Habitat For Humanity of the Greater Teton Area looks for new leader after turnover
By Emma Breysse, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
January 18, 2013
Habitat For Humanity of the Greater Teton Area is seeking a new executive director after Sandy Hessler announced in early December that she would step down from the job.
After taking on the position in April, Hessler realized that with her new professional duties she was not able to fulfill her family responsibilities, board member Patty Lummis said.
“It was just taking more time than she could take from her family commitments,” Lummis said. “But we are really looking forward to having her be involved in fundraising and land acquisition, those more project-based things.”
During her eight-month tenure as executive director, Hessler oversaw the start of Habitat’s current project in Teton Village. She also organized the top fundraising event in Habitat’s history with this past summer’s Dream-builder luncheon.
Former Habitat board member Peter French will serve as the organization’s interim executive director while the board searches for Hessler’s replacement.
Applications to fill the position have been coming in over the past month. The application period, which ended last week, drew more than 40 people interested in the job, said Assistant Director Lauren Conrad.
Candidates are a mix of local and out-of-state candidates, with some “really strong” local interest, Conrad said. The selection committee already has begun interviewing potential candidates, she said.
Lummis said Habitat is looking for someone with a strong commitment to the organization’s core mission.
“We are excited to see the interest,” Lummis said. “It’s hard to be successful in this job if you don’t really understand that decent, affordable housing can be the foundation for really long-term financial security, and I think we have a lot of candidates that truly believe in the mission.”
If all goes as planned, the new executive director should start sometime in March, with several months to go until the organization’s Teton Village building project is complete, Lummis said. The project currently is on schedule for completion during the summer, possibly as early as June, she said.
The new director will be responsible for finding a site for Habitat’s next building project and negotiating to purchase the land.
“So if you have a lot you’re looking to donate, we’re listening,” Lummis said.