Grant Buenger Spotlight

Grant Buenger

Executive Director, Racine Habitat for Humanity 

Forward 48 Alum | Spring 2023 Racine Cohort

Career: Can you tell us about your current role and how it contributes to your community or industry?

As the Executive Director for Racine Habitat, I ensure that everyone in my community has a decent place to live. It’s my responsibility to understand the issues that limit access to homeownership, raise awareness about the need, and bring people together to address it.

I also enjoy contributing to the industries we work in through collaboration. For example, we partnered with Gateway Technical College to enhance the education of construction students by having them work on Habitat homes in the field. These partnerships make an immediate contribution to our community today while strengthening the workforce of tomorrow.

Achievements: Can you share a recent achievement or project that you’re particularly proud of since participating in Forward 48?

Last summer, Racine Habitat for Humanity purchased a new location for our ReStore, thanks to a $1 million grant from the CNH Industrial Foundation.

The new location for our ReStore will allow us to serve more families with affordable housing each year while also helping more people improve the place they call home.

Forward 48 Experience: Can you describe a memorable experience or learning moment from your time in Forward 48 that has stayed with you in your work or personal life? If it involves a specific faculty member, please name the person.

At the kickoff event, we were placed into smaller teams. Maurice introduced the purpose of this element and demonstrated how we should maximize our time with one another. He told a story about a career transition he was considering in the past and was honest about what he was struggling with. It set the tone for me and my group.

Maurice said that the thing we were scared to discuss was the thing we most needed to discuss. This demonstration of vulnerability encouraged me and my peers to feel safe with one another, avoid the usual surface-level answers, and dive into some deep stuff.

Forward 48 Influence: How has your participation in Forward 48 influenced your professional or personal growth, and how do you see yourself contributing to the program’s mission in the future?

My Forward 48 experience came when I felt alone as a leader in my community. To be a part of my cohort was so energizing and encouraging! I felt like a ship that had returned to the harbor. The work of my peers inspired me, and we could relate to one another’s challenges, lessons, and accomplishments. I was refreshed to learn from the faculty and be a part of something that holds substantial value in development and growth. And it was a lot of fun! Forward 48 knows how to throw good parties.

I want to contribute to the future of Forward 48 by nominating many candidates and advocating for the program’s value.

Fun: Favorite book, podcast, TV show, etc., you are watching that you’d like to share with the community?

“How to Know a Person” by David Brooks is one of my recent favorites. Learning to see others well is a great leadership attribute!