On a living room wall in Andrea Wenburg’s North Platte home is a large canvas painting of a woman in a white dress taking a leap of faith off a cliff, seemingly into nothingness.
The piece titled “Arise” was painted by Christi Olerich, a former student in a youth ministry that Wenburg led in Hastings. It is a work that Wenburg felt was a metaphor for her own life and professional journey.
“She doesn’t know what she’s jumping into, but she’s going for it,” Wenburg said Wednesday afternoon as she gestured to the painting. “She’s trusting that God is going to catch her. That is what it means to me.
“Even though I know (the journey) is not going to be easy and that it’s been really hard a lot of times ... I just keep jumping off cliffs and trusting that it’s going to be OK.”
Wenburg, a Holdrege native, has grown from having self-doubts about finding and using her voice in the professional world to running Voice of Influence, a coaching, training and consulting firm, out of her home.
But she has a mobile workspace for the business she has operated since 2015.
“Sometimes I do better work in a coffee shop where there is a little bit of (background) movement,” Wenburg said with a laugh. “Somewhere where it’s like, ‘OK, there is some energy here.’ It gets me going.”
The main office, adjoining the living room, is also the home for a weekly podcast by the same name. The show is in its third year and each episode lasts about a half-hour.
So far this month her guests have been Jason Redman, a retired Navy SEAL, and Travis McNeal, the director of change management and communications for Walmart’s supply chain.
Wenburg has also written a blog and self-published a book, “Unfrozen: Stop Holding Back and Release the Real You.” But whatever media platform she uses, Wenburg tries to keep her main message the same.
“It’s evolved (over the years) and got more clear,” said Wenburg, who also gives presentations at conferences across the country. “That clarity is around influence and voice. It’s how do you have ethical influence on others — whether it be through a one-on-one conversation or if you’re trying to get a group of people to change in a company or an organization.”
She was one of three business women who shared some thoughts for an article on handling public criticism and scrutiny for the March/April edition of Success Magazine.
Her contribution had three main points: Understand who your audience is, know your mission and what you are willing to sacrifice for it, and love people more than you fear them
“My perspective was a lot of time it’s in our head that we’re getting haters or that we might get haters,” Wenburg said.
There was a time early in Wenburg’s professional career, she said, when she was afraid to “put myself out there. I was afraid of rejection and standing out or being self-promotional.”
“I felt like I wanted to do something with my voice,” she said, “but I didn’t really know how.”
Then she attended a weeklong class on spiritual direction. The speaker shared a quote from C.S. Lewis about how you never believe in the strength of a rope until you tie it around your waist and jump off a cliff.
Wenburg said it was a transformational experience. She attended an art show shortly after the completion of the class.
That is where she saw the painting by Olerich.
“I broke out in tears,” Wenburg said. “(The painting) is a big part of my story.”