Interview with Deputy Director, Celeste Brown

Celeste Brown joined our team in the newly-created position of Deputy Director of Operations in early 2023. Previously, she worked globally in international development, which, she mentioned is one of the reasons she is excited to work with Piedmont Housing Alliance. 

“Integrated, holistic community development is something I am passionate about, and appreciate the opportunity to do that locally in my country of birth.” 

“There’s a concept known as end-to-end transformation. While this could be thought of as any one of our clients and how they can be transformed by our work, it also applies to our partners, our donors, or advocacy in the form of increased awareness of the need for affordable housing or racial equity. The fact that this is important for Piedmont Housing is appealing.  This is something we can step into, own, and communicate in our actions and efforts to the larger community. 

“It’s easy to say that Piedmont Housing is about affordable housing, but one of our values is ‘home’. While we work to keep people safely, stably housed it’s ultimately more than that. Home implies both tangible an intangible; the  visible and invisible.  In essence, it represents the fullness of what we seek and desire for our communities.” 

In selecting three words to best embody her approach to her work at Piedmont Housing, she chose: 

  • Presence. 
    • Celeste’s presence with each team and staff member with whom she meets provides a stabilizing force in an organization experiencing great growth and change. 
  • Integrator 
    • Less of a word than a concept, Celeste works to integrate the many facets of what each team and team member is doing to accomplish more with our work. 
  • Learner 
    • A learner is part of who Celeste is, but as this is her foray into housing, she is also learning so much about the field. She is also learning each individual’s language, how to speak it, how to hear it, and how to make sure each voice is understood. She uses this learning to integrate her presence in the work we do.

One of the lessons Celeste is most proud of learning for her career is that while we focus on the tasks at hand and the work, she realized that the greatest importance lies in the relationships. She is proud to have learned that lesson early on in her career and to incorporate it as she seeks to be a servant leader and engage with others.