We had the good fortune of connecting with Brad Young and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brad, what matters most to you?
Throughout my life the value of service was extremely important to me, and constantly instilled by my grandmother. She basically raised me, and stood out as one of those genuinely “good” souls who truly cares about others. I could not help but adopt similar views/actions in my own life. In school, it was important for me to volunteer with a myriad of “causes”, and I even decided to pursue a degree in Psychology to mainly help others. Fast forward to adulthood, and I’m the owner of a very successful event company in Texas, catering to a mainly affluent clientele. Not exactly a career in psychology. However, as time progressed, I realized that the events I was truly proud of were fundraisers for worthy causes. No offense to elaborate weddings or over the top dinner parties meant. There a came a point where I decided to move back to California, and had some choices to make. YES I was making great money, and YES I was my own boss… however, did I really want to continue planning parties for the rest of my life. I know it is horribly cliche, but something was missing. I made the decision to sell my business, move back to Cali, and enroll in college (again) to get my Master’s in Psychology with the goal of going into social work. As I write this, I’m realizing how much of my life changed at once, but am so glad I did what I did. Again the desire to serve was driving me. Along the way, I began volunteering at a nearby charity (Third Avenue Charitable Organization) that offered meals and services to the homeless of San Diego. Living Downtown, it’s impossible to ignore the problem, and the chance to help intrigued me. Needless to say I stayed on and even took a job as the volunteer coordinator. I remember almost instinctively voicing my desire to apply before my brain had a chance to respond. It was if some force (with a plan) was steering me. Today, the ability to help numerous individuals daily, gives me immense satisfaction. No, I won’t ever be wealthy, but the ability to serve others really does make it worthwhile to me. We help the most desperate members of society. Many literally sleep on sidewalks, and some are critically ill. We help children, seniors, veterans, and everyone in between. To provide them with clothing, meals, and other important services makes it more than worthwhile even on the tough days (there are many). I could have easily gone another route in life, but I feel good about my choice to serve, and happy I did it.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
In a nutshell I moved to Texas after college to be with my partner, and began doing events. Eventually I started my own company and enjoyed a nice measure of success. Being self-taught I took a year off to attend the Culinary Institute in Napa Valley. I was extremely lucky to be able to take the time, but the experience and knowledge gained will last throughout life. As stated before, I sold the business and enrolled in college (again) to pursue a career in service, and am now working at a charitable organization in Downtown San Diego. Behind all this are two main factors: First, I have always been up for making a change. Albeit it’s easier when younger, but I still don’t really fear change. Whether it was moving to Texas, Starting an event business from scratch, moving back to California, selling my business, going back to school, etc… I’ve never shied away from changing things up. Many would say I’m crazy, but it’s gotten me to a good place. Second, during my life I have experienced all levels of socioeconomic status. There aren’t many people who have experienced homelessness, flying private, and almost every level in between. Because of this, I am able to see events and people with a unique perspective and understanding. To recognize all sides better, and to empathize with people from actual experience. This has helped immeasurably with my current position at a non-profit, and I believe makes me more effective. In fact, right now I am working on a Jobs Program that is a direct result of these experiences.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
So many places, but here’s an outline. The Mainstays: Balboa Park (Photographs for sale at Historical Society) Lunch at the Prado (OK drinks too) Mission Beach and Belmont Park (It’s fun) Coronado Beach and drinks at the Del Workout at Broadway Athletic Club, and relax on the patio Bike up the coast Black’s Beach and Parasailing Zoo (yes it’s cool) Encinitas Botanical Gardens Just walking around Downtown Galleries and Markets in Barrio Logan Other ideas, I would consult my gurus… Francis French and Leah Beske
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to recognize the Third Avenue Charitable Organization for hiring me, and allowing me to grow for the past five years. I would also like to credit my grandmother, Severine Miles… I miss you grandma.