Welcome to our Faith in the Media interview series on Christian Media Leadership. Here, we dive into the minds and experiences of influential leaders in the field of Christian media. Our goal is to explore the unique challenges and opportunities they face as they navigate the ever-changing landscape of media and technology while remaining true to their Christian values. Join us as we gain insights, wisdom, and inspiration from these remarkable individuals who are making a profound impact in spreading the message of faith through various forms of media. Today, we have the privilege of checking in with Joe Paulo, President and CEO of Hope Media Group.
Since 2018, Joe Paulo has held the position of President and Chief Executive Officer at Hope Media Group. With a strong background in media and leadership, his journey began in 2017 when he joined KSBJ (now Hope Media Group) as the Vice-President of Operations. Prior to that, he served as the Director of Donor Stewardship and Communications at Educational Media Foundation (K-LOVE/Air1). Joe’s leadership skills were also showcased during his time as the Director of Broadcasting at Columbia International University, where he oversaw the successful growth of radio stations in Charlotte, NC, and Columbia, SC, until 2014. In addition to his professional achievements, Joe has actively contributed to various nonprofit organizations, serving on the board of directors and providing advisory support to Youth Commission International, Christian Music Broadcasters, and Crime Stoppers of Houston. In 2014, he earned a master’s degree in business with honors from Liberty University. Joe and his wife, Kelly, share a passion for marriage, parenting, and adoption, and have been happily married for 33 years. They have three daughters and two sons. Together, they have spoken at marriage and parenting events, as well as sharing their expertise on leadership, fundraising, and media. Check out his thoughts in this installment of faith in the media:
Q: As a leader in Christian Media, why do you do what you do?
It’s the privilege of working at the intersection of what people need and what people want. People need a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. They also want entertaining, engaging, and purposeful content. What we get to do makes a real difference in the lives of people now and on into eternity. That’s why I do what I do.
Q: What are your thoughts on AI and how it might impact Christian Media?
Pragmatically, AI should positively impact what we do by making us more efficient and even economical. Beyond the typical applications we can think of, the troubling aspect of AI that Christian media will face is that AI will move our culture quickly to the point of only one answer on meaningful subjects. No longer will there be a variety of searchable perspectives and opinions. AI will drive a populist opinion to be the solitary answer on virtually everything over time, so it will make our stand for the Truth even more difficult.
Q: What do you see as the greatest challenges for Christian Media in the next 5 years?
Our greatest challenge is to be relevant to those outside of the Christian subculture. Our society is becoming more and more subdivided, and while in some ways that is wonderful, in a broader view, the barriers of crossing out of our subculture get harder to cross. For us to be effective in the next 5 years, we have to break down walls, not build them.
Q: What advice do you have for mid-level leaders who desire to grow to Senior Leadership roles in a Media Company?
Become an expert question-asker. Those who ask perceptive questions while also thriving in their current role show themselves to be hungry, teachable, and eager to serve. The opportunities will come about, and those people will be noticed. The cream always rises to the top. P.S. Don’t ever take a role for what you think it might lead to. Only accept roles in which you are going to enjoy and be fulfilled. Taking a role only as a stepping stone will lead to frustration.
Q: As a leader of a Christian Media organization, how would you define success: 1. as a leader 2. for your organization
There are many different facets of success, but here’s the one I’ll speak of because it is at the top of the ‘success pyramid’. Success for Hope Media Group is being able to see our God-given vision become reality. We envision millions of engagements with people where they can experience the love of God and have an opportunity to respond to it in some way. Personally, I’ll feel successful if I can paint a compelling vision and then remove obstacles and help equip those I get to serve with to achieve that vision together.
Q: What should the #1 priority be for Christian leaders in media?
Assuming God-glorifying ministry impact in people’s lives is a given, a top priority for any leader in media is to help future-proof their organization. The media landscape continues to change so rapidly that remaining status quo will lead to irrelevance, which will ultimately lead to an involuntary change of careers. We should always be wrestling with the future.
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