Erica (Wachtel) Loftus sums up her life when she was young with one word: Insecure. She was insecure about everything.
Throughout high school and much of college, Erica stayed in the background and tried not to be noticed. She looked down all the time. She constantly worried about doing and saying the right things, which usually caused her to do nothing. While part of her wanted to break out of her inertia – to participate in extracurricular programs, to be a cheerleader, to play fast-pitched softball, or to just speak up boldly in class – her desires never turned into actions.
“I used to let fear control me,” Erica explains.
She chose to go to a college close to home, Geneva College, which is a Christian institution. At Geneva she learned more about God, matured in her faith and intellect, and was nurtured by caring professors. As a result, she began to thrive. As she learned and accepted who she was as a child of God, her self-confidence blossomed.
She started speaking up, participating in class and thinking about what it meant to serve Christ in the world. She changed majors a couple of times before deciding upon communication. Sparked by a senior political science class, she also developed an interest in politics and public service, “You wouldn’t recognize me as the same person I’d been just a few years before,” she said.
“For those of you who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.
The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.
And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”
- Romans 8:14-15
Shortly after graduating and then managing a small coffee shop, she became co-director of the Ambridge Chamber of Commerce. She even ran for mayor of Ambridge, and only lost in the primaries by a small margin of 100 votes.
Then, only four years after she graduated from Geneva, Erica became the youngest president ever of the Beaver County Chamber of Commerce. For five years, she was the out-front face promoting and advocating for the county’s businesses and improvements, forging partnerships, and bringing new commerce into the area. Her career continued to be a blessing, and she moved on to direct marketing for the Ambridge Regional Distribution & Manufacturing Center.
Today, Erica is a confident young professional who is founder and president of her own marketing agency, Nala Marketing, where she helps to promote and generate business for a variety of clients. She’s known to be a savvy marketer who is exceptional at “connecting the dots,” while utilizing social and digital media for the benefit of others. She employs talented young women and has become a mentor to countless more.
Life remains good for Erica and she’s thankful for how God’s love has made her more confident.
Along the way, she married the love of her life, Mike Loftus, and gained a stepson, Ben. Through it all she’s never forgotten that painfully shy and insecure girl she once was. That’s why she steps out confidently, identifying herself as a woman of faith, and sharing the love of God with other women who need to hear what the Lord has done for her and can do for them.
“I don’t pretend I have it altogether. I try to be transparent and authentic about my struggles, because that’s what can help other women.” And that could be what makes her such a valued mentor.
Bekah Locke is a friend who Erica meets with regularly, and the two discuss life’s joys and challenges. Bekah explains, "Erica has proven to be one of the most encouraging and uplifting presences in my life. She is always available to listen, laugh, cry, and pray with me. She is a fierce woman of God and her love for discipling women radiates."
Erica also leads a Bible study, choosing topics designed to help her and other women grow in their faith. She hosts a social media group, called Be Rooted Women, that has more than 125 members. She describes it as “a group of women from many different backgrounds, encouraging and supporting one another to become women who are rooted in the word of the Lord, so that we can be equipped to be disciples who make disciples.”
In a recent Be Rooted Women post, she shares a song by Katy Nichole called “In Jesus Name.” Erica writes in her post, “What lyrics! I heard this song this morning and just a portion of this woman’s story. God can AND will use all of our stories and work through all of our circumstances.”
This bit of encouragement becomes even more lovely and meaningful when considering the lyrics, particularly from the perspective of a woman who once desperately needed God’s healing touch from fear – and uses her story to help other women.
I pray for your healing
That circumstances would change
I pray that the fear inside would flee
In Jesus name.
I pray a breakthrough would happen today
I pray miracles over your life
In Jesus name.
- Katy Nichole, “In Jesus Name (God of Possible)”
For more information go to malamarketing.com or email email@example.com.
Questions for comment or thought –
What lessons does Erica have for you?
How can you share lessons you’ve learned to help others?