May 16, 2018 – Minneapolis-headquartered CohenTaylor Executive Search has placed St. Paul mayor Chris Coleman as the new president and chief executive officer of the Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity. He will replace Susan Haigh, who is retiring after leading the non-profit for more than 13 years.
The organization was seeking someone with a passion for affordable housing, along with a fluency and aptitude for issues surrounding community development. They also wanted an individual with fundraising experience and proven success working with major donors and corporate partners.
Mr. Coleman stood out as the right match for the Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity. “There was incredible enthusiasm for the opportunity to lead such a reputable, dynamic organization,” said Judy McNamara, chair of group’s board of directors. “Coleman stood out for his demonstrated commitment to increasing equity and opportunity for communities of color and for his significant experience leading complex organizations.”
Champion for Economic Development
Serving as St. Paul’s mayor since 2006, Mr. Coleman has been a champion for economic development, education and racial equity. While in office, he envisioned and carried out major economic development projects, including the Central Corridor Light Rail, CHS Stadium, Palace Theatre and Allianz Soccer Stadium. Mr. Coleman prioritized significant expansion of housing and led the fight to ensure that 20 percent of all new housing units constructed using public resources would be affordable to low-income residents.
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From 2013 to 2014, Mr. Coleman was president of the National League of Cities, a bi-partisan coalition of leaders from across the country. During that time, the group advanced efforts around education, environmental sustainability and public infrastructure. Prior to being mayor, Mr. Coleman was an investment advisor for RBC and he served for six years on the St. Paul City Council.
In his new role, Mr. Coleman will lead Habitat through the second half of its four-year strategic plan, Impact 2020. The plan seeks to more than double the impact of its home ownership program. Mr. Coleman is charged with guiding fundraising and strategic planning efforts; expanding public, private, and community partnerships; and advancing the organization’s commitment to equity and inclusion. He assumes his new role on June 2.
“Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity plays a critical role in addressing our region’s affordable housing crisis and in closing Minnesota’s dismal racial gap in homeownership,” said Mr. Coleman. “I am eager to engage with Habitat supporters and build on Habitat’s momentum to expand affordable homeownership and multiply the impact in the Twin Cities.”
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“Habitat has had an extraordinary, long-lasting partnership with St. Paul thanks to the city’s strong leadership and commitment to affordable housing,” said Ms. Haigh. “After years of investing in low-income communities as Mayor, Coleman is now turning his career toward directly impacting families through Habitat’s mission,” she said. “I’m confident that he will be a great leader for the organization, bringing significant partnerships, tremendous passion, and a commitment to bettering the region.”
CohenTaylor is a boutique executive search firm dedicated to non-profit and public sector organizations. Founded by Chris Cohen and Don Taylor, the firm has conducted hundreds of leadership searches, locally and nationally, in multiple sectors. Ms. Cohen has worked in the executive search industry since 1997. In that time, she has built a practice focused on non-profit leadership and fundraising, marketing, sales, management, finance and operations search assignments. Mr. Taylor’s 30-year history as a non-profit executive has included primary roles in resource development, leadership and strategic direction for organizations in healthcare, education, human services and organized philanthropy.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Will Schatz, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media