There’s something special about writing a book. It is a permanent mark on the world. Two Northwood alumni have written books, and as they have learned, the process requires much more than simply putting pen to paper.
Two decades into a successful career in the automotive and financial industries, Don Corder ('82) had what he calls "a burning bush experience." He decided to apply his skills to a higher purpose, helping religious and other nonprofit organizations handle their business and administration more effectively, freeing them to focus on their core missions.
It has gone so well that Corder has made a thriving business of it, and now he's written a book, “Minding His Business,” to share some of what he's learned.
"When a church needs a lawyer, it hires a lawyer," Corder explains in his book. "When a church needs a plumber, it hires a plumber. But when a church needs to conduct business, it often calls a butcher, a baker, a mechanic, and a stay-at-home mom to form a committee."
Corder offers a better alternative: he provides professional business expertise combined with a commitment to the faith that is the foundation of the organization. His book offers a wealth of insight designed to liberate church and ministry leaders from the burden of the bottom line.
"Chances are, if you work in a church, you are not an experienced businessperson, nor should you be," Corder writes. After several years of offering his expertise to a variety of churches and public service organizations, Corder launched a shared services organization called The Provisum Group in 2013. It grew quickly, and now has about 30 full-time employees and 25 as-needed employees offering a variety of business services to about 40 client organizations.
As customers find out how liberating Provisum services can be, the word spreads quickly.
Which is one reason Corder expects Provisum’s annual revenues to grow from about$1 million now to between $5 million and $10 million in five years.
“There are 350,000 churches in America. This is a very, very significant niche."
Many new parents tell their children stories, but Jaclyn Coy (‘05) brings a Northwood education to the nursery, which means she sees opportunity that others might not.
“I think if you talk to people, a lot of them have a desire to write a book, especially a children’s book,” Coy said recently.
Coy had a triple major in marketing, advertising and management at Northwood, then later earned a master’s degree in elementary education. She taught briefly before the career of her husband, Ben (’07), took them to California, where she has spent the past five years working for a marketing company.
Their daughter Wynn was born in 2016, and it didn’t take long before the seeds of a children’s book took root in Coy’s mind.
“The story basically wrote itself after my daughter was born,” Coy said. “It is a children’s book, but it’s definitely intended to entertain the parents who are reading it to their children.
“Everybody tells you, ‘Oh it’s fantastic, and it goes by so fast, and they’re adorable’ – and that is all true, but there are also all these challenges. So I wanted to write something that would be fun for parents to read.”
The result was “Love You to Pieces Beautiful Monster,” a 34- page, charmingly illustrated tale of parental devotion. Calling it “healing medicine in the form of humor,” Amazon describes the book this way on its website:
“From the moment this beautiful monster wakes, the rollercoaster ride begins. From the highest highs to the lowest lows – who is more emotional, the monster or the mother? Our babies make us CRAZY, yet we can't help but love them like CRAZY. This is a read for every new parent. It includes a touch of loving sarcasm and it's filled with illustrations that even the little monsters will enjoy.”
With her business expertise, Coy chose to self-publish the book, and even hired a freelance illustrator Love You to Pieces, Beautiful Monster from Romania to achieve just the look she had in mind.
Coy has already completed a draft of a second book, but her long-term plans are to use the experience she has gained, coupled with her marketing background, to help other authors successfully navigate the self-publishing world.
“I was able to go from an idea to a published book in a short amount of time, and I would like to help other people do that, too.”