We recently welcomed three new faces to our Habitat team: Fiona Brennan Shea, Development Specialist, Jess Eglinton, Donor Relations Specialist, and Jade Johnson. They bring with them a wide breadth of experience and knowledge and we’re so excited to have them on board!
We enjoyed getting to know all three of these wonderful women in a short interview, and hope you do too:
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background
Fiona: I graduated from Hillsdale College in 2018 with a BA in Rhetoric and Public Address. Immediately after graduating, I moved to Minneapolis to begin my career as an Event Planner with JW Marriott Minneapolis and returned to my Alma Mater a year later to serve the Institutional Advancement team as an event planner and host various events across the country. I also served as the Assistant Director of Student and Young Alumni Programs and it was here that I realized my passion for development, engagement, and education in the non-profit realm.
Jade: Hello! My name is Jade Johnson, but most people call me Jade J. I graduated from Grand Valley State University in 2019, earning my BBA with an emphasis in marketing. With nearly six years in digital marketing and retail management, my professional background has led me to wear “many hats.” From managing a sales floor, hiring and recruiting talent, to social media brand management, the hats I have been able to try on and wear are far and wide. My passion lies in brand management while developing people to be leaders through coaching and feedback opportunities.
Jess: I’m coming to Habitat Kent with over 8 years of experience in the non-profit sector. For most of that time I worked in fundraising and development, but I also have experience in programs, operations, human resources, leadership, governance, and volunteerism. I earned a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus in Community Development from Calvin University, and an executive MBA from Grand Valley State University.
Q: Why Habitat Kent for you and what are you excited for when you think about starting your role here?
Fiona: I am driven by faith, family, and community, and I am committed to making a positive impact on my city. The opportunity to serve the Grand Rapids community as the Development Specialist for Habitat Kent is both empowering and humbling, and I will work every day to live out our mission.
Many of my previous roles required extensive travel and long hours away from family, friends, and community. I am so looking forward to the opportunity to make a positive impact right here in our home city of Grand Rapids alongside a like-minded group of people who share a passion for our mission.
Jess: In college, I spent a few spring breaks volunteering at Koinonia Farm, a cooperative farm and intentional community in Georgia. Habitat for Humanity was founded by individuals who lived and worked at the farm back in 1976. During my time at Koinonia, I learned about Habitat’s mission and fell in love with the impact the organization has internationally. When I heard about the opening at Habitat Kent, I couldn’t help but want to join such a great organization!
In my role, I’ll be working closely with our corporate partners. I’m looking forward to getting to know these partners and how we can work together to build homes, communities, and hope.
Jade: Habitat is a new adventure and a new field of business I have never explored, so I am super excited to be challenged and still make an impact in the community.
Q: What are some of the things you like to do outside of work?
Fiona: My fiancé and I recently added a Newfoundland puppy to our little family, and he takes up essentially ALL of the time (6 months old and 90lbs of crazy). When I am not doing damage control with that situation, I am collecting plants, doing yoga, snowboarding, and freelance event planning.
Jess: I’m an avid reader and creative writer. My favorite thing is snuggling up with a warm blanket, cup of tea, and a good book.
Jade: I LOVE to bake! I try not to bake unless I can bring it to work or give it to others for them to enjoy because I have the biggest sweet tooth ever! I also enjoy reading, lifting heavy weights, as well as thrift shopping! I love finding really fun household items and love a deal!
Q: Are you a New Year’s resolution person?
Fiona: This year, I am focused on planting roots in my new community. I just bought a house in January, and my fiancé and I are getting married in February so we are off to a great start! This year, we hope to build a loving home, improve our faith life together, and dive into our parish, The Basilica of Saint Adalbert.
Jess: I’m working on strengthening healthy habits! I spent the past eight years working in healthcare, so I’ve learned the importance of being active, eating well, and finding healthy ways to reduce stress.
Jade: My resolution is trying to give myself more grace. I hold myself to extremely high standards in my work life and my health/wellness goals and I tend to let those high standards get in the way of living life in the moment.
Q: What’s a fun fact about you?
Fiona: I earned All American Honors as a Sprinter in college on a National runner-up team, but I do not enjoy running and literally avoid it all costs.
Jess: Before the pandemic, I loved to travel! I’ve spent time in France, Switzerland, Ukraine, Mexico, Cambodia, Thailand, and more.
Jade: I absolutely love Shania Twain! Any Man of Mine is 100% my karaoke song. I also have a classic rock and grunge record collection!