Joseph Mole

Social Work/Nonprofit Leadership
Bachelor of Arts - Philosophy/Religion & Sociology
Class of 1998
Alma Mater:
Spring Arbor University

Independent Alum of the Day

Throughout his career, Joseph has led efforts to bring about innovative change in communities through leadership roles in mission-driven organizations. From developing and implementing child abuse prevention programs to creating a holistic legal and social work service model for low-income individuals, he has remained focused on the empowerment of individuals and communities.

Joseph's current role as Executive Director of Emmaus House, a ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, offers him the opportunity to combine his faith-driven commitment to social justice with his experience implementing effective programs that help families move from poverty to self-sufficiency.

After graduating from Spring Arbor University, Joseph received his Masters degree in Social Work from the University of Michigan, where his studies focused on management of human service organizations. He is passionate about people, committed to social justice, inspired by the strength of communities, and fueled by copious amounts of good coffee.

My motivation

I believe that people of all socioeconomic, racial and ethnic backgrounds have a vision for what they want their lives, and the lives of their families, to look like. Nothing motivates me more than seeing someone realize that vision for themselves. In my role as a nonprofit leader, I am energized by the challenge of changing tactics from administering charity to providing tools for empowerment. Communities facing the barriers of poverty don't need the church or nonprofits to come in and tell them what they need. We can be more effective if we create space for people to create their own vision and then offer resources, navigation and accountability on the journey to realizing that vision. I am motivated by seeing individuals and families overcome barriers and change their own realities and live the lives they have dreamed for themselves.

My latest accomplishments

In September 2014, I was selected as one of 11 fellows for the Annie E. Casey Foundation's Atlanta Leaders for Results program, which brings nonprofit leaders together for a 10-month intensive experience to develop specific skills in designing programs and services that build healthy children and families in Atlanta.

Next big goal

My next big goal is to prove myself as a mission-driven leader who motivates and mobilizes people to bring about positive transformation within a community. My strategy is to lead Emmaus House through a growth process that will result in demonstrable change in the economic and educational outcomes for residents of our neighborhood. For next year, that means implementing evidence-based measurement tools in our key program areas and ensuring those programs have the resources to succeed.

Why is choosing your own path important?

The world needs leaders with vision who are grounded in something bigger than themselves, yet self-aware enough to learn from both success and failure. Choosing your own path often means turning your back on what our culture says is important and living life "upside down" in order to change your corner of the world. Our world is full of suffering and injustice and absolutely depends on brave men and women with bold new ideas to step out and remove barriers, creating the sacred spaces where all people can step into new realities of possibility and opportunity.

Favorite place on campus

The K-House

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