Derrick Brown is chairman-elect of the North Texas GLBTChamber of Commerce, and executive director of Kidds’ Kids, an outreach program for terminally ill children. He’s also involved with the Dallas Independent Volleyball Association, American Women in Radio & Television Association and the Aids Interfaith Network.
1 What does the chamber do for the community?
We help member businesses grow and become more successful. These businesses employ more people and have the resources to support community organizations. The chamber also works with other nonprofit organizations for community betterment. We partner with other area chambers on diversity and municipal issues. We host a monthly Connections Mixer so members and guests can network and build their business referral portfolio. We just launched North Texas’ only GLBT-focused online job posting program.
2 How did you get involved with Kidd’s Kids?
While working with Clear Channel, I met Kidd & worked closely with the morning show and charity. When my predecessor left, the Kidd’s Kids Board started searching for an executive director. I felt compelled to throw my name in hat to see what I could bring to the organization. It’s been almost five years now, and I’m still loving every minute!
3 The organizations you work with require voluntary action on behalf of its participants, how do you encourage this?
By matching up skills with needs and assigning people action items that are measurable. By giving people meaningful duties related to their skill set, they will be more inclined to stay involved. Additionally, it is equally as important to thank and reward volunteers for their time and commitment to helping achieve your goals.
4 Working with the chamber, what do you find to be the most effective method of getting various parties, with varying interests, to cooperate?
If people can logically see and understand why they should work together, it’s easier to gain involvement. When facilitating cooperation among different groups, it is always paramount to ascertain the needs of each party and try to find balance when setting expectations.
5 When you’re not working with Kidd’s Kids, or the chamber, what are your other responsibilities?
Volunteering my time for other local children’s charities and working with AIDS organizations. I was a judge for OutTakes Dallas 2007 and I am looking forward to continuing in that role this year as well. My partner Dan Ritchel and I will celebrate our 16-year anniversary in April. We have two schnauzers, Frazier and Eva, so my home life also keeps me pretty busy.
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This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 21, 2008