Jonathan Reckford ― Habitat for Humanity Chief Executive Officer
Jonathan T.M. Reckford brings to his role as chief executive officer of Habitat for Humanity International a passion for serving those in need and the business skills required to lead an effective international nonprofit organization.
After graduating from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, he spent a number of years in the for-profit sector, including executive and managerial positions at Goldman Sachs, Marriott, the Walt Disney Co. and Best Buy.
Reckford began his career on Wall Street, but soon decided it was not a good fit. In 1986 he was awarded the Henry Luce Scholarship, which provided the opportunity to live and work for a year in Asia. He worked in marketing for the Olympic Organizing Committee, preparing for the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, Korea. Having been a competitive rower, he was asked to coach the Korean national rowing team. At the conclusion of his Olympic duties, and following an eye-opening, three-month journey through Southeast Asia, Reckford returned to the United States and began work on his MBA degree. While he was acquiring the skills needed to succeed in the business world, a professor’s words struck home with him: “The same skills that will make you a success in the for-profit world also are desperately needed in the not-for-profit world.”
Always active in his local faith community, Reckford found an avocation helping to coach pastors in dealing with the management side of church life. Eventually, in 2003, that volunteer service turned into full-time ministry as executive pastor of a 4,300-member church in Edina, Minn.
As much as he enjoyed that work, “God has this way of showing up at unexpected times with surprises,” he says. This time, the surprise was a call informing him of Habitat’s search for a CEO. A longtime admirer of Habitat’s work, Reckford believed the organization was a good fit with his personal faith and values, and he felt that his business career had honed the skills needed to lead a nonprofit with excellence.