In high school, Mary Jo’s friends used to call her ‘Dear Abby’ after a popular newspaper advice columnist because she always seemed to have a practical suggestion for solving their problems. “One of the things I like to do is to give to other people and help them through their journeys in life, whatever those journeys might be,” she explained.
As a self-proclaimed rule follower, Mary Jo said her 11-year tenure in Human Resources (HR) at the OM office in Tyrone, Georgia, has been a perfect fit, professionally and personally: “My biggest thing is wanting to help people, and first and foremost is that I’m doing it for Christ and for His kingdom.”
That tendency to help might be why, pre-pandemic, she sometimes found it challenging to find time to accomplish all the tasks required for her current role as an HR generalist. Why? “I don’t turn people away. I want to help,” she said, as she smiled and shrugged.
Her often-revolving office door, filled by other workers wanting clarification or to chat, proved her point. “People are comfortable with me,” she said. “I won’t take your next step for you, but I’ll help you through the next step. I try not to be an enabler. I try to teach somebody something so that they can help themselves, and I think that’s appreciated.”
Helping send God’s workers
Despite her desire to help people, until a couple of years ago, Mary Jo didn’t see the direct link between her work in HR and other OM workers who share God’s love around the world with people who don’t know it. “I’m just a behind-the-scenes person. What they do doesn’t have anything to do with me,” she thought.
But when payroll for overseas workers switched to her responsibility and a new HR director arrived, her perspective shifted. “I’m helping the people that God is telling to go out,” she realized. “He has talked to every single person that comes into this office and told them: ‘This is what I want from you. This is what you’re gifted for. This is My plan for you.’ And in that way, I’m working for Him… I’m helping Him get His workers out into the field.”
For Chris Williams, the senior director of HR for OM in the US, the connection is crystal clear: “The mission of sending workers well is exercised in about every facet of Mary Jo’s day,” he said. From processing funding to working with insurance brokers to answering emails, everything she does impacts people serving with and sent through the US OM office. The same is true for all that work in the US office.
“Our office would not be the same without Mary Jo,” Chris continued. “She chooses to work toward excellence in the way we serve people because she believes in the mission and finds a deep responsibility to make sure that there aren’t hindrances for those who say ‘yes’ to overseas missions.”