Karen Roher Bray brings over 40 years of diverse experience in leadership, non-profit program development, corporate project management and human resources. She has served on many commissions and boards, including the Dallas Mayor’s Committee for the Employment of Persons with Disabilities, as President of the Dallas Human Resource Management Association and has been an active volunteer in her profession as well as her community in various capacities throughout her career. As Executive Director for Grand Central Station since 2016, Bray is currently responsible for overseeing programs supporting the underserved in Grayson County.
She has an undergraduate degree in Sociology and Social Work from Baylor University and a Master’s in Business from Amberton University. She has been a resident of North Texas for the last 40 years, currently residing in Pottsboro, and is actively involved in her church. She is married to John Bray and they have two sons, a daughter-in-law, and one grandson.
Dignity: Seeking Respect in Back Row America by Chris Arnade
Bray said she immediately connected with this book on many levels.
“It’s about the back rows of America’s homelessness through the eyes of an educated, successful businessman who left his Wall Street job to live and learn among America’s poorest communities, and to have a better understanding of humans on their level,” she said, noting that we are all basically the same, our stories are just different. “Arnade’s research shows that despite the hardships and tragedies of their youth or past, what these people desire is to be treated with the dignity and respect due (to) any human being.”
Bray said serving any one of the programs at Grand Central Station is nothing less than doing God’s will.
“Local businesses, churches and individuals are the strength of our organization and we are so grateful for the cooperation and generosity of all the volunteers and groups,” she said. “Together we are making a change in many ways.”
Bray said she only started reading and studying the Bible in her 40’s.
“It has had more impact than any other book I’ve read,” she said, noting that studying it is part of her daily ritual. “It speaks to me about a loving God who gives me direction regarding my purpose, teaching me about love, kindness, discernment, trust, non-judgement and grace. Today I am growing by leaps and bounds through His planting me at Grand Central Station.”
The Game of Life & How to Play It by Florence Scovel Shinn
While the book was written in 1925, Bray first read it in her early 20’s.
“I have gifted this book to many people throughout the years, as it literally changed my life,” she said. “To this day, I refer to it regularly. It keeps me focused on how I need to purposefully live my life.”
Bray said the book has taught her that life is not a battle, but a game of giving and receiving, and cannot be played without the knowledge of spiritual law through God.
“Today, the giving is love and non-judgement for the folks at the soup kitchen,” she said, “and the receiving is the love and non-judgement from the folks at the soup kitchen.”
The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
Bray said a “tipping point” happens when individual events occur in numbers that then create a trend, which can lead to a change.
“I see application of this at Grand Central Station by making a change one person at a time,” she said. “That one person can have an impact on changing another, and so forth. This relates to awareness and understanding of what homeless communities are about, what they want (and) don’t want, and what they need (and) don’t need. We come to understand this community by taking each under served person on his/her individual terms of wants and needs. Cumulatively, then, we can reach that tipping point.”