I am excited to introduce you to people who live, work, play and do business in our community and city. Learning about people of every lifestyle, talents, and personalities that I think would be interesting for our readers to enjoy. San Diego has a wonderful diversity of individuals who make our slice of paradise the greatest place to live and enjoy each other’s uniqueness.
How did you end up in San Diego and what do you love about it?
We are native Southern Californians. My husband, Kelly, and I met and lived in Corona, California. We cashed out when the real estate market was booming. Not wanting to miss out, we left Corona and headed for Austin, Texas. Life was grand there. The people. The food. The music. SXSW and ACL music festivals were literally in our backyard. It was a lovely time.
My mother is getting older, and I wanted to be closer to her. With a breast cancer scare, some heart health issues, thyroid problems and other medical conditions, we made the decision to move back to California. We had never really “been” to San Diego but came here for a weekend and it felt like home.
What gets you excited about life?
I have always been an advocate for various groups. Foster children, LGBTQIA rights, seniors, veterans, and low-income families. This is what thrives me. Providing services just gives a feel-good feeling and if I am able to do so, I will. Time is free and doesn’t cost anything. We all should give time and support organizations in need. I have never been one to sit still either. I am active on many boards and volunteer my time when I can. Recently, I was introduced to a spiritual connection. I now meditate every morning. I run every morning and I connect myself to the Earth at every moment I can. To touch, sense of smell our environment keeps me grounded and connected. I wish I would have had this self-discovery years ago. It is truly enlightening.
What type of business are you in and what makes you stand out professionally?
I am the vice president of MJ Housing & Services. We provide human and social services for low-income seniors and families. We also guide our residents through senior wellness programs. Our services are on a personal level and we continue to evaluate our seniors to ensure that their health and well-being are being met to our standards.
In addition to the services that we offer, MJ Housing & Services is dedicated to being a force in the community. As an advocate, an ally, or activists, we want San Diego to know that we are here of the community. We are a nationwide company with strong roots here. We are headquartered here. This is home.
What small act of kindness were you once shown that you’ll never forget?
I had my Starbucks order once paid by someone in the line ahead of me and the change went to the car behind me. I, too, paid for the car behind me to pay it forward. I wonder how many cars continued the trend that day. It was interesting, shocking, and fun, all at the same time.
I try and embody this sentiment every day. In a grocery store parking lot, I will always take back abandoned carts and place them in their area. I will also ask someone close to me if I may take their cart back for them. The reactions are priceless. Usually, women will automatically grab their purse. I get it. We are in a society that finds it hard to embrace kindness. But just imagine if everyone did. It’s a small step toward a big victory.
Finally, I held a march/rally almost a year ago. The kindness that the residents of San Diego showed to me and my cause was heart felt. During a pandemic, stay-at-home orders, mask mandates, over 10,000 [people] showed up and showed out to voice support for the BLM and LGBTQIA movement. I was in tears the entire time. Looking out over the mass crowd at the Hillcrest Pride Flag was a priceless moment for me personally. The crowd, very still as I panned around to see everyone’s face is something that I will treasure forever.
If the universe could grant you one wish, what would you wish for?
This is simple: That there would be no poverty in the world. Balance the wealthy with the poor. Let me be clear, “wealth” doesn’t equate to money. We have a wealth of information at our fingertips to do amazing things. Protect animals, protect seniors, protect of veterans, protect people that do not look like you, protect humans. This is value, again not in terms of money but self-worth. See what I am doing here. It is truly a different mindset.
If you wrote a book about your life, what would you title it and why?
“The Long and Winding Road” – My life has taken some serious turns and I learn from each one. Sometimes the road will lead to a dead end and I have to go backwards and figure out a new route. New roads always seem to lead to new opportunities. If you know me, then you know that I am always up for an adventure. I think this keeps me young and free from wrinkles. You must be willing to take chances. My two favorite Maya Angelou quotes are, “I can be changed by what happens to me, but I refuse to be reduced by it.” And “Each new hour holds new chances for new beginnings. The horizon leans forward, offering you space to place new steps of change.” Take risks.
If you had a chance to spend $1 million on yourself, how would you spend it?
I would open a restaurant/bar that provided live entertainment. This has always been a dream of mine. I would use locally sourced food, hire the best talent around to be a part of an amazing company. We would welcome everyone, and it would be affordable to everyone. This is why I love a good happy hour. A chance where people can get together, talk and socialize, enjoy company over small bites and amazing cocktails — all without breaking the bank. A true service-oriented business.
If you could give someone advise about your art, hobby, or business, what would you tell them?
For my job, it would be: Seniors are living longer now. We must value, honor, and learn from them. For my side hustle, I judge people and get paid for it. OK, well pageantry arts specially marching bands, color guards, winter guards, dance teams, choral performing groups, I judge it all. When you see performers giving it their all, in something that they love doing, [it’s] not only amazing to analyze but amazing to witness. Finally…travel. Get out of your comfort zone. Go and explore different cultures, see different environments, and connect with people that speak different languages. The world is an amazing place.
If you were granted one superpower for life, what would you choose and why?
To give everyone the gift of KINDNESS. This goes without saying. The world can be a very ugly place, but it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s a choice to be nasty. Instead, I would kill the world with kindness. I will never understand why compassion, empathy and kindness are characteristics that are hard to come by. My mother has always said to us, “It doesn’t matter who you love or how you love, just THAT you love.”
If you had the opportunity to join someone you love, admire, or wanted to meet over a cup of coffee, who would it be, and what one question would you ask them?
My dad. He passed away on March 1, 1981. I think about him often. I would switch the coffee to a cocktail, me a vodka surprise (vodka with anything…surprise me) and my father Black Velvet Rum over ice. The question is easy: “Are you proud of me?”
Charles Brown contact info:
Facebook or Instagram (cbrownatx) 512.417.6380