Name: Jared Brown
Where were you born and raised?
“I was born and raised in Gadsden, East Gadsden to be specific.”
What is your occupation?
“My current title is Assistant Director of Technical Operations in the Jacksonville State University Financial Aid Office.”
What made you decide to work in your field?
“God placed me in financial aid. I was never sure beyond all doubt of what I wanted to be when I “grew up.” What I did know is I wanted to help people, and for my life’s actions to be meaningful. An opportunity to work at Gadsden State became available in 2013. Kelly D’Eath, Gadsden State’s Director of Financial Aid, saw something in me, hired me, and essentially became my mentor for the past five years. She taught me about the financial aid process and how to be an effective leader in the field. I was recently hired to my current position and am part of the growing team of friendly faces seeking to upgrade the student experience with financial aid at JSU.”
Tell us about your family and pets.
“My parents, Walter and Kathy Brown, were also born and raised in Gadsden and have been local youth ministers for 30 years. I am the youngest of three children and I am surrounded by a host of relatives in the city. I’d say we’re a pretty normal family.”
What school or schools have you attended?
“I graduated in 2007 in the first class from Gadsden City High School. I completed an A.S. in Criminal Justice from Gadsden State and earned my B.S. in Business Management from Faulkner University in Montgomery.”
What do you like to do in your free time?
“I spend most of my free time enjoying life with family and friends whether traveling or gaming.”
What would you say is your greatest accomplishment?
“While not necessarily an accomplishment, traveling to Brazil for six months remains one of the most impactful periods of my life. I earned the opportunity to go while attending Gadsden State. The friendships and memories I made while there will forever be cherished.”
Name the one person that has been the most influential in your life. Why?
“Both my father and my mother have been the most influential people in my life. To this day, they continue to teach and guide me impacting my evolution as a man. The wisdom they have given me over the course of my life along with constantly challenging me to be better have ultimately played a significant role in where I am today. I do my best to let them know how much I love and appreciate them for all that they have done and continue to do.”
To what do you credit your success?
“God, my parents, teachers, my brothers (closest friends), and a tremendous amount of hard work and persistence must be credited.”
Are you involved in any service organizations?
“Because I’ve been a full-time student and working full-time for the past 18 months, I’m not currently serving as a volunteer with any service organizations. In the past, I’ve been a mentor and tutor with Upward Bound and Children of Zion Developmental Ministry. I donate as much as I can to help local organizations like United Way. I also try to donate to local scholarship foundations like the Gadsden State Alumni Association and the Ferguson & Son Scholarship. As a member of the higher education community, I know the impact that even the smallest scholarship can make to a student in need. Professionally, I am the Vice President of Financial Aid for the Alabama Banner Users Group (ALBUG). As an organization, we service the state’s higher education institutions who utilize the Ellucian Banner program to manage data. ”
What is your favorite thing about this community?
“My favorite thing about our community is because it is such a small town, there is this inexplicable feeling of home. I’ve never been anywhere within our community and felt like a stranger or out of place. As someone who has done a lot of traveling, it’s that feeling that always brings me back.”
What would you like to see change in the community?
“I would love to see more contemporary economic opportunities embraced so that my generation and the next generation won’t feel forced to leave “home” because of a lack of opportunity or growth. I am currently working with a small group of people to contribute to evolution within the community. I hope the seeds we intend to plant can take root and allow our community to blossom for generations to come.”
What are three words that describe you?
“Inquisitive, loyal and reliable.
What is your favorite quote?
“You cannot reward bad behavior.”
What advice would you give yourself as a child?
“Take more risks. Ask more questions. Write it all down.”
To nominate someone for the People of Etowah column, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 256-547-1049.