, and you’re going to be a blessing to others as you look to give what you have.

A firm identity. Image can change so quickly and too often our confidence is wrapped up in that image (the job you have, your career accolades, your looks, your net worth, etc), but having our identity in Christ surpasses that by far so that no matter what changes come, you still are exactly who He says you are. That allows you to be steady in life.

An eager spirit/readiness for action. Someone who is willing to work and make an effort to advance the company’s mission with a determination and fire, that person is going to make a difference.