AED Board Nominee - 2020 Election
Lay Candidate #1
Dana M. Jean
Present Employment: Director of Youth Ministries
Current Ministries: Youth, Outreach, Daughters of the King
Current Church Assignment: Church of the Transfiguration, Dallas TX
Previous Positions: Director of Outreach & Director of the BlessMobile (a food truck ministry), St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, McKinney TX
Education: Master of Public Management (primarily nonprofit focus); BS Sociology/Anthropology; BA Spanish. I speak, read, and write Spanish proficiently; I speak and read French and Haitian Creole at an intermediate level.
Prior Board Experience: I have experience serving on boards and have also managed boards from a staff position. Over the years, I have served on vestries and various nonprofit boards in a variety of capacities. On the board of the Friends of Allen Library in Allen, TX, I held multiple positions including President. I have served in all major positions of the PTA including president, which is perhaps a different type of board, but a board nonetheless, that offered plenty of experience in fundraising and volunteer management. As the Executive Director of Universal Learning Centre, a nonprofit that builds libraries in Haiti, I developed skills in managing the relationships important to board members and coordinating all board activities.
Skill sets: My skillset is varied and versatile, with a background in nonprofit management, experience as an entrepreneur, a teacher, and a lay minister. I am proficient in grant writing, advocacy (I served on the Presiding Bishop’s delegation to the UN Commission on the Status of Women in 2019), nonprofit management, entrepreneurialism (nonprofit start-ups and new ministry initiatives), budget management, community partnership development, volunteer recruitment, training, and management, and more. My versatility is coupled with a profound understanding of the importance of relationships. Perhaps my most valuable gift in ministry is my ability to draw in and equip others to do the work God has called them to do.
How do you envision contributing to the AED Board? What are your special talents and gifts?
In 2014, I was asked to start a new outreach program at the church where I was a member. By 2019, that program had grown from a handful of volunteers to 800+ per year feeding and caring for the marginalized. During that time, I wrote a grant and secured funding for a food truck to feed the food insecure in our area. I was as surprised as anyone to see the ministry soar. I tell you this not to boast, but to say I do not know where the Spirit will guide me in contributing to the AED Board. I never know exactly. But I know she will use me to be innovative, build relationships, and further God's kingdom.
What is your vision for the future of the Association for Episcopal Deacons?
When I worked in outreach ministry, it became clear to me very quickly just how important our Deacons are to the life of the Church, and how very misunderstood diaconal ministry can be. What I hope for the Association for Episcopal Deacons is that we will live more fully into what has become the tagline, "Engaging the Diakonia of All Believers," as we are each called to live out our Baptismal Covenant. I hope that tagline translates to all dioceses become more active and intentional about recruiting, training, and deploying Deacons, and that the AED will continually improve at leading the way in teaching dioceses and others how they might do that effectively. I imagine that will be accomplished through the support and increase of education about and for the Diaconate, as well as a firm commitment to changing with the times, especially in light of the pandemic. I also believe that, as we are less able to travel at least for the time being, the building and cultivation of strategic relationships will be more important than ever to fulfilling the AED's mission of increasing "participation and involvement of all baptized persons in Christ's diaconal ministry." More succinctly, my vision for AED is to grow and build a strong Diaconate, and to support the Church in helping believers to fulfill their diaconal call in the Baptismal Covenant.