A lot of people say they want to make a difference in their community. Charles Bradley, YWCA St. Paul Board member, does more than just talk. “I wanted to be very deliberate about how I made a difference in my hometown. Volunteering gives you perspective and gratitude for what you have.”
Bradley is a life-long resident of St. Paul who has found many ways to make a difference. “I joke that when people see me coming, they run! I go up to folks ‘Rambo-style’ and actively recruit them to join me in volunteer projects.”
His list of volunteer efforts is long and includes leadership roles within the Black Employee Network and the Global Volunteer Network at Thomson Reuters, where he is employed. He chairs the Board of the Rondo Community Land Trust and serves on the Board of Better Futures Minnesota.
A senior content specialist at Thomson Reuters, Bradley has had a long and varied career with the company during his 30 years there. “I started out as a janitor at West Publishing when I was just 17. I went to school at the same time, earning a paralegal certificate from St. Thomas and then a Communications degree at the U of M. With that education I worked in Facilities – when I started, we did everything in-house, which means we laid the carpet ourselves, painted the walls, even built the cubes!” Bradley then moved on to Editorial where he worked on printed materials, then advanced to Litigator Acquisition where he works with a global team to acquire legal documents used by schools and the media.
Bradley brings his skills as a ‘bridger’ to the YWCA St. Paul Board. “Whether volunteering or at work, I really see the value in ‘organic networking’ to benefit yourself and others. You meet new people and get exposed to different life experiences. You can’t help growing when you have that kind of exposure. I like to think I help those who are connected to YW also expand their networks and bridge to new opportunities.”
When asked about YWCA St. Paul’s impact, Bradley identifies two specific areas, “I think YW has made a real difference in the area of racial justice. The Equity & Social Justice Conversations they host expose more people to this topic and offer a safe space for dialogue.” And he is particularly impressed with the YWCA St. Paul’s housing work. “Housing is the foundation. Once you remove the worry of having a safe place to live, people flourish. With the stability that safe housing offers, people grow to want more for themselves.”
When he’s not lending others a hand, Bradley is pedaling the streets of the Twin Cities, exploring urban bike trails on his prized possession: a carbon fiber bike. “It helps me keep the diabetes away!”
Bradley likes to describe YW’s offerings as St. Paul’s ‘best kept secret.’ “Sure, they have a health club, but they offer so much more. They really are the template for family health – physical, social and economic health. I’m proud to support that work as I’m committed to improving the community I love so much.”