We are so excited to welcome Ajax Greene to the team as our new Director of Operations! Ajax has had a wealth of work experiences, including many years working in HIV advocacy. Read on to find out what brought him to Caring Across, what he’s most excited to be working on, and what practice he’s been doing for 42 years!
What does our work mean to you?
For almost any problem in the world, if you put the word “care” in front of it, suddenly you’ve created a very powerful movement. “Do you care about people?” “Do you care about the environment?” That’s something that really excited me. Even though we use it in a specific context around caregiving, to help caregivers and care recipients, we are connected to a much bigger movement of care.
What is your new role, and what are you most excited to dig in to?
My title is Director of Operations, which encompasses accounting, finance and HR. I think of the people on our team who work directly with the public – politicians, our community partners, our digital audience, our partners in Hollywood – as the rockstars, and the operations team are the roadies. We build the stage, plug in the mics and do the soundcheck. And when people on the team get applause, we’re standing off stage but we get to hear it and enjoy it too. I feel really strongly that it’s our place, as an Operations team, to build a platform for the whole team to succeed.
I’m really excited about an internal program that we are developing that is designed to bring out the enlightened leadership in all of us. The work we do deserves the very best from each of us, and so the question becomes, how can we create an environment that provides a place where each of us can develop to do our best, in our own unique ways?
What kind of work have you done in the past?
That’s a big question! Some of my work experiences that are most relevant to my current role at Caring Across came out of my work in the HIV+ community. I worked for eight years in various roles, including as a President of a specialty mail order pharmacy that served the HIV+ community, and I was also the Co-Founder and CEO of a health and medical education company. There was definitely a lot of care in that work.
This was 25 years ago, and I really waded into the deep end. I was a straight, white kid from the suburbs. We were working with very diverse folks with very diverse needs, and it was a powerful learning experience for me. And I think I’m experiencing something similar at Caring Across, because I get to work across all different generations and with people of all different backgrounds. I’m learning so much, and I’m so grateful for that.
What is your experience with care, and how did it bring you to do this work?
I did care for my mom, and in some ways I feel like I started caring for her when I was five years old, even though that isn’t technically true. As an adult, I wasn’t doing what we might think of as direct care for her, as she lived six hours away. But I managed her finances, and helped her out in many other ways and was deeply engaged in her life. Since starting at Caring Across, I’ve heard people say that caregiving isn’t all bad and it isn’t all good, and that really resonated with me. On one hand, caring for my mom was kind of a nightmare. But I’m very glad I did it, and I think my life would have been poorer had I not cared for her.
What do you like to do outside of work?
When I was a lot younger, I was a world class rock climber! I still remain active by rock climbing. I also love many other outdoor adventure sports, like hiking, biking and skiing. In the afternoons, I like going for walks or hikes in urban parks in Richmond, where I live.
I’ve also had a twice daily meditation practice for 42 years, which is very important to me. I’m also a bit of a political junkie, and I love keeping up with current events.