Should You Consider a Sabbatical as a Nonprofit Leader? (Laura Belcher)

June 2023

Are you ready for a sabbatical? Is your organization ready for you to take a sabbatical? Are work sabbaticals the latest nonprofit retention strategy? In episode #214 of Your Path to Nonprofit Leadership, Laura Belcher, the President & CEO of Habitat for Humanity of the Charlotte Region, shares why her recent sabbatical was beneficial for both her and her organization. Laura explains how best to prepare yourself - and your team - for the sabbatical. The planning effort can also clarify essential leadership roles and increase organizational capacity amongst the team. Laura also addresses policy implications and provides great tips to help put your plan in motion!

"While good for me personally, the sabbatical was a great opportunity to expand leadership throughout my organization."



Laura Belcher joined Habitat for Humanity of Charlotte in 2014, excited by the possibility of removing barriers to homeownership for working families in the community. She oversees the implementation of strategic plan tactics that establish aggressive goals for the affiliate. Since 2014, the organization has seen a 300% increase in families served through growth in new home production, increases in existing home preservation efforts, providing more diverse housing solutions and the expansion of financial literacy programs, demonstrating a commitment to innovate and reach an even broader audience. In February 2020, Laura managed the merger between Habitat Charlotte and Our Towns Habitat, creating Habitat for Humanity of the Charlotte Region, combining strengths and eliminating duplicative processes and technologies. The combined affiliate has served over 4000 families since inception, operates one of the largest Habitat Construction operations in the US, runs a network of 6 ReStores, and supports 3 international partners. Laura has served on many committees of Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI); she is currently serving a second 3-year term on the HFHI US Council where she holds the office of Vice Chair. She spent the first 20 years of her career in corporate roles with Arthur Andersen, Wachovia Securities and Transamerica. Laura was a CPA, graduated from the College of William and Mary, and spent 9 years in nonprofit work as CFO/COO of the Arts & Science Council prior to joining Habitat. She attributes her passion for Habitat to her church where she started volunteering and building houses over 20 years ago.