It took more than 10 years, but Pam Haralakova Marmon '05 now sees how the elements of her Calvin education and vocational aspirations have come together.
“I knew I wanted to be in business, and I had a heart for ministry as well,” she said. “I am very excited to blend my organizational effectiveness expertise with a plan to benefit the church. It was all in God’s timing.”
Marmon took many business classes at Calvin but was also a Jubilee Fellow—one of a dozen students chosen each year to explore their calling to ministry through discussion, mentoring and a summer ministry experience.
Through the Jubilee opportunity, she served as a summer intern at Westminster Chapel in Bellevue, Washington.
When she was 12 years old, Marmon’s family immigrated to the United States from Bulgaria. The family settled in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, and the youngster was determined to seek out a Christ-centered education.
Marmon chose Calvin, commenting, “You can go anywhere and get a degree, but you can’t go everywhere to have your faith integrally involved in the process.”
Business professors Stacy Jackson and Andy De Vries, chaplain Dale Cooper and vice president for student life and mentor Shirley Hoogstra nurtured her Calvin experience.
“I grew up in a former Communist county where there was no access to Christian education,” she said. “I absolutely wanted that for my college experience.”
Pam Haralakova Marmon '05
Each person played an important role in her vocational direction, which began with corporate positions at Meijer in Grand Rapids and then Boeing in Seattle.
“I remember Professor Jackson telling me to choose a career that will give me choices in life, opportunities to diversify and lead me to the next chapter,” Marmon said. “This valuable advice has propelled me throughout my career.”
And diversify she did. She became interested in organizational change and received an MBA and a certificate in change management. She partnered with executive leaders to transform organizations as they were adapting to changing environments.
About that time, she met engineer and budding entrepreneur Sam Marmon. They married and decided to move to the Chicago area to be near Pam’s family.
“Through God’s grace we both quickly landed positions, and I was able to continue as an organizational effectiveness consultant with an emphasis on transformational change,” she said.
Marmon joined Point B, a Seattle-based, employee-owned consulting firm, and now works with for-profits and nonprofits alike, helping companies achieve organizational alignment through culture and operational transformations. Marmon also teaches organizational effectiveness as an adjunct professor at Wheaton College.
The Marmon household changed dramatically, with three sons (one set of twins) within 15 months of one another: John Henry, Gabriel and Dominick. “Our world was radically different with the boys coming along so quickly,” she said. “I leaned on my faith.”
She felt convicted to use her change management expertise to grow the church and the idea developed for Threefold Tribe, an education and coaching company for pastors and church leaders. Marmon believes that churches should be the highest-functioning organizations in the world and developed a course to teach pastors and church leaders organizational effectiveness principles to strengthen and grow the church.
“My excitement to solve organizational problems in the church grew, and I became determined to help pastors unravel their administrative challenges.” She takes her clients through a fast-paced but comprehensive curriculum through an online platform, accessible live wherever church leaders serve.
“When I was a teenager, I wanted to be a heart surgeon. Now I feel I am that—a heart surgeon—but for organizations and for the church,” she said. “You have to examine the organization and discover what’s inside and then make a plan forward for a healthy future.”
For more on Pam Marmon’s church leader resources, see threefoldtribe.com.