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Jonathan Reckford

Chief Executive Officer, Habitat for Humanity

    • Named the most influential nonprofit leader in America in 2017 by The NonProfit Times
    • Grew Habitat’s reach from serving 125,000 individuals per year to more than 8.7 million people last year alone
    • Experience spans the private sector too, with former executive stints at Marriott and The Walt Disney Co., among others
    • Speaks passionately about finding purpose in life and business, leading effectively, and embracing rapidly-changing operating environments
Topics & Types
Corporate Social Responsibility Health, Happiness, & WellnessLeadershipBusiness StrategyTeamworkCrisis ManagementCEOsAuthors

With experience ranging from Wall Street to Main Street, Jonathan Reckford brings decades of leadership and a passion for service to his role as chief executive officer of Habitat for Humanity International, the global Christian housing organization that has helped more than 22 million people construct, rehabilitate or preserve their homes. He was chosen for the role unanimously by Habitat’s board of directors in August 2005. Since Reckford took the top leadership position, Habitat’s more than 1,200 U.S. affiliates and over 70 country programs have grown from serving 125,000 individuals a year to helping more than 8.7 million people last year alone build strength, stability and self-reliance through shelter. In 2017, he was named the most influential nonprofit leader in America by The NonProfit Times.

Exclusively represented by Leading Authorities speakers bureau, he is the author of the 2019 book Our Better Angels: Seven Simple Virtues That Will Change Your Life and the World. Reckford shares the inspiring stories that have led him to believe we can all find our best selves by tapping into seven old-fashioned virtues. Plus, he shares how these virtues can help us improve all areas of our lives—from our careers to our families. Formerly an executive with Goldman Sachs, Marriott, The Walt Disney Co. and Best Buy, he talks honestly and passionately about finding purpose in life and in business, as well as how to combine the head and heart in business. And he touches on themes including what it takes to lead teams effectively, how to learn from failure, how to scale smartly, and how to embrace changing operating environments quickly to ensure future success.

Reckford’s road to Habitat was not linear: After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was a Morehead Scholar, he began his career as a financial analyst at Goldman Sachs. He left Wall Street to pursue a Henry Luce Fellowship, which sponsored him to work in marketing for the Seoul Olympic Organizing Committee and coach the Korean Olympic Rowing team.

He would go on to receive his MBA degree from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, with a focus on nonprofit management, before pursuing executive positions at several Fortune 500 companies. After helping lead the Musicland-Best Buy integration, he left Best Buy with the goal of moving into the nonprofit sector. He traveled on a life-changing mission trip to India and then served as executive pastor at Christ Presbyterian Church in Edina, Minnesota, before being tapped to lead Habitat. He credits his time in corporate America as helping him hone leadership qualities which he later fine-tuned as a pastor and CEO of Habitat.

Reckford currently serves on the boards of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and the Duke Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Urban Steering Committee for the World Economic Forum. He is also the author of Creating a Habitat for Humanity: No Hands but Yours.

Reckford credits his parents, who were active in the civil rights struggle, and his grandmother, New Jersey Congresswoman Millicent Fenwick, for his commitment to social justice. He lives with his wife, Ashley, and their three children in Atlanta.

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Location/Travels from: america
US East
$20,001 - $35,000*
US West
$20,001 - $35,000*
$35,001 - $55,000*
$55,001 - $75,000*

* This specific fee falls within this range. Ranges are presented as a guideline only. Speaker fees are subject to change without notice.
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