Longtime Fuller trustee, renowned author, and former Herman Miller Inc. CEO Max De Pree believed that without “tribal storytellers,” a community like Fuller will forget who we are. Lauralee Farrer has been named the new Chief Storyteller and Vice President of Communications at Fuller to fulfill Max’s challenge: to remember who we are, to help find Fuller’s story in the midst of a myriad of changing circumstances, and to protect that story—no matter what media or platform is used to tell it.
Bringing her leadership into full view at Fuller during this season has the resonance of God’s perfect timing—from our point of view and hers as well. Though a valued member of our community for the last 15 years, her importance to this time of crucial change surfaced during the last two years as she launched FULLERstudio, continued as editor-in-chief of FULLER magazine, and designed and implemented Fuller’s new narrative style across all of the platforms of our public and internal life. In ways we did not realize, this excavation would bring to the surface the heart of Fuller’s narrative that will serve us in a new way in the coming season.
Fuller’s vision of global Christian formation is driven by the question, “Will there be a church in the 21st century that matters?” Fuller is transforming the seminary experience—not only training leaders in traditional ways for traditional ministry settings, but also forming leaders who will contribute to the flourishing of the church as they serve in any profession and in any setting. This means offering the seminary’s educational resources in creative new modalities and platforms, serving individuals, groups, and churches right where they are with the kinds of support and formation they need. From virtual reality chapel services, to FULLER studio’s extensive digital media offerings, to embedded education through tailored online academic programs, Fuller is continuing its legacy of innovative leadership in theological education.
“I’ve been part of the Fuller community for 15 years,” said Farrer. “If Max was right, the coming days will require us more than ever to know who we are and to tell the story of Fuller clearly—not just in the resources we make for others, but so Fuller can remember why we are here.”
An award-winning filmmaker, writer, designer, and public speaker, Farrer’s abilities as a visionary creative and a strategic thinker have fueled her work as an independent filmmaker and storyteller outside of Fuller. As president and principal filmmaker of Burning Heart Productions, she is the creative energy behind the award-winning documentary Laundry and Tosca, the feature-length documentary The Fair Trade, the feature Not That Funny (starring Tony Hale), and the upcoming ambitious film project Praying the Hours—a six-hour narrative investigation into the ancient practice of daily prayer. Fuller has benefitted from her creative, storytelling gifts, even though her niche in the academy has not always been a clear trajectory. In reflecting on her new role at Fuller during this season of change, Farrer says, “I wonder if I have been at Fuller all along just to help with this journey of rebirth into Fuller’s next 70 years of forming leaders. The path of this kind of transition is completely familiar to me.”
It is with gratitude and anticipation, after her long season with us, that we welcome Farrer into this new role, crucial to this time in the life of Fuller. Her knowledge of Fuller’s story, her ability to articulate our narrative, her expertise in different media, her wiring as a strategic leader, and her distinctive voice all add necessary strength to our senior leadership team. She is the “tribal storyteller” that Max De Pree defined as so crucial to the long and thriving life of an organization like Fuller.