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Finding Purpose in Your Work

Dean Niewolny spent 23 years in executive roles with three of Wall Street’s largest financial firms, finishing his career in the financial sector as market manager for Wells Fargo Advisors in Chicago. While in Chicago, he and his wife, Lisa, traveled many times to Africa and, seeing the abject needs of widows and orphans, made life changes that enabled them to get involved, such as helping to complete an orphan home and a hospice home in Durbin, South Africa.

In 2010, Dean left his marketplace career to help more people who, like him, wanted to expand their own first half success and skills into passion and purpose for meeting human needs and making a significant difference. Dean joined the Halftime Institute as Managing Director and in 2011 became Chief Executive Officer. He speaks at events around the world, encouraging business leaders to channel first half achievement into a second half defined by joy, impact and balance.

In 2017, Dean authored his first book, Trade Up. In it, Dean shares candidly about his personal transition into a second half of meaning and significance and the learnings of the Halftime Institute over 20 years of helping marketplace leaders do the same.

Dean’s personal trade-up story began on the 40th floor of a skyscraper in Chicago in 2006. It was there that he realized that he had spent the first half of his career chasing success, and that there had to be more to life than that. He says he was in a season that he calls “smoldering discontent” where he thought that material things and money would bring him satisfaction and happiness, but only left him with emptiness.

He shifted perspective then, and instead of asking how he could get more, he began asking what God wanted for his life. During that time, he studied Ephesians 2:10, “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works that he has prepared beforehand.” While Dean had been excelling in the market space, he hadn’t been doing much for God’s Kingdom. This led him to pursue his purpose, and what God wanted him to do with the rest of his life.

Dean is now the CEO of Halftime Institute where he helps people find their passion, and matches it to their gifts and talents. They take this coupling of talent and passion and focus it on what they can do to impact the Kingdom. He says that success and significance should lead to ultimate surrender to God and what He wants.


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