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LennaKay helps displaced in times of need

“I have always wanted to help with humanitarian aid and relief,” LennaKay said, “but I was unsure of how to do it as a career. While I was serving as a missionary in the Oregon Salem mission for the Church, I woke up in the middle of the night with the words ‘Global Supply Chain and Operations’ running strongly through my mind.”

Unsure what the words meant for her, LennaKay used Google to search for them on preparation day. “LDS Business College was the only college that offered a program by that specific name,” LennaKay said. “I followed my prompting and made plans accordingly.”

When she returned from her mission, LennaKay started working for the American Red Cross. She also began attending LDSBC, where she is learning skills that apply directly to her job.

“A large part of my job involves motivating and helping people and organizations understand the importance of what they are doing,” LennaKay said. “Within the first month, I was able to apply concepts of communication, leadership and management to work that can be high stress, especially when it involves helping others on what can be the worst days of their lives.”

LennaKay is learning how to find solutions to big problems, but she strives to do it with the Lord on her side. She recently was asked to join with other agencies and assist victims of major flooding in Louisiana.

Along with providing relief, LennaKay kept a military set of scriptures on her desk. Following advice by Elder Dale G. Renlund, she made sure she always read at least two verses a day. “I read more when I had time,” she said, “but more often than not, it was no more than a stolen minute from the controlled chaos of a natural disaster. Nonetheless, it was a crucial minute.”

As LennaKay kept this habit, her coworkers began to notice. One afternoon, as LennaKay was leaving the operations room to read, a coworker named her scripture time as “LennaKay’s mandatory Jesus time.”

Someone else on the scene asked what LennaKay had left for, and the rest of the group explained that she was taking her “mandatory Jesus time.” Before any remarks could be made, the site director said LennaKay was the most genuine person he had ever met and her manager agreed.

Hearing about this later, LennaKay commented, “What made this so special to me was how interlinked the comments about my personal character were with my actions. They clearly labeled me as a follower of Christ in a public setting.”

LennaKay mentioned another experience with the Louisiana flooding. It also confirmed the prompting she had received to study what she had pursued at LDSBC.

“One man displaced by the flooding that had destroyed his home could not be helped due to lack of medical equipment,” LennaKay said. “Nobody could get the equipment to him, and he died on my third day into the disaster relief operation.” She learned firsthand the lifesaving potential of her field and its application to disaster relief.

Eager to gain new skills at LDSBC, LennaKay has faced many challenges.  One was her previous education. “Because I moved so frequently, accumulating credits was difficult in high school,” she said. “I got a GED when I was 16. I am skilled in language, history and arts, but I never finished algebra and physics. I failed chemistry three times. This created a lot of anxiety.”

LennaKay cried the first time she walked into LDSBC. “I was so terrified of failing again,” she said, “but also so full of excitement to have a second chance at a formal education and succeed.”

The first semester brought a second big challenge when LennaKay ran out of money for food and wasn’t eating enough. “After meeting with the incredible faculty, I was given a needs-based scholarship,” she said. “It gave me courage to keep going until other financial opportunities evolved to make it possible for me to return for a second semester.”

As LennaKay starts her second semester at the College, a new challenge is that of keeping up. “The biggest challenge so far has come from trying to complete homework as I juggle the unpredictable schedule of emergency response with academics,” she said. Like others, at times she has struggled to keep her focus and resolve when it seems she cannot do any more or go any further.

However, even through the hard times, LennaKay has learned what she is truly capable of. “I have learned a lot about what the Lord can do when we have the faith to keep going,” she said, “especially when it’s hard. So much can be accomplished when we include the Savior in our journey.”

She strives each day to keep the Spirit in her life and spread the Savior’s love.

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