The Community of Nonprofit Scholars (CONS) welcomed its latest guest speaker, Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International, on Thursday, January 14th.
The program began with an introduction from Clare Jordan, Director of Marketing and Philanthropic Engagement at Capital Development Services, and member of the Institute’s External Advisory Council. Ms. Jordan started the Habitat for Humanity campus chapter while she was a student here at NC State. Her experiences in starting the campus chapter led to what she called, “an unexpected but truly rewarding career in the nonprofit sector.” In her introduction, Ms. Jordan described the transformational effect Habitat for Humanity involvement has had on both NC State students and the Wake County community.
This theme of transformation continued through Mr. Reckford’s talk, as he addressed the challenges of leading a large, international organization. “If you aren’t changing, you start going backwards,” Reckford said as he discussed the strategic planning process he led Habitat through. Reckford views Habitat as playing the role of both partner and catalyst. In leading the organization through this process, the organizational mentality shifted from “How many houses can we build?” to “What would it take to meaningfully change the housing deficit in this community?” Reckford came to realize that, while nonprofits need data to improve their decisions, one cannot convince people with data alone. Hearts aren’t changed by data, Reckford insists. Hearts are changed by personal stories. The talk ended with an engaging question and answer session.
The Community of Nonprofit Scholars is a forum for connecting university researchers with nonprofit leaders. To learn more, click here.
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