EXCEPTIONAL PARENTS UNLIMITED
LOWELL ENS (BA '93)
A Jesus Follower
Lowell Ens (BA, ’93) knows what it’s like to sweat the small stuff. As executive director of Stone Soup from 2014 to late 2017, he worked as the janitor on Fridays because money was scarce. He also doubled as the receptionist while sweeping and cleaning up at the Fresno nonprofit serving Southeast Asian families.
“I look at leadership through the lens of a Jesus follower,” he says, crediting former Campus Pastor Keith Martens and others at FPU for setting the example. “They really pushed me out of my box and allowed me to see myself differently.”
Titles don’t matter. Commitment, compassion and dirty hands, if necessary, should mark a leader. So at Stone Soup, Ens donned a hard hat to helped demolish then reconstruct part of a building so the nonprofit could become a licensed preschool. The school stabilized finances and allowed outreach to continue.
In December 2017, Ens became chief executive officer at Exceptional Parents Unlimited in Fresno, a nonprofit that serves disabled children and their families. In his new job, he draws on the example of Marci Winans, a former FPU staff member who worked with student leaders. “I look at how I can remove obstacles from the staff so they can be successful while prioritizing what comes next,” Ens says.
He wants EPU to continue to strengthen working relationships with other nonprofits that started before his arrival. It’s an example of the collaborative spirit he saw at FPU. For instance, EPU has started sending staff to Valley Dream Center—an inner-city Fresno nonprofit—to provide parenting classes and programs for disabled children. “I’m looking forward to ways we can expand that model into other communities,” Ens says. “A Christ-centered leadership model is something that has remained front and center from my Fresno Pacific days, and continues to guide the roles I am blessed to play in our community today.”