Elizabeth Graham knows what it’s like to be a Christian female in both the secular and denominational workplaces. On March 12, she took some time to address how women can work in a God-honoring way at the Women in the Workplace Luncheon at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS).
In May 2009, Graham received her Master of Arts in biblical counseling at SEBTS. She worked in a variety of roles at SEBTS, including as the card and travel program manager before working at the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the Southern Baptist Convention, which she began in January of 2015. She also owns Yellow Brick Events (YBE), a company she began in 2017. Graham and her husband, Richmond, have two children, Jonathan and Hannah Grace, and they live in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Graham’s theological and workplace experiences laid the foundation for the positions she hold today. Below are three themes that emerged from Graham’s conversation on glorifying God in the workplace:
1. Humbly approach your current responsibilities in preparation for what God has in the future. As women prepare for leadership roles in the future, the key is to pursue excellence in the present. This requires doing your job with excellence and stewarding your responsibilities in a God-honoring way.
“If you as a woman want to excel in the workplace, you are not afforded the luxury of just doing your job averagely,” said Graham. “That is not an option for you.”
Aspiring leaders must also remain humble learners, whether they are a CEO or an entry-level employee. One of the ways women can do this is by having mentors speak into their lives, which Graham said shaped her life tremendously while at SEBTS.
2. Leverage what you do for the Great Commission. Through her role at both the ERLC and YBE, Graham works with a majority of non-Christian vendors, allowing her to build relationships with those outside the church. She explained that the way in which she and her coworkers interact with vendors can open the door for the gospel.
“Talking to them about the conference itself and the work that we do is just an incredible opportunity for the gospel to be shared,” said Graham.
3. Find a healthy work/life balance. Maintaining the balance of professional and personal roles can be tough. While Graham admits she has not always done this well, this year she is intentionally seeking to grow in this aspect.
She joked with lunch attendees that this year her theme was, “My Name is No.” In fact, she also asks herself three key questions before taking on another task: Am I passionate about this, are my gifts being used to serve others well and what does this look like in a work/life balance?
One example of saying yes is when given the opportunity to serve SEBTS because of how the school has shaped her.
“Because of the investment the seminary [had] in me, it’s a stewardship and a responsibility that I have to give back.”
From planning the logistics to the content of an event, Graham is using the skills she developed at SEBTS to both serve the Church and fulfill the Great Commission.
“Theologically and professionally I was shaped here significantly, more than any other place and time in my life,” said Graham.