Adventist Review Online | ADRA’s 2019 Annual Council Gears Toward Growth, Embraces New Purpose


Organization directors discuss how to be more relevant to the needs of society.

Each year, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) facilitates two weeks of working group sessions with roughly 200 staff members from its 131 country offices. 

The annual assembly of ADRA’s directors and associate directors convened in Sweimeh, Jordan in February 2019 to discuss areas of improvement regarding finance, development, partnership, programs, and marketing, and address how ADRA can be relevant to the needs of an ever-changing society. 

Mobilizing Effective Leaders 

A leadership summit kicked off the meetings, introducing three pillars of thought for ADRA’s leaders to consider in the coming year, namely to create clarity, generate energy, and thrive.

“Creating clarity asks ‘why’ we exist as an organization and helps provide a focus on delivering our mission,” said Korey Dowling, ADRA’s vice president for people and culture. “Once clarity exists, we generate energy asking ‘how’ we can drive organizational culture and create employee engagement. Lastly, we unleash a thriving culture of leaders by growing people personally, professionally, and spiritually.” 

Participants were also introduced to an array of workshops and plenary classes. Leading experts and specialists spoke on topics of spirituality, influential leadership, employee relations, diversity, work ethics, and mentoring, to name a few. 

Karla Cole, director of annual giving at ADRA, attended a creative workshop focused on storytelling, in which Bill Knott, executive editor of the Adventist Review and Adventist World magazines, was the presenter. “I found the storytelling workshop to be a unique way to inspire our fundraising strategy,” she said. 

“Storytelling is as much what the teller says, but also what the listener hears,” Knott said during his storytelling workshop. “A story can be internalized by the hearer to make it his own and be changed by it.” He added that every culture uses stories and that stories have the power to let God speak to each individual and their personal narrative.


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