Staff Spotlight – Meet Karen Hughes



VP Programs & Services

What could you not live without?

I’ll first state the obvious and the sentimental- my husband, my family (including the canine member) and my friends. I truly love people and my life has been so enriched by all of the folks with whom I’ve crossed paths and built relationships with throughout the years.

As for stuff I couldn’t live without, in no particular order…a good pair of running shoes (preferably Saucony), brightly-colored sunnies, doughnuts, my camera and mascara.

What was the scariest thing you’ve ever done?

When I was 20 years old, I took an internship for the summer in South Carolina. I had a trip-tik from AAA with the directions to intern-housing in Hilton Head because this was before GPS, Waze or cell phones. As I pulled out of Williamsburg, I remember thinking that in 12 hours I’d be living with roommates I’d never met and reporting to a job with a boss I’d never met in a place where I’d never been. I fought tears and the urge to turn around for the first few hours of my drive. I was scared, but I kept driving. What a life lesson though for taking a chance, for allowing yourself to be afraid of something and doing it anyway.

Who is your hero and why?

A hero is revered for his or her courage, bravery in the face of adversity, ability to overcome. Have you ever spent time with a child at a children’s hospital? HERO. Have you stood up for someone who was being treated unkindly? HERO. Have you watched as someone with physical limitations crossed the finish line of a race? HERO. There are remarkable stories of heroes throughout all of history, but I think we should look to our daily lives in search of heroes. They are all around us.

What song would be included on the soundtrack to your life?

Wouldn’t it be great if our lives did have a soundtrack? There are two groups that I fell in love with as a young teenager who I’ve carried with me since that time; The Counting Crows and Bruce Springsteen. I have the albums, I know the stories, they have songs that can change my mood instantly. If I had to name one song though, it would be “Land of Hope and Dreams” by The Boss. In addition to the obvious Americana vibe, it has a message of inclusion. At the end of the day, we are all in this together. Be a part of your world, love and accept those around you, give everyone a fair chance. We all have a place and a purpose in our land of hope and dreams.

What did you want to be growing up?

It changed often as I learned new things and developed new interests. In fact, I recently left a 10+ year career in banking to pursue a career in the non-profit sector. I think it would be fair to say it is still changing.

What inspires you to work at HOJ?

The sense of community in Jacksonville is one of the primary reasons that my husband I love it here and why we’ve chosen to make it home. At the heart of community is a sense of connection, of belonging to something bigger than oneself. At HOJ, we inspire, equip and mobilize volunteers. We connect people to their passions so they can be part of that something bigger. We leverage volunteerism to bridge gaps and meet needs. We build community and we lead and teach others to do the same through volunteerism. I get goose bumps just thinking about it.


About It's All GOOD!

We inspire, equip and mobilize people to take action that changes the world. As the on-ramp to volunteering in our community, we work with more than 125 local nonprofit organizations to provide opportunities for people to connect to make a difference.
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