Zelna Joseph has worked to prevent teen prostitution in the nation’s capital, started an AIDS prevention outreach program in Russia and now is leading the effort to provide affordable health care to low-income residents of Colorado Springs.
A 35-year resident of Colorado Springs, Joseph has devoted her life to various nonprofit causes.
She took time recently to tell the CSBJ about herself and her business.
Organization: SET Family Medical Clinics
Position: President and CEO
Hometown: Colorado Springs
How long have you lived in Colorado Springs: More than 35 years
Education: Bachelor’s degree in organizational management from Colorado Christian University, master’s degree in liberal studies/language and communication from Regis University
A few words about your company: SET Family Medical Clinics is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded by the Sisters of Charity during 1990. Our mission is to provide acute medical care and holistic health services to uninsured, underinsured, homeless and low income people without discrimination.
Recent accomplishments: Although I did not accomplish these things by myself, under my leadership SET has grown from a $543,000 budget to a $1.2 million budget. We developed a five-year strategic plan which we are executing on time and under budget. We have increased our patient base by 65 percent.
Biggest career break: While living in Washington, D.C., I had the opportunity to lead a team of experts to Russia to help develop HIV/AIDS prevention outreach programs.
The toughest part of your job: Raising money to continue serving our population. Colorado Springs has so many nonprofit organizations, and unfortunately the available resources are limited and stretched way too thin.
Someone you admire: Dr. Dorothy I. Height, president of the National Council of Negro Women. For nearly half a century, she has given leadership to the struggle for equality and human rights for all people.
About your family: I come from a large military family with eight brothers and sisters. My father, a retired Army sergeant, is deceased, but my mother still lives in Colorado Springs. I have two adult sons and two wonderful grandchildren.
Something else you’d like to accomplish: One day I would like to start a family foundation and take on the challenge of giving money to support worthy organizations throughout the community that are dedicated to serving those in need. I am committed to working to build healthy communities by helping people to achieve their maximum potential.
How your business will change in the next decade: I hope we will have a universal health care system where every individual has access to quality, affordable health care.
What book are you currently reading? “Race, Religion, and Racism” by Frederick Price.
What is the one thing you would change about Colorado Springs? If I could change one thing it would probably be to pay the City Council and the mayor a competitive wage that would ultimately open the way for more people to participate in local city government. I think a lot of really great and talented people would get involved if they earned enough to make ends meet.