Staff Spotlight: Jane McGrath

Meet American Bible Society’s Interim Director of Digital Marketing & Innovation

This is part of a series of staff spotlights at American Bible Society. We hope you enjoy getting to know our staff members, who are using their gifts to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ around the world.

This month, meet Jane McGrath, who serves as Interim Director of Digital Marketing & Innovation. In this role, Jane shares new, exciting ways for faithful believers to support the work and mission of American Bible Society by providing God’s Word around the world.

Tell us a little about yourself!

I’m married to my hero, Phil, and have two adult sons. I get a kick out of parenting adult children—they’re fun and creative and my proudest accomplishments.

Growing up, I always went to church and was heavily involved in youth group, but I didn’t take ownership of my faith until I was in my late teens. After I had my children, I truly began to fully live my faith and became more involved in church and ministry. Now, I can look back and see how God persevered with me as my faith evolved and grew over the years!

I have an undergraduate degree from Penn State in individual and family studies. In 2011, I went back to school and earned my master’s in organizational leadership and my MBA back-to-back. I also have a certificate in women’s ministry. I’m a lifelong learner—I always tell my husband not to let me start browsing online for which degree I want next!

My career path has been quite eclectic. I’ve held leadership positions in restaurant and banquet management, retail management and buying, and Christian education. I have always been involved in women’s ministry and have led the women’s Bible study at my church and spoken at Christian gatherings. I helped launch the local 4Word Women’s Philly chapter and served as the chair before taking on a new role as the director of the mentorship program, which we offer here at American Bible Society! I am excited to continue that ministry here while also expanding to reach women across Philadelphia. In addition to women’s ministry, I have volunteer experience with disability and sports ministries and have also held nonprofit advisory roles.

For fun, I enjoy exploring whatever looks exciting and new! Running is one of my main passions.

How long have you worked at American Bible Society?

I’ll be celebrating 14 years this September!

How did you come to American Bible Society?

Before I came to American Bible Society, I was working as the director of Windsor Christian Academy, an elementary school. I had been the business director before the former director of the school departed, leaving a critical void as the school was working to become accredited, advance its curriculum, and develop its middle school. It was a privilege to be used by God during that momentous season.

Soon after that, a dear friend told me about American Bible Society, which was then developing its marketing, fundraising, and research areas. I looked into the organization and loved the ministry. I even asked God, “If you are going to move me, could I go there?”

I interviewed with the director of development, who told me about a digital position that sounded perfect for me with my background and experience. The timing of my transition worked out perfectly—I resigned from my position at the school when the contract was due for the following year, and the same day an experienced educator from the school was asked to step into the director position and has advanced it in amazing ways. I got a call back from American Bible Society, and I’ve been here ever since! It was evident to me that God was in the whole process.

Can you describe your role at American Bible Society?

I was hired to develop a digital fundraising program in 2009. At that time, we were sending one email each month to a small number of donors. We had one donation button on our website. Our digital fundraising was extremely understated and barely helping to fuel the ministry. My job was to develop a strategy and program for online fundraising, along with a print Christmas giving catalogue. For 12 years, that was my main focus. We added search engine marketing, media advertising, paid and organic social messaging, native advertising, Connect TV ads, radio streaming, and donor conference calls. We also printed giving catalogues for Christmas and Easter.

Two years ago, I took a new role as senior manager of product innovation. The title doesn’t quite cover what I was doing, which was working with our ministry teams to identify opportunities for testing new offers that best represent ministry priorities. We’ve also tested new channels for fundraising like national broadcast TV. Perhaps you saw American Bible Society on your favorite TV channels last fall!

As of this year, I get to serve in the best of both worlds as the interim Director of Digital Marketing & Innovation. The different ideas for serving our ministry teams in their priorities are endless as we invite donors to say, “Yes! I want to be part of what God is doing!” I love change and I love new things, so I naturally love this position. I also enjoy the digital world: the complexity, speed, and ability to shift on a dime. There are so many opportunities for American Bible Society to reach new partners in this space!

What do you enjoy about working at American Bible Society?

Some of the most powerful experiences I’ve had at American Bible Society have been traveling to the field. It’s one thing to understand what a Bible means to someone here in the United States, and to see the groaning need for an encounter with God’s Word in our own country. But the power of this understanding is amplified when you get to see that groaning need in other nations, especially when you witness lifestyles and challenges outside your own experience. Over and over again, I’ve seen that in the middle of the hardest circumstances you can imagine, what people ask for is a Bible. And there are no words to describe the sheer emotion of watching someone receive that Bible—you can see the pure joy in their eyes!

Each trip I’ve taken has been impactful, but a few stand out in my memory. I’ve visited remote cave churches in China, at the top of a ridiculously tall mountain. We climbed to the churches on foot, in down jackets, in the freezing cold. During the climb, I remembered something our P.E. teacher at Windsor Christian Academy used to say to the students: “If the Lord calls you to climb a mountain to tell the one person at the top about Jesus, your body needs to be ready to go!” As I walked that precarious path, I thought of those words and remembered that someone at the top of that mountain might be waiting to hear about Jesus!

In 2014, I helped develop a pilot program called Reel Hope. We invited college-aged students to submit a video telling us why they would like to help American Bible Society give Bibles to orphans in Kenya. Four young ladies earned the most votes for their videos, and they had the chance to accompany me and Rhoda Gathoga to Kenya. We visited about 10 orphanages in and around Nairobi. The four girls designed creative ways to engage the children. At each location, we had the girls provide each orphan with their very own first Bibles from American Bible Society and I was able to gather great content to bring back to our donors about the life changing experience they made happen for these orphans. I always keep Reel Hope in the back of my mind when I think of ways to invite our donors and volunteers to experience the ministry they make possible.

Finally, my most memorable trip was to Guatemala. My son, then 14, got to come with me to assist our videographer. It was so special to have him with me! We got to meet translators who shared about their work. One of the most shocking things they told us was that there wasn’t a word for “forgiveness” or “salvation” in the Achi language. It opened my eyes to the challenge of faithfully translating God’s Word so that every person can fully understand its meaning.

I can tell you that if you’re able to go and see the work God is doing around the world, you won’t ever be the same!

Would you share your favorite verse with us?

This is such a hard question to answer! There are so many I love, but I’ve been meditating on Psalm 18 recently, so I’ll share three verses that stood out to me:

In my distress I called upon the LORD,
And cried out to my God;
He heard my voice from His temple,
And my cry came before Him, even to His ears.

He sent from above, He took me;

He drew me out of many waters. (Psalm 18:6, 16 NKJV)

The LORD lives!
Blessed be my Rock!
Let the God of my salvation be exalted. (Psalm 18:46 NKJV)

The last verse reminded me about a song I must have heard in my teens. When I read the verse, I’m singing that song in my head! And I think that these two verses together exemplify how I want to live my life. All across the globe, people are calling out to God. But he hears my voice and recognizes my prayer. I want to stand on the solid Rock, trust that he hears me, and exalt his name by proclaiming his salvation.

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