We are thrilled to announce the newest addition to the Ordinary Hero team, Ellen Peterson, as our new Executive Director. In addition to a huge heart for global missions, Ellen brings with her a wide range of experience and expertise. She has been working in nonprofit for almost 20 years doing everything from fundraising and operations to communications and staff development. We did a short Q&A with Ellen so that you can get to know and love her like we do!
- Tell us a little bit about yourself: background, passions, hobbies, family.
I’m a proud Tennessean and was born and raised in Nashville, but after completing my degree at Auburn University, I moved to Houston, TX to work in ministry. What I thought would be a 1-2 year adventure, turned into almost 17 years in TX! Like they say, everything’s bigger in TX, including the hearts of the people. But once my husband, Grant, and I had children, we felt a tug toward a smaller, slower-paced place to raise our two kids, Megan and Brian. So, we packed up and moved back to Middle Tennessee in 2014. We love the two lane roads, driving past the horse farms, and watching our kids get dirty in the Little Harpeth River. I love a long hike with the dog, a good book, Auburn football, and live music. I also feel like I should sound way more interesting, but I’m really rather ordinary. Which is what drew me to Ordinary Hero in the first place!
- What’s your previous involvement with global missions?
I became involved in Global Missions through the church where I worked in Houston. While I was working in Youth Ministry, the church created a new position to help support our global mission partners and I jumped at the chance to be involved. I became the Director of Global Missions and had the privilege of encouraging our mission partners around the globe, leading mission teams to serve in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, Mexico, Croatia, Budapest and Kenya. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life! Once you experience the vast creativity of God, seen in the diversity of his people and circumstances all over the world, you’re awakened to a new understanding of his love! As many of you involved with Ordinary Hero already know, you can’t encounter the people of Ethiopia and come home unchanged.
- What made you want to join the Ordinary Hero team?
As I mentioned, most days I feel pretty ordinary. We live in the ‘burbs’, and we’re raising two kids that do “burby” things like sports and scouts. It’s easy to forget that there’s a big, wide world out there that we’re called to serve and love. Ordinary Hero is about just that…ordinary people “changing the world for one.” I think that’s a message that applies to all of us; whether our heart is in Ethiopia or with our neighbors down the road.
- What are you most looking forward to in the future?
I’m most excited to meet all of you! Kelly and I are going to Ethiopia in November so I can meet the mission partners, see the children and families you are sponsoring, and get a feel for how all these pieces work. I can’t wait to see the faces of the people Ordinary Hero is impacting in Ethiopia, then come back to the US to keep encouraging you in our ministry together. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity; let’s go change the world for one!
So what does that mean for Founder, Kelly Putty? Though Kelly will no longer be leading as Executive Director, she will continue to lead from a Founder’s role, telling the Ordinary Hero story and advocating for children in need through speaking engagements and trips to Ethiopia.
Please join us in welcoming Ellen Peterson to the OH team!