Habitat seeks new director as Heydon transfers to parent group

Pat Heydon, far left, breaks ground on a new Habitat for Humanity home in Waseca County. Heydon resigned as executive director of the Steele-Waseca affiliate in December to take a position with Habitat for Humanity International. (File photo)

By: William Morris
January 17, 2018

Habitat for Humanity is in the market for a new executive director for its Steele-Waseca affiliate.

The former director, Pat Heydon, resigned last month to take a new position with the operational excellence department of Habitat for Humanity International. Heydon had held the position here for about four years, and oversaw the completion of four new homes and several other programming initiatives.

In her absence, her daughter, Community Engagement Coordinator Ellen Heydon, is holding down the fort.

“I’m taking on some of the day-to-day things until we get a new executive director hired, but otherwise it’s the same thing I’ve been doing for a year now,” she said.

Taylor Herman, president of the Steele-Waseca affiliate board of directors, said Habitat is currently accepting applications for the vacancy, with the goal to make a hire by the end of February.

What are they looking for? Any of a number of skillsets, he said.

“We haven’t solidified that perfect person, because there’s so many aspects [to the job] he said.

Herman said he hopes to find someone with a background in the nonprofit world, and would be happy to find someone with experience in construction management, mortgage finance or even social work.

“Pat had primarily a social worker background, so she was great working with the families,” he said. “Family support and financial education is a big part of this role as well.”

One thing Habitat knows it wants is someone who will continue Heydon’s efforts to expand Habitat’s footprint in Steele and Waseca counties.

“Somebody that’s wanting to make an impact in the community, that’s a big thing, working with other nonprofits and seeing how our services can mesh well together,” Herman said. “[Pat] had a lot of great ideas she brought back from other affiliates, and ways we can be present in the community, not just building a house. That was a bit of a different thought process than the normal Habitat thought process, which is building houses and doing repairs.”

In the interim, Habitat does not have a build underway, so Ellen Heydon, the sole current staffer, is focusing her efforts on a new fundraiser to take place in April. The affiliate also is temporarily not accepting applications, until a director with mortgage origination certification can be hired or trained.

Pat Heydon, who could not be reached for comment, will remain based in Owatonna, her daughter said, and will continue to help out on a volunteer basis with the local affiliate.

“She played a big roll with Habitat Minnesota. She was a board member, and I believe she will continue with that, so she was a great face for us and for Minnesota Habitat,” Herman said. “I’m looking forward to see where she goes next. We’re excited to keep her in the Habitat family. We wish her all the best.”

William Morris got his start in the newspaper trade as a recurring editorial intern in Wisconsin and has been writing about business, government and crime at the Owatonna People’s Press since 2015. He now splits his time working with the newspaper and as Associate Editor for Forge.

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