There’s no place like home – just ask Brett Chmiel.
The 2002 CJ graduate – who spent a decade as director of admissions – is back on campus in a new role as assistant director of development.
“It felt like I never really left,” Chmiel said. “The most exciting thing is being back in a faith-filled community.”
Faith has been an integral part of Chmiel’s CJ experience as he also previously served as associate director of ministry & service. It was in this capacity that then principal and now director of development John Marshall got to know Chmiel.
“When I was looking for an admissions director, I recognized Brett's ability to connect with people and bring out the best in them which, in turn, brings out the best in CJ as a community,” Marshall said.
As director of development, Marshall realized it’s when graduates, parents, friends, and benefactors are at their best, that they support organizations like CJ.
“Brett has the experience and the ability to connect and communicate what is in the best interest of CJ, for the future,” Marshall said. “His deep passion to expand CJ's mission in the hearts of the students, the parents of future graduates or benefactors who partner with us on our journey will yield a hopeful outcome for the community.”
Chmiel’s primary focus will be major gifts, but the team environment of the development office means he will wear many hats.
“I’m looking forward to the challenges,” he said.
There is no hesitation when asked what he missed most after leaving CJ to work as an employee benefits consultant with McGohan Brabender in 2018.
“The kids, that’s what made my job so rewarding,” Chmiel said. “And even though I won’t be working directly with them, there is just such a vibrancy here because of them. Their energy and their ability to move forward – even when facing adversity – is so energizing.”
Chmiel’s excitement about being “home” is one that Marshall – an ’86 graduate himself – can relate to.
“Being a part of CJ community, as a student, parent or employee, we may feel a tug of the heart to return to that place that invigorates our soul,” he said.--This story was published on January 20, 2022.