Meet Cheri Willis!
A face you’re bound to recognize at our Habitat ReStore, office, fundraising events, and home dedications is Cheri Willis. She is a spunky, passionate, and faith-driven individual that is an important asset to our Habitat for Humanity of Monroe County Family. For the past 10+ years, Cheri has worked with Habitat as a part-time fundraising event planner, a full time Manager of Community & Faith Relations, and currently has worked for the past 4+ years as our ReStore Director. Like many of us, Cheri has worn many hats during her time with Habitat and has turned our ReStore into a thriving spot in our community. Cheri oversees all matters regarding the ReStore, helps with faith-based outreach, engages with the community at home dedications, and more!
Before Habitat, Cheri spent 10 years in International Sales at a Fortune 500 company in Tecumseh, she then stayed home with her children for a number of years, acted as a secretary for her husband’s roll-off container business that was located in Monroe, and eventually came to Habitat when she wanted to try something new. A friend had sold her on the idea of working for a non-profit organization.
Cheri did a lot of event planning, which is mainly how she came to work at Habitat. Our current Grant Director, Kristin, needed assistance planning our Home Sweet Homes Christmas fundraiser (a large annual fundraiser similar to our popular Pirate Party), and Cheri was brought in to help. After helping with this event, she was asked to stay part-time and then eventually full-time. She initially was hired as the Manager of Community and Faith Relations. When the ReStore position opened up, she moved down there, and she’s been there for 4 years.
Fun Fact: Cheri originally thought her time with Habitat would be a 6 week stint… and that was 10 years ago!
The ReStore Director position opened up 4 years ago, and it wasn’t even on Cheri’s radar. When it was offered to her, she wasn’t even sure if she wanted the position. Through prayer and supplication to God, she felt something in her spirit telling her not to say no. Ultimately, she now can see the ten million reasons why God wanted her to work down at the ReStore.
We conducted an interview with Cheri, to learn more about her.
Why did you decide to take this job position? What aspect of your role do you like best?
“This is my mission field. I feel so fortunate that we have the ability to do outreach at the ReStore. We are able to work with community service and other volunteers from all walks of life. I like to act as a mentor to them, try to offer guidance and community resources to them, so they can pick themselves up and have a better life. If people sense that you care, they are way more willing to listen.”
What would you consider to be your strengths and weaknesses?
“I am passionate about what I do and what I believe in. I think that can also be my weakness as I don’t hold back. It makes me driven to succeed, not just for the store, but for people and their future. However, I am sure that I need to reel it in at times.”
How would you say employees are empowered to work together at the ReStore?
“Down here it is a team effort. I really go to Jim and Amanda and ask them questions. Their opinion is meaningful to me. They come up with great ideas, some that I may not have even thought of. So between the employees and myself, working together is what makes the ReStore successful. It takes all of us.”
What has been your favorite project with Habitat?
“My favorite project would be when Kristin and I worked hard to get the Women’s Leadership Initiative up and running. Her and I always would meet monthly with the ladies. It was amazing watching it grow from a small group into the 200+ members that it is today. I’m proud of what it has become, because of what all of those wonderful ladies are able to bring to the table. They’ve helped make Habitat what it is today and their community outreach and influence, goes without saying, is pretty powerful. I would say that’s a great accomplishment; with being involved in it and helping lift it off the ground.”
Cheri is happily married to her husband Bob, and has two sons, Connor and Walker. Connor is working full time finishing up his degree and her son Walker attends the University of Michigan. Cheri loves it because he’s close to home.
On her days off, Cheri enjoys mowing her lawn (in the summertime of course), spending time with her family, and playing a good game of Bible trivia.
“I love to mow the lawn. I’m serious. I have a small house with 30 acres. My husband bought me a zero-turn mower for my birthday. This is my down time, and I spend a lot of it just communing with God.”
We are wonderfully blessed to have Cheri on our Habitat Monroe team. If you see Cheri at the ReStore, our office, or one of our events, make sure to say hi!