Welcome to Business Innovators Magazine…Please introduce yourself and a brief thumbnail sketch (not a resume) of your background.
KJ: Hello, my name is Kenneth F. Joe Sr. and I am a seasoned leader with over 25 years experience in bold and innovative child advocacy. I have served as a clinician, an executive human services professional and child advocate for 25 years in Chicago, Illinois and in Atlanta, Georgia.
In addition, I was the Chief Administrator for the Georgia Department of Family & Children Services (DFCS) and served as the Director of Integrated Family Support for the Georgia Department of Human Resources. I am also the former DFCS Regional Director/Administrator of Fulton County (Atlanta), the largest public Child Welfare System in GA and the past DFCS Director of Richmond County (Augusta, second largest city in GA). I was also the Interim-Executive Director and the Chief Operating Officer of Chicago Child Care Society, the oldest Child Welfare agency in the state of Illinois.
I am also the author of “From Abused to Protector: Claiming Your Life After Your Church Sexually Abuses You.”
BI: What would you say is the area in business that you are most passionate about and why?
KJ: My professional expertise and vision are augmented by my survivorship of emotional, physical and sexual abuse. I am most passionate about raising the standards and quality outcomes of Child Welfare, Behavior Health & all Human Service Organisations. Ensuring that we serve individuals, children & families with the dignity and care they deserve is a deep rooted personal drive of mine. Having grown up in the Chicago Wentworth Housing Projects, I identify with what we call the “at risk.” Being poor is a social, economic condition, not an ailment that should lock you out of opportunity or restrict you to a three-block radius of your home address.
Today, I use my expertise by telling my story at speaking engagements, providing training on leading, program development, abuse prevention & by assisting companies in effective operational management.
BI: How are you different than your competitors?
KJ: My professional expertise and vision are augmented by my survivorship of emotional, physical and sexual abuse. I am guided by a desire to serve and speak for the voiceless that are often silenced through capitalism & systematic racism/sexism. The children & families that are often identified by the zip code they live in are often characterized as “the most vulnerable.” My professional life is an extension of my personal life. In other words, there is absolute congruent synergy with both. Regardless if I am an Executive working at a company or hired as a contractor to assist a company, my value system of ensuring that the people being served or need our help the most is always the driving force of how the work is implemented. I live my life professionally and personally with this accountability.
BI: Please tell me about any recent business accomplishments that you are most proud of and why?
KJ: In October 2014, I founded “The CareEnough Center For Boys” (CECB) to address the needs of “boys” who are often forgotten in the sexual abuse/sex trafficking conversation. The CECB will work to Prevent Sexual Abuse and/or Provide Supportive Healing Services to those who may be struggling to emerge victorious over the pain of their abuse.
The dozens of successful professionals that I have had the opportunity to mentor and influence on their path to successful careers have been both a privilege and a source of great pride. Seeing them lead others with passion and values reenergizes my spirit.
BI: What Leadership qualities in Leaders do you most admire and why?
KJ: Leaders I have respected most in my career have been those who was willing to invest in me as a professional and as a person. They did this without insecurity or the ego that often prevents leaders from doing so.
Leaders that support the ideas and ambitions of others demonstrates the ability to let others lead and the humility to share the spotlight. Taking the time to help other leaders succeed has always been qualities that my own mentors have had.
Leaders who are not afraid to hire other leaders who are as successful or more successful than they are. Also, hiring other leaders who may not think the same as they do, but have a history of success and effectiveness despite the differences.
BI: What has been a key element of your success?
KJ: Being in touch with my personal values system has been a key element to how I lead and my success. Leading with passion, accountability & a strong belief in empathy for others are key elements to effective leadership. Being successful has never been about how much my check was or how important my title sounded. It has always been about making sure that I cared about the children and families that were represented in the work I performed or the work performed by employees under my leadership. leading with passion and a value system of treating every child and family as if they were my own child or a family member has been key to being recognized for the work that I do.
BI: What are some of the business projects that you are currently working on that you are excited about and why?
KJ: I’m currently working on an updated Re-release of my book From Abused to Protector: “Claiming Your Life After Your Church Sexually Abuses You” A Story of Hope, Forgiveness, and Triumph. It will be re-released in August of 2017.
Also, I will be increasing my National Advocate brand by tripling the number of my national speaking engagements.
BI: What are 1 or 2 things you would like to say to a prospective client who stumbles across this interview?
KJ: Having been sexually abused by my Godfather who was also a Catholic priest, has helped connect me with children who have been sexually abused, sextrafriked, or abused/neglected in any way. The world of loneliness for a child being abused is one of abandonment & sadness. Sexual abuse, physical abuse, and neglect are usually perpetrated by adults that the child loves and cares for. It is this dynamic which can make it likely that the child gets trapped in a world of wanting to protect their abuser. I am determined to live my life as a Hero to the voiceless child. To be an advocate for change and accountability to ensure that services are there for them if needed and that through awareness we can prevent abuse by educating adults on pedophile behavior and symptoms/behaviors of a hurting/abused/neglected child.