As the main guardian of this website, it feels weird to talk about myself but here we are! We continue with staff (re)introductions: Megan Parrott is the Director of Engagement at Habitat for Humanity of Oregon.
In this role, Megan coordinates communication among affiliates — as well as outreach to Habitat’s broader network of supporters in Oregon and beyond. She maintains habitatoregon.org, the affiliate resources portal and other lines of communication, including Habitat Oregon’s social media and newsletters. Additionally, Megan helps bring folks together to mobilize behind policies and systems change that create affordable homes and stronger communities — particularly through Habitat for Humanity’s Cost of Home campaign. Lastly, Megan manages Habitat Oregon’s participation in various workplace giving campaigns and helps steward individual donations.
Tell us a little about yourself:
Megan Parrott (she/her/hers) grew up in Iowa and lived in Nebraska before moving to the Pacific Northwest. She graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a bachelor’s degree in political science with concentrations in history and human rights. A keen interest in making a positive difference in the lives of individuals, as well as systems change, attracted Megan to the nonprofit sector and eventually to Habitat for Humanity of Oregon.
Before Habitat, Megan started her career in storytelling — first for her hometown’s newspaper and then on the marketing team for an animal shelter in Omaha. She misses all the cat and dog snuggles. She does not miss the newspaper deadlines.
Megan lives in North Portland with her husband Alex, best friend Norman (a Shiba Inu) and two hilarious cats, Tiger and Sophie. When she’s not reading, Megan enjoys exploring Portland by bike and over shared appetizers and a pint of beer. She inherited her love of baking from her late grandma (send me your favorite recipes!) and is amassing a cookbook collection that she probably doesn’t have room for. Megan feels so grateful to live in this beautiful region of the country and capitalizes on every opportunity to explore somewhere new.
What is your favorite to see or do in Oregon?
I know this sounds cliché, but the second I smell the ocean air, I feel at home. My favorite parts of the coast are Pacific City and Manzanita. No matter how short the visit, I always gain a sense of renewal. I know it’s cheating to list two things but I can’t not mention Portland’s music scene. Live music feeds my soul; just don’t make me choose a favorite venue (*whispers* Mississippi Studios, and the Oregon Zoo is so fun!).
What is a recent book, podcast or movie/TV show that you would recommend to others?
In a different timeline, I am surely a librarian, bookstore owner or professional reader. My to-read list is never-ending and I’m always hungry for more. My favorite book this year is How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning With the History of Slavery Across America by Clint Smith. In this narrative nonfiction, Smith leads the reader on “an unforgettable tour of monuments and landmarks—those that are honest about the past and those that are not—that offer an intergenerational story of how slavery has been central in shaping our nation’s collective history, and ourselves.” At each place, Smith not only describes the history but the reactions of people he meets along the way. This beautifully written work has helped me reckon with the history I’ve been taught and how it’s woven into current society.
What does home mean to you?
I recently saw someone refer to home as a springboard and I can’t get that image out of my head. Home should be a place of growth and evolution, whatever that means to you. Along with my husband, I became a homeowner in November of 2020 — something I didn’t think was possible for a very long time. Owning my home has allowed me to explore various interests, such as cooking, baking and gardening, on a deeper level. More than that, I love getting to know my neighborhood and am eager to make a meaningful contribution to my community.
What’s a highlight from your time with Habitat Oregon so far?
I am extremely proud of the work our team accomplished to pull off the virtual Western Region Conference in 2020. It was truly a delight to hear from Dr. Tiffany Manuel, Adrienne Goolsby, Natosha Reid Rice and Cheryl Strayed, among others — especially at a time when we all needed an uplifting experience and time to reconnect with each other. I finished the conference feeling so energized by all of you. I leave you with a couple of quotes from the experience: “We are part of a movement to transform communities all over the world” (Natosha Reid Rice) and “Let’s go ahead and shine!” (Matthew Grundy).
That said, I hope the next time we gather with our friends across Oregon, California, Hawaii, Washington, and beyond, it’s in person and not through a computer screen 🙂
What are you looking forward to most for the next year (Habitat, personal, or both)?
Advocacy continues to be “North Star” at Habitat for Humanity of Oregon and an area where I want to continue pushing for positive results. Since the launch of Habitat for Humanity’s Cost of Home campaign, our network has collectively helped improve home affordability for more than 4.7 million people across the nation through policy change. That’s huge! But there’s much more work to be done and I know Oregon’s affiliates can play a big role — especially in building a more equitable future.
Personally, I’m looking forward to traveling more soon (when it feels safe to do so). I am part of a “traveling circus” for one of my favorite bands and can’t wait to reunite with my friends in that capacity. I’m also looking forward to welcoming my nephews out for a visit and taking them to a Timbers/Thorns match.