Join us in welcoming The Moriah Group’s new President, Kary A. James, to our village! Kary has expertise in organizational leadership and infuses justice and equity in her work to improve systems and facilitate effective collaboration. She holds an M.S.W. from Norfolk State University and a B.S. in Sociology and Criminal Justice from Old Dominion University.
Learn more about Kary in this Q&A, and say hello at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tell us about yourself.
My personal and professional lives have been very parallel. My entire life has been centered in and structured around service. As a child, I watched my mother in her role as a public health nurse and my father as a child welfare agency director. I grew up watching my parents lead and serve. It was always impressed upon me to contribute, give back, be of value, and improve the lives of others.
I am a mother of three beautiful children. My daughter is studying civil engineering at Old Dominion University, my other daughter is studying architecture at Temple University, and my son is a rising high school senior. And I am a daughter, a sister, and a friend.
I also occasionally ride my motorcycle—a Harley Davidson Ultra Classic Low. I love old school hip-hop. I’m a classically trained pianist. And immersing myself in water and dipping my toes in sand bring me pure joy.
Describe some of the previous experiences that bring you to this work.
I have been incredibly fortunate to have phenomenal leaders in my life from the very beginning. My parents, aunties and uncles, and elders in the work have guided and mentored me. My graduate degree is in social work, and I thought that would lead me to clinical work and I would eventually open my own practice. But my career went in a different direction. After graduate school, I moved from working in direct service in the child welfare and foster care systems to leading at the national level to create equitable, diverse, and inclusive cultures and frameworks across various systems. I’ve worked at the direct level—impacting individual families immediately. I’ve also worked at the systems level—holding institutions accountable, dismantling racist infrastructures, and positively impacting more lives. But no matter my role, I’ve always grounded myself in being a servant-leader, advancing thriving for Black and Brown people, working for sustainable change, and modeling the courageous leadership I’ve witnessed throughout my life and career.
What are you passionate about?
I often ask this question when I meet someone for the first time. I am wired to be a person of service. It authentically brings me joy to do this work. At this point in my career, I don’t have another box I need to check off. So I want to focus my efforts on helping people of color to thrive, to win, and to fully walk in their purpose.
What inspires you about The Moriah Group?
Everything! I love that I’m at an organization where the work is unapologetically and wholly centered on improving the lives of Brown and Black people. It brings me immeasurable joy to know that I can leverage all of the knowledge I’ve learned, all of the expertise I’ve gained, and all of the skills I’ve developed to impact people at a human and community level in this magical place.
What does thriving mean to you?
We thrive when we know what brings us joy. Waking up every day understanding what joy looks like, what it tastes like, and what it feels like—for ourselves at a deeply personal level—is something we should all experience wholly and fully.