The CEO of a multi-million dollar stamp and craft company recently announced that she's stepping down — but it's her reasoning might be the bigger surprise to some.
Shelli Gardner, co-founder and CEO of Stampin' Up, recently told her staff and supporters that she and her husband, Sterling, are planning to step away from their business to serve on a full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, according to Deseret News.
The couple will serve on the Hawaii Honolulu Mission starting on March 23 for a period of 12 months — an experience that they are hoping will inspire others to think more deeply about their faith.
"We want people to be a part of this. We want them to know why we’re doing it and that we’re excited to serve the Lord," Sterling Gardner said of their decision. "Maybe we can plant some seeds and they’ll become curious, ask questions."
Watch the couple announce their mission location in front of their family members earlier this month:
While the public might be surprised by the couple's choice to vacate their role in the company, they said that the plan was always for them to eventually leave the business, though the timeline was never solidified — until a recent stake conference during which they felt compelled to go on a mission; a Mormon stake is similar to a Catholic diocese.
"Our stake has really emphasized the need for senior couples. We were told to feel some urgency and go as soon as we were able," Shelli Gardner told writer Jason Wright. "So, I wrote early 2015 on the calendar. I’ll be honest. I didn’t think it would come so quickly."
It is unclear what the Gardners will be doing in their missionary role, though Mormon missions generally involve a range of faith, proselytizing and humanitarian activities, according to a bulletin detailing the program.
The two, who said they will miss their family, will be leaving their daughter, Sara Douglass, in charge of Stampin' Up during their absence. Despite the Gardners' belief that everything will be fine while they're gone, they said it's possible things will end up getting messy.
That said, they are totally standing on their faith, claiming that they believe that when one relies on God, "it all turns out in the end," Deseret News reported.
The Gardners do plan to return to life as usual once their year-long mission is over.
"When we return, life will resume as usual. I intend to return to work because I love what I do and love the people I work with," Shelli Gardner recently wrote on her blog. "We’re looking at a mission kind of like a sabbatical."
(H/T: Deseret News)