Campus & Community

Daniels group hopes Habitat experience inspires other companies

With every swing of a hammer and turn of a screw, a family comes closer to having a home of their own — and the work crew comes closer together.

It’s a fact that Trish Scanlan and four other Executive MBA (EMBA) students — Brad Nixon, Janet Crouse, Hayden Shamburger and Bakhodir Jabborov — hope to capitalize on their mission to give back to their community.

During the last 14 months, the group has worked with Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver to create a business plan encouraging corporations to integrate a Habitat build into leadership development and team building programs. The team is working on the concept as part of the Action Leadership Project, a core component of the EMBA program at the Daniels College of Business.

“We are seeing a real trend in members of the millennial generation,” says Amy Kusek, corporate relations manager for Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver. “They are demanding that their employers give back to the community they are very socially responsible.”

Habitat for Humanity
of Metro Denver is a nonprofit organization dedicated to building affordable homes in partnership with qualified low-income families and volunteers.  Homeowner families invest 250–500 hours of “sweat equity” labor into building their homes and purchase the homes with zero interest mortgages. All mortgage payments are reinvested to fund construction of future homes.

Scanlan says most often, people working in the corporate world are not used to performing hands-on construction.

“Being involved in a build puts everyone in the same boat. It levels the playing field among colleagues,” says Scanlan, vice president of business compliance for First Data in Greenwood Village. “It’s all about learning how to work together, how to ask for and give help — all while doing something very productive for society.”

The Action Leadership Project is a five-quarter applied learning team experience. Each team must envision, create, lead and bring to fruition a project which contributes a significant return of investment or net social capital for an organization or the community as a whole. The project is integrated with assignments required in other EMBA courses, and each class provides building blocks of knowledge for the project.

As part of their project, the team worked on a townhome construction project in Commerce City, Colo.

“In the morning, there was nothing; just the first floor. But by the afternoon, we had the walls up to the second story,” Scanlan says. “It brought such a sense of accomplishment, knowing that we were doing something for a good cause.”

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