Niki McIlvain | Twenty Under 40!

Follow your passion. After college, I followed a path that felt safe and aligned with what others thought I should do instead of committing to the issues and work I was passionate about. When I trusted my gut and committed to changing industries, I truly started to excel in my career and began making a larger impact in the community.

NIKI McILVAIN
33, Executive Director, Alliance Area Habitat for Humanity

Professional Achievements:
• Created and launched the East Alliance Revitalization Project with the City of Alliance, a five-year plan to develop the city’s east side
• Raised the required capital to renovate a donated building and create an Alliance Area Habitat for Humanity headquarters complete with office space, warehouse, education center and ReStore
• Earned approval of a business and operations plan to open a ReStore location in Alliance, scheduled to open in the fall of 2020
• Developed partnerships with Alliance City Schools, resulting in the Alliance High School Campus Chapter and the Habitat Helpers in the elementary schools
• Increased the affiliates fundraising, production, volunteer participation and programming
• Top ranked sales professional in previous roles including the Diabetes division of AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals and ranked first in the country out of U.S. Airports with Enterprise Holdings.

Personal Achievements:
• Lead role in passing Issue 10: Save our Parks
• Mentors local young professionals on resumes, career paths and business plans
• First-generation college graduate

Community Involvement:
• Rotary Club of Alliance
• Alliance Family YMCA Board of Directors, special events chairman
• Alliance High School Construction Trades Program Advisory Board
• Member of the Alliance Area Chamber of Commerce
• Friends of the Park

Education:
• Bachelor’s degree in Communication, University of Mount Union

What advice would you give the younger generation when it comes to advancing in their careers or strengthening Stark County?
Follow your passion. After college, I followed a path that felt safe and aligned with what others thought I should do instead of committing to the issues and work I was passionate about. When I trusted my gut and committed to changing industries, I truly started to excel in my career and began making a larger impact in the community.

What are the most challenging part(s) of your job? How do you tackle these obstacles?
I oversee a spectrum of tasks ranging from fundraising to construction. I had little construction experience and was faced with the challenge of joining a predominantly male team and industry. I’ve tackled this obstacle by being coachable, communicating honestly and not being afraid to ask questions and admit when I do not know something and by seeking strong mentors.

What are your goals/plans/aspirations for the future?
Short term, my goals are the execution of the East Alliance Revitalization Project, which includes the rehabilitation and construction of homes on the city’s east side and getting our headquarters open and operating. Long term, I plan to earn certifications through the National Development Council, complete my master’s degree in Community & Economic Development and continue developing my community.

Nominated by: Andrea Lee
Nominator says: “She does everything with a pure heart. She leads projects with full attention to detail. She is thorough, driven and motivated.”

Where to buy

The Repository
Select Rite Aid Stores
Spee-D Foods
Buehler's Fresh Foods
Fishers Foods, including 44th Street NW, Tuscarawas St. W, Fulton Drive, Lincoln Way E. and Cleveland Ave. NW locations
Aultman Hospital Gift Shop
Mercy Medical Center Gift Shop
Gervasi Vineyard Marketplace
Carpe Diem Coffee Shop, downtown Canton and Belden Village Mall locations
News Depot
Avenue Arts Marketplace
Yum Yum Tree Alliance
Grapes in a Glass