Phyllis Snodgrass: A CEO’s Faith Builds Homes

January 14 - Sarah Ashlock

FIRST THOUGHT: Building Community

Today, be a connector. As we are all holed up in our apartments or houses, driving solo to work in our cars or sitting alone in our office, it’s challenging to feel like we’re part of something bigger. But, we are. Communities don’t just happen. There’s no longer the woodworker or metalsmith in the town square. You don’t stop off at the bakery or dressmaker’s shop. This isn’t
Downton Abbey. Don’t wait around for someone to build a community for you. Make your own. Let your vet know about your fabulous dog walker. Share your wedding photographer’s information on the Nextdoor app. By celebrating and connecting with others, your altruism will give you warm-and-fuzzy vibes.

WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 10 million

I happen to live in a neighborhood where, I’d say, 80 percent of the businesses are owned by women. They’ve seen tremendous success, in part because they view their companies as complementary rather than competitive. That little change in thinking ultimately makes for better
business. My area isn’t all too special, because women are often business owners. In fact, they are responsible for nearly 10 million. Boss babes FTW.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Phyllis Snodgrass, CEO of Austin Habitat for Humanity
When Habitat for Humanity started in Georgia about four decades ago, it had the same mission as it does today: provide no-cost housing for those in need. Today, the nonprofit has given thousands of people a home. Phyllis Snodgrass is the CEO for the Austin, Texas Habitat for Humanity.

With years in the real estate industry and her COO position with the city’s chamber of commerce, Phyllis has a strong reputation as a community builder. Part of what makes Habitat for Humanity stand out is its volunteer involvement. More than 8,000 volunteers participate every year. Volunteers literally build these homes, which builds compassion and understanding in the community.

Phyllis is changing things up, though. For years, single homes were being built but with rising property prices, it’s been a challenge. Bringing Habitat for Humanity into the present means going vertical. Phyllis and the Austin Habitat for Humanity have rendered a 50-unit condo development in the heart of the city. It’s the first multi-family, multi-story project that Austin Habitat for Humanity will take on.

Playing such an esteemed role in a historic nonprofit aligns with Phyllis’ values. She says that her faith in God steers her mission to give others hope. It’s something she has to circle back to often as the face of the organization. Phyllis explains that whether she’s talking to donors or the
board of directors or media, she must drive home the mission of the nonprofit: through home, they empower.


Writer and advocate Janet Mock said:

"I knew even as a teenager that my femininity was more than just adornments; they were extensions of me, enabling me to express myself and my identity."

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