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A Conversation with Steven Jeffrey

Chief strategy and innovation officer, Garden Spot Communities

Steven Jeffrey - (Photo / Submitted)

Steven Jeffrey, 54, joined Garden Spot Communities as chief strategy and innovation officer on April 3.

He has more than 30 years of experience in finance, and has worked with more than 130 nonprofits. He also serves as an adjunct business professor at Messiah College.

Jeffrey has a bachelor’s degree in finance from Wilkes University and a master’s in organizational leadership from Philadelphia Biblical University. He also is a CPA.

He and Debbie, his wife of 31 years, live in Wrightsville but plan to move to Lititz as a result of his new job. They have two sons, the youngest of whom is a senior at Messiah.

Q: What is the role of a chief strategy and innovation officer?

A: It’s a little unique in terms of a title. I think what it reflects really is the nature of Garden Spot and where they want to go as an organization. My position grew out of a planning process they went through about a year and a half ago, and really wanted to focus on five different areas. Several of those areas are the ones I will focus a lot of my time on. It’s a growth opportunity for them, a bit of an opportunity to expand out in terms of the capabilities they have.

The areas I will be focusing on include socioeconomic diversity, being able to serve people of different income levels. They are looking at trying to make innovation core to what they do, to allow the entire organization to innovate and look at problems in new ways. And they want to serve other groups and ministries outside of Garden Spot.

You’re coming from the world of banking. How will you adapt to the addition of the faith-based element in a place like Garden Spot Communities?

I’ve served nonprofits all my career and worked with them, gotten to know them well and how they react. Garden Spot was a group I worked with for several years and I know them well. I think the transition will be easy because of my background and the sense of continuity, and really my love for what nonprofits do and how they fill a void others do not.

What can you bring from your work with the senior community to the younger generation you are mentoring as an adjunct professor at Messiah College?

Working at Messiah gives me an opportunity to get to know students and share experiences and hopefully bring them into a spot where they can start their careers with good mindset and good understanding that there’s more to their careers than just a paycheck and all those other things the world tells them about.

Since you are starting your new job as a new MLB season begins, who do you think will win the World Series this year?

I am a dedicated and lifelong New York Mets fan, so I am going to believe they’re going to win the championship this year. I have an older brother who is six years older than I am, and it seemed like when it came to sports teams, whatever he liked I didn’t like, and vice versa. He’s an Atlanta Braves fan so I became a Mets fan. We have a great relationship, but we ended up on opposite sides, sports-wise.