Leading in Central MA: Jeffrey Chin, CEO, Big Brothers Big Sisters
Monday, March 31, 2014
A Conversation with Jeffrey Chin
SW: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central MA/Metrowest has been in existence over 50 years. How is the organization similar or different today?
JC: We’ve come a long way since our modest beginnings! What started as an agency that helped seven local Worcester boys in need of mentors has grown to an agency that covers over 40 communities across Worcester and Middlesex Counties and serves over 1200+ at-risk children each year. While our reach and impact has grown, our mission has remained true to form because of its effectiveness: we match children in need of support with caring, responsible, and reliable volunteer mentors who make a BIG impact on that child’s life.
SW: What have you been working on in the past year since you have been CEO?
JC: This past year has certainly been exciting and full of activity. Aside from bolstering and enhancing our staff leadership team, we’ve been busy with our preparations to meet some new national standards in terms of our program and operational practices. While it has required a lot of resources, this process has inspired us to do more great work, as these standards place a specific emphasis on improving quality of services, training for our volunteers, and mentee development.
SW: You have recently created an initiative to reconnect former Little’s with the program and at the same time offer a unique networking opportunity for young professionals. Can you talk a bit about that?
JC: Well, this initiative is multi-faceted – first, as part of our National Organization’s ”REUNITE NOW” campaign, we’re encouraging all our former mentors (“BIGs”) and former mentees (“Littles”) to reconnect with us and each other to see the impact that mentoring can have. Secondly, we realized that we have a vast network of current and former “Bigs” who are passionate about our mission and want to help promote our agency in any way they can. With the help of some great young, ambitious, and local professionals who are either current or former Bigs, we formed an Alumni & Friends Association for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Mass/Metrowest. This group can help us recruit more mentors, promote the mission of the agency, and raise money/resources for our programs…all while doing fun networking and social events for our cause.
SW: What is on the drawing board for Big Brother Big Sister in 2014?
JC: We’ve just completed a Strategic Plan that helps to outline our next three years. Part of that Strategic Plan includes providing services to underserved populations and geographic areas within our service region, and finding ways to partner with more corporations and institutions to help us sustain our programs. We’re also eager to enhance our work with our volunteer mentors, as we realize that they are the backbone of what we do; understanding the impact that mentoring has on their Little, as well as on themselves, has been eye-opening and inspiring. We want to continually enhance our support and training for our Bigs.
SW: There seems to be a theme to support at-risk youth throughout your career. Is that something that you are passionate about?
JC: Absolutely! As a clinical social worker, I have dedicated much of my career to helping children, families, and communities thrive. Similar to most other professionals, I have experienced first-hand the power that mentoring can have on a young person. Everyone – repeat, *everyone* - needs someone in their life who encourages them, supports and challenges them, and believes in them so that can believe in themselves. We are fortunate to have the opportunity to make this a reality for kids in need every day.
SW: Who or what has had the greatest influence on your life?
JC: I’ve been fortunate to have many wonderful mentors and influences on my life, both in my professional career as a social worker and in my “other” role as a commissioned U.S. Navy Reserve Officer. Each one has taught me something different and has been immeasurable valuable to my own development. If I had to pick one, I would say that my Uncle Kaboo – he was my first and most enduring mentor, as he taught me the value of honor and integrity, as well as the power within believing that we all can shape our own futures. With his help, I was the first in my family to graduate college.
SW: Do you have a favorite quote?
JC: Two, actually: “Fortune favors the bold.” And “Whether you believe in your heart that you can or can’t do something, you’re right.”
SW: What is the something that few people know about you?
JC: In college, one of my roommates was a professional clown and magician. On a dare, I learned to juggle knives and fire torches to help him practice his act.
SW: How do you spend your free time?
JC: I wish I had some! When I’m not working for BBBS or the US Navy, I love spending time with my biggest inspirations – the three most important women in my life: my wife, Beth, my daughter Sophie, and my dog, Nyah.
SW: How do you define success?
JC: When each day, each mission, each effort continues to be better than the last.
SW: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
JC: Hopefully, in a seat that allows me to continue to help as many children and families in need as possible!
GoLocalWorcester presents Leading in Central Ma, a weekly profile of an outstanding community or business leader. Join us every Monday for an inspiring look at the careers and lifestyles of Central Massachusetts’s most influential citizens.
Susan D. Wagner is president of Susan Wagner PR, a boutique public relations firm invested in meeting client's goals with integrity and creativity.
If you have suggestions for a profile, please email [email protected].
Related Slideshow: 13 Who Made a Difference in Central MA in 2013
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The retiring president of the Worcester Regional Research Bureau, Schaefer has been a constant in debate and discourse in the City of Worcester for the past 30 years.
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The slots proposal that dictated oftentimes heated debate -- and opposition -- had a major adversary in the way of Ed Moynihan, who spearheaded the "Vote No Slots" effort that helped defeat the effort by Rush Street Gaming to put a slots question before the residents of Worcester.
"When I first heard of the possibility of slots in Worcester, I began educating myself on the issue," Moynihan to GoLocal in April. "This is not the way for positive growth. Slots would change the character of the city, and not for the better. Just look at Atlantic City. This is no way to base an economy."
Branca, the Dunkin' Donuts head whose presence in the community runs the gamut from business leader to supporter of neighborhood organizations, made a difference in Worcester in 2013.
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Following a year where the City Council gave mixed grades to his performance, O'Brien in 2013 certainly made an impact when he announced he would be moving on from his City Manager position to one in the private sector with Winn Companies.
O'Brien, who served at the post since 2004, has worked for the City of Worcester since 1994. He was named Commissioner of the Parks, Recreation and Cemetery Department in 1997.
Barger, the President and Chief Executive Officer of JetBlue Airways, certainly made a difference in Worcester in 2013.
After speculation mounted in 2012 that the airline might come to Worcester Regional Airport, Barger made it official this past April, marking the culmination of a year long effort to court JetBlue by local and state officials. The press conference announcing the development had a celebratory feel to it, with a source saying, "This is the political event of the year."
The Worcester Unemployment Action Group. The Worcester Anti-Foreclosure Team. St. John's Church. These are some of the places you might see Horton in action, supporting those in the community in need of an advocate, or an organizer.
He's been a farm-worker, a steel worker, packing house worker, machine tool setter-operator and precision inspector. He worked his way up to non-degreed manufacturing engineer then went back to school to study physics. He's been a medical physicist and a college and high school physics and math teacher. He may be retired now, but he's hardly out of the game. Not by any stretch.
Block 5 and Niche Hospitality guru Covino didn't always set out to take the Worcester restaurant scene by storm. Armed with a masters degree in physical therapy, Covino was drawn back to his roots instead -- his grandfather was a chef and his parents worked in restaurants.
The restaurant scene got a big boost from Covino's efforts -- Bocado, Mezcal, The Citizen at One Exchange Place, The People's Kitchen. Where will Covino be in ten years time? "I just love food and wine so I will be working and I will still be working in the hospitality industry," said Covino in an interview with GoLocal's Susan Wagner earlier this year.
Co-Founder of stART on the Street, Worcester Arts Council chair, Program and Event Coordinator for the Visual and Performing Arts Department at Clark University, Worcester native Zlody was worn many hats in the name of furthering the arts in the city.
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The three-time winner of the Central Massachusetts Entertainer of the Year, LePage isn't just a crooner extraordinaire -- he's both fashionable and cool, at least in the eyes of GoLocal -- and legions of fans, of course. LePage told GoLocal upon getting the fashionable nod, "I would consider my style to be nerd chic or modern crooner (with a twist of spanx)." In other words, the consummate Renaissance man.
A native of Templeton, LePage teams up with a cadre of talented musicians for his Duo, Trio, and five piece band, Dale LePage and the Manhattans, to entertain audiences around the region with standards, jazz and swing. And LePage just doesn't sound good and look good, he does good.
Jim Polito and Michael Graham
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Shortly after Polito's jump to the Boston market, conservative Graham brought his "Natural Truth" show from Boston's WTKK to Central MA's WCRN, ensuring that the Republican right was represented on the radio airwaves.
Carberry and Quinsigamond Community College oversaw a big boost for downtown when in February the lease at 18-20 Franklin Street was finalized. Nearly 600 students and 3 dozen faculty members are expected by December 2014, and future plans will boost the student number to 800.
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The one-time gubernatorial candidate, community activist, and author of Main Street Smarts, Ross worked to unveil earlier this year that five of the nation’s largest banks were in violation of an agreement with the federal government in Massachusetts, according to an investigation of local foreclosure affidavits conducted by GoLocalWorcester.
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