NOAHH Board at Women Build 2018

Among the many women on site for Women Build 2018 were many past and present NOAHH board members. The board of directors, whose role is to help guide and govern the affiliate, are leading community members who chose to join the board to better serve the city of New Orleans. Their support of Women Build illustrates just how many ways there are for someone to get involved:

As a team leader:

Team leaders have the most fun with the build. They recruit teams, pick out t-shirt colors and designs, bedazzle hard hats, and help raise funds for the build. From the board, there were four current and former board members who signed up to lead teams:

Ann Clayton Chamberlain joined NOAHH’s board in 2017, after her first year with Women Build, leading the grEIGHTIES (a group of her high school friends who graduated in the 1980s). This year, she brought a new team (with some of the same team members) called the Well Builts.

“I think it’s awesome,” Ann Clayton said. “We got stay-at-home moms, we got two nurse practitioners, basically all walks of life come together and help. I think a lot of us do stuff on our own houses but this seems real. You want to work like it’s your own house.”

Another returning team leader is board member Terri Dreyer. Her team, Lipstick and Lumber, came out in 2017 and 2018. She credits volunteering on site with showing her the impact of her work.

“When I first got on the board last year, I don’t think I fully grasped how incredible a mission this is,” Terri said. “Because you don’t realize the totality of what it takes to do this, just to do one house, and how many people it takes, and how much professionals have to do to accomplish this mission. I’m so impressed, and I’m so proud. Every year, I learn more and more. It’s amazing the team that comes together to put this on.”

Melissa Lilly led the Tool Chests, a team made up of her running group, in her first year on the board and on Women Build.

“I think it makes it all come together,” she said. “It’s great to sit in the boardroom and talk about all the numbers, the policies, the strategy, and the planning, but when you get out here and meet the homeowner and actually get to hammer, it’s really what it’s all about. It’s wonderful to be out here and volunteer and get some sweat equity in.”

Rene Redmann is a former board member who brought out a team of family and friends.

“I’ve been really fortunate my whole life. I wanted to do something to help others in the community, and I feel like it’s a great cause,” said Rene. “Having the homeowners out here to build with is awesome. To see who it’s going to and who it’s helping, feels good.”

As a team member:

On the Well Builts were both Cassie Worley, currently NOAHH’s Board Secretary and Vice President, and Simone Boustead, who has been on the board for five years. As team members, they helped fund raise and volunteered on site.

“Houses are being built all the time, properties being purchased, families are being worked with,” said Cassie. “I love it. I love being on that end of it, and then being right here on site, watching it go up, watching these houses being built. ”

“It makes me proud to be a board member,” said Simone. “It makes me proud because I see the employees of Habitat doing a wonderful job, the volunteers having a great time, and I see the homeowners and how it affects them and impacts them. I see the organization as a whole coming together. It makes me especially proud to be a board member and see it all coming together.”

As an individual volunteer:

New board member Shannon Joseph joined Women Build as an individual volunteer on site. Despite not being on a team, she noted the teamwork was one of the best parts of the build.

“Everyone is getting along, and it’s phenomenal teamwork,” she said. “It is absolutely a blessing to see women doing things that people don’t event think we can do. I think hearing the enthusiasm of everyone involved has made this a marked difference no one is complaining and they are saying the weather is great despite the fact that it is 100 degrees.”

As a part of the Pink Tutu Krewe:

The Pink Tutu Krewe started as a way for men to support Women Build. In 2017, they helped with lunches and a few other roles. In 2018, they ramped up their efforts, bringing food, helping set up, guiding parking, and so much more. Since then, the Pink Tutu Krewe has evolved into a full event support and street team organization for NOAHH.

Brandin Dubos, current NOAHH board member and one of the leaders of the Pink Tutu Krewe, said, “This was a way to still contribute to the cause and sort of help out but not quite drive nails, paint, put on a roof, things like that. The fact of the matter is we’re building two houses in four weeks, so if there’s something I can do to assist that in any way, like serve lunch, set up, break down, provide entertainment, whatever it may be, then I’m down to do it. As long as the mission gets accomplished.”

Many of the other men on the board also contributed to the Pink Tutu Krewe, including Board President Tom Exnicios, Treasurer Greg Hollier, and board members Bill Wright, Carl Butler, John Creevy, Dann Cahoon, and Tyler Nichols.

As a partner:

Former Board President Katie Crosby of Fidelity Bank joined NOAHH along with the Fidelity team Women with P.O.W.E.R. Tools. The bank was one of the main sponsors of this year’s Women Build, after sending a team in 2017. Fidelity Bank has been a major partner with NOAHH for decades, helping to process all NOAHH’s homebuyer’s mortgages. They have been on site many times, and their support of Women Build coincided with a relatively new program they’ve begun for women in business, the Women in P.O.W.E.R. program supports local women entrepreneurs, making it a perfect fit.

“There’s a lot of tremendous amount of work that goes on behind the scenes, and I have great respect for that,” said Katie, “But the part that I do love is being out here and doing the work. The best part about today is working with my peers out of the office in a whole different atmosphere. You get to know people in a whole different way, and that makes for great fun team building opportunities.”

Other ways:

These are just some of the ways to be involved in Women Build. Supporters can also sign up to help with Surprise and Delight, like board member Robert Eustis; donate to the build, like board member Katy Casbarian; provide needed materials, like board member Ken Flower, who lent a Gator for transportation; or coordinate multiple teams and lunches through your company, like Past Board President Joe Blanchek did through Marriott.

Our thanks to everyone from the board who supported Women Build 2018 on and offsite. To learn more about next year’s build, click here.