There is a new face at the helm of Habitat for Humanity southeast B.C., as the organization shifts direction to focus on providing more housing options in the East and West Kootenays.
Elaine Pura is taking over the role of executive director, effective Oct. 1, as Bob Huff steps down from the role he has held for nearly six years. “Bob has done an excellent job in establishing a foundation for our Habitat affiliate and supporting our expansion into the West Kootenays,” said board chair, Neil Coburn.
During his tenure, Huff oversaw the construction of four Habitat homes in Grand Forks, the opening and operating of a Habitat ReStore in Castlegar, and the move into a downtown location for the Grand Forks ReStore.
“I am proud to have been part of such an incredible organization,” said Huff, reflecting on his work with Habitat for Humanity southeast B.C. “I would like to give a heartfelt thank you to the many volunteers and donors who contributed to the success we shared.”
Coburn pointed specifically to Huff’s work in raising awareness of the organization’s work.
“He made significant strides in building partnerships throughout the West Kootenay/Boundary region,” said Coburn. Pura will take that legacy with her in her new role as the organization moves its operational base to Castlegar.
“Making a difference in building a better world has been important throughout Elaine’s career, and that’s a great fit for our work in Habitat for Humanity,” Coburn noted. “Her expertise in strategic and financial management, fundraising, and partnership development allows us to build on Bob’s achievements in those areas, and her experience in growing an organization is a real bonus, as we look to expand our work across the entire Kootenay region.”
“I look forward to supporting Habitat for Humanity’s organizational mission and values,” said Pura, “in particular the core value of partnership – that working together, side by side, promotes understanding and self-reliance. I believe that we can only achieve sustainable change through listening and working with others in respectful partnership.”
Pura’s career has been long and varied, and includes leadership roles with international and Canadian non-government organizations, as well as work as a secondary school math and science teacher, fisheries researcher, and park ranger. Notably for Habitat, social and environmental sustainability have been key drivers in Pura’s career.
From 2004 to 2015, she worked with the World Wildlife Fund as director of operations for western Canada and then globally, where she had a foundational role in establishing the global Forest and Climate Initiative. In 2015 she joined the Canadian International Resources and Development Institute based at UBC’s Vancouver campus. Her leadership there, first as COO then as CEO, resulted in the delivery of $45 million worth of international programming in more than 20 countries.
Pura holds a master’s certificate in Project Management from York University, as well as degrees in Education and in Applied Science (engineering) from UBC. A Vancouver native, she and her husband Alan are excited to return to the Kootenay-Boundary region, which they previously called home in the late 1990s. Her office will be located at the Habitat ReStore in Castlegar.