Jeff Manley was introduced to Child Advocates five years ago through his friend and colleague, Brad Robbins. Having grown up in a large family with five younger siblings, he was initially interested in volunteering his time as an advocate.
“I have a soft spot in my heart for kids and kids that are disadvantaged,” Jeff said, “I think a lot of kids could do so much better in the world if they had a better opportunity.”
Jeff has been advocated for six children on five cases and is currently working with a 12-year-old boy. After three years as an advocate, Jeff joined the Board of Directors. He has served as the finance committee chair and is currently the liaison between the Child Advocates board and the Child Advocates Endowment board. Jeff’s professional work in banking, leadership in his career, as well as his years an advocate, make him a valuable asset to the organization.
“I read once that every board needs someone who will be a ‘pleasant irritant’—someone who encourages people to think differently—Jeff fills that role. He is passionate about Child Advocates and our mission. He is incredibly supportive of his fellow board members, volunteers and our staff. Jeff has a comprehensive understanding of our financial operations, he asks tough, probing questions and he pushes back when something doesn’t make sense. He also has a great sense of humor! I am grateful for his stewardship and the opportunity to work with and learn from him,” says Elizabeth Greer, Child Advocates Finance and Operations Director.
Jeff has developed a great appreciation for Child Advocates. His insight as an advocate gives him the ability to share from multiple perspectives. “That’s the value I bring to the board and with my interactions at Child Advocates. I know it from all sides, the finance and governance side, as well as the advocacy side. I see all the things the advocates are going through,” Jeff said, “The advocates have a big responsibility and work to do.”
Jeff’s focus is on helping Child Advocates garner more support from the community, both financially and through advocates. “I want it to be an organization that serves Harris County in the most effective way—through more advocates, more cases, supported by more resources,” Jeff explained. If someone asked him about Child Advocates today, he would say, “The need is greater today than it was a year ago or two years ago. Your support matters. It matters a whole lot right now.”
When Jeff is not working as the Chief Operation Officer for Armadillo Financial Partners or raising his six children, he loves to mountain climb and travel the world. Recently, he took a motorcycle adventure around Iceland and toured Morocco. “You wouldn’t want to stare at spreadsheets all day,” he explained, “Most people think of me as quiet and reserved, low key and under the radar—that’s all true. I’m happy to be in a room and let someone else have the spotlight. But I do have a little fun now and then.”
written by Lauren Bair