Balancing family and business with laughter and learning

File Under: Outcomes

What do you get when you add ten children, more than a handful of small businesses, and two Malone degrees together? The fulfilling-- and sometimes chaotic-- life of Lindsay (Berning) Slutz ’08 ’15.

Originally from Michigan, Slutz came to Malone because of family and church connections.
“My brothers and I grew up in Battle Creek Friends Church and they were both recruited to throw shot put on Malone’s track and field team. I came along for the ride because it was less expensive for my dad to have us all at one school,” she laughed. “But I chose to return to Malone for my MBA because I genuinely loved the learning environment and found a ‘home’ at Malone.”

A business administration student as an undergraduate, Slutz immersed herself in the Malone experience.

“So many factors impacted me as a young adult at Malone,” she said. “I had great relationships with my professors and enjoyed attending sporting events and student life events in the Barn. I also joined a few student organizations and traveled with Julia Frankland and the SIFE team, where we learned a lot about team-building and gained some cool networking opportunities.”

Slutz and her husband Kyle ’08 met on campus in 2006 and remained good friends until after they graduated from Malone. They married in 2011, sharing a servant’s heart for children and a pull from Christ to consider the fostering system. After meeting another couple in the program who walked with them through the fostering process, they decided to take the leap.

“We have ten children and a bonus baby because our oldest had a child before we had placement for them both. They’re 19,12,9,8,8,5,4,3,3,2, and 2,” she said. “We felt that there were so many children and families that were being underserved and undervalued and we decided that we could do more than pity or feel sadness and anger; we could use our hearts and hands to serve the foster community! We have been with Stark County since 2015 and have adopted eight children, supporting and fighting to keep the large sibling groups together (a group of four and another of three). And just when we thought Jesus was done with us, He brought us our oldest and her daughter. We currently also have the birth sibling of the sibling group of four due to an arrangement with their birth mother. Sometimes Jesus asks us to do the hard things for His greater good, and our situation is good for everyone. We have been truly blessed.”

When they aren’t juggling the demands of parenthood, the Slutzes are small business owners, managing a construction company that deals in commercial work, a few data mining centers (IT and cryptocurrency ventures), rental properties, a landscaping company, and are currently weighing the purchase of an apartment building.

“We like to diversify for the unknowns and high volatility of the realms we deal in,” she said. “God has always taken very good care of us and provided exactly what we need.”

Malone prepared Slutz to be a small business owner by showing her the value of lifelong learning.

“When you have a firm foundation of cooperative strategizing and you value people above money, always putting God first, you know no bounds,” she said. “The law and tort classes I took for my MBA, and the connections I garnered through those classes continue to equip me for our work. And the Six Sigma training, streamlined business classes, and economics –supply and demand—have played significant roles in how both of us have achieved and stretched into new facets regularly. We never want to stop learning and growing.”

There is a delicate balance between successfully managing small businesses and caring for a large family, so the Slutzes embrace multitasking and the “un-normal” parts of life on a regular basis.

“I don’t mind chaos or conflict, so I just keep asking God to walk with me in it,” she said. “I enjoy a challenge and have always felt that if God brought me to it, He’d bring me through it. And He always has. He has opened and closed doors as they needed to be swung, He has provided a life boat when the waters get high, and He has never let us down. Bad days come for everyone, bad minutes, really, but they pass, and whatever He is teaching you in the valley, you will rejoice in on the mountaintop. I am grateful for my dark days, my bad minutes, because they make me more resilient, more aware of my blessings, and far more ready for whatever the day will bring.”