Ann Howard

  • Name
  • Ann Howard
  • Title
  • Executive Director
  • Organization
  • Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO)
  • Years as Executive Director
  • Almost 4

  • What does your organization do?
  • ECHO leads the community on strategies to end homelessness and works to ensure resources exist to implement those strategies. We do this as a coalition of stakeholders including volunteers, non-profit agencies, local government and local businesses. We serve as a liaison to HUD for local agencies who receive funding to house and support clients who have been homeless. Together, we are creating a community fiercely focused on ending homelessness.
  • How did you become interested in this work?
  • Honestly, I was ready for a big job serving this community, but I wasn’t sure in what field it would be. My children were aging out of grade school and college costs loomed so I began to explore finding a job that was right for my skills, experience and passion. ECHO had just been formed as a 501(c)3 and the Board was looking for a first executive director. My education (law, public affairs, sociology and Spanish) together with my service through leadership (PTA President, Little League Coach, church council, Any Baby Can Board Chair) prepared me for executive work in a field that required tireless advocacy with diverse stakeholders. It’s like I had been molded all my life for this position at this time.
  • What drives your passion?
  • Knowing 2 things: 1. That people made equal to me are stuck outside and 2. That people compassionate like me are working with limited resources to help get them inside. I personally can’t help house all the vulnerable people experiencing homelessness, but I don’t have to help THEM; I need to help build a system so the many professional case managers can do their jobs, and work their magic to match housing and services with the people who need them. The clients and the staff are depending on me to deliver.
  • Did you have a mentor or role model?
  • Lots. My parents taught me to do my best and my Godparents taught me to love unconditionally; Barbara Jordan instilled confidence; Carole Keeton modeled motherhood & service, Trudy Ensign & Jane Dixon modeled tireless service to those less fortunate; Bill King taught me the law pertaining to juveniles and Dick Rathgeber inspires me to use my influence for good.
  • What's the biggest challenge in your work?
  • Organization and focus. I’m not experienced running an office or keeping track of stuff!
  • What's the best advice that you have ever received?
  • My friend Trudy at age 85 listened to me complain of being overweight; she admonished me to not take myself so seriously. “It’s not about you,” she said, “It’s about what you do.”
  • What are your top tips for new Executive Directors?
  • 1. Answer email from your staff first. Serve them so they can excel.
    2. Find another executive director you can trust, and make friends with her/him quickly. You will need a confidant.
    3. Trust that your organization needs you at this very time and make the most of it.

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