Staff Spotlight: Meet Sara Brown!

Oct 23, 2018  |  at 8:45 am  |  by awright

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By: Abbie Wright, Digital Content Coordinator

Sara Brown, Senior Manager of External Affairs and Special Projects with Coalition for the Homeless, started with the organization in 2013. Originally from the small town of Farmington, West Virginia, Sara moved to Houston in August of 2007 through a year-long volunteer program with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps.

Abbie: Can you tell me a little about your background before starting at the Coalition?

Sara: I’m from a very tiny town in West Virginia, there’s only one stop sign and 300 people. I went to Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling, West Virginia where I graduated with a BA in History in 2007. I moved to Houston in August 2007 through a volunteer program with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. It’s similar to AmeriCorps but with a spiritual twist to it. I applied to the southern region with hopes of getting placed in New Orleans originally. But when I got the placement list, an opportunity with Bering Omega Community Services (an HIV/AIDS service organization) in Houston spoke to me. So that’s where I ended up applying to and that’s how I ended up here!

Abbie: What is your role at the Coalition and what does the day-to-day look like for you?

Sara: I am the Senior Manager of External Affairs and Special Projects. Basically if it has to do with communications it runs through me and my team. Anything from external communication with partner agencies or the public, to internal communications and things like the website, newsletters, media inquiries, messaging, etc. The unique thing about my current position is the special projects part. When I first joined this organization, my role was two-fold as I was special assistant to the CEO, so part of my job then was communications and part was office administration. We realized we really needed two people for those jobs, so I shifted more to communications and we hired someone to help with office management. Now; however, I am back to helping on the administration side again in a different capacity, working on office operations, implementing systems, and making the office run more efficiently and effectively.

I really enjoy my job because it always keeps me busy and is challenging. I can utilize my creative side and have fun with the communications part of it. And I can also utilize my analytical side and be really logical with the special projects part. It’s nice to be able to feed both of those desires and you don’t always get that in a job.

Abbie: So what made you go into this line of work?

Sara: Honestly, my time spent at Wheeling Jesuit University made me realize I wanted more than just a job that paid the bills. They really focused on educating students for life. It was more than just an academic education because you learned how to be a person for other people. I wanted to do something I could be proud of, where I could look back and say I have tried to make this world a better place. And now I have been working in nonprofits for over 11 years.

Abbie: What would you say your favorite thing about working for the Coalition is?

Sara: I think my favorite thing, and it’s something I’ve been impressed by since I got here, is that no day is ever the same. I’m never bored here. And I don’t think I will ever get the chance to work at a place like this again. What we’ve accomplished as a community and the Coalition’s role in that is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing. Going from a system that was so segmented and broken, to where we are today is incredible. We all work together collaboratively now, with no challenge every being too big. We tackle some really complex issues and it’s been really cool to be a part of that transformation!

Abbie: What has been your favorite project to-date?

Sara: I would have to say being a part of creating both the original Action Plan for The Way Home and the new Action Plan update. I probably wouldn’t have named those as my favorites at the time they were being worked on, because they were massive and complex projects, but I am really proud of the finished projects because both of those plans encompass so much of the history and the amount of work we’ve been able to accomplish. That was also my first very large graphic design project and it was a sense of accomplishment having it look as clean and polished as it did at the end.

Abbie: What are your current hobbies outside of work?

Sara: I love to do New York Times crosswords, I do one every day. I also like to knit and crochet, I’m currently working on blanket. I spin in my free time as well and I’m a super huge fan of trashy reality TV. DVR-ing and catching up on my housewives is high on my priority list and helps me escape for just a little bit. I’ve also always been a big reader and re-reader of books; I read my favorite book “East of Eden” once a year, and I’ve read the Harry Potter series through at least 10 times – if not more!

Abbie: What is one fun fact about yourself?

Sara: Honestly, I’m a super huge nerd at heart. Not only was a mathlete from elementary school through high school, I was a die-hard ‘BOOK IT!’ kid through Pizza Hut back in the 1990s. I credit ‘BOOK IT!’ for fueling my love for reading and pizza so much that I now have a pizza tattoo!