(Guest Blog by Genetric Brown)
Growing up as a child of a military family, I was a product of a diverse community brought together for one common goal – to protect our country. There were not many people who looked like my family, and yet I always felt the sense we were all connected. With our extended families hundreds of miles away, we built a village of support. What many would describe as a diverse population, I simply saw it as my beloved community. At the time, I was far too young to realize how this experience would shape me as a person, in my professional career, and as a member of society.
Moving to a new state every four years as a military child, my home was always changing so I mastered the skill of reestablishing new friendships. I learned about similarities and differences and it helped me connect. Understanding different backgrounds or values taught me the importance of communication. As I matured, I learned diversity was anything that gives an individual a unique viewing point. Welcoming diversity strengthened my awareness and acceptance, which was the foundation for my accomplishments over the last 15 years professionally and personally.
During a job interview in 2013, I was asked “What’s your five-year goal?” I responded, “I want to get my master’s degree, work for a reputable organization as a communications spokesperson, and continue to help my community through volunteer work.” After landing the job and completing my master’s degree in Public Administration, fast forward to 2018, as I sat as one of the final candidates for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles’ (Habitat LA) Director of Marketing and Communications interview panel. The President and CEO asked,” Where do you see yourself in five years?” I carefully thought before I answered whole-heartedly, “I was asked a similar question five years ago and this moment (interview) is, in essence, the final door for me to unlock all that I have worked towards. My education, career, and volunteer experience, it has all been for this moment. Habitat for Humanity encompasses all that I am and want to continue to be – using my gifts to serve my community because my community has graciously served me.”
For the last two years, I have proudly supported one of Habitat’s largest affiliates in the nation, as a thought leader and communications champion to grow awareness of housing as a critical foundation for eliminating barriers to a better, healthier, more financially stable life. My sole responsibility is to empower equitable participation from unlikely groups to build influence and reduce disparities. My tools of success are empathy and education to create environments where people grow or change their mindset. Through empathy and education, groups learn about other’s experiences without judgment. I cultivate the blueprint for the same notion of “different but together” that helped me as a youth.
Each day, I craft storytelling opportunities highlighting the partner families we serve.
Empathy, education, storytelling, and the power of influence through inclusion are tools I bring to Habitat LA to position the brand as the leader in residential affordable housing solutions. We are all a part of the same community. A community is only effective if everyone feels included. Just as I experienced as a child of a military family, we are all connected for one common goal. I am committed to not only including but embracing Habitat LA’s diverse community to show we all are a part of something bigger than ourselves. When we have the courage to do what is right, we make a huge difference in someone’s life.