One of the nation’s most successful Habitat for Humanity affiliates is making changes to its executive lineup as Habitat Collier names a new chief executive officer and president, the organization’s board of directors announced today.
Executive Director of Development and Administration Lisa Lefkow is promoted to CEO, while Executive Director of Land Development and Construction Nick Kouloheras is promoted to President.
The passing of Dr. Sam Durso in January left the affiliate without a CEO or president. Dr. Durso held both positions for 17 of his 24 years with Habitat. The nonprofit’s board says that preparation for the new leadership structure began several years ago during which time both Lefkow and Kouloheras have continuously assumed greater responsibility for the planning and operation of the affiliate.
“We’ve spent a lot of time over the past few years thinking about the future of the affiliate and planning for continued success,” says Habitat Board Chairman John Cunningham. “From leadership to staff, we have a great team in place and our new CEO and president are fully equipped to continue the legacy Sam began.”
The appointments come after many years of growth and success under the leadership of the co-executive directors. Both executives have been with Habitat Collier for more than 15 years. Lefkow joined in 2000 after serving as the youth minister at North Naples United Methodist Church, first as director of volunteer services and then as director of development. She became executive director of development and administration in 2011.
Kouloheras was hired to lead the organization’s construction efforts in 2002, later transitioning into a role as director of land development before becoming executive director of land development and construction. Together, they worked under the mentorship of Dr. Durso to improve and increase the performance of Habitat Collier, resulting in national recognition for the local affiliate. Lefkow has overseen partnerships with hundreds of families as well as the administration of over $10 million in funds raised by the organization each year. Kouloheras has led the purchase of hundreds of acres of land in the past 15 years and the construction of more than 1,000 homes in seven neighborhoods and on individual lots throughout the county.
“Lisa and Nick are the right people for the job,” says Cunningham. “They have been instrumental in leading the affiliate to flagship status over the last 15 years and we know that they will continue to build on the values of the organization.”
“Nick and I were fortunate to have had a great example of leadership in Sam Durso,” says Lefkow. “When he became CEO in 1999, he took the role with the intent that this would be the most productive Habitat affiliate in the nation. With the support of our teams in Naples and Immokalee, we’re confident we will live up to that expectation.”
Habitat for Humanity of Collier County is one of the oldest and most successful Habitat Affiliates in the nation. For 39 years, they have served the needs of Collier County’s workforce, building homes in partnership with families, volunteers and donors, and then selling them with an affordable mortgage. Prospective home buyers undergo an extensive financial screening, must volunteer sweat equity hours building homes and attend classes to learn about home maintenance, budgeting and community living.