Soul Purpose

Ambassador Enterprises’ distinctive vision, promoting transformative personal and organizational growth in a collaborative, high-trust environment, goes beyond traditional business practices, leaving a legacy of positive impact in northeast Indiana.
Jan 3, 2024
Tammy Davis
Jeffrey Crane

As an educator and administrator with more than 30 years experience, Sherry Grate enjoyed making a difference in the lives of the students, families and communities she served. Comfortable in her career, she hadn’t been looking for a significant shift when her friend and mentor, Daryle Doden, contacted her. To her surprise, Doden immediately captured her attention as he laid out the legacy-minded vision of his company, Ambassador Enterprises.

At first glance, most would question what role a school system superintendent might fill at a private equity firm. Ambassador Enterprises, however, operates differently than most. Supporting the idea that organizations with a higher purpose — beyond profit maximization — outperform those without this mission, Ambassador has a mission-driven hiring strategy, aligning talent with organizational goals. This approach increases individual innovation, employee engagement and financial performance.

Ambassador defines itself as “a legacy-minded private equity firm investing for the glory of God.” Its mission is to impact businesses, people and communities positively. “It was a pivotal moment when I felt Daryle’s vision was God calling me to a new purpose,” says Grate, who joined Ambassador in December 2020 as its senior vice president for community impact investing. “I am energized daily by the high performance, high impact culture embodied by Ambassador.”

Nicki Venable, like Grate, brought extensive credentials to Ambassador, dedicating more than three decades to public safety. Despite her background in coaching county and municipal employees, she aimed to deepen the integration of her faith while serving her community and fostering relationships.

While relishing the opportunity to do what she loved, Venable felt she could offer more of herself if she could share her faith in relationships. This changed when, after an unsuccessful political campaign, someone from Ambassador presented her with an intriguing opportunity. They asked, “What if a job involved working with northeast Indiana communities to identify potential leaders wanting to make a positive impact in their community to grow the kingdom of God?” Venable accepted the position without hesitation and now serves as Ambassador’s director of civic engagement.

Similarly, Ron Turpin came to Ambassador after a successful career with several executive roles. Though he had been deliberate about living a life of purpose and impact, he couldn’t shake the feeling that God called him to do more. 

“When I retired four years ago, I did so to invest the remainder of my working life in those areas that were most important to me: working with a team I enjoyed who shared my values, and doing impactful Kingdom and community work,” says Turpin, Ambassador’s senior vice president of civic engagement. “The people we work with and our mission at Ambassador is deeply satisfying to my soul; it gives me great personal purpose and meaning.”

As so many Ambassador team members have discovered, pursuing a professional position as a calling — an avocation rather than a vocation — can be a powerful way to align values, beliefs and purpose with one’s personal life. And when professional and personal aspirations operate in sync, the synergy it creates radiates far beyond the individual. That’s what happened in the case of Jeremy Reidy, chief legal officer at Ambassador.

Reidy had been a partner in one of the largest law firms in the country, where he counted Ambassador Enterprises among his clients. Through working with its people and observing its business practices, Reidy fell in love with the company. It made him start thinking about using his professional skills and education in a way that allowed him to lead a fully integrated, more significant life. He left his practice to join Ambassador soon after that.

Ben Pascut, a member of the Ambassador performance acceleration team, asserts, “Integration is the core of Ambassador. Our aim is to shape a future based on collaboration, not competition. Adopting an integration-based mindset as opposed to a competitive one means that success involves bringing out the best in others, rather than surpassing them.”

This approach fosters an environment marked not only by high performance, but also by high trust and high care. These qualities are essential when working with Ambassador’s portfolio of firms, nurturing the growth of leaders and the health of the organizations they lead.

Pascut explains, “What sets Ambassador apart is our commitment to empowering leaders with wisdom for transformative excellence. We collaborate with them through assessments and coaching to enhance self-awareness, aiding in building a vision for the future of their organization.”

Recently, the Ambassador Performance Acceleration Team partnered with affiliate Revive Home Brands in Grabill, Indiana, for a leadership excellence program. A key lesson emphasized personal and organizational growth, highlighting the significance of self-awareness to enhance team effectiveness. Situational wisdom involves knowing what to do and how to do it for more impactful team collaboration and outcomes. Revive is successfully integrating two local cabinet companies into a strong, unified brand using this leadership lesson.

Ambassador has found that when a company focuses on leadership development, nurturing consciousness and inner growth, progress becomes an exploration of evolutionary possibilities, unlocking potential. This shift from competency to character development is vital for organizations to embrace an authentic higher purpose that inspires employees, captivates customers and generates impact.

According to Pascut, lifting people is the key to building a lasting legacy. “We don’t climb mountains for the world to see and serve us. We climb mountains and reach for high peaks to see the world more clearly; to serve the world better.”

Grate, Venable, Turpin, Reidy and Pascut illustrate how aligning personal purpose with professional aspirations at Ambassador Enterprises fosters a synergy that fuels individual fulfillment and a high-performing, impactful culture, ultimately creating a sustainable organization and lasting legacy.

Though an appropriately businesslike term would be a “values-congruent environment,” Pascut and his colleagues simply call this place where they can live out their purpose “home.” 

Daryle Doden, Founder and CEO of Ambassador Enterprises

Faith has played a central role in Darlye Doden’s life since he was a small child. He grew up in Dekalb County, Indiana, and as the son of a preacher, the church was his second home. For a time, he thought he would follow in his father’s footsteps, but soon after graduating college he realized his analytical disposition was better suited for the marketplace than the ministry.

While working through a series of odd jobs, Doden found he had an aptitude for business. He was able to capitalize on a series of opportunities that eventually led to the formation of Ambassador Steel, an Auburn, Indiana company Doden formed with partners in the early 1970s. 

After selling Ambassador Steel three decades later, Doden founded Ambassador Enterprises. This unique private equity firm invests in leaders and their organizations to benefit the Kingdom of God and His glory. 

“I want to steward the resources God has entrusted to me with the greatest level of wisdom and excellence I can achieve,” he says. “We invest time, talent, temperament, testimony and treasure for financial, cultural and eternal returns.”

Doden could have taken the business anywhere, but remains committed to serving northeast Indiana. He explains, “Years ago, I discerned that I was called to serve this region. God spoke to my heart that my calling was to be faithful to the community in which I lived.”

Since 2006, Ambassador Enterprises has grown annual revenue, surpassing the $2 billion mark. The company directs its efforts toward both nonprofit and for-profit entities that align with a higher purpose. This approach inspires employees and captivates customers, all contributing to the company’s overarching commitment to responsible capitalism and prudent philanthropy.

Ambassador Enterprises

Owner(s): Founder/CEO: Daryle Doden

Address: 11020 Diebold Road, Fort Wayne, Indiana 46845

Phone: (260) 487-4000


Years in Business: 18; founded in 2006

Products & Services: Ambassador Enterprises is a private equity firm investing in for-income and for-impact markets seeking financial, cultural, and eternal returns – for better people, communities and lives.

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