Jessica Elliott is an experienced nonprofit administrator bringing her natural leadership skills and financial expertise to the role of executive director of Habitat for Humanity of the Lehigh Valley since 2018. Ms. Elliott has been with Habitat for Humanity in various capacities for nearly a decade, beginning in 2013 as director of community relations before moving up into her current role. As executive director, Ms. Elliott is responsible for carrying out Habitat for Humanity’s mission to help provide housing and resources to all in the area while supervising the board of directors, an administrative staff of 25, and an annual operating budget of more than 1.7 million dollars.
Ms. Elliott holds a Bachelor of Arts in human rights from Lafayette College and is a certified loan originator and nonprofit executive director. She boasts more than a decade of experience working in nonprofit management, and has been presented with numerous awards for her achievement in both business and human services, beginning with the 2009 Louise M. Olmsted Prize in Ethics from Lafayette College. Most recently, she was named a 2021 Woman to Watch by Lehigh Valley Business and honored with a Gold Credit Union Gold Star Award and the 2020 Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce Excellence in Business Award. She considers receiving these honors to be a career highlight, and hopes to draw further attention to the work that Habitat for Humanity does in the area.
Ms. Elliott attributes her success to her mission-oriented approach to her work and to the fact that everything she does “comes from the heart.” Her passion for helping others began in childhood, and she was active in community service organizations by the time she was in middle school. Ms. Elliott recalls a formative experience during a teenage volunteer trip to an area soup kitchen as a major influence on the direction of her career. Though a shy child, she had an in-depth and eye-opening conversation with one of the soup kitchen’s clients, who told her that no one cared about homeless people, leaving with an understanding of how toxic generalizations and assumptions can be and a new commitment to working for the benefit of underserved communities.
In addition to her work for Habitat for Humanity of the Lehigh Valley, Ms. Elliott sits on the board of the Eastern Pennsylvania chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, the St. Luke’s Sacred Heart Housing Action Committee, and the Lehigh Valley Regional Housing Advisory Board. She is active in the area iHeartMedia local advisory board, the Catalyst 4 Housing Committee, and was named a member of the Emerging Leaders Cabinet of the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley. She hopes to remain with Habitat for Humanity in the coming years and emphasizes that she sincerely enjoys her work and feels honored to be able to dedicate her time and energy to the human services sector. Ms. Elliott’s lifelong goal was to become an executive director by the age of 35, and having already attained her dream at the age of 31, the sky is the limit.