Care Net CEO Honored at Nexus Conference
By Catherine Elvy, Staff Writer
At the Nexus Student Conference this winter, plenary speaker Roland Warren talked about servant leadership and Christianity’s counterintuitive pathway to true success.
“You are meant for greatness – true greatness,” said Warren (Princeton ’83, Penn MBA ’96), chief executive officer of Care Net. “I’m hoping to inspire you to live truly great, in the upside-down way we find in the Bible.”
In February, Warren addressed nearly 300 students from top universities at Christian Union’s annual conference in New Brunswick, New Jersey, where he received the Christian Leader of the Year Award. At Nexus, Warren was honored for his longtime commitment to championing pro-life and family causes, along with leadership development.
“There’s greatness in each and every one of you,” Warren said. “Are you willing to stand up for Christ’s model of greatness?”
Such comments were a nod to the conference’s theme, “Turn the World Upside Down (Acts 17:6).”
“The more vulnerable the others you serve, the greater you are,” Warren said. “Jesus turned the world upside down and He is calling you to go and do likewise.”
As for Warren, the former Princeton athlete has devoted much of his professional life to recasting unplanned pregnancies as opportunities.
In the early 1980s, Warren was an unlikely candidate to become a spokesman for pro-life and family issues.
During his junior year at Princeton University, Warren learned his girlfriend, Yvette, was pregnant. Despite the pressures to opt for abortion, the psychology major and running back decided to keep the child, marry, and shun the thread of fatherlessness within the African-American community.
His wife, the former Yvette Lopez, earned a psychology degree from Princeton in 1985 and now practices family medicine in Maryland.
Warren went on to serve nearly a dozen years as president of the National Fatherhood Initiative. While at the helm of the Maryland-based organization, the father of two funneled his passion for highlighting the needs of fatherless children and equipping dads to embrace their roles.
That background, plus earlier stints in the corporate arena, dovetailed perfectly in 2012 when Warren stepped up to become president and CEO of Care Net, a Christian pregnancy center network.
Warren, who grew up in a fatherless home, hopes his story will inspire young men facing unplanned pregnancies to become committed fathers. He has shared his story and spoken on issues of marriage and fatherhood across a spectrum of media outlets. His appearances include: The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Today Show, CNN, Focus on the Family, Dateline NBC, and BET. Likewise, his writings have been printed in The Washington Post, Christianity Today, and The Wall Street Journal.
As well, Warren sought to provide a meaningful resource for parents when he penned Bad Dads of the Bible: 8 Mistakes Every Good Dad Can Avoid. In the 2014 book, Warren presented accounts of godly fathers who made common, but costly mistakes, and he explored ways contemporary dads can handle similar situations.
Essentially, wise individuals learn from the mistakes of others. That is why the Bible features candid accounts of the missteps of flawed characters alongside celebrated narratives of unexpected heroes.
Chronicles of basic human miscalculations and misdeeds provide rich learning materials for individuals of all eras, whether new parents or contemporary college students. “That’s really why these mistakes were put out there for others to see,” Warren said.
As for his recent visit to Nexus, Warren told students to view their circumstances through the lens of Christian discipleship. “A legacy is not something that you leave. It’s something that you live every day,” said Warren. “See God’s purpose for your life.”
“It’s never too late and it’s never too early to start being great.”