Inspiring Conversations: Paul and Cindy Karos

During the fourth session of “Inspiring Conversations,” we will focus on the topic “How our shared faith has guided our life, our professions, our family and our path forward, even in the face of personal obstacles like blindness” through a conversation with our first couple, Paul and Cindy Karos. Paul had an extensive 30-year career in the financial industry, culminating with senior leadership roles at Piper, Jaffray where he was the President of Equity Capital Markets and is now active in ministry and coaching while Cindy has been active in ministry for over four decades and has also chaired several important new initiatives for her church.

The conversation will explore topics such as faith, grief, overcoming obstacles, purpose, and living a life of service. It will also allow the audience to engage in a meaningful question and answer session directly with Paul and Cindy.

Read the biographies of the speaker and watch the introductory video here: Paul and Cindy Karos

Read the event recap, watch the video, or listen to the podcast below.


  • “I use this verse even when I speak at secular settings, like at a school or at a business, it’s almost like literature—it’s human truth. And it goes like this, it says, ‘We rejoice in our suffering, for suffering brings endurance, endurance brings character, and character brings hope, and hope does not disappoint.’” (Paul Karos quoting Romans 5:35, 6:13)
  • Suffering can lead to so many blessings. When you cater yourself to look for the good, your outlook on everything changes. (6:50)
  • God has planted a seed of virtue in every human being’s personal garden. These seeds—kindness, gentleness, patience, courage, etc.—must be cultivated throughout our lives. We must cultivate a garden that has enough fruit to sustain ourselves as well as share with others. (16:51)
  • “Someday you’re going to meet him, Jesus Christ, and he’s going to say to you: Did you do everything you could to help your kids know and love me? And if you can’t answer yes, forget those leadership skills.” (Cindy Karos quoting an abbess, 21:20)
  • While we may make transitions throughout our lives, our gifts won’t simply disappear. Although it may take a while to find those gifts, there will be so many opportunities to use them. (22:37)
  • “Be bold and be courageous and know that the gifts that you have will be effective in other ways.” (Cindy Karos, 23:27)
  • When you take a stance, you must ask yourself: How am I viewing other human beings? Having a positive stance on human beings (believing that every human being is made in the image of God) is incredibly important in leadership and in life. When you take that stance, it rubs off on the people around you. (24:51)
  • Try to keep your faith in the center of your life. If you foster healthy conversations with your spouses and take time to center yourself every day, your relationships and livelihood will improve. (36:30)
  • “We can’t control other people, but we can surely try our best to work on controlling our own tongue and have it be for edifying and advising and lifting up and inspiring and lovingly correcting.” (Paul Karos, 51:10)
  • “We’re all moving in such a fast way that it’s a waste to just move through life. You need to think about what the purpose is and actually make decisions about what you’re doing as a team to make it a priority.” (Cindy Karos, 52:58)

Event Recap

The Inspiring Conversations Series featured a discussion about faith and purpose with guest speakers Paul Karos, the former President Investment and Equities at Piper Jaffray, and his wife Cindy Karos, a founding inaugural member for The Order of the Myrrhbearing Women. This virtual event was led by Tom Schreier, Founding Director of the Inspired Leadership Initiative. Through this discussion, Paul and Cindy Karos demonstrated ways in which individuals can deal with grief, life’s ever-changing transitions, the importance of faith, and healthy relationships.

In the beginning of the discussion, Paul spoke of his eye disease’s effect on his life and his relationships. The disease, retinitis pigmentosa, leads to eventual blindness. As a child, in addition to the bullying and rejection he experienced in school, Paul had several underlying fears about his life, such as his ability to attend college. However, there were several blessings that resulted from Paul’s ability to persevere. Cindy explained that, although Paul was a successful man on Wall Street, he is probably one of the most humble people she has ever met. They both recognized the gift—as one sense was lost, the others grew stronger. When his children were having a bad day, he sensed it. When his employee was tentative about a project, he sensed their reluctance. Cindy explained, “Once you get to know Paul, you are blinded by his blindness.”

In the next topic of conversation, Paul and Cindy explained their transitions in life. For Paul, he spoke of his transition from credit analyst to president of investment banking and equities to working on Wall Street to going back to get a theological education and ministry work. Throughout this, Paul realized the importance of cultivating one’s individual gifts and talents that God has gifted them. He explained this through a metaphor: “Every human being has the seed of virtue planted in their garden by God.” These seeds (of kindness, patience, gentleness, and so on) must be cultivated. Paul explained that a human being’s goal is “to have a garden that has enough fruit production to sustain ourselves and have abundance to share with other people.” For Cindy, she explained the struggle of her transition from an international saleswoman to being a mother. In her eyes, becoming a mother constituted giving up all her gifts from God to simply run a family. However, Cindy realized the importance in teaching children to love God—your gifts don’t disappear when you make transitions in your lives, they are always needed!

Paul explained the importance of recognizing that every human being is made in the image and likeness of God. Instead of only looking for mistakes, there must be an internal recognition that you are precious in God’s eyes, and so is everyone else. Cindy further emphasizes through quoting her mother’s words: “When you’re dealing with someone who is difficult or who is angry or mean, know on the inside that there might be something hurting that person.”

In the next topic of the discussion, Paul and Cindy further expanded on the role of their religion in their own lives. As members of the Eastern Orthodox Church, they placed great importance in the journey to becoming more Christ-like (“askesis”). By doing so, religion became the foundation of their family; they encouraged their children to explore their faith as well as take time to have honest discussions with each other, which greatly helped in maintaining good relationships.

In the Q&A portion of the virtual event, the couple answered a wide range of questions, touching on the importance of coping with anger as well as purposeful leadership. They explained the importance of discovering the real meanings behind the wounds in order to be pure in our own heart so that what is coming out of us is pure. At the end of the discussion, the couple called on listeners everywhere to slow down, as  sometimes life moves too quickly to recognize one’s true purpose.

On Tuesday, October 6, Inspiring Conversations hosted a discussion with Paul and Cindy Karos.  

Listen to the discussion as a podcast:

Register to participate in future discussions.

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