Walking Humbly with Change

As we grow, we are adding more staff – educated, highly compassionate, collaborative, optimistic, and also young –
Millennials – born between 1980 and 2000. There’s lots of information about Millennial work styles, philosophies, and preferences. They want to work for an organization with an inspiring mission and purpose; they believe they can change the world; they are creative and entrepreneurial, less attached to traditions and titles. As important, they thrive in an environment that is inclusive, strength based, and where their voice is heard and valued. I’m excited about the richness and diversity of our culture at work.
So what are the leadership implications of this dynamic new generation? Communication is critical. Because frequent feedback is important, annual performance reviews may not work. Rigid administrative structures don’t work. Instead, it shifts us towards open collaboration, information sharing, and contributions to decision making. Having a voice and forum to share ideas or concerns is critical.
We strive for a strength-based culture and safe space where everyone, including our talented new staff can thrive. People are able to come to work and do what they do best. That doesn’t mean we don’t have clear processes and policies to ensure professional discipline and standards. We do and that’s one advantage of being accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA).
We are also a faith-based Catholic organization with compelling values based on Catholic Social Teaching such as respect and dignity for the human person. It’s the foundation of our culture. We’re not perfect and are still evolving, which means Catholic Charities is an exciting place to be right now.

Holy Week is a sacred time of year for Catholics. We commemorate and remember the last week of Jesus’s life on earth, from the Passion or suffering, to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the journey that led to it. He paid the ultimate price for our mistakes by dying on the cross and gained for us eternal salvation. During Holy Week, we suffer with Christ so that we rise with Him. Our hearts and minds are with Him for what He did for us.
The power of the Resurrection as told around the world never fails to inspire. It forces me to pause and reflect on our world events and what we can collectively do in the name of Jesus.
There is increased discord in our communities today – violence and shootings, inequity, racism, and poverty. We see and feel the effects every day with those we serve. We get stark reminders of this in Parkland, Sacramento, and other tragedies.  We mourn the young lives lost in the streets of Oakland, Richmond, and throughout our communities.
Sister Marian, one of our former staff, used to say that if Jesus were physically here today, he would be in the streets getting his hands dirty. To Him, all lives matter, Black Lives Matter, and every life is precious in his eyes.
During this Holy Week, I will continue to pray for hope, for healing, for peace, and for love as together we all walk the path of the Lord.
Until next month,
Chuck Fernandez
CEO Catholic Charities of the East Bay