“We can do this with God’s help”
As a 2012 Cardinal Award recipient, Yolanda Brown believes “the Holy Spirit has yanked me here and there, and I have always tried to be open to what the Spirit is telling me.”
A former banking executive, Yolanda now works as the Parish Life Director at Blessed Sacrament Church in Hollywood with pastor responsibilities. The daughter of a Navy officer who was born in the Philippines and raised Catholic, she grew up devoutly spiritual – and therefore didn’t mind experiencing other churches.
“It didn’t bother my parents that I had a desire to learn about other faith practices,” recalled the mother of seven and grandmother of 19. “I could appreciate what they offered and believed, and in the end I was strengthened in my own faith.”
Early in her professional life, Yolanda worked as an executive at Manufacturers Hanover, and was transferred by First Interstate Bank to Los Angeles, where she later joined Union Bank and rose in rank to senior vice president. Her specialty was developing new commercial business, especially in areas that were undeveloped or underserved. “My name seemed to come up whenever there was pioneering to be done. And that’s where the Holy Spirit began to become more prominent. I was becoming more in tune with my own spirituality.”
After leaving the banking profession – and before being installed as the Parish Life Director at Blessed Sacrament Church – she worked for seven years as Pastoral Associate at Dolores Mission. “I really discovered what it meant to serve in a collaborative environment, and I realized that effective parish leadership is truly a shared endeavor. When you are able to enable others, the good things that result belong to all of us.”