Habitat veteran picked to lead Teton office
By Emma Breysse, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
March 22, 2013
A Habitat For Humanity veteran from Atlanta will fill the top spot at Habitat of the Greater Teton Area, the organization announced Thursday.
Yamiko Samu, who currently works as the leadership development officer for Atlanta Habitat, will take over the job April 1.
“The decision was definitely based on his experience and a demonstrated commitment to Habitat,” Assistant Director Lauren Conrad said.
Along with 15 years of working for Habitat, Samu’s resume boasts nonprofit home-building work in South Africa and Malawi, where he managed projects and coordinated volunteers, she said. His current position in Atlanta is primarily in the fundraising department, Conrad said.
The executive director position at Habitat, a nonprofit that focuses on building houses for low-income families, has been vacant since former E.D. Sandy Hessler announced in December 2012 she would step down to better fulfill her family responsibilities.
Habitat Board President Peter French has filled in on an interim basis while a hiring committee searched for a new full-time director.
Samu visited Jackson before accepting the job, and plans to relocate to the area with his wife and three young children in the next week, Conrad said.
His primary responsibilities in the short term will be fundraising and acquiring land for the organization’s next building project.
Habitat currently is building four homes in Teton Village. That project is on schedule for completion this summer. Habitat hopes to begin another project as soon as possible after that, Conrad said. Samu’s work will be instrumental in making that happen, she said.
“I think everybody is really confident having met him,” she said. “He did come out and meet with the board and the staff, and I think that helped us all feel like we’re on the same page.”