Blending Cultures with Leadership for the Future

Krystol Wheeler

September 5, 2019

For more than a decade, Krystol Wheeler embraced all duties as assigned in her career trajectory at the former Heartspring Methodist Foundation, which formally merged with TMF in January 2019. Now as TMF Director of Strategic Initiatives, she’s a right hand to employees and clients to ensure a smooth transition to the new, larger organization serving churches throughout Texas and New Mexico. Whether she was evaluating IT needs or preparing minutes for an investment committee meeting, she understood that supporting churches in their God-appointed missions deserved the highest levels of service. TMF spoke to her to learn more about her role in merging the culture of the two organizations and sharing their combined vision for serving God’s people in the years ahead.

When Heartspring merged with TMF, how did your role evolve?

After I graduated from the University of Houston with a Master of Arts in Communications, I was appointed as the director of communications for Heartspring to bring their marketing and communications to a professional level.

After Heartspring merged with TMF earlier this year, my new job is to be a perception management consultant for both internal communications within TMF and within the Texas Annual Conference for clients who are familiar with both organizations. Part of my goal is to continue answering questions and promoting TMF to former Heartspring clients, acclimating them to the culture, purpose and the values of TMF, much of which is very similar to what they already knew and loved about Heartspring.

How are you integrating the two organizations’ cultures?

A significant portion of my job for at least the first year or two is going to be helping to blend the cultures of the two foundations and integrate the staff with as smooth of a transition as possible. We're trying to be very mindful about not choosing A or B. We are looking at the differences and picking a way to move forward together. We have all the resources to enhance the processes of every facet of the foundation, so that we're being the best stewards of the resources that we have.

What do you want people to know about TMF that they may not understand?

My job has also been to look at TMF through the lens of Heartspring clients and to communicate the fact that our cultures are more similar than they are different. Our goals, our values, our ethics, our vision, our mission, all of our taglines and everything that we do, even our charters are significantly similar. It is not a huge stretch to see that blending these two cultures is a good thing.

There’s more than a financial relationship that both organizations have with their clients. Their values are aligned and I help them see that. One of the things I love about working with TMF and its clients is that the people we work with are charitably minded; they want to do good things and our organization helps them do good things. It's a beautiful relationship, and everybody feels good because we're making a bigger difference together.

The tagline for Heartspring has always been “our ministry is helping your ministry succeed.” And that's exactly what we do here at TMF. We do it through the lens of the values of integrity, servanthood and competence, and we invest those funds to help the church to achieve her God-appointed mission.

Why do clients invest their money with TMF?

One thing that I think Methodists appreciate about both foundations is the activity of the Methodist Loan Fund. They come to the foundation because their payments and interest goes to fund loans for other Methodist churches. In this way, they can feel good about investing in the impact of their conference and their local community. We also offer investments, and we charge a nominal fee to manage those investments. Money that is earned from those investments supports stewardship education, leadership ministry, and strategic discernment initiatives that help churches of all sizes grow.

As the keeper of the culture for Heartspring and TMF, how do you keep that culture alive in your day-to-day work?

Being responsive and going beyond what’s expected is what our clients value most. They are grateful to receive a timely email response, and appreciate the extra time we take to make sure all of their needs are cared for when we work together. That’s the way forward for Team TMF.