One of the ways Webster defines privilege is, “having the rare opportunity to do something that brings particular pleasure.” My name is Tama Dutton and it is truly my privilege to begin my role as the Executive Administrator in the LCUSA National Service Center.
I arrive at this “rare opportunity” at the age of 58, a life-long Kansan, married for 31 years to a good man named Randy, with two grown married sons, two grandsons, and a precious granddaughter. Isn’t God so good? In my professional life, I like to say I have had two great careers, one brown, one black. Let me explain. In 1974, right out of high school at the ripe old age of 17, I started to work for UPS. I worked my way into management, and those of you who worked in an all-male environment during this time frame, I am sure we could swap battle stories! In 1997 I resigned from UPS ending 23 years of employment with “What can brown do for you?” The wonderful part of my career story is that I resigned from “brown” because I was being called to “black.” In 1997 I started to work for various priests and bishops in the Diocese of Wichita, Kan. Two of my most memorable opportunities were the years I spent in the daily classroom teaching theology courses to high school students, and when I served as the diocesan director of the Respect Life and Social Justice Office. I ended my “black” career in 2014, because Randy and I relocated to far northeast Kansas to be closer to grandkids. So that brings my brown and black professional life story to now intersect and continue with the amazing Ladies of Charity. I find myself wondering, “What color will reflect these years?”
Please allow me to to thank each of you for this “rare opportunity to do something that brings particular pleasure.” I am so looking forward to meeting more of the board members in April, and meeting many of you this September in New Orleans during the LCUSA national assembly. Until then in the spirit of Vincent, Louise and Elizabeth, may we see Jesus in all those we meet and serve. May it be so.