How 2 returned Latter-day Saint missionaries are creating remote work for Church members globally

Courtesy of Eric Engebretsen

Like many returned Latter-day Saint missionaries, Eric Engebretsen and John Pearce returned home with a desire to do something to improve the quality of life for those they knew and taught during their respective missions in Argentina and Peru. Less than 10 years later, they think they’ve figured out a way to make that happen.

The idea is simple: In a post-COVID world, more and more companies are hiring remote employees and if there are returned missionaries and BYU-Pathway Worldwide students who have developed solid English-language speaking skills, why not connect them with American companies that offer better compensation? The company Eric and John have developed, Bloom, is hired by companies to hire employees and supply talents. Fortunately, they know just where to find it.

The company began in September 2021 but in 2022, 1200 jobs were created abroad and Bloom hired employees in 65 countries internationally.

On this week’s episode of All In, Eric and John shared stories of how they have seen these employment opportunities change and bless people’s lives.

Listen to the episode in its entirety in the player below or by clicking here. You can also read a full transcript here.

The following excerpt has been edited for clarity.  

Morgan Jones Pearson: I wondered if you could share a few of your favorite experiences so far, and maybe a few pieces of favorite feedback?

Eric Engebretsen: Absolutely. To be honest, we could probably spend the whole time talking about these types of stories. For us, this is what it’s all about and this is what makes it fun is thinking about these individuals. And I think you know, John mentioned this already, but we just feel so grateful to have a small part and a front-row seat to the good that they’re doing and how their lives are changing. So yeah, let’s just share a couple of these.

There’s one that comes to mind, an experience that John and I had recently is we recently hired three project managers in Africa. One of these project managers was a branch president in Cameroon, and working with us he’s making more than 10 times what he made in his local job, which is hard to believe. And that’s kind of at the far end of one spectrum for us but that’s the reality. But we had this really cool experience with him as we kind of were bringing him onto our team where we were bringing him on as a project manager for this project we’re doing in Africa and hiring additional people there. But as we were working with him, and in this kind of introductory meeting talking about them and their lives, and kind of the projects that they’re going to be doing and how it’s going to be blessing additional Church members’’ lives, the Spirit just kind of came into the call and came into the room. And it was just another one of those moments to say—we talk about this all the time—but just a really special treat to feel that and see that God knows and cares about His children individually, [including this] incredible branch president in Cameroon. So that’s kind of one story. It’s interesting to hear it on paper, but then to be with these people and see them and to feel the Spirit together. Like, it’s just a special thing that again, we feel like the luckiest guys on the earth to be able to do this as our day job and have these experiences. So there’s, there’s one for me that comes to mind is his name is Samuel from Cameroon, a beautiful, again, branch president, who now again has a significant increase in his salary. He’s working remotely so he has more time to dedicate to his calling, but also gets to have a hand in working with us and blessing the lives of others.

John Pearce: Yeah, one of the themes that we have seen is people around the world are praying for blessings, and God truly knows His kids. And there’s one person in particular that we hired in May, they were an incredible candidate. And they’ve done an incredible job since. This person’s name was Kathy and she is just, she’s incredible. Seriously, I can’t say incredible too many times, because she is just, she’s great. We’re lucky to have her but when she accepted the job offer, she texted us after and said, “Hey, I got a blessing where it said if I graduated from college, opportunities would open themselves up to me.” And like two days after she graduated from her university is when we gave her the offer to come join us.. And she told us that was an answer to her blessing and her prayers, that God had told her beforehand. And we had no clue about that—that was news to us—but consistently we see stories of people who their prayers are being answered, and God is answering their prayers. And like I said, we were a really small piece of this, but we’re lucky to be a small piece of this.

Eric Engebretsen: Another theme that we see, Morgan, we’ve talked a little bit about this is like kind of taking people from zero to one. So from that, you know, no exposure to a formal economy or remote work economy and taking them to kind of that first level, and then beyond. So there are’ a couple of stories of people that kind of fall into that bucket. One is a woman named Danny Lynn, she’s from the Philippines and is a mom, like many church members, and was previously…a stay-at-home mom, but getting to the point where she said, hey, I want to join the workforce. And she came and worked with us for one of our projects based out of the Philippines. And what’s so cool to see again, like on paper, you would think, she doesn’t have any previous experience. But she came in and just like crushed it, and was promoted to be a team lead over a team of other people and given an additional pay raise to the significant pay increase that she had. Those kinds of stories where it just goes back to that formula: people given the opportunity. The talent is there, the hard work is there. But given an opportunity, and where you kind of least expect it and seeing that happen. Another one is a guy that I think of, his name is Rodrigo. He’s from Argentina where I served. And it was a similar story where he was working as a type of security guard at a bank, a night shift at a bank, and kind of as I met him, said, “Hey, I really want to get out of this night shift, I don’t make a lot of money, I want to kind of change that. And he did, came in, and did customer support work for a fin-tech company based in Utah. And a similar story, went from zero to one, increasing his salary in this remote job, where he’s working normal hours, he has more time to spend at home with his family with his kids. But the same story, came in, and just hustled, worked hard, proved that he was a team player and all these other things, and was promoted to be a supervisor over a team of people and even over some Americans, just like that type of opportunity. And to see that type of hustle and hard work is just so special. And we have dozens of stories where we could talk about.

A single mom in Peru who now can provide for her family or, again, some of our amazing team members in Africa that are making five or six times their income, or even people from my mission. [There is] a woman that I met as a missionary in Argentina who was a close friend of mine, and we’ve stayed in touch. And as we were growing Bloom, she applied to work with us and got an email back from me, saw my picture, and sent me a message like, “Hey, that’s your company, I know you.” And she’s now worked for us for over a year and is a mom that has jumped back into the workforce and is now the breadwinner of her family. And it’s just stories like that, these are real people, these are incredible church members. And as you’ve served a mission, you’ve felt that feeling of that special bond that brings you together over the gospel or over doing good. And we feel like now, we get to do that, but times 1,000 over all over the world with these just incredible people. And again, just feel grateful to have a small part and a front-row seat into what they’re doing.

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