CSEC Board of Directors


Hello CSEC community! We - Kirsten, Martha, Mary, and Sharon - currently serve as the CSEC Board. Learn more about us and our strengths and engagement experiences summarized below. 

We would also like to learn more about YOU and your faith community! Please contact us with your ideas, insights, and questions. Let us know how CSEC can support you as you introduce, develop, and sustain strengths and engagement in your faith community.

Kirsten Hangas

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I live and work in Missoula, Montana at Christ the King Parish.

Title: Excavator of Human Awesomeness. I help people in our community explore and understand their talents, and work to help everyone find their place and feel like they belong.

Experience: I was trained as a CliftonStrengths (individual and team) coach about nine years ago (under the faith umbrella when Gallup was still doing that). 

We have done three ME25 surveys: 2013, 2016, 2019

The best thing I've done with Strengths is a couples group. It is so amazing to see couples look at each other in a whole new way! 

My Top 5: Input, Woo, Adaptability, Connectedness, Maximizer

Fun fact: 7 of my bottom 8 talents are Executing talents. I REALLY need people with high Executing talents to help me turn my ideas into reality. 

I completely believe that we are all, at any given moment, both teachers and students. PLEASE share what you are doing with Strengths and Engagement in your community so the rest of us can learn! THANK YOU!

Martha Buelt

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I live and work in two locations: Minneapolis, Minnesota and Davenport, Iowa. I am an independent strengths-based talent development consultant, serving people in business, higher education, nonprofit, and faith community contexts. I have a passion for equipping organizational leaders to facilitate and sustain a strengths-based culture in their organization – including faith communities!

My Gallup training started in 2010 with Gallup StrengthsQuest Training and then Gallup Faith Practice Training with Curt Liesveld. About that same time, I was also working on my Masters in Pastoral Ministry at St. John’s University, School of Theology·Seminary in Minnesota. During graduate school, I was able to integrate Gallup talent development training into my course work. A few years later, I decided to become Gallup-certified coach and completed Gallup’s Accelerated Coaches Training.

My Top 5 dominant Talent Themes are Responsibility, Connectedness, Learner, Belief, and Achiever. Some of my talents that come from my Learner, Connectedness, and Developer (#9) dominant Talent Themes include “I love the process of learning,” “I learn best alongside others,” and “I look for ways to help others learn.” Over my lifetime, I have invested in these talents to develop a strength of “developing, piloting, and writing strengths-based curriculum.” For example, you can find my campus ministry seminar processes at the CSEC website – free to download.

I believe in human development and that each person is created in the image and likeness of God with talents to cultivate and use in all aspects of their life! It is awesome to be able to guide people in faith contexts to be intentional about articulating and developing their talents and strengths in the light of their faith!

The CSEC community continues to equip and encourage me to do the work that I do every day! Thank you for being engaged CSEC members – sharing your insights, ideas, and energy with the community!

Mary Kennedy

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Living and LOVING my Strengths – Mary Kennedy, Minneapolis, MN

I first learned about Gallup StrengthsFinder while attending an International Catholic Stewardship Conference in 2006.  One of the breakout presentations concentrated on how to learn about and harness one’s individual God-given gifts to become the person God calls each to be.  As I listened to Dr. Al Winseman, the late Curt Liesveld, and Fr. Bill Hanson share their insights about Living Your Strengths, I immediately thought of all of the parishioners at my church who insisted they didn’t have any gifts to share.  More than one parishioner thought that gifts shared with church were limited to singing, lecturing, ushering, or counting money.  By learning about one’s God-given unique gifts, new possibilities for ministry and engagement could be borne.  This breakout session was a ministry-changing moment for me. 

I hurried down to the Gallup booth after the breakout, bought two books – one for me and one for my boss.  Back at home, I took the assessment and was astounded how a few minutes spent assessing 180 pairs of statements could result in such an accurate representation of my strengths.  Some of my strengths were well-loved and utilized talents of mine, another I had never put into words, and one I had always considered to be my Achilles heel.  As I learned more about my strengths, I saw where I used them in my life’s challenges as well as in my achievements.  God had blessed me abundantly with gifts that could be formed and nurtured and used in every area of my life - my relationships, my career, my family, AND my faith. 

My top five strengths are Strategic * Positivity * Empathy * Communication * Activator. 

I lived and loved my Positivity and Communication – both were “go to” implements in my personal toolbox. Telling the story, using written or oral communication with humor was the essence of me.   I realized that my Strategic gift of getting me or my group from point A to point B had sure been handy in eliminating red tape in many a situation in my life.  Activator, or my over powering drive to get going once a decision has been made, kept my projects heading toward the finish line.  In tandem with Strategic I found that a false start often resulted in a better plan B.  Most surprisingly, I learned how my Empathy was not a weakness, but a powerful gift, allowing me to tune into others feelings. Though I still may cry at “Hallmark Commercials,” I know that my Empathy can guide me as I serve others by offering caring encouragement.

From a parish perspective, I see how powerful this program can be to assist individuals in learning about, nurturing, and sharing their unique gifts.  When someone has the opportunity to recognize the gifts and harness those gifts to generously share with others, it is a transformative experience. Living Your Strengths empowers the individual to be their best self.   New ministries, new ways of aligning ones faith with ones work and relationships, centered on giftedness is truly life-changing for the individual as well as for the faith community.

I became a Faith Certified Facilitator in 2007, although that certification is no longer used by Gallup. I live and love my strengths every day and have worked tirelessly to share this great program with others in parishes around the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis at local conferences, as well as twice at the ICSC Conferences.  I have served on the Catholic Strengths and Engagement Board since 2015 and am part of the CSEC-MSP Meet-Up group, a local group that meets quarterly to discuss best practices with strengths and engagement.

Sharon Ehrenkranz

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Top 5: Input, Maximizer, Positivity, Achiever, Responsibility

I am the Director of Parish Life for St. Laurence Catholic Church, a parish of over 7,700 families in Sugar Land, Texas, a suburb of Houston.  Among our parish’s strengths is a love of liturgy, a great generosity in serving others and the rich cultural diversity of this area.  Visitors and newcomers can sense the joy here – and it is my joy to help people discover their gifts, connect to one another, and serve with gladness.  I believe that discovering our Strengths is a spiritual journey.  It is a journey that leads us to live in this world authentically, lovingly and joyfully, as God intended for us.    

It is a privilege to be a part of the CSEC community!  I am grateful to all members who strive to include, inform and inspire others to embrace their Strengths and understand that all is GIFT.