Michigan Habitat for Humanity CEO speaks at Alpena dinner

News Photo by Darby Hinkley John Williams, president and CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Michigan, speaks at the annual Habitat for Humanity Northeast Michigan dinner and fundraiser on Thursday evening in the Phoenix Room at JJ’s Steak and Pizza House in Alpena.

ALPENA — An experienced servant leader spoke to a banquet room full of caring community members on Thursday night at the Habitat for Humanity Northeast Michigan dinner and fundraiser.

John Williams, president and CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Michigan, trekked up from Lansing to share some insights on moving forward with the right mindset in organizational leadership.

Williams’ speech aligned with Habitat for Humanity’s mission statement, “Seeking to put God’s love into action, Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities, and hope.”

Williams said there are 45 affiliates in the Habitat for Humanity network that he supports as president/CEO.

“My job is to make sure that the local affiliates have the money and the resources to carry out God’s mission,” Williams said. “I take that very seriously.”

News Photo by Darby Hinkley Habitat for Humanity of Michigan President/CEO John Williams, left, receives a T-shirt from Habitat for Humanity Northeast Michigan Executive Director Ted Fines, right, after speaking at Thursday night’s annual dinner and fundraiser.

He continued, focusing on the principles of good leadership.

“I want to talk to you about leadership worth following,” Williams told the crowd of about 85 people. “Seeking to put God’s love into action, we bring people together. Bringing people together is leadership.”

He said we need to talk about “future” to succeed.

“If you sit through a traditional board meeting, we’re going to talk about now, we might talk about next, but we never talk about future,” he said, adding that we are bogged down by what’s happening right now, but we need to look ahead to be successful. “God’s model is now, future, and next. Think about it.”

He added that with God at the center, the future is in good hands.

“As we talk about growth, we have to put future ahead of next,” Williams said. “Because if you put future ahead of next, future drives your next.”

“It takes a lot of hard work and leadership to run an organization,” said Ted Fines, executive director of Habitat for Humanity Northeast Michigan. “We do represent five counties ­– Presque Isle, Alpena, Alcona, Oscoda, and Montmorency. And, because of the demands and no Habitats in surrounding counties, we do work in five additional counties. We are the largest physical Habitat in the country right now.”

Fines recognized his staff for all their hard work and dedication, including Construction Supervisor Brian Shumaker, Critical Home Repair Coordinator Kristen LeSage, and Community Outreach/Homeownership Coordinator Jennifer Nestell.

Habitat for Humanity Northeast Michigan Board of Directors include President Max Lindsay, Vice President Randy MacAulay, Treasurer R. Darren Rhoads, and Secretary Jeanne Meskus. Board members are the Rev. Christina Bright, Robert Kennedy, Gia MacNeil, John Murphy, Robert Stacy, Andrew Welser, Matthew Wojda, and Tom Wolfe.

The ReStore team includes Anthony Barclay, Ed Bradbury, Jess Humphrey, Nicholas Higgison, Lucas Gware, David Haskin, Marc Quinn, Gaige Kowalski, Ona Rude, Heather Krey, Haley LeSage, Cathy Moore, Payton LeSage, Gary Noell, and Scott Huskey.

The event was held in the Phoenix Room at JJ’s Steak and Pizza House. It included a buffet dinner, 50/50 drawing, and live auction.

For more information about Habitat for Humanity Northeast Michigan, call 989-354-5555 or visit the Habitat offices and ReStore at 2630 U.S.-23 South, Alpena.


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