When Bradlee Dodds made plans to re-enter the workforce after a long absence, she knew the type of job she’d like.

“I can’t tell you how many times I thought, wow, if I could find something like the United Way job,” the 52-year-old Brownwood resident said in a recent phone interview.

Dodds was referring to her years as executive director of the Brown County United Way, a post she held from 1994-2003.

Dodds found that job, and it is remarkably like the United Way job she once held. In fact, it is the United Way job.

Dodds starts Monday as the agency’s executive director, replacing Karen Lynch, who is resigning because of her husband’s job transfer.

Dodds’ husband, Greg, is CEO and president of TexasBank. After previously working as chief executive officer of the United Way for 8 1/2 years, Dodds elected to stay home and raise the couple’s son and daughter, Sawyer and Felicity.

Sawyer is now a a musician in Nashville and Felicity is a student at Texas Tech University.

“It’s been 17 years since I worked as the executive director of the Brown County United Way,” Dodds said. “I’m real excited about getting back into the work force. I stayed home with my kids, but continue to work in the community and volunteer. I love Brownwood and I’m looking forward to being back in a position to help my community.”

Although Dodds has been absent from the workforce, her resume reflects a long list of volunteer experience and honors.

Dodds grew up as the daughter of a Navy man, which meant she lived in numerous places. “Nothing ever felt like home,” Dodds said.

Her four years as a Texas Tech University student were the longest she’d been in one location.

Dodds graduated from Tech in 1989 with a merchandising degree.

She and Greg, who is from Brownwood, met as college students and were married as Greg was completing a master’s degree.

The two moved to Houston for Greg’s first job, which was with Nations Bank. The bank moved them to Waco, then to Brownwood.

(“The bank) had talked about, after a couple of years, moving us,” Dodds said. “So (Greg) decided to approach TexasBank, and he’s been there ever since — because we wanted to stay.”

Dodds said someone approached her about working for United Way, and she took the job as executive director in 1994. Dodds thinks she was the agency’s first paid employee.

“It just seemed like such a great fit,” Dodds said.

Preparing to start working for a second time as the United Way’s executive director, Dodds said, “both my kids are gone. I stayed at home and raised them and for the last couple of years I’ve been looking for something that was flexible and part time, and a way to get involved in the community.

“I wasn’t born and raised in Brownwood but I raised both my kids here, and it definitely feels like home to me. I wanted to do something that I was passionate about. I did it for 8 1/2 years and it was just always a job I was passionate about, because I’m passionate about the community.”

Dodds said she “absolutely” considers Brownwood as her hometown.

“I think the thing I have loved about Brownwood is that it is a smaller town,” Dodds said. “If there’s an emergency, everybody seems to jump in, work together, stand united and in a smaller town it’s easy to make a big impact.

“Any time you have a need or want to do something, it feels like the community will really rally around you. You can have a significant impact in our community. I think that’s what makes me tick.”

Dodds said the United Way job is a combination of “being able to work with the community, being able to work with businesses in our community, and to be able to help others. That’s my passion.

“I’m really looking forward to this next chapter, to getting back into the work force and I’m really excited about it.”

Bradlee Dodds