by LINDA MARGISON
When Wendi Goodlett started working in development at her alma mater, Hanover College, she adopted a philosophy that helped guide her career path to the Indiana University Kelley School of Business in 2014, and then to Habitat for Humanity of Monroe County four years later, where she now serves as CEO.
“Fundraising is about building relationships and being able to demonstrate a need—whether that’s at a university or a nonprofit—and connecting people and getting them to understand how their contributions could be valuable,” Goodlett explains. “Whether the gift is $100 or $100,000.”
In fact, building a relationship with a fellow preschool mother is how Goodlett, 49, became involved with the local Habitat for Humanity through Women Build, which attracts more than 350 volunteers in two weeks and raises close to $200,000 each year.
“Part of the magic of the Women Build is women connecting other women,” Goodlett says. “Every summer, my parents had a new construction project going on at our house, so I grew up doing construction. I was very comfortable with volunteering for Habitat.”
Volunteering for Women Build motivated Goodlett to become a crew leader and to join Habitat’s board of directors and its Women Build and Family Selection committees. In 2018, she became CEO when the organization needed new leadership.
Building relationships has always been a part of Goodlett’s life. “The focus on relationships has a lot to do with my family,” she says. “I have a very close family. Family has always been the priority. Family is everything.”
Her parents, Bloomingtonians Steve and Peg Creech, volunteered for Habitat before Goodlett became CEO, but the Bloomington High School North grad says she’s gotten them even more involved, along with her daughters, 21-year-old Baileigh and 18-year-old Sydne.
Goodlett says she is passionate about her job, but also makes time to go camping, hiking, kayaking, and to be outdoors. “I like to do anything that allows me or forces me to disconnect and be an observer in the world,” she explains. “When I’m in spaces that are wide open or bigger than me, I kind of remember what a small piece of the world I am. That’s just a good reminder for me. It’s good for my soul.”
To learn more about Habitat for Humanity, visit monroecountyhabitat.org.