There is a new set of eyes keeping watch over the Diocese of Syracuse, making sure that all folks and facilities are safe and sound, and as risk-free as possible. Brian McAuliffe has been on the job since the beginning of the year, and he brings extensive experience in risk management of organizations and facilities to the table.
McAuliffe is enjoying a “welcome home” moment in the Diocese, having grown up in Syracuse’s Valley neighborhood. It’s also a moment of irony that he has grown from being a risk personified to a risk manager.
“I was Dennis the Menace,” he explains, talking about his childhood days. “I would hit the wall just as my brain was telling me to stop.” Fortunately, any injuries sustained were quickly tended to by his mother, a local physician of great note.
“Catherine McAuliffe, doctor, quit practicing when she had all of us,” McAuliffe says about his mom and his siblings. But Dr. McAuliffe went on to make great contributions to local geriatric care. The Catherine McAuliffe Health Center, named for Brian’s mother, is part of the Pace CNY/Loretto care system.
Brian attended St. James Church in the Valley (now Our Lady of Hope) and his home growing up was visited by clergy on a regular basis including late Bishops Frank Harrison and Thomas Costello. He received his undergraduate degree in Political Science and Government from the University of Notre Dame and his MBA from Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management. Following five-year career stops at The Woodbine Group and Transitional Living Services of Onondaga County, Brian moved to the Chicago area as Director of Risk Management, CFO and Director of Operations for Willow Creek Community Church which consists of seven different worship sites.
“It was a tremendous opportunity … 21 years out there,” McAuliffe says. His wife is originally from New Jersey and a need to get her back closer to her parents to help provide care was a stimulus to return to the East, “plus we just love it here,” adds McAuliffe, talking about Central New York.
The Diocese of Syracuse’s risk-management needs are many, as with any organization of its size, and McAuliffe points out that the “biggest area of concern right now is that there are so many properties that are underutilized, which can lead to risk exposure.” Emphasizing good policies and practices is very important in managing the churches, schools, cemeteries and other entities that make up the Diocese, McAuliffe adding that what he does is more than risk management, it is ministry.
“It’s always been ministry to me, creating safe environments so people can worship God,” adds McAuliffe. “I’m so excited God is letting me use the gifts he’s given me to continue this.”
McAuliffe and his wife, Jan, reside in Camillus. They have two sons, one living in Chicago and one in Boston.