Not only is Ben O’Dell tackling the subject of “Faith in Government?” at Blue15, he works on a weekly discussion newsletter around the topic AND guides our FCC BlueGroup around government and advocacy issues. We are lucky to have his thought leadership in our community! Take it away Ben, Office Hours are now in session.
What song is at the top of your playlist?
Recently, I have been listening to Steffany Gretzinger’s solo album on repeat. One song called “Out of Hiding,” includes this lyric as the bridge; “As you run, what hindered love will only become part of the story.”
But I still have not listened to that album as many times as I have listened to the “Away We Go” Soundtrack with music from Alexi Murdoch.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
My first career memory was dressing up as a CIA Agent around 5th grade but when someone told me that I would not be able to talk about what I did, even to my family, I decided against that career path.
What is the best piece of either personal or professional advice you’ve gotten?
The advice that is coming to mind is a fortune cookie saying. I have saved the fortune for close to 5 or 6 years now, “A great man never ignores the simplicity of a child.” It is a reminder to me to come back to the simple joys a midst the complexities of the world and its challenges. Honestly, it is why I am one who asks my two daughters if we can watch Sesame Street. I need to be reminded about the basics of life. I want to create opportunities to revel in those truths about the basics of who I am as Child of God.
Do you have a favorite quote or scripture verse that motivates and inspires you?
God brings me back to these verses time and time again reminding me to not rely on my head and lead with my heart. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Do you have a website or blog to share with our readers?
In my personal time, I work with a few friends to send a weekday email lifting up edifying content that gives us glimpses of the Kingdom here on Earth. If you are interested in learning more, I would love to connect you at BLUE to talk about how to sign-up for the email.
More about Ben:
For almost 12 years, Ben O’Dell has worked at the intersection of church and state in the office that is now known as the Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In that role, Ben has had the opportunity to advise and support building partnerships and relationships between the federal government and faith and community partners across multiple presidential administrations. Through his leadership in the Center, he works with the White House and HHS to support a wide range of efforts, including the President’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative, outreach and enrollment related to the Affordable Care Act, the First Lady’s Let’s Move Faith & Communities initiative and other areas of focus. Outside of work, Ben compiles a daily email that provides inspiration, news and thought-provoking content to a community of believers committed to living out their faith. He enjoys reading and cooking. Ben received his Master’s Degree in Organizational Development and Knowledge Management in 2007 from the School of Public Policy at George Mason University. He resides in Centreville with his wife, Kristin, four year old Norah Grace and two year old Brea Cecile.