We are pleased to announce the appointment of our very own, TJ Joseph, as Honolulu Habitat’s chief executive officer (CEO).
TJ, who most recently served as chief of staff in her seven-year tenure at Habitat, takes the helm two months after Jim Murphy resigned from his position.
“We could not have hoped for a better candidate to lead us forward” said Kaipo Kukahiko, vice president of Habitat’s board of directors, “TJ brings a wealth of experience in designing affordable homeownership strategies and a profound commitment to serving Oahu’s communities. Her deep connection to community, strong strategic vision and infectious passion for those we serve are critical components to the success of the organization.”
To many who know her, TJ is synonymous with Honolulu Habitat. Since joining the organization in 2015, she has managed virtually every aspect of the nonprofit, including its housing programs, ReStore, construction department and administrative offices.
In addition to unparalleled experience, TJ brings an uncommon perspective to her new role as CEO: that of a Habitat homeowner.
In 2013, TJ and her husband, Levi, partnered with Habitat to build their home in Waimanalo. Over the course of 18 months, TJ and Levi spent hundreds of hours working side-by-side with community volunteers to raise the walls of their 3-bedroom home.
“TJ is a proven, time-tested leader in affordable housing,” said Jeff Gilbreath, executive director of Hawaii Community Lending, “and as a native Hawaiian woman living on homestead, brings a critical perspective to this work that often gets overlooked.”
TJ will oversee all operations of the local affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, which recently built three homes in Waimanalo and Papakolea. There are currently 18 homes in the development pipeline.
No better time
This new chapter of leadership comes at a pivotal time. In January, we unveiled our 5-year strategic plan to impact Oahu’s affordable housing deficit at an unprecedented scale. By 2026, we will to triple the number of families we serve annually.
“Our strategic plan is a shared vision. It was designed by our committed staff and dedicated board, with insight from community leaders and stakeholders island wide. We have a vibrant and experienced team, and we are determined to increase our impact on Oahu’s affordable housing crisis.”
From the desk of our CEO
Born and raised in Waimanalo, I am the proud daughter of William Auld and Arden Medeiros.
Growing up the youngest of 4 siblings, I was fortunate to have a childhood filled with support, happiness and love. It is because of that strong foundation that I was able to grow courageous, try new things, and put myself out there to cultivate my passion for people and leadership – callings that I have carried with me into adulthood.
Since applying to become a Habitat homeowner in 2010, receiving our keys in 2014, and joining the Habitat staff in 2015, I have served and managed in every capacity for this organization including as homeowner services coordinator, operations manager, deputy director, and most recently as chief of staff. I attribute my professional growth to my capacity to learn, innovate, and execute in each of these roles. I am honored to work alongside our dedicated staff, board directors, Habitat homeowners and community partners who have entrusted me to lead Honolulu Habitat in this new chapter as CEO.
I believe that to lead effectively is to inspire change by creating a clear vision for a desired state – one that allows for shared growth, contribution and momentum to move forward as one.
As a Native Hawaiian, woman executive, I am moved to lead this organization to do things we’ve never done before and seek out ways we can do more to serve the communities of Hawaii. Our Habitat home is the foundation upon which my family has built our life, and I feel a deep sense of privilege and responsibility to share that opportunity with others. I believe it to be my life calling to fulfill the mission of Habitat for Humanity.
Until the day I can drive across our island and see that no person lacks adequate shelter, our work is not done.
But we can’t do it alone. Only when we work together is lasting change possible.
I invite you, implore you, to join us. Your time, your talent, your financial support and your voice can help build a future for the people of Hawaii where everyone has a decent place to call home.
No gift is too small or too big, but every contribution helps lay the foundation for another family – like mine – to build their future upon.
More about TJ
TJ lives in Waimanalo with her husband, Levi, and her four children Kolt, Kruz, Kase and Kwyn. She finds immense joy in her family, being the wife of a boxing coach and mom to four boxing keiki. She also loves sharing her culture through hula, which she has danced since age five under the direction of Kumu Hula Karen Aiu; she still enjoys dancing professionally with Ku‘uipo Kumukahi today. TJ agrees with the words of world-renowned and influential hula master Ma’iki Aiu who once said, “Hula is the art of dance; expressing all we see, hear, feel, touch, taste, and smell. Hula is life.” Learning to share her aloha through hula has taught her the five values of aloha: akahai, lokahi, ‘olu’olu, ha’aha’a, and ‘ahonui. In this way she honors the teaching of our kupuna and recognizes the path they have created for future generations to come.