Hamilton County Job and Family Services
CINspirational People is a new feature of Good Things Going Around profiling diverse people of Greater Cincinnati, what inspires them, and what is inspiring about them. Today we are featuring Brian Gregg.
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GTGA: What is an accomplishment you achieved that you are proud of?
Brian Gregg: I don’t know that there is one single accomplishment I dwell on. Overall, I’m proud of beating the odds. I was born to a 17-year-old mother in a depressed steel town. She raised three children essentially on her own, at times making as little as $2.40 an hour. I worked as many as three jobs at a time to get through college. I’ve been blessed with a wonderful life and that foundation taught me anything is possible through hard work and determination.
GTGA: Tell us about someone who has been a positive influence in your life.
Brian: Everything I have today is because of my mother. She raised three kids, essentially as a single mom. We came from poverty. Not only was she a tremendous role model in how hard she worked and how great she was in caring for our family, but she put effort into keeping us on the straight and narrow. When I was a senior in high school and told her I had decided not to go to college, she absolutely put her foot down and insisted I go. If I hadn’t gone to college, my life would be completely different today, and not in a good way.
GTGA: What is a motto you live by and why or how has it impacted you?
Brian: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” I’m a fighter. When life knocks you on your arse, get up, learn from the experience and get right back into something positive. If we are not moving forward, we are dying. Every negative experience we have is a learning experience that makes us better.
GTGA: What is your biggest motivator?
Brian: My children: Sydney, 3, and Tyson, 2. I waited until I was in my 40s to get married and had my first child at 45. I never really strongly desired children, but they now absolutely hold my heart. I’m motivated to provide them with a great life and tremendous experiences. I am motivated to teach them the importance of being a good person and having a positive influence on the world. I am motivated to prepare them for adulthood and whatever it throws their way.
GTGA: Tell us about an act of kindness you have done, witnessed or been the recipient of and how that made you feel.
Brian: My son had open-heart surgery at the age of two months. It was a life-or-death matter. The outpouring of support and love we received from family and friends during this time was genuine and comforting. The commitment Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center had to his care was reassuring. We were extremely grateful to live so close to one of the best children’s hospitals in the world. The whole ordeal made us much more appreciative of family, friends, our community and life.
GTGA: Tell us about what you do and what are some of the reasons why you enjoy it.
Brian: I am the chief communications officer at Hamilton County Job and Family Services. I spent a decade as a newspaper reporter and then a few years in corporate public relations. This job marries the desire I had as a newspaper reporter to “change the world” with my move to public relations. It is much easier to get excited about work that changes lives than it is about selling a product or peddling market research. JFS helps about half a million people in this community each year and there are many great stories for me to tell. I am frequently amazed at the work performed by the 800 employees who work at JFS. From Director Moira Weir on down, I am working with folks who really care deeply about the people they serve.