Religion at Work
”Religion’s Role in Workplace Problem-Solving” with Dr. Raymond Chiu

”Religion’s Role in Workplace Problem-Solving” with Dr. Raymond Chiu

September 22, 2021

Featuring Dr. Raymond Chiu, Assistant Professor of Business at Redeemer University


An expert on the interaction between faith and work experience, Dr. Raymond Chiu discusses the inevitable overlap between religion and the workplace -- and why that combination might actually be a good thing. Along the way, he introduces new ways of understanding workers’ approaches to problem-solving, shares how to build unity in religiously diverse workplaces, and invites us to consider the key role of thought diversity in the human community.


Dr. Raymond B. Chiu is currently assistant professor at the business school of Redeemer University, a private Christian university located in Ancaster, Ontario, Canada. Formerly he was an assistant professor at the Goodman School of Business (Brock University), a postdoctoral researcher at the Ivey Business School (Western University), and doctoral student at the DeGroote School of Business (McMaster University). Raymond started as a professional civil engineer, and then he turned his desire to use his environmental background for the community toward nonprofit work; since then he has taken on a variety of nonprofit management roles. The inner calling for his work comes from a strong commitment to the building of a strong civil society and the advancement of organizations that are society’s lifeblood, especially voluntary organizations and religious communities.


Learn more about Raymond’s work.

”The Protestant Roots of Secular American Values” with Dr. Emma Rifai

”The Protestant Roots of Secular American Values” with Dr. Emma Rifai

September 1, 2021

Featuring Dr. Emma Rifai, Instructor in Religion and Culture, Virginia Tech


Dr. Emma Rifai, PhD, offers a fresh take on the relationship between modern secularism and America’s well-known “Protestant work ethic.” In the process, she addresses the roots of “secular” American values found in the Protestant Reformation, the difference between capital-P and lowercase-P protestantism, and why secularism is not neutral -- or even truly secular. As she reimagines our culture’s ideas about success, Emma calls on employers to make the workplace more equitable, healthy, and holistically beneficial for workers.


Dr. Emma Rifai is an instructor in the Department of Religion and Culture at Virginia Tech for the 2021-2022 academic year. She has a PhD from the Department of Religious Studies at The University of Iowa with graduate certificates in gender, women’s, and sexuality studies and in college teaching. Her work explores how both religion and secularism shape the everyday at the site of the body by highlighting Protestant culture’s profound yet often overlooked impact on public life in the United States. 


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“Fostering the Ability to Disagree” with Joe Gerstandt

“Fostering the Ability to Disagree” with Joe Gerstandt

July 28, 2021

Featuring Joe Gerstandt, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Speaker, Author, and Advisor

As a speaker and leader in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work, Joe Gerstandt brings his experienced perspective to topics like the place of religion in today’s DEI work, identity in the workplace, and why teams should foster the ability to disagree well. In providing a larger context for this topic, Joe touches on both the broad connection to racial justice and the need for individual managers to start these efforts within themselves.

Joe Gerstandt is a speaker, author and advisor for organizational diversity and inclusion efforts. Joe has worked with Fortune 100 corporations, small non-profits, and everything in between. A featured contributor for the Workforce Diversity Network Expert Forum, his insights have been published in print and on-line journals as well as in the book Social Gravity: Harnessing the Natural Laws of Relationships. Joe served in the Marine Corps and spent 6 years working in management and business development for technology and communication companies. He then worked for a grassroots non-profit organization, where he became actively involved in diversity and inclusion work. Today, Joe believes that we can ill afford to continue applying a 20th century approach to an increasingly critical set of 21st century issues. A strong advocate for resetting the diversity and inclusion conversation, Joe sees diversity and inclusion as poorly understood and often misunderstood.

Learn more about Joe’s work.

”Combating Anti-Semitism in the Workplace” with Dr. Jodi Benenson

”Combating Anti-Semitism in the Workplace” with Dr. Jodi Benenson

July 14, 2021

Featuring Dr. Jodi Benenson, Assistant Professor in the School of Public Administration, University of Nebraska Omaha

Dr. Jodi Benenson, Assistant Professor in the School of Public Administration at the University of Nebraska Omaha, highlights the power employers and individuals have to combat anti-Semitism and build more inclusive environments. In addition to explaining four steps anyone can take to fight anti-Semitism, she calls out the temptation to prioritize efficiency over humanity and discusses her recent efforts to incorporate these themes into her own work.

Jodi Benenson is an Assistant Professor in the School of Public Administration at the University of Nebraska Omaha. Her primary research interests include civic engagement, nonprofit organizations, social policy, and social equity. Previously, Jodi was a Postdoctoral Scholar at the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University and a nonprofit professional in the Twin Cities. Jodi founded Women and Public Policy Week at the University of Nebraska Omaha in 2017 to amplify policy issues that affect women and girls in Nebraska. She also serves on the national board of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network, as member of the Women's Fund of Omaha Circles Class 9, on the board of New Leaders Council Omaha, on the advisory board of Huespring, on the nominating committee of the League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha, and is an advisor to several nonprofit organizations. Jodi received a B.S. and M.P.A. from Indiana University and a Ph.D. in social policy from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. She was also recognized as a TOYO (Ten Outstanding Young Omahans) award recipient in 2019, and has received scholarly awards for her teaching and research.

Learn more about Jodi’s work.

”Healing, Empathy, and Religious Accommodation” with Dr. Kristy Nabhan-Warren

”Healing, Empathy, and Religious Accommodation” with Dr. Kristy Nabhan-Warren

June 30, 2021

Featuring Dr. Kristy Nabhan-Warren, Professor of Catholic Studies, University of Iowa

Dr. Kristy Nabhan-Warren of the University of Iowa talks about what she learned when researching her forthcoming book, Meatpacking America: How Migration, Work, and Faith Unite and Divide the Heartland (UNC Press). She shares why religious accommodation is important, tells stories about how meatpacking workers bring their faith to their jobs, and ties her conclusions to the healing and empathy needed to move forward in the American public.

Dr. Kristy Nabhan-Warren is Professor and the inaugural V.O. and Elizabeth Kahl Figge Chair in Catholic Studies at the University of Iowa. Her research focuses on U.S. Latinx Catholics in the United States, and her publications include The Virgin of El Barrio: Marian Apparitions, Catholic Evangelizing, and Mexican-American Activism (2005); Cursillos in America: Catholics, Protestants, and Fourth-Day Spirituality (2013); and Américan Woman: The Virgin of Guadalupe, Latinos/as and Accompaniment (2018).

Learn more about Kristy’s work.

”Embracing Religious Diversity at Work” with Farah Siddiqui

”Embracing Religious Diversity at Work” with Farah Siddiqui

June 16, 2021

Featuring Farah Siddiqui, Manager of Trailhead Programs & Processes at Salesforce and Co-Founder and Global President of Faithforce, Salesforce's Interfaith Employee Resource Group (ERG)

Farah Siddiqui discusses how her experiences as a Pakistani Muslim woman in a primarily white, majority-Christian work context led her to co-found Faithforce, Salesforce’s thriving interfaith employee resource group (ERG). In addition to revealing what she believes has made Faithforce successful, Farah also touches on her own childhood, how she relates to others’ stories of seeking belonging, and the important steps employers can take to embrace religious diversity for the wellbeing of their employees.

Farah Siddiqui is the Manager of Trailhead Programs & Processes at Salesforce and the Co-Founder and Global President of Faithforce, Salesforce's Interfaith Employee Resource Group. She also serves on the board of Preemptive Love, a nonprofit committed to building peace between communities at odds, Syrian Community Network, a refugee & immigration support nonprofit, and the IL Muslim Civic Coalition, an organization promoting civic justice and working towards a more equitable and representative America.

Learn more about Farrah’s work.

“Religious Other Inclusion (ROI)” with Jeremy Fricke

“Religious Other Inclusion (ROI)” with Jeremy Fricke

June 2, 2021

Featuring Jeremy Fricke, Education Director, Tri-Faith Initiative

Erik expands on his conversation with Wendy by inviting Jeremy Fricke to dive deeper into Religious Other Inclusion (ROI). Jeremy shares the practical knowledge that every employer should have about religion in the workplace, including legal basics, influence on employee morale, and examples of what (not) to do. He also reflects on how his personal investment in ROI has developed over time, and why his research has convinced him that this is an essential dimension of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work.

Jeremy Fricke is the Education Director of Tri-Faith Initiative. A Fremont, Nebraska native, he received his B.S. in Business Administration/Human Resources from Wayne State College, followed by an M.A. in Religious Studies from the University of Iowa. As Education Director, Jeremy has led, taught, and developed a variety of educational programs and curricula. Jeremy also leads workshops and training on religious inclusion in the workplace and schools, and he supports university partnerships in a variety of capacities. Jeremy has received awards and fellowships for his leadership and social advocacy, including the Ron Holt Civic Engagement Award, the Newman Civic Fellowship, and multiple Future Business Leader of America Scholarships. His research interests focus on new religious movements, religion and political life, religion and economics, and combating white nationalism and fundamentalism.

Learn more about Jeremy’s work.

“Pushing Interfaith Work Forward” with Wendy Goldberg

“Pushing Interfaith Work Forward” with Wendy Goldberg

May 26, 2021

Featuring Wendy Goldberg, Executive Director, Tri-Faith Initiative

Erik is joined by Wendy Goldberg for a conversation about the Religion @ Work podcast, what Tri-Faith is doing to push the interfaith movement forward, and how we’re helping businesses with their diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) strategy through Religious Other Inclusion (ROI).

Wendy Goldberg is a founding board member and the Executive Director of Tri-Faith Initiative. For more than 15 years, she has worked with clergy, lay leaders, social sector and nonprofit organizations, community leaders, and local educators to make interfaith cooperation a social norm. Wendy is a member of the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce’s CODE Advisory Council, a cohort participant in LeadDiversity, and is an alum of the Racial Equity Institute’s Racial Equity Workshop. A fourth-generation Omahan, she has served on Temple Israel’s Board of Trustees and staff, where she played a key role in Temple Israel’s transition to the Tri-Faith Commons. Wendy holds a Master of Arts in Communication and a graduate certificate in Creative Writing from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Learn more about Wendy’s work.

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