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Q&A With Jay Brown

Originally published in Winter Chronicle 2019

What are some of your priorities for your first few months in your new role?

In my first few months, I'll be getting to know all of the programs and visiting all of our locations to meet with our staff. I also want to really learn more about the people we’re serving—who they are, what their strengths and goals are, and how we can better equip them to thrive.

Where do you see CCC in the future?

We’re here to serve the people who are the most vulnerable—that’s never going to change. At the same time, the future is about creativity and innovation so my hope is that we find new ways to partner with parishes and local communities and to be creative in helping the people we serve.

You’ve been involved in social services for more than a decade. What keeps you motivated?

I’ve always served at a Catholic Charities agency. The founding documents of Catholic Charities USA contain powerful statements about who we need to be as people of faith—advocates for and defenders of the poor, raising up the voices and the perspectives of people who are suffering. I get renewed motivation every time I hear one of our client’s stories or every time I learn something new about how we have helped a family succeed. It's encouraging to know that I'm part of a movement that’s active across the country and even across the world that’s making a real impact in people’s lives and in local communities.

What are some of CCC’s biggest strengths?

I think that our Catholic identity truly sets us apart from other organizations and is perhaps our biggest strength. Our identity allows us to learn from the rich heritage and traditions that are alive in our local communities while at the same time drawing from a 2,000-year-old tradition to animate our work. Our other biggest strength is our staff. I get goosebumps witnessing the creativity, talent, compassion, and professionalism of the people I’m lucky enough to work with every day.

What inspires and motivates you?

The stories of the people we serve motivate me the most. For example, we housed a man in Hopewell who had spent the better part of two decades sleeping outside. We got him off of the street and directly into his own apartment, but he had been diagnosed with cancer. He died less than a year later, but he died at home, surrounded by friends, and with dignity. That’s what we’re here for, and that’s what keeps me going.

What do you like to do in your free time?

My wife, Tess, and I have the beginnings of a little farm in King William County, so when I’m not here chances are I’m weeding the garden, splitting wood, or getting some hours in on the tractor. I'm also active at St. Ann’s in Ashland where I help with Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) and serve on the Pastoral Council. I also serve on the Economic Development Authority for King William County. When I get done with all of that, I try and keep up with Villanova basketball and the Boston Celtics. The Patriots are pretty fun to root for, too.

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