Employee Spotlight: Ray Crosen
Ray Crosen has been with Grafton for over 30 years, and he even met his wife here! Over the last three decades, he’s worked at our campuses in Winchester, Berryville, and traveled the country with our Ukeru division. Earlier this year, he stepped into his most exciting role yet: Executive Director of Grafton’s Richmond program. Learn more about Ray in our Q&A!
Q: What was your first job at Grafton?
I started in Berryville in 1990 as a direct support professional (DSP)—or a “residential assistant,” as it was called back then. I was part of the Delta Program, which provided group homes for children with learning disabilities and emotional challenges. I worked with the children on social skills and took them out into the community.
I was 22 when I started, and I met my wife in my first PDT (professional development training) class with Tony Sanders. We were partnered together, and after class I asked her out on a date. We were engaged three months later, and we’ve been together 31 years.
Q: What sparked your interest in behavioral health?
That’s a tough question. I think I just wanted to help people. There have been things in my past that made me want to help people out—to let them know someone cared.
Q: How did you go from DSP to Executive Director?
The great thing about Grafton is the ability to advance within the organization through hard work. I was able to work my way up from a DSP to a manager in the group homes, and then I was offered a job as an overnight support supervisor. That was probably the hardest job I had due to my sleep schedule being thrown off, so five months later I went back to working in the group homes. Soon after that, I was asked to be a supervisor for the Millwood program, which was a former Grafton site near Shenandoah University with a school and group homes.
Since then, it feels like I’ve worked everywhere. I jumped around to help out different programs in Maryland, Fairfax, and Loudoun County. I was a program manager in Winchester, I worked on the Ukeru team, and I was asked to come support the Richmond program when the pandemic hit.
When I arrived here, I had no idea that I would be overseeing our Richmond operations permanently, but it has been a wonderful experience. I fell in love with the program and the people. This is one of the most amazing teams that I’ve ever had the opportunity to work with. I’m grateful for everything that Grafton has done for me. There’s really so much opportunity.
Q: How do you hope to make an impact in your new role?
I’m a hands-on executive director, and I’m never going to ask someone to do something that I wouldn’t do. I believe having good relationships is key to doing any job well. I want to make this program the best it can be, and my goal is to enroll a historic number of day students in our school. Winchester is currently Grafton’s biggest campus, but I’m hoping Richmond can grow to surpass it.
Q: What’s your typical workday like?
On a typical day, I’m walking around the school and talking with the staff, children, and managers. I try to stay connected with everyone. One day, I may be a janitor helping with an overflowed toilet. Another day, I may be stepping in to help with a crisis. I just try to support people however I can, because I think that’s how you get buy-in from people.
Q: What is the best thing about working at Grafton?
Grafton has been my family from day one. Even though we’re a big business now, it has always had that family atmosphere because I’ve had so many great relationships with so many wonderful people. If there’s a funeral or something, it’s amazing how many people show up from Grafton. For me, it’s really about the special connections with the people I work with. Those relationships have been my key to success.
Q: What would you tell someone who is considering working at the Richmond campus?
I would tell them to go for it. We have a wonderful mission here. We’re working hard each day to make a great program, and we have some of the greatest people in the world working here. If you come here, it will change your life.