Monthly Archives: January 2022

January 25, 2022

Insights From A Venture Capitalist, With Tim Hoerr, CEO Of Serra Ventures (Episode 325)

The Voice of Leadership | Tim Hoerr | Venture Capitalist

The Voice of Leadership | Tim Hoerr | Venture Capitalist


Tim Hoerr is the CEO and Founder of Serra Ventures, a venture capital firm that manages $140 million dollars in early-stage high technology company investments with the support of more than 250 limited liability partners. He is also the author of “Risking It: An Intersection of Faith and Work” and “Thank God It’s Monday! A Tool Kit for Aligning Your Lifevision and Your Work.” Dr. Karen talks to Tim about how his Christian values facilitate the best triple-win decision-making, his own entrepreneurial journey buying and selling multiple significant businesses, and how God used a “wilderness” experience to increase his humility and empathy. Tune in for a profound exploration of leadership and purpose-driven success.

For more information, contact Tim at

Listen to the podcast here


Insights From A Venture Capitalist, With Tim Hoerr, CEO Of Serra Ventures

Hi, I’m Tim Hoerr the CEO of Serra Ventures Adventure, a venture capital firm with locations in multiple cities here in the US. I’m grateful to be on Dr. Karen’s show today and we’re going to talk about the intentional discovery and development of personal purpose in the workplace and a bit about risk-taking and why. It might not be so bad to be taking risks in our life.

My guest is someone who knows what it takes for a business to succeed. He has used his knowledge and expertise to successfully build and sell a number of entrepreneurial businesses, as well as to advise and financially resource the businesses of many others. My guest is Timothy C. Hoerr. Tim is the CEO and founder of Serra Ventures LLC, a venture capital firm that provides coaching, management guidance, and funding to emerging-stage companies in selected high-technology sectors throughout the United States and internationally.

With offices in Champaign, Chicago, Park City, and San Diego, Serra has provided consulting to over 500 technology startups and has provided funding to over 90 of them. They currently manage 140 million in early-stage company investments with the support of over 250 limited partner investors. In 1983, Tim graduated summa cum laude from Illinois State University with a degree in accounting and Business Information Systems.

He received the Bone Scholar, the highest undergraduate award of Illinois State, and went on to win national awards on the certified public accounting exam and the Certified Management accounting exam. Tim was formally a partner in the International Accounting and consulting firm RSM in Illinois and San Diego. He spent nearly fifteen years with the firm. In the 2000s, Tim served as president of Source Gear, a software firm, and then as co-founder and chief executive officer of Eyesight, a bioscience instrument firm, which one numerous technology and Business Awards including Best Places to Work in Illinois. The company was acquired by Sony Corporation in 2009.

Tim won the Entrepreneurial Excellence in Management award at The Innovation Celebration in 2009. He served as the CEO of ImmuVen for two years while he was launching Serra Ventures. He even developed a targeted T-cell receptor therapeutic for various disease indications, and it was acquired by a major pharma company in 2014.

A consummate entrepreneur, Tim has enjoyed many previous ventures including owning, along with two partners, Game Day Spirit, the official fan store of the fighting Illini University of Illinois. He also owned, along with eight co-investors, and directed a Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches franchise located in Central Texas. He also owned along with the co-founder Collegiate Marketing Incorporated and was the executive producer for the film Beyond The Mask.

Tim is the author of the book Risking It: An Intersection of Faith and Work, as well as another book, Thank God It’s Monday: A Toolkit for Aligning Your Life Vision and Your Work. Tim and his wife of 37 years, Tony, reside in Champaign and have three adult daughters, three sons-in-law, and six grandchildren. Tim also serves on several nonprofit and corporate boards. As you can see, my guest has lots of experience. Tim, I want to welcome you to the Voice of Leadership and to Dr. Karen Speaks Leadership.

Thank you so much, Dr. Karen. It’s a pleasure to be with you. That bio sounded a bit long and drawn out. Thank you so much for your comments and for having me here.

Thank you for being here. I want my audience to know that you are a person who knows what you’re talking about from book learning. You’ve been through the school of hard-knock life experience to come to us with what you’ll be sharing. Tim as you already know, I was so excited when a mutual contact introduced the two of us. I’ve worked with a lot of venture capitalists over the years and done a lot of work in the VC world. You are the first future capitalist that I’ve ever met who was a man of faith. I was very intrigued by that and I said I’ve got to have you on the show and we’ve got to hear a little bit about your journey. I want the audience to know that’s part of the reason why I wanted you to be with me today, Tim.

It is a bit of a rarity to find venture capitalists who come from a faith-based background. There are a few of us out here and certainly, this is an industry that needs a faith-based perspective. We’re super grateful and we’re humbled to be able to bring a kingdom perspective to the venture industry.

Venture capital is an industry that needs a faith-based perspective. Click To Tweet

Thank you so much for doing that. I want to start Tim by asking you because you and I know what venture capitalists are and what they do. Many people may not know what a venture capitalist is and what do VCs do. Tell us a little bit about that first.

How Venture Capital Works

It’s pretty simple. Venture capitalists, you can boil it down into about 4 to 5 different activities. One of the things that we do is take money from a variety of investors, which can be individual investors. They can be institutional like pension funds or endowments. We pool that money. The first thing that we do is aggregate a pool of capital and that’s called a venture capital fund, and then we go look for investment opportunities. In our case, we typically look for early-stage high-technology companies, but other funds look for other types of companies.

We scan the universe of startup companies and we find those that would be a good investment. Those that meet some very specific criteria. That’s the second thing that we do. Once we’ve made an investment, and a typical fund will make anywhere from 10, 20, or 30 investments. It varies from firm to firm. Our funds typically are somewhere in the mid-20s to 30 companies in total that we’re investing in out of one fund.

After we’ve invested, probably one of the most important things happens. We become the coach to come alongside those entrepreneurs and those teams to help them advance their company to the next level. We’re all working together to help that company grow and succeed. The last thing we do is seek exit events or sale events. Our funds extend over ten years.

In that time, we attempt to get into each company via an investment and then exit it via a sale of that company to say another large entity. The company might go public. They might have a management or an ESOP. Any of those types of things would be called an exit event. That’s what venture capitalists do. It’s fairly simple on the one hand. Although, it takes a number of years to figure out how to do it well.

It certainly takes some expertise along the way to do it too. What I’m hearing is you describe what venture capitalists do. We’re talking about investing in business is at the heart of the American way. It’s at the heart of a capitalist system of operation. What I think is particularly important about what you said is that the investment is not just money. It’s also the investment of knowledge, investment of business acumen, and expertise so that those businesses can be successful. When they’re sold or in some other way have an exit, the investor has an opportunity to also get paid on that end as well.

That’s right. In this business, we think the most important thing to do is to come alongside and invest our expertise, and our experience to help those teams through the inevitable difficult times that they’re going to encounter. They’re going to come up against competitors. There might be a new technology that’s introduced that’s somewhat in the same space. They’re going to have people problems. Businesses have people problems. We’re going to bring our expertise.

Our entire team of managing partners, there are four of us, have each run companies. That’s an important part of what we bring to the table. In addition to the capital, we bring that expertise and of course empathy. I have great empathy for what our entrepreneurs are going through. Hopefully, in the end, our investors are seeing an increase in their investment across all these different companies.

It’s an exciting field to be in. Your journey to becoming a VCO is not a straight-line function. There were twists and turns along the way. How did you get here? How did you get into this field?

I don’t think I planned it per se. I have fifteen years in public accounting and have seen numerous clients. I was always excited to see what was going on in the variety of companies that I worked with. I had construction clients, manufacturing clients, and restaurant clients. I was always intrigued by the opportunity that entrepreneurs have to solve problems in the marketplace and to succeed, in creating jobs. That always fascinated me.

After public accounting, as you shared in the bio, I had an opportunity to run a couple of tech companies. That was duking it out in the trenches and slogging through a lot of problem-solving but it was an awesome experience to take a company from start to finish successfully. That’s when I began to get the notion that this might be something I would enjoy doing with other companies. Venture capital was a natural way to think about that. Ultimately when I was done running my last tech company, the opportunity to start Serra Ventures occurred and that’s how it happened. Again, it wasn’t by design per se but through the collection of experiences I’d had leading up.

Thank God It’s Monday

I always think that’s exciting too when we think about our lives that there is a collection of experiences that ultimately will lead us to the places where we end up going and the different doors that open up. Of course, your journey is very similar in that way. Let me ask you Tim about this. As we head into life and do what we’re doing and certainly, it’s true for YouTube, there’s often a wilderness experience along the way to the promised land if you will. When you think about your journey, what was maybe a wilderness experience that you went through as you’re trying to figure out what’s next to where God is leading you? Maybe one that seemed like things weren’t going so great and you had to figure that out.

I knew you were going to ask me something like that. It’s never easy to talk about failure. I’ve had my share of failure and wilderness. Let me share one experience in particular. You talked a little bit about one of the books I wrote Thank God It’s Monday. I wrote that while I was still a partner with the public accounting firm RSM. I was located in San Diego. I felt like God started to speak to me during the writing of that book. Maybe it was time to take the leap of faith, so to speak, to start my own consulting firm. I did that. I started an entity called Life Vision in 1998.

I left the comfort zone of a big public accounting firm and felt like I was prepared from an experiences standpoint, from a passion standpoint, from so many different angles. It seemed like this was what I was supposed to do. I would describe the next two years as a major face plant as in I couldn’t succeed at anything for about two years doing my own thing as life vision. What had worked so well for me for many years in schooling and then in public accounting didn’t seem to work anymore. That was a difficult time. I thought everything got stripped away from a professional affirmation standpoint. Pretty much all I had left was my family and my faith. It seemed like pretty much everything else had vanished in those two years.

When you say vanished, you’re also talking about even the financial security as well. That wasn’t so great during that time.

Talk about investments gone awry. I’d taken $25,000 each from my brother, my brother-in-law, and my father. An associate and I each put in the same amount of money. It was a relatively modest amount of money, but it was significant for each of these people. All of that was lost which makes Thanksgiving dinner somewhat uncomfortable. In addition to that, my personal resources depleted pretty much almost to nothing because I wasn’t pulling a salary, so to speak, during those two years. In addition to the investment dollars, the personal bank account was dwindling rapidly.

We both know you are extremely successful now. Have gone way past those days. As you reflect and look back on that experience, what’s your understanding of why God allowed this period in your life?

That is a good question. I think I’m still gaining an understanding of that many years later, almost 25 some odd years later. Part of it was to ultimately do what I do today to be effective at helping entrepreneurs navigate highs and lows. In entrepreneurship, there are many lows and there are many lonely moments to have the right perspective and the right empathy. If I’d had nothing but success in my life, I wouldn’t have the goods to deliver to each of the entrepreneurial teams that I deal with today. I think that was part of it.

I think part of it too was God needed to humble me in a lot of regards. I’d had a lot of success in life, and in school, and I have risen to success in an accounting firm pretty rapidly. I think God’s always concerned more about our character and our accomplishments. There were some deep things in me that he needed to accomplish from a character-building perspective that made me who I am today. I think those are the main reasons. I’m still occasionally asking him for a little more light because it was super painful.

God is always concerned more about our character than our accomplishments. Click To Tweet

You can’t underestimate that empathy part that you talked about. I see it as like a Jesus approach. What I mean by that is Jesus came here in humility to be in human form and not come as an adult, having to come as a baby go through birth and all of this to empathize with us so that we would be able to see that he understands the journey that we’re on as well, the pitfalls, the difficulties, the challenges. When you think about the entrepreneurial journey, as you were saying, it’s up and down.

If you had only experienced the ups, how could you empathize with the entrepreneurs who are in the down space? How would you be able to see that it’s even possible for them to get past some of those bumps? Therefore, this might still be a good investment even if it looks a little upside down at the moment. I do think that the empathy part is huge. The other part is the character building. God is always about that all of our lives, the character-building aspect. When I think of it, I think that if we have so much success ourselves and on our own, we might have to ask the question, where’s the room for God to do even greater things in us? I see that as part of what you’re sharing as well.

That’s exactly right. I think he’s interested in building our faith. What better way to do that than to take us through moments of failure and disappointment to build our faith? Do we still believe in him? Do we still believe in the purpose to which he’s called us? Do we still get up the next day and move forward as supposed to get up? Those are things where he’s actively building our faith and our commitment to him through that process.

Tim, you know that I strongly believe that Christian marketplace leaders are ministry leaders. I think that to work in business is a spiritual calling. I’d like to ask you to share with us something about your spiritual calling to this role. How did you get here from a spiritual point of view? How did God call you?

I have felt all of God in some sense from a very very young age, maybe 5 or 6 years old. I grew up in a faith-based family. My father was an entrepreneur, but he was also a lay minister. I ended up having a couple of siblings go into the traditional definition of ministry as pastors and missionaries. When I started my career in public accounting, I had made an assumption that how this sense of calling would ultimately be fulfilled for me would be to one day go into ministry as in the traditional definition of ministry.

In 1989, I was about six years into my accounting career. I was heading off to a small group leader retreat. About two days before that retreat, I had quite a compelling dream. That dream consists of being in the St. Louis airport, which was an Airport I flew through pretty frequently coming out of Champaign, Illinois. I was in the D-concourse, the TWA concourse back in the days of TWA. I distinctly remember feeling that I needed to get to St. Louis even though I was in St. Louis. The dream ended with me being in the line for Cincinnati, which seemed bizarre.

Anyway, the short version of the story I shared with my sister. One of the pastors at our church at this small group leader retreat in the next couple of days that I’d had this dream. I didn’t give her any other context but unbeknownst to her, I had this sense that this could be potentially my call into ministry. It seems like a natural inflection point is about to occur. She prayed through that and came back the next morning, I think was a Saturday morning, and had received in essence an interpretation from the spirit regarding this dream.

The bottom line was I was at a major point of inflection she said even though she had not known that, that I was attempting to get to a saintly place, Saint Louis. I was already in the saintly place, the place where God had me. To do anything different would be a sin, Cincinnati, which sounds a little corny.

When she shared this, I felt like a power wave coming off of her and over me literally knocked me back physically. I instantly knew that I was called to the marketplace and that this anointing of ministry was where I already was. It was a powerful powerful event to catalyze the continuation of then my ministry. That was 1989. Now, that’s been over a 30-year journey of working out what it means to be a minister in the marketplace. That’s how I got here.

Well, thank you so much for sharing that story. To me, that’s a very inspiring example. A lot of times people believe that the ministry is only in the pulpit, so to speak, or on the mission field. In reality, God has these people everywhere in the workplace and the marketplace. We’re in ministry too. There are lives in those places that he wants us to touch and wants us to make a difference with. I want to say, first of all, thank you for answering the call to Marketplace Ministry.

I’m also glad that your sister connected enough with God that she was able to hear the meaning of the message and then share it with you as well. Tim, I want to follow up on that and ask about this. I believe that when Christians use spiritual principles and practices at work, everyone in the business benefits, not just the Christians. How have you used spiritual principles in the workplace? What’s been your outcome and experience?

This is an area that is front and center for me. I very much subscribe to the notion that faith, work, and life can be integrated with one another. It is about each day implementing an active walk with the spirit and tapping into the biblical truth and spiritual truth. Just some examples. I feel compelled as a venture capitalist to be gracious and extend grace, which is not a normal function for a venture capitalist. Venture capitalists are stoic and look out for their own interests and the interests of their investors.

A lot of times, venture capitalists are very crude and rude to the companies that are pitching them. I feel called to be gracious. I feel called to be present to listen, learn, reflect, and be quiet as opposed to talk. Those are some spiritual principles to have. Again, to have integrity in all roles that I play, whether that’s a husband, a father, a grandfather, a coworker, or an entrepreneurial coach. Those shouldn’t be compartmentalized from one another.

They ought to flow naturally. They ought to be the same person in one role as I am in the other. Maybe the final one, and there are many, is to ask the Holy Spirit what are you doing in this moment, in this particular day? How do I cooperate with that? The more I find that I ask that question, I find that he’ll answer and point me either subtly or sometimes not so subtly to do something, to say something, or to take a particular action. Those are a few examples.

A New Generation Of Venture Capitalists

I think that’s powerful. In being gracious and listening and so on, you are looking at short-term and long-term benefits. You’re also looking at a win-win. It’s not just short-term for the investors. What’s a win for that entrepreneur? What’s it win for the VC company? There are so many different places where there could be a win, and not all venture capitalists think that way. I think that’s pretty powerful. I shared with you before that I’ve worked with many venture capitalists. One of the ways in which I did that was by working with the Ewing Marion Kaufman Foundation out of Kansas City and through their Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership.

They were raising up a whole new generation of venture capitalists that had a social entrepreneur mindset, particularly those who would invest in companies that traditionally might have a difficult time finding investors, women-owned companies, minority-owned companies, and sometimes maybe some businesses that didn’t have the track record yet. At the same time, they were good Investments. To hear you say, “I’m going to seek God and ask him what is he doing in this moment?” He might lead you in a way that doesn’t go with conventional wisdom.

With early-stage companies, there’s only so much tangible evidence of what might be a success. There are only so many things that we can evaluate and ultimately, we do need to rely on the Holy Spirit telling us this is a person or this is a team that you can invest in or that you can bet on so to speak. It does ultimately come back to the people involved. Often, God is directing us to invest in a particular team that maybe doesn’t have X, Y, or Z that’s tangible or obvious, but there are other factors involved that will very likely make this company successful. Front and center for me is hearing that voice, hearing that direction, and then making the decision on that basis.

With early-stage companies, there's only so much tangible evidence of what might be a success. Ultimately, we need to rely on the Holy Spirit telling us this is a person or this is a team that you can invest in. Click To Tweet

Often, the decision about whether to invest or not is a lot about the people. It’s a lot about leadership. It’s a lot about those aspects that I care about, excellent leadership and organizations and companies and being able to ascertain and determine what those leaders made out of who are sitting in front of you and thinking about the investment. How likely are they to follow through? Are they going to fall apart at the earliest sign of trouble or what’s going to happen?

I’m glad you said something along those lines because if I survey the companies that have not been successful of the ones that we have invested in. Certainly, we do have companies that ultimately don’t achieve what they were set out to be. I would say almost universally, there is some type of a people issue, a leadership issue involved, not in every case but in almost every case.

You look at all the different factors that might impact a company’s success or failure and yet you can boil it down in our experience to people issues, Integrity issues, and leadership issues. That’s where the rubber meets the road. It reinforces the notion that we need to be investing in the right teams and the right people who are subscribing to them. They may not be believers per se, they might be but they are attempting to embrace leadership principles and the right way of doing life and work.

We know that you’ve got supernatural assistance in terms of the relationship with God and the wisdom that God has for us beyond earthly wisdom in terms of making some of those decisions. Share with us some of the heart decisions you have had to make as a leader of a VC firm.

They’re almost daily or at least weekly. I’ll give you one example and I think that illustrates the notion of balancing the needs of companies and investors and so forth. We recently had a company and there’s an instrument called a SAFE which is a Simple Agreement for Future Equity. The SAFE can openly convert into equity in the company. The maturity date had come and it was time to potentially convert this instrument and there was a penalty value because the company had not been able to raise money beyond these SAFEs.

The entrepreneur came to me and the other investors and asked if we would potentially add some time to allow them to raise more money and not see those SAFEs converted at the penalty value. Strictly speaking for our investors, I should have converted at that penalty value because you want to come in at the lowest possible price as an investor. You buy low and you sell high.

As I began to think through and balance that with the aspect of serving our companies and the impact that that decision made have on the morale and my relationship with this entrepreneur, I decided I needed to grant his request even though technically, it was probably not the “right” thing to do,” from strictly a number standpoint. I firmly believe that was the right decision on behalf of all the parties involved. Here’s a case of having to balance something in a very nuanced way to hopefully benefit all parties and yet the answer to that isn’t always obvious.

That would be a very difficult decision. How did your investors handle it? How did they respond back when they got wind of your decision?

A couple of them, I did have to have conversations with and I explained the rationale. I said, in these types of cases that it isn’t always necessarily just by the numbers. There are these human factors in play. These companies are run by humans. This is a company that has worked long and hard to raise more money. The footnote to this is they ultimately did go on to raise a round here and closed it about a month ago. This earlier conversation happened back in September. It did work out. The company was able to do what it needed to do. It was a very very small difference.

Ultimately, the actual number that it would have been in September versus the number that happened in November would have been slightly better to do the deal in September, but the reality is I think we all won out of the situation. I was able to explain that perspective that these are the types of things. These are judgment calls. This is what you pay us for as the venture capitalist to make some of these not-obvious decisions that hopefully are win-win-win, a win for our firm, a win for the investors, a win for that portfolio company and its team.

That’s a great example. I love that example. You can’t always think about it in a one-sided aspect. You’ve got to think about the whole picture and those are tough calls. Those are very tough decisions. It requires those conversations too on the back end to help other people understand why you made that choice and how it’s better in the long run to make that decision. I know that you also have a perspective on risk-taking. What’s involved in risk-taking from your perspective? Why do you believe that people should take more risks?

I love the topic of risk and risk-taking. The spirit has led me over time to increase my risk-taking and move to the state of California in 1995, leaving the big firm to start that ill-fated life vision, the decision to move back. Those are all decisions that have a fair degree of risk involved. I think ultimately, risking is about that question that I referred to earlier and it’s asking the Holy Spirit. What do you want me to do today? Often, the answer to that question is, “Tim, get outside your comfort zone and do X.” That turns out to be a risk to do that. If I’m going to do something that’s outside my comfort zone or do something that the direction of the spirit outside my “normal,” that is going to be a risk.

What about that? In that in the process of taking that risk, my faith muscle grows. My dependency on God grows because I’m now out of the zone that I’m familiar with or comfortable with. It’s a place where God can use me, build character, and grow my faith. A lot of risk-taking has to do with building our faith. Those two are very closely linked, so that’s why I encourage people to be on the lookout for the Holy Spirit telling them to do that might be outside their comfort zone and take a risk.

A lot of risk-taking has to do with building our faith. Those two are very closely linked. Be on the lookout for the Holy Spirit telling you what to do that might be outside your comfort zone and take a risk. Click To Tweet

It’s easy to do something that I know how to do and that I have the resources for. When you’re trusting God for something so much bigger than what you know how to do, that is indeed a risk. It is a faith walk. It is certainly a step out there. You’ve demonstrated that even with the losses that you experienced and so on, that wasn’t the end of the story. That was a little chapter along the way that God used to bring you to even greater success later.

I think for a lot of people, getting out of their comfort zone is hard because they say, “What if I end up in the wilderness and have to go through that?” For a lot of people, the notion is I’ll end up in the wilderness and that’s the end. There’s no way out of the wilderness. How might you advise people as they face these risks? Given your experiences and what you already know, how do they pass those natural tendencies to resist risk-taking?

To believe ultimately that God doesn’t guarantee the outcome of the risk-taking. It may lead us through a wilderness experience, but we need to come to the knowledge of, number one, God is for me. He is intimately acquainted with what I am going through be that wilderness or a challenge or a disappointment or a failure. It is a process and he will faithfully be with us. He will be present with us in the process either the outcome or the actual thing that might take place in the risk-taking that isn’t known to us.

It might be good. It might be bad at least temporarily speaking but I can have confidence that God is with me. He is intimately acquainted, he is for me, and he is good. In that context, now I can embrace more risk. For some of us, it might be smaller risks to start and that’s okay. It’s not necessarily a cross-country move or a job change. Ultimately, those might be presented to you as opportunities, but I do think he wants us each to be increasing our risk-taking and I think he needs us where we are in that regard.

God Is Rarely In A Hurry

What I’m hearing there is to start where you are, even if it’s small and I think about mustard seed faith as you’re talking about that mustard seed. It’s so tiny that you have to put it in a little magnifier thing to even see it. I’m also hearing the building blocks of Romans 8:28 which talks about how all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to his purposes. It doesn’t mean everything is good. However, God will take all of that and work it for our good as he worked on Joseph’s imprisonment or Joseph’s enslavement for the good of both Joseph and his family. A lot of what I hear you saying in this is to start small, be willing to take those steps and watch God work. That’s what a lot of what I hear you say.

Understanding that God is rarely in a hurry with regard to what’s happening in our lives. I mean we might be in a hurry. I’m typically in a hurry. God gives me a vision or an ocean of where I might be able to get to and I want to see it in the next 30 days. He might be interested in seeing it over the next 30 years. Now, that’s an extreme example, but he’s rarely in a hurry with regard to what he’s doing in our lives, but I can take comfort again in the fact that he’s with me in the middle of that and working it for good.

Amen, and I don’t think 30 years is outside of God’s way of operating. He turns the work into 30s and 40s and numbers that we think are excessive. I think you give a good example when you say it could take 30 years. Tim, I know that you’ve written those two books, Risking It: An Intersection of Faith and Work, and also Thank God It’s Monday: A Toolkit for Aligning Your Life Vision and Your Work. Tell us about each of the books, what will readers get as they read the books, and how they can get them.

Thank God It’s Monday was the book that I wrote in 1998 and 1999. It’s a number of years in the rearview mirror, so to speak, but it’s still a very very timely topic. It’s a collection of tools and principles for the intentional discovery of one’s personal purpose, which frankly is a journey that I’ve been on for many years probably going all the way back to when I was 5 or 6 years old. I don’t think I’ve ever completely arrived. That’s okay because the development and the pursuit of purpose is a lifelong thing that God takes us through.

That’s what Thank God It’s Monday is about. You are going to spend the largest share of your waking hours in some type of work pursuit. Why not be intentional then about aligning one’s work with one’s purpose? How do you take intentional purposeful steps toward that discovery and the development of a concrete sense of purpose? That’s what ‘Thank God It’s Monday is about. It’s still available on Amazon, even though it’s a twenty-some-odd-year-old title. There are some cool exercises at the end of each chapter so it’s super practical.

You are going to spend the largest share of your waking hours in some type of work pursuit. Why not be intentional then about aligning your work you’re your purpose? Click To Tweet

Risking It: An Intersection of Faith and Work is a book that I wrote more recently. It was 2014-15 and it’s more of a memoir of my own risk-taking experiences. Hopefully, I shared in a way that can be encouraging to others. They can hopefully see themselves in similar circumstances and how in a very practical way, God led me and my family to take various risks and what happened. It worked in this case, it didn’t work in this case, and then painting the tapestry of how God uses all those collections of experiences over time. That book is also available on Amazon. That’s what’s the best way to get either of those two books.

I love the fact that in both books, you’re talking about life experience, first of all, your own experience as road tested. You’re also talking about what’s practical. Not that it just worked for you but these are some tools, some exercises, and some reflection points that other people can use to also augment their own journey in terms of where they’re going. I like that.

The intentional aspects remind me of some work that I’m doing right now. It is all about creating a powerful leadership legacy. That’s working with executives to think about how they can be intentional about the legacy they want to leave inside their organization. Leaving the organization better, leaving the people better, and also what’s next for them. I think your books follow along a similar line of thinking that we would like to come alongside people who are interested in being intentional about aligning their purpose with what they’re doing in the workplace. Tim, tell people how they can get a hold of you.

The best way is probably via email and it’s super simple. It’s It’s probably the best way to get a hold of me.

As we’re winding down, winding up, or whatever you want to call it, what additional words of wisdom do you have that you want to leave for my audience of executive business Leaders?

I think I’d wrap up to say that the whole of scripture, the law, and the prophets can be summed up in one command which is to love God and love others. It is all about relationships and loving others. That’s only what life and business is about. It’s about continuing to sow into those relationships over time and we will reap an awesome harvest. It might not be immediate. It might be 5 years. It might be 10. It might be 30 years before we see some of the bountiful harvest. I think on a day-to-day, week-to-week basis, it probably won’t be that long. Continue to sell, continue to love, continue to build bridges, and you’ll see some awesome abundance and fruitfulness.

I love that. It’s all about love and loving people. We often forget that you can love people at work. God calls us to love people at work. In our current world, there’s a lot of pain at work sometimes and a lot of suffering at work, and people are not feeling so loved in the workplace and often not elsewhere. I think that the work that you’re doing is important and it’s significant. I want to thank you for being here with me today as we unpacked some of these lessons that you’ve learned along the way on your journey.

Thank you. It’s been a pleasure to share a few thoughts. Thank you so much for the work that you’re doing, Dr. Karen, to help develop leaders in such perilous times. As you say, these are trying times in the workplace. Never a more appropriate time to be seeking the guidance of the spirit and embracing our faith to build workplaces that honor God.

Thank you, again. Thanks so much. What I want to do is give maybe a couple of thoughts that the audience can think about in terms of what I heard you say today. Tim. This is not comprehensive. These are a couple of nuggets. Number one is this. God is always in many ways going to start with us. He’s going to develop our character. He’s going to send us through experiences and journeys that cause us to have to trust him more to build our faith and develop humility. When I think about the character of Christ, Christ was a person of humility.

God is always conforming us also into the likeness of Christ. That’s one of the principles that I heard you mentioned. You also made it clear that no matter what happens, remember that God is actually for you. He is for you and there is a purpose that he has for your life in the workplace and what I’m hearing you say is that that purpose goes beyond just yourself. You’re looking out there to see how multiple people can benefit in the win-win-win and looking at the long term along the way.

It’s all about developing people, understanding people, resourcing organizations with the right people, and building character even in those entrepreneurial business leaders, as well as helping them to recognize that they can be successful in business even as ethical business people. I want to thank you for sharing some version of those nuggets with us. Also, for talking about the importance of empathy. Being able to empathize with those we are working with and very often it’s because we’ve been on a similar journey ourselves. That has certainly been your story, Tim.

Thanks again for sharing that with the audience. I’d like to leave with a word of wisdom that comes from 2 Corinthians, the 8th Chapter. Paul is dealing with the church in Macedonia. They are giving resources to the Corinthians and I want you to hear the heart of the people and what Paul says about them. He says starting with verse 1. He says, “Moreover, brethren. We make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia, that in a great trial of affliction, the abundance of their joy in their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality.”

Here, we have a church that’s struggling a little bit and yet they’re still being liberal. He goes on to say in verse 3, “For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes and beyond their ability, they were freely willingly imploring us with much urgency that we should receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints, and not only as we had hoped but they first gave themselves to the Lord and then to us by the will of God.” God calls us to give a lot in our lives and in the workplace. The first gift that we give is ourselves to God and then he allows us to pour out to other people around us in a liberal manner beyond our own resources because he will resource us with everything that we need to be generous.


Important Links


About Tim Hoerr

The Voice of Leadership | Tim Hoerr | Venture CapitalistTim Hoerr is the CEO and Founder of Serra Ventures, a venture capital firm that manages $140 million dollars in early stage high technology company investments with the support of more than 250 limited liability partners. He is also the author of “Risking It: An Intersection of Faith and Work” and “Thank God It’s Monday! A Tool Kit for Aligning Your Lifevision and Your Work.” Dr. Karen talks to Tim about how his Christian values facilitate the best triple win decision-making, his own entrepreneurial journey buying and selling multiple significant businesses, and how God used a “wilderness” experience to increase his humility and empathy.

January 25, 2022

Interview with Tim Hoerr, CEO of Serra Ventures

Tim Hoerr is the CEO and Founder of Serra Ventures, a venture capital firm that manages $140 million dollars in early stage high technology company investments with the support of more than 250 limited liability partners. He is also the author of “Risking It: An Intersection of Faith and Work” and “Thank God It’s Monday! A Tool Kit for Aligning Your Lifevision and Your Work.” Dr. Karen talks to Tim about how his Christian values facilitate the best triple win decision-making, his own entrepreneurial journey buying and selling multiple significant businesses, and how God used a “wilderness” experience to increase his humility and empathy. for more information

Tim Hoerr Serra Ventures

January 20, 2022

Called and Set Apart

Dr. Karen says that like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we all have a God-given life purpose and calling. She further shares some of the spiritual disciplines that help to highlight and illuminate the ways we are set apart. Do you know the purpose and calling for your life and the legacy you are here to create? This episode will help you clarify what God is saying to you.

January 18, 2022

Finishing the Unfinishable

In his last speech, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. talked about how each person builds part of a Temple that he or she won’t complete in his or her lifetime. Dr. King appreciated the opportunities of the time period in which he lived and had a powerful sense of passion and calling for what he was doing. In this special tribute, Dr. Karen shares more about the relevance of the call to service and the use of our gifts and talents today.

January 11, 2022

“Businesses Don’t Fail, They Commit Suicide”: Larry Mandelberg Interview

Larry Mandelberg, the author of “Businesses Don’t Fail: They Commit Suicide” is a serial entrepreneur with more than 150 years of inherited business knowledge from his family’s businesses. As a consultant, speaker, prolific writer, and Change Catalyst, Larry specializes in solving intractable business problems. In this episode he speaks with Dr. Karen about the reasons businesses fail and the five research based processes for implementing change. The fifth process is Reinforcement. Join Dr. Karen and guest Larry Mandelberg for the other four change processes and more.

Larry Mandelberg

January 6, 2022

Abundance: Time with the Master

Too often we want to rush in and get to work doing something; however, God calls His people to first spend time sitting in His presence. Only in His presence do we first get His guidance, instructions, and power to accomplish the task. Watch and listen to this episode as Dr. Karen talks about how God ordains and brings abundance into our lives.

January 4, 2022

Abundance: Word of the Year

Dr. Karen has named 2022, the year of Abundance. The first letters of the words Vision (2020), Impact (2021), and Abundance (2022) spell “via”. We have gotten to this year via many roads and routes. In this episode she further explores and explains “via” and the three attributes of Abundance: The Mind and Character of Christ, the Fruit of the Spirit, and physical provision.