Habitat for Humanity of Brevard County, Inc.
It’s been a 30-year journey and a life of residing in seven different countries to bring Diane Koenig to where she is today – building homes, community and hope as executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Brevard County, Inc.
In Brevard County and across the nation, poverty housing continues to be a large and rising issue. However, Habitat for Humanity believes that through collaboration with community partners, “we can create a world where everyone has a decent place to live.” This year, the organization will be celebrating its 30th year in the county, and has served 330 families since 1985.
Koenig joined Habitat in August 2011 as the ReStore manager, where she helped to increase volunteerism, sales and donations, leading to greater awareness of Habitat in the community. At the ReStore, staff and volunteers accept donations of new and gently used items and then sell those items to treasure hunters and bargain shoppers to raise money for Habitat’s mission of eliminating substandard housing. In August 2014, Koenig was named executive director of the organization to continue to build upon its strong foundation.
Before joining Habitat, a University of Illinois graduate, she ran a home furnishing business in two countries and has garnered 21 years of experience in the retail and design industries. Along the journey, she’s learned that “life is a long series of choices, and every choice makes a difference in our future. The most important factor in my life has been my deepening spiritual journey as God leads the way when we listen.”
Every day since joining Habitat, she has been surprised by how much of the community it takes to get one family into a home, and how hard homeowners work to build a better life for their families. She reflected, “We are a business with heart, and the depth of the human heart is amazing.”
Koenig tries to not let outside influences hold her back from reaching her goals, and in turn, says those external obstacles are yet to be recognized. However, internally, her biggest obstacles are the moments of doubt she sometimes has when her faith is not as strong as it could be. Second to that is something many successful businesspeople can relate to: the need for sleep. She said, laughingly, “If I didn’t have to sleep, I could accomplish so much more in life.”
To encourage those who are just starting out on their career path, she urged, “Don’t let fear stop you from your dreams; work hard and be persistent. Dream bigger than you can possibly imagine, because dreams can come true.”