CEF would like to formally introduce Joe Katusich, CEF’s new Member Services and Programs Manager!
Joe comes to CEF with a deep background in program management and experience in the nonprofit sector. We are very excited to have Joe on the team and excited for you to get to know him a bit better.
Read the interview below to learn more about Joe’s role and philosophy.
Joe Katusich, Member Services and Programs Manger
Describe the work you hope to accomplish in your role at CEF.
As the Member Services and Programs Manager, I hope to help foster a work environment that promotes our guiding principles and that reaches above and beyond in an effort to elevate the impact of the services the incredible CEF team provides for its members. I hope to contribute to maintaining trauma-informed, healing-centered, relationship-based, and racially equitable practices in all of CEF’s programs, and I hope to facilitate the growth of our reach to Members and Advocates in the Durham and Chapel Hill communities. I will aim to accomplish all of these things with a strong sense of purpose and pride as we usher in the next chapter for CEF.
What experiences, strengths, and skills do you bring to this work at CEF?
I have a deep-rooted passion for serving my community. It all started when I joined the Key Club in high school where we raised money to put together events designed to support families and individuals within our community that were experiencing homelessness, financial insecurity, food insecurity, etc. I have held jobs in just about every industry you can imagine: education, sales, software development, customer service, and the food industry. After graduating from the University of Massachusetts with a degree in Psychology, I served 2 years in AmeriCorps as a Tutor, Mentor, and Role Model in Boston Public Schools with City Year Boston. That experience solidified my passion for social justice and civic engagement work, carrying me to a career working with nonprofits. In Boston, I spent time developing programming and building a volunteer network for the Martin Richard Foundation and continued my work in education as a Program Manager with Playworks New England. My life experiences have lent themselves to a successful and fulfilling career thus far, and I’m just getting started.
What led you to work with CEF generally, and also to this particular role?
I have found great purpose and pride in the contributions I’ve been a part of during my nonprofit career. When I lost my jobs in Boston due to COVID, I felt a little lost and decided to pack up my car and find a new community to serve that I had never been to before. After driving around the country for the better part of a year, I landed in Durham with the intention to find a way to continue working within my passion of building beloved communities where all can prosper. The Member Services and Programs Manager role felt like a perfect fit where I would be able to apply my talents for project management and relationship building to an opportunity where my knowledge for community assistance programs can grow and thrive.
Where do you find energy and renewal?
I have always found that as long as I am passionate about the work I am doing and can continue to find purpose while doing it, my energy to continue the work is endless. I am and will remain passionate about contributing to real, positive change in my community, and that will allow me to find energy in this role. Outside of my work, spending time exploring the great outdoors or with good people and good food always grounds me and renews my energy.
What challenges do you anticipate in your role at CEF and how will you seek your best path forward to overcome those challenges?
I anticipate there will be many challenges that I have not faced thus far in my career. However, I will attend to them as I have attended to all other challenges I’ve had to navigate. I will approach each challenge with an open heart and an open mind. I will meet others where they are at and seek to understand to the best of my ability. I will make intentional, informed decisions, and consistently seek opportunities to grow both professionally and with my level of content knowledge. I will trust the members of my team and ask for help when appropriate, and do everything in my power to find the best possible solution.