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After almost 16 years helping to transform affordable homeownership in our community, Monroe Free will be retiring as President and CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Greenville County this December.

His replacement will be LaTonya Phillips, a seasoned professional with more than 20 years of experience in leadership, training and development, team management, healthcare, and philanthropy.

“Habitat Greenville has impacted thousands of lives over the years,” Free said. “I am honored to have played but a small part in it.”

Free joined Habitat Greenville in 2009 after serving for more than 20 years in non-profit leadership roles in his native Tennessee. Under his leadership, Habitat Greenville has been honored numerous times for its service to the community earning awards from the Greenville Chamber of Commerce and the SC Association of Nonprofit Organizations; expanded into Laurens County; started a Black Home Ownership program in 2023; added a second ReStore; began a robust home repair program; and celebrated its  300th and 400th homes built.

“We have accomplished so much with the support of our many great sponsors and volunteers,” Free said. “But there is much work left to be done and accomplished.”

Leading that work will be Phillips, who most recently held the position of Global Leader of the DEI Gender Employee Resource Task Group and was the Healthcare IT Customer Trainer at AGFA Healthcare. Throughout her career, she has demonstrated an ability to create positive change through both professional and volunteer work. She is skilled at building strong relationships with customers and colleagues, fostering collaborative teams and has a proven track record of success in implementing strategic initiatives.

Phillips is also active in the community. She currently serves on the board of several organizations aside from Habitat Greenville including United Ministries and Greenville Women Giving. She has also served with the Interfaith Hospitality Network, Girlfriends Inc., and Jack and Jill.

She holds a Master’s in Human Resource Development from Clemson University, a Bachelor’s in Occupational Training and Development from the University of Louisville, and an Associate’s in Healthcare from the University of Louisville.

For the past  three years, she has served on the Habitat Greenville Board’s executive committee and has been the board chair for the past year.. She will spend the next six months working alongside Free during the transition.

“I am beyond humbled to be getting this opportunity,” Phillips said. “Monroe has created an amazing legacy and organization. While I have been involved from a Board perspective, I look forward to immersing myself and learning more in this new capacity from our staff,  volunteers,  donors and the families we serve.”

Richard Hagins with US&S will become the new board chairperson.

“As the leader of Habitat Greenville, Monroe changed how our community looks at affordable homeownership,” Hagins said. “His leadership has helped make understanding and addressing affordable homeownership a priority for many people.”

Habitat Greenville’s board began looking for a new CEO 18 months ago and hired a consultant to assist with the process. Free said when Phillips once told him  she wanted to one day lead a non-profit organization, he wanted it to be Habitat Greenville and shared with the transition/search committee his belief that Phillips needed to be considered for Habitat’s future leadership.

“Her passion for affordable housing coupled with her leadership skills and professional experience made her an ideal candidate,” Free said

Phillips said she was humbled when Free and the search committee asked her about assuming the role.

“I look forward to continuing to build upon the successes of this organization alongside our clients, staff, volunteers and donors,” said Phillips. “I have loved serving with Habitat for the past few years, and this is the ideal next step for bringing my passion for affordable housing together with my professional background. I am honored to carry forward Monroe’s legacy of servant leadership.”