Compassionate CEO

John Brauer brings a career of service — and business expertise — to New Horzons.

By Stephanie Bedolla

Monday, January 22, 2018

John Brauer may have found his dream job as the new chief executive at New Horizons, the North Hills nonprofit that helps those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. During his career, Brauer has tried his hands at different businesses, from running a restaurant to managing his father-in-law’s construction business to eventually gaining 28 years of experience in nonprofit management. Brauer started off at UC Berkeley but during his last semester had to put his studies on hold to take over his father-in-laws construction business, from there he later went on to finish his Bachelor and Master’s degree at John F. Kennedy University. His journey into the nonprofit sector began with a nine-month internship during his master’s degree program at Las Trampas in Northern California, where he learned to help adults with developmental disabilities discover their capabilities. Prior to New Horizons, he served as chief executive of Union Station Homeless Services in Pasadena. Prior to that, he worked at NW Works Inc., a Virginia nonprofit serving those with intellectual disabilities. He also ran Community Vocational Enterprises, a nonprofit in San Francisco for the intellectually disabled. Brauer met with the Business Journal in his office at the New Horizons campus to talk about how he decided to switch to a nonprofit career, why he loves his job and the opportunity he sees at New Horizons.

Question: How would you describe yourself?

Answer: A serial entrepreneur. I started working when I was 15 and worked for a restaurant for many years, did everything from bussing, cooking and waiting tables to eventually managing the restaurant. And I did that while I was in school. Then I opened a dental ad and then got into the construction business and then into non-profits.

Why nonprofits?

Even though my degree is in clinical psychology, I’ve always been a business guy. I’ve always liked to look at the restaurant business and see not only how do you provide good food and good service, but how do you make the business side of it work? So now taking those same principles and applying them to the non-profit field has been amazing.

What motivates you?

I’ve always been a people person. Success to me is watching other people succeed. And that’s everything from the clients we serve to the staff to the board but also the community.

To read the full Q&A article,

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