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For Brian Gedicks, one of the joys of working for the Knights of Columbus is to sleep well at night knowing that the mission of his client aligns with his Catholic faith and exists as a force for good in today’s world.
“I am so genuinely happy, honored really, to be working for an organization that does so much good not only in the United States but around the world,” says the associate general counsel. “I am grateful to my general counsel for taking the chance to hire me ten years ago to work for such a terrific client. There are not many attorneys who have the privilege of attending daily mass in their office building.”
In his role as associate general counsel, Gedicks is responsible for litigation management, tax, insurance coverage, risk management, council governance and fraternal issues, and general legal matters.
His journey to the organization wasn’t a straight shot. Gedicks joined the US Navy straight out of high school and eventually headed to the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, to study music education.
“Music was my first love, and I had a simple desire to be a teacher,” he says. “I had taken some basic philosophy courses while in college and that passion never really went away. My wife noticed I was spending more time reading and working on philosophy than I was on music.”
After five years teaching at a private school in suburban Washington, DC, Gedicks decided to go to grad school to study philosophy and law, a unique dual-degree program offered at the Catholic University. Upon graduating, Gedicks clerked for the Chief Judge of the Connecticut Appellate Court for a year and then worked in insurance coverage and appellate practice in private practice at Halloran & Sage before being approached by the Knights of Columbus to work in-house.
“I was classmates with a Brother Knight of Columbus during law school who went on to work at the Department of Justice. There he worked with our current general counsel, John Marrella, who was just making the transition to the Knights of Columbus,” Gedicks explains. “John was looking to hire someone, and my classmate made mentioned my name. That was in 2009. I am so grateful that he thought of me at that moment!”
Gedicks believes his teaching background has helped him communicate better on the job, as he’s able to display a certain passion and excitement about what he’s talking about. His philosophy background helps him with deep analysis and concepts, while the law melds those two worlds together.
“I am so happy to work with colleagues I genuinely respect and look up to. They constantly inspire me to demand more from myself to ensure that I am giving my best.”
“You need to have a good understanding of how the law works, and you need to communicate that understanding, while at the same time being persuasive and an effective advocate for your client—no small challenge!” he explains. “Having a background as a law clerk helped prepare me for my role as associate general counsel and brought many aspects of my background together. Everything in my life that I’ve ever done, including my military experience, has prepared me well for my career at the Knights of Columbus.”
He calls his role “a dream job that I never knew existed.”
The initiative Gedicks is most proud of during his ten years with the Knights is taking on the task of updating and strengthening the organization’s safe environment program by improving the rigor of the training and improving the background check process on key leaders in the organization.
“Ultimately, that led to me being asked to form a new, unified Office of Youth Protection for the Knights of Columbus, which started in 2016,” says Gedicks, who serves as the director. “That’s been really terrific, and we’ve been doing a lot of things to teach our members, their families, and other young people how to be aware of the risks of abuse and was to reduce that risk. It was a vision that our Supreme Knight, Carl Anderson, had in wanting to better communicate to our members the risk of child abuse and inform them of learning behaviors predators use to trick them.”
Through the program, Gedicks has also helped produce a set of videos called “Protecting Our Children.” A son of one of the Knights had experienced abuse at the hands of a family friend, and his parents turned the situation into an opportunity to tell their story so other families could also be aware, Gedicks explains.
“You need to have a good understanding of how the law works, and you need to communicate that understanding, while at the same time being persuasive and an effective advocate for your client.”
“A lot of similar programs hardly focus on family-to-family abuse,” he explains. “These videos educate parents on what they should be aware of. I am so honored and grateful that the Supreme Knight entrusted this significant project to me—his vision for this program was its driving force.
The videos are available through the Knights of Columbus website, in addition to online training. Looking at the months ahead, Gedicks’s goals are to complete the Protecting Our Children program and additional online training, then roll it out to as many people as possible.
“I’d love to share this with the Catholic dioceses, other community organizations, and anyone who wants to help families and get the word out about this important information on how to protect the children in their lives,” he shares. “This project has been inspirational and gratifying.”
Above all else, Gedicks values the privilege of working with amazing people at the Knights of Columbus. “I am so happy to work with colleagues I genuinely respect and look up to,” Gedicks says. “They constantly inspire me to demand more from myself to ensure that I am giving my best.”