Heather (she/her) has over six years of executive leadership experience in nonprofit program operations and grant management, with nearly ten years of experience in web-based data systems focused on the human services and nonprofit sector. Heather earned a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Minnesota focusing on Macro Practice Social Work (i.e. systems, administration, policy) and is a Licensed Graduate Social Worker (LGSW).
Heather was the Director of Program Operations at St. Stephen’s Human Services for the past six years, where she oversaw contract and data compliance for a variety of programs working to end homelessness in Hennepin County. Heather’s previous work experiences have helped shape her approach to supporting nonprofits streamline administrative and contractual responsibilities in ways that encourage staff to focus their time and energy on what makes their organization meaningful to the community.
In her role as the Interim Operations Coordinator, Heather will support Council staff and internal operations by providing program and administrative support; serving as a board and committee liaison; assisting with event planning activities; and supporting the Council’s communications plan. Heather started in this role on August 9th and will be with our team through the end of the year. Read on to learn more about why she joined the Council, what nonprofit causes she’s passionate about, and where you can find her favorite Kansas City BBQ spot!
What excites you about joining the Council team?
Joining the Council team as the Interim Operations Coordinator is a new and exciting experience. Interim roles are unique because you have the opportunity to step into an organization for a limited duration of time to keep current systems operating, while also being a resource with fresh eyes. The Council provides opportunities and resources to connect donors and nonprofits in ways that encourage responsible giving and advance philanthropy in our communities. I love building my toolkit of resources and ideas that can support agency transparency and create organizational efficiencies. The opportunity to learn the different internal and external platforms that support this work has brought me renewed energy and excitement. I can’t wait to dive in!
How have you seen nonprofits play a role and show up in community?
Communities know what is best for their community. Nonprofits exist to respond to community need and because of that, there is a great deal of responsibility nonprofits (and the sector as a whole) have to listen to their community and respond accordingly.
I see nonprofits as a vessel for the energy and passion necessary to create meaningful change that dismantles systems of oppression and create a world where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. I am in constant awe and appreciation of the incredible individuals at nonprofits who pour their hearts into what is often emotionally taxing work in order to create a better future.
What is your favorite nonprofit cause or focus area?
I strongly believe having access to safe, dignified, and affordable housing is a human right. Causes focused on Affordable Housing and programs that honor a Housing First approach are important to me in order to support a holistic approach to meeting people where they’re at. A few incredible organizations doing this work in the Twin Cities include St. Stephen’s Human Services, Simpson Housing Services, YouthLink and The Link.
Other social justice related organizations I follow closely include Planned Parenthood, Women’s Foundation of Minnesota, and Unicorn Riot.
When you’re not connecting with donors and nonprofits, what do you like to do for fun?
In my spare time, I love eating food, playing a variety of sports (for the social aspect, though I do have a competitive side!), learning new games, and spending time with family. Pre-COVID I took any opportunity I could to travel, but lately I have enjoyed exploring new places closer to home and increasing my time outdoors. Earlier this year we took a quick road trip to Kansas City for the primary purpose of enjoying local BBQ, with our favorite spot being Kansas City Joe’s (fka Oklahoma Joe’s) located in a gas station. We’re always looking for new places to visit, so if you know of a unique or must-see day trip in the area, let me know!