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Carol Collard Caringworks, Inc

Carol Collard

Founder & COO

CaringWorks Inc.

Location: Decatur

Founded: 2002

Industry: Nonprofit, Homeless and Supportive Housing Services

With a background in marketing and residential real estate, Carol Collard became a passionate participant in the fight to reduce homelessness while working for Progressive Redevelopment Inc. (PRI). In 1998, she returned to school to study social work and ultimately earned a PhD in the field. Collard recognized that for many individuals who experience homelessness, simply having a roof overhead would not be enough. That’s why in 2002, she founded CaringWorks with PRI’s CEO Bruce Gunter.

CaringWorks has a mission to reduce homelessness and empower the marginalized by providing access to housing and services that foster dignity, self-sufficiency and well-being. Over the last 21 years, CaringWorks has served more than 10,000 households and year after year, more than 95% of its residents remained continuously housed for 12 months or longer.

Under Collard’s leadership, the organization expanded the behavioral health program which is largely funded through Medicaid reimbursements, allowing housing clients to have access to quality psychiatric and therapeutic services by licensed and credentialed professionals to support their long-term wellness.

“Dr. Collard has worked more than 25 years in supportive housing and in grappling with the complex issues that can result in homelessness,” said her staff. “Her combined expertise has given her the ability to operate a nonprofit agency with a caring heart and a mind for business.”

In addition, Collard has a quest to reduce the stigma attached to mental illness and addiction that hinders solutions. In addition to managing the helm at CaringWorks, Collard has been engaged in policy development and advocacy as one of the founding members of the Georgia Supportive Housing Association and has served as a member of the City of Atlanta’s Governing Council on Homelessness.

As a leader, Collard said it’s essential to have genuine care and concern about the people you work with. “A leader must be willing to let others take the spotlight, be willing to be flexible and adapt quickly to change and be able to admit when you’re wrong by learning from your mistakes,” she said.

In her role, Collard said listening is another key element that promotes change. “I believe that information gathering is a crucial first step in understanding any problem, but particularly a complex one,” said Collard. “I ask a lot of questions and listen to the different points of view from those who are involved to understand the scope of the problem and to determine its impact – or potential impact – on the organization.”

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My knowledge that few things are permanent, so if somehow, I fail at something, I look for the lesson and I try again.

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