On May 1, Keith Styles joined Catholic Charities USA as Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel following a 30 year career as a practicing attorney. In this guest blog post, Keith shares his thoughts about what called him to join the Catholic Charities movement and what his vision is for the organization.
My parents always stressed the importance of serving those in need and giving back of your time and talents. Throughout my career, I sought out opportunities to lend my expertise and knowledge to organizations that shared that mission of service to those in need.
Over the years, my ongoing work with Catholic Charities USA, as well as Central Union Mission in Washington, D.C. and other non-profits, was a constant reminder of what was really important, and a way to reconnect to my roots of faith-based service. The energy and commitment I saw from Catholic Charities agencies to help individuals and families achieve self-sufficiency and make a better life for themselves was infectious.
One experience that will always stick with me was travelling with CCUSA’s leadership for a meeting in early 2006 in New Orleans, just five months after Hurricane Katrina had devastated the region. The rows and rows of destroyed houses, each marked with a spray-painted tally of the number of survivors and deceased, was an unbelievably powerful experience that sticks with me to this day. I remember the superhuman efforts of Catholic Charities New Orleans, who served so many despite a severe lack of resources. Experiencing the devastation first-hand filled me with resolve that we as a nation simply can’t let something like that happen again.
I couldn’t resist the call to become part of this organization with such a long history of helping people in need – and such potential for bringing about substantive change. CCUSA’s unique position of representing its members on a national level gives a voice to those being served in a way that not very many organizations can.
Becoming a part of an organization with the history and mission of Catholic Charities USA is an honor and a responsibility. I look forward to continuing our efforts to support our member agencies and lead the conversation on poverty reduction by ensuring that we, as an organization, are achieving excellence in everything we do. My vision is to enhance Catholic Charities USA’s ongoing pursuit to be the standard for effective and efficient mission-based charitable organizations.
It’s as if I’m coming full circle, back to the seeds of service and justice planted in my childhood in Connecticut. I couldn’t be more excited.
Keith Styles is the COO and General Counsel of CCUSA. More information about his new position can be found on our Newsroom blog.