Question 1: How long have you been involved with Habitat, and what got you interested in the organization?
I have been with Habitat for Humanity of Hamilton County close to 3 years (October of 2010) and prior to my time in Hamilton County, I was the CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Johnson County for 2 years. I love the work that we do here at Habitat with our partner families in working with them to create safe, decent and affordable living environments where our families can learn to live, love, and grow. I also love working with our communities and I was drawn to this organization because of our ability to affect real change in peoples lives and have found a mission that allows us to work throughout our communities to help strengthen them, revitalize neighborhoods, and help to create or recreate an engaged, diverse, and caring neighborhood communities.
Question 2: Do you get involved in builds personally? If so, what do you like working on?
I do get involved as much as I can and as time allows. I have a tendency to hurt myself on build sites, 9 stitches in my thumb last year during the Katz, Sapper & Miller Blitz Build Rehab project, so our team is trying very hard to limit me to the work I do on the build sites. Mostly, I love to just learn on the build sites. There are so many new things happening at any given time on the site that I am bound to run into something I don't know how to do and I always gravitate to that work, especially with our many volunteers.
Question 3: Habitat has been around a long time, but people sometimes have misconceptions. What is a myth that you’d like to correct about the program?
I believe that the biggest myth I would like to correct is that many folks in our community of Hamilton County really question if there is a need for a Habitat for Humanity affiliate in Hamilton County. Yes, we live in an extraordinarily well-off county. Yes, we live in one of the wealthiest communities in the state and the nation, but we also have a large population base in Hamilton County that is simply struggling to make ends meet. It may have been best said by Mark McConaghy, CDBG Coordinator for the Noblesville Housing Authority, when he stated in the August 17, 2011 Indianapolis Star, "There's sort of a hidden population in Hamilton County. It doesn't get talked about the way it does in Indianapolis. But they're here."
Question 4: Do you have any personal stories of interactions with clients that keep you motivated about the mission?
Sure! One of my favorites happened on our very first home that our team completed here in Hamilton County in Fortville, IN with Lydia and her children. After the Home Dedication celebration, I walked into to find Lydia's 9 year old daughter doing snow angels on the carpet in her new bedroom. I asked her why she was doing snow angels on the carpet and she replied that she had never had this before. I assumed she meant carpet in her room and when I asked her that, she stopped, looked right at me and said no, that she had had carpet before, just not her own room. That was a very powerful, humbling, and motivating moment for me.
Question 5: What do you do in your professional life before Habitat, and how is did that draw you here?
Before my time with Habitat for Humanity of Hamilton County and Johnson County, I was the Executive Director of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Indiana. I very much enjoyed and took great pride in the mission of the organization, but was drawn to Habitat for Humanity because of the long-term, sustained and profound change that we have the opportunity to create for our partner families, our donors, our volunteers, and the communities that we work in. I simply love the change and opportunities that this organization can have on so many lives through the execution of our mission and ministry.