Kristian decided to move to the Philippines and build a business, but more than just a business. As he describes it on the Vectto website “While call centers, transcription services and so forth were providing jobs in under-developed parts of the world, they presented little room for creative outlet. I’ve met incredibly talented artists of all types, answering phones all night long simply because that was the only reliable work they could find.”
At first, Kristian continued to build his web development business, but when a photographer friend described his photo editing challenge, the PhotoUp concept was born. In addition to focusing on helping photographers grow their businesses, the company invests in training and leadership development. More than 30 PhotoUp employees have had their first management experience with the company. Many team members have gone on from PhotoUp to get even better jobs outside the company — and the whole community celebrates when this happens. These “alumni” are still considered part of the PhotoUp family and often take part in company activities, including ocean and beach cleanup days.
Loving Your Brother
Although Kristian was raised in the church, when he was in college, he turned away from his faith for about four years. Later, as he built his business, the Lord brought him partners and investors who were strong believers. God used these men to bring Kristian back to Himself.
One of Kristian’s early partners in PhotoUp was Chris Palmer, who helped shape the company’s (and Kristian’s) social impact strategy. One of Chris’ favorite sayings is “never underestimate the power of your presence,” which proved true in the strong foundation established for the company with Kristian’s presence with the team in Cebu. Kristian clearly views PhotoUp as not just a business and an employer, but also as an opportunity to love his brothers and sisters.
Romans 15:2 tells us to “Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.” For Kristian and PhotoUp this has meant creating jobs that are hard to come by in both the U.S. and in the developing world, jobs that pay well and “build up” technical and creative individuals so that they can reach their full God-enabled potential.
As Kristian pointed out to me, Jesus did most of his loving ministry outside the walls of the synagogues and temple. As important as it is to gather with our brothers and sisters to worship and serve in the church, we don’t stop serving Him when we leave that building and enter into the world.