Eager to fill his new position as Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Skyler Badenoch recently shared his objectives for the Hope for Haiti foundation and how he anticipates the challenges to come.
Badenoch, a Peace Corps veteran from Cote d’Ivoire, Ivory Coast, has recently been appointed as CEO for Hope for Haiti. He previously worked for buildOn for 10 years managing programs in Haiti, Nicaragua and Malawi.
“The Peace Corps really was the foundation for my career,” Badenoch said. “In addition to creating a passion for international development, it really taught me to learn about the beauties of culture and the struggles of economic poverty.”
Hope for Haiti is a non-profit organization in Naples dedicated to empowering rural communities in Haiti for a better life, particularly for children. The organization works to provide solutions to problems caused by poverty in rural communities.
“Our role is also to help provide opportunities for them to improve their own lives,” Badenoch said. “The work we’re doing in partnership with people is helping lift them out of poverty, whether it be investing in education or health or water sanitation, we do this together.”
Badenoch, fluent in French and Creole, spent many years of his life dedicated to working with organizations that promote the empowerment of communities that need assistance to be relieved from poverty.
“It’s given me a great deal of compassion for people all around the world with different economic circumstances,” Badenoch said. “It’s also invoked this very deep sense of responsibility to help and be part of the solution. It really taught me the key of development is not doing things for people, but with people.”
Badenoch was drawn to this position mainly because he believes in the work this organization does. He says he has seen the real life impact Hope for Haiti makes on the people it is directed toward, and he knows the organization is on the right side of development.
“To lead and work with a team of dedicated and like-minded people to help support a country that I’ve had history working in, and have spent lots of time working with the people there also really drew me to the position,” Badenoch said. “I have been moved by the struggle and the challenges of the Haitian people.”
Badenoch said he will apply everything he learned from buildOn to use in his work for Hope for Haiti. The transparency of this organization will be vital to people who have long lost faith in non-profit organizations.
“The application of core values to strong financial accountability and transparency, to developing superior programs, to thinking creatively about ways to inspire and engage people and help be part of lifting people out of poverty are many, many things I’ve learned from buildOn that I’ll be able to apply to my work in Hope for Haiti.”
Hope for Haiti will be running numerous fundraisers to help support the work they are doing. The fundraisers will be held here in Naples and in Stanford, Connecticut, as well as the west coast in Los Angeles.
“We won’t just rest on doing things the same way, but thinking about creative ways to hold fundraisers and align resources for the work we do,” Badenoch said. “It’s about coming up with new, creative and inspiring ways to engage people and bring them into the organization.”
Although the position of CEO is rewarding, it does come with demanding challenges that will be faced. Managing a large multi-million-dollar budget as well as competing with numerous other organizations, which also do great work, are some of the biggest challenges Badenoch feels he has to overcome.
“As an incoming leader and CEO, my first role is to understand the nuances of the organization to get to know everybody as well as possible,” Badenoch said. “I want to understand what the strengths and weaknesses are, and where our opportunities lie and what threats there are to the organization.”
He has many years of experience working in Haiti, which allows him to acknowledge the difficulty of working there. Badenoch explains that the lack of natural resources, the natural disasters and the various obstacles that exist within the context of Haiti also pose a challenge for him.
“The best way to overcome challenges is hard work,” Badenoch said. “Put your head down, do the work and trust in the foundation that’s been laid by the people before me, and trust the core values as an organization.”
Badenoch’s ultimate goal is to help Hope for Haiti fulfill its mission, which is to progress the overall quality of life for the Haitian people, mainly for children. The organization recognizes that there are an abundant number of difficulties that exist within Haiti, and their ambition is to help the Haitian people reduce those challenges for themselves.
“This position presents a very great opportunity for me in my career to be part of something bigger than myself.”
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