In 1995, tucked away in an office no larger than most bathrooms, and just four years after the organization’s founding, Gloria Brown began her tenure with Sojourner House. Brown has been counting numbers her entire life. Born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, Brown was what most would consider a “math wiz.” Originally studying to be a social work major, Brown always loved helping people. However, her skills in math led her to pursue a career in accounting.
In 1972, Brown interned at an accounting firm in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Shortly after her internship, she returned to Alabama to marry her husband of 43 years, and the couple moved to Pittsburgh to start a life together.
In the early stages of her career of Sojourner House, Brown was responsible for entering client information into a database to obtain their government funds. She explains, “The things that some of these women have been through will blow you mind.” Over the years, Brown has seen countless women and their children come through the doors for a new start in life.
One of her favorite parts of her job is the unique story each woman has, and seeing the fantastic changes people make after their time at Sojourner House. “Except for by the grace of God, there goes I,” she states. “You really get an understanding as to why these women turned to drugs, and I must thank God for gracing me. I’ve learned so much about drug and alcohol recovery from working here. I didn’t understand addiction before Sojourner House.”
In December, Brown retired from Sojourner House as Director of Finance with over 20 years under her belt. She looks forward to spending time with her family in Alabama and has also considered teaching accounting at a local community college. Gloria leaves her friends and colleagues at Sojourner House with this piece of advice, “Dream big, but work hard.”
Sojourner House wishes Gloria the best of luck on her retirement. Click here to see a video of staff’s parting messages to Ms. Brown.