My name is Chris Bond, I am the founder and President of Bluewater Learning, Inc. My company specializes in strategy, selection, implementation and operation of HCM, Learning and Talent Management Systems. Bluewater Learning first came into being in 2003. I have often been asked where I came up with the name Bluewater. As with most things in my life there is a story.
I began my current career path in the Learning Industry in 1989, working for Westcott Communications, an innovative company that provided targeted training via satellite. I was young and eager and became recognized as a hard worker and discovered I was blessed with the gift of navigating my way up the corporate ladder. During the dot.com bubble days, I was lured away from Westcott Communications to a start-up learning provider from Silicon Valley wanting to open a Texas branch. I was promised an impressive title, a salary commensurate with the title and a pending IPO. I accepted the position and all too soon discovered that the company did not have the capital backing they had implied and their promised IPO was quickly derailed by the economic backlash of 9/11. I subsequently found myself job hunting on two additional occasions since that initial move and found myself subject to similar occurrences with companies falling prey to difficult economic times. I found it disconcerting that I had been a part of three different business closures within an 18 month span. Needless to say, I learned quite a bit during those 18 months about what NOT to do in business, but little did I realize, I also gained a great deal of knowledge regarding what it would take to keep a business afloat during tough times. As I pondered where my job search would take me, I began to pursue freelance revenue producing opportunities to provide an interim income as I waited for the next job offer. I had been craving the desire to begin my own business, but lack of confidence and no clear business plan had derailed my desires.
My wife viewed my new-found jobless state as an opportunity for us to take a much needed vacation away from the daily pressures of raising three kids. Spending money on a vacation did not seem like a wise move to me at the time, but my wife insisted that getting away for a few days wouldn’t break the bank and that it might just clear my head and help me to see my situation in a new light. So off we went to an all adult, all-inclusive resort on the Yucatan Peninsula, too far away in my opinion, from computers, cell phones and any form of connection with my job search. I was stressed about the idea, but went reluctantly.
So here we are, at a remote resort, no cell phones, no kids, and no money to spend on extracurricular activities, my wife informs me that her plan is to spend the daylight hours sitting on the beach reading. Now I know my wife is a voracious reader, but seriously, she wants to sit on a beach for up to eight hours doing nothing but reading a book? That didn’t sound like much of a vacation to me. I’m not much for sitting still, where’s the pool, where’s the volleyball, where’s the swimming, how about a jog, how about scuba diving, seriously, you just want to sit and read? I know how busy our lives had been with three active kids, my wife is constantly in motion at home, so I understood her desire for uninterrupted reading time, it was a precious commodity to her. I have to be honest though, I’m not much of a reader for pleasure, two paragraphs into a novel and I’m fast asleep. So in an effort to honor her much desired reading time, I resigned myself to laying quietly by hoping to catch a few zzzz’s. I’ve been known to be able to fall asleep anywhere, anytime, so that should be an easy task for me to accomplish, right?
Day one of our trip, I trek out to the beach chair prepared for my morning nap. The funny thing was, I found myself unable to fall into my usual sleep stupor, my mind kept thinking about my job search, my future. I lay there hour after hour hearing the waves roll in and eventually just let go of my thoughts and worries and began to use the time in prayer. My faith has always been very important to me, I attend church, I occasionally volunteer to teach in my Sunday School class, I read the Bible, I pray, but I can’t say for certain that I have ever dedicated hours at a time in prayer. As the day wore on, I realized that my anticipated naptime was evolving into a time of dedicated prayer. As my prayer time became more intense, I began to clearly hear God speaking to me and began to truly understand how to listen to what God had to reveal to me through my prayers. ”Be Still and Know that I am God”, was never more meaningful to me as I prayed and listened for God’s spiritual guidance during those three days.
What God had to say to me was inspiring; I felt God’s call to do two things. First, I clearly heard God call me to give up this job search and go out on my own and start my own business. I truly felt His divine direction and purpose for my career, it was exhilarating. Second, he instructed me to take my knowledge of scripture and my life experiences and to share the Gospel with others. Now the first part was exciting, really, start my own business, could I really do that, did I really have what it took to make that happen? I was excited and anxious, but also confident and certain that God would lead me and guide me along the way. But the 2nd part was confusing, share the Gospel? I would occasionally volunteer to teach Sunday School at my church, but I wasn’t sure what else God had in mind. But on that sunny beach looking out over the clear blue water of the Caribbean, I promised God that I would follow His path for my life and let Him lead me where He wanted me to go.
Over the next few months, as I put my faith in what I believed God was calling me to do, I began my new business. I was already utilizing my experience in the learning field consulting with a client, so I spent the next few months officially setting up my consulting business, naming the business, and learning everything I could about how to incorporate into a legitimate business enterprise. In the meantime, I took the initiative to volunteer to teach more often in Sunday School, still not certain what God had in mind with the call to share the Gospel with others. But God had a plan in mind. I was soon to discover that a new program was about to begin at our church called Alpha. Alpha is a beginning study in Christianity designed for new or old members of the church to delve deeper into what Christianity is and why it’s important. The Ministerial staff leading the program invited me to be the main speaker for each Alpha session, which included sharing my personal faith journey as well as providing a topical sermon about the basic principles of Christianity. Little did I know on that beach in Mexico, that God would have such a mighty purpose for my life. I continued working with the Alpha ministry at our church for eight consecutive sessions, bringing the message of the Gospel to over 500 people seeking a deeper understanding of their faith. This experience with Alpha also led to spending more time teaching Sunday school, becoming actively involved in the Dallas Emmaus/Chrysalis community as well as becoming a Certified Lay Speaker in the United Methodist Church. Ten years later, my business is now thriving and employs many people, including several members of my family.
My prayers were answered during those few days of dedicated prayer time on that beach and God’s direction was crystal clear. His revelation for my life became very clear to me as I prayed over the blue water of God’s majestic Caribbean Sea. Thus the name, Bluewater Learning.
So what’s in a name? There is a lot more to this name than just words , and we carry the conviction and responsibility the name implies. It’s more than just about the business, it’s about helping others along the way to see things more clearly, to love more dearly and to follow Thee more nearly.