Coworker Corner: Hassan Chaudhry
Hassan Chaudhry always heard great things about Mercy Home. So when a job opportunity at our Home opened up, he knew he had to apply.
“The name Mercy Home first came up when I was working at a different nonprofit, and a lot of people [there] had come from Mercy Home.
“And they said they loved [working there]. They said it was such a positive experience … and that if I had an opportunity there, I should take it.”
Hassan had recently graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago in their dual master’s program for social work and public health. Though his work experience before that had been in the realm of social work, he discovered that he really enjoyed the public health side of things.
“I really fell in love with data and research,” he said. “I realized how important it is, especially as a person of color, [when there is] a lack of representation in that field. I had one professor who was just an incredible person and she really inspired this drive for it.”
I really fell in love with data and research. I realized how important it is, especially as a person of color, [when there is] a lack of representation in that field. I had one professor who was just an incredible person and she really inspired this drive for it.
With this new passion, Hassan was ready to transition from direct service to a role that was “behind the scenes” doing data or program evaluation. He was thrilled when he saw a position exactly like that open at Mercy Home.
“I was like, oh man, this is like a dream come true,” he said.
Though Hassan has been at Mercy Home for less than a year, he has jumped headfirst into his role as the manager of program evaluation. What this means in the simplest terms, he explained, is that his job is to measure the efficacy of the work we do at the Home. He looks at the effectiveness of what we do, what makes it effective, and how it could be made better
Hassan’s responsibilities include working on quarterly evaluations, the annual data audit, and other routine evaluations, such as a scheduled evaluation of the programs at Mercy Home. He said he is also regularly asked to create surveys to help other coworkers define what they’ve accomplished in their own roles at Mercy Home. This is a favorite of his.
“When we want to evaluate or measure how our youth are experiencing this aspect or these projects or this program, [I like] creating the questions, making sure the questions are accurate and on point and really depicting what we want to know,” he said. “And the other thing that I really enjoy is generating visualizations for the data. At worst, [that] can be super boring and daunting. And so I try to find ways [so that] it’s captivating and engaging for people that might not like the data. It’s like learning how to speak a different language for people. [It’s] knowing who my audience is and knowing how I can best communicate what we’re seeing and what we know in a way that’s digestible.”
Perhaps it’s Hassan’s background in youth development and his passion for working with kids that helps him be so successful at translating data in a way that is helpful, and others can understand.
Hassan said that he always felt that working with young people is something that came naturally to him. His first job was working at a tutoring center, where he enjoyed interacting with kids.
In the early stages of his career, Hassan worked in sports-based youth development programming, using activities like boxing or basketball to mentor kids. From there, he transitioned into mental health services. At his last job, he ran group-based cognitive behavioral therapy sessions for young men. He also has a passion for working with underserved communities.
“I’ve also had a passion for social justice and equity in general,” he said. “A lot of my jobs have been focused on underserved communities. I worked at a nonprofit in downtown Phoenix for a long time, taking kids camping and doing afterschool programming for just youth in general. I don’t know, it’s just been a natural affinity of mine for a while.”
I’ve also had a passion for social justice and equity in general.
Though the majority of Hassan’s time at Mercy Home has been complicated the by the pandemic, he has really enjoyed his time here and loves how supportive his coworkers are.
“First of all, a huge shoutout to the IT department,” he said. “They are incredible in that we have all the supplies [and] resources that we need. I feel like their role has been, how do we make your job even easier? And that IT attitude has really been reflective of everyone as a whole [at Mercy Home]. I feel like a lot of people are really chipping in and trying to find ways to support and help one another. We’re trying to find new ways to work with the youth and new ways to do our jobs, and that requires a lot of dependence on one another. And so while we’re socially isolated, I still feel connected to my department and other people that are in residential or ECR or Compassionate Care. … I really appreciate that.”
Hassan added that his experience working with the Organizational Development team has been an extremely positive one.
“It’s been awesome,” he said. “Emily [Neal, the Vice President of Organizational Development] is fantastic. Patrick [Needham] is an incredible supervisor. I feel like I’m just really supported. And I feel like when I meet with Patrick in supervision, I just feel like he cares about me as an individual. He cares that the job is getting done, but he really encourages work life balance and making that priorities and healthy boundaries are set so that our families are being taken care of while the job is also being accomplished.”
The closeness of the OD team is another highlight, he said.
“I just love the fact that the OD team, when we were working in the office, we would get lunch together every day,” he said. “It was kind of like, we were checking in with other, like, hey you want to go get lunch? Just the fact that people wanted to hang out and spend time with each other off work hours, I enjoyed it.”