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10 Things We Bet You Didn't Know About Our New President

Shawn and his wife Lindsay with their children (from left to right) Ellie, Jake, Lauren, Max.

From all appearances, Shawn Plummer is your classic Canadian - born and raised in the small city of Chilliwack, BC, Shawn is the youngest of three brothers and grew up on the ice playing hockey every winter, while spending the summers at his grandparents’ cabin on the lake. Shawn married another native BCer, Lindsay, and together they have four adorable children (just look at the photo!). 


But appearances can be misleading. 

After graduating from university with a Business degree, Shawn, unlike many of his childhood friends, took off to South Korea for two years to teach English. It was in Korea that he got his first real taste for cross-cultural living. He returned to Canada to attend UBC for a teaching degree and readily admits the best thing he got out of the program was meeting his wife, Lindsay. Shortly after graduation, Shawn was invited by Samaritan’s Purse to apply for a short-term position overseeing emergency relief in Mozambique. Once again, Shawn boarded a plane, but this time, he never looked back.
Shawn shows a friend in Burundi where they are in relation to to Canada.
Shawn claims he sort of “fell into the work by accident,” as international relief and development was not what he’d set out to do. “But I soon saw I had the ability to manage, to secure grants, to help the needy with immediate needs.” Shawn’s 10 year journey from emergency response with Samaritan’s Purse into long-term development with Food for the Hungry (FH) took him to many hard to reach places like Eritrea, northern Iraq, and North & South Sudan. “I initially went to ‘fix things’; I didn’t have a framework for partnership with communities or long-term development,” he explains. “The ten years I worked for Samaritan’s Purse, I was primarily meeting short-term, immediate needs, bringing safety and security to people in crisis.”

Shawn in Cambodia with Country Director, Linly (far left), and two other FH Cambodia staff members.
His transition into community transformation and development began when he joined FH Canada in 2010. Shawn was hired as the Director of Partnership Development and tasked with nurturing church and business relationships, as well as overseeing FH Canada’s poverty education program (now affectionately known as “Poverty Boot Camp”). Shawn quickly became invested in FH’s model of walking with communities for 10 years, as well as with their Christian commitment. “Trainings with biblical values that offer a community that worldview is something I think is really valuable. Also involving the local church wherever possible, building their capacity to reach out to their own communities, is a model you just don’t see secular organizations doing very often.”

During his eight year tenure at FH, Shawn has led partner visits to nearly all of the countries where FH Canada works, and has formed friendships with many of the FH field staff. It was important to him to see the work first-hand, especially as he became more involved in FH Canada’s Child Sponsorship program.

Shawn gets a thumbs up from the kids in Burundi. 
Concerning this next big role transition from a director to President and CEO, Shawn reflects, “I’m very honoured to take this on. The timing is perfect for me, really. We’re in the third year of our three year plan and we’re hitting all our targets. My vision, moving forward, is to ensure FH Canada is on a strong footing to continue our aggressive growth strategy.”

When asked what some of the upcoming highlights will be in the first year of his presidency, Shawn cites FH’s International Medical Equipment Distribution (IMED) program transition, calling it an “exciting and bold move.” FH Canada has just concluded 17 years of IMED programing and is now shifting its focus to become more intentional in supporting the FH global Relief and Humanitarian Affairs team. Other highlights include two field trips - one to Kayanza, Burundi for a community graduation with Sherwood Park Alliance Church, and one to Uganda with the FH Board. While in Uganda, the team will have the opportunity to travel up north and see FH’s work in the South Sudanese refugee camps. Shawn also looks forward to upcoming Christian band tours promoting FH Child Sponsorship, and to increasing FH Canada’s pledged support to their partnered communities. 

Recent partner trip to Cambodia (from left to right): Shawn, Bill, Shelaine, Ben, Dustin.
“I would also be remiss if I didn’t include a huge ‘thank you’ to the last two CEOs of FH Canada who have gotten us to where we are. We’ve had a total breakthrough year in Child Sponsorship; we have an engaged Board and amazing staff in place; we have a lot of momentum going. I think we’ve all sensed God’s favour on FH for a number of years now. And personally, I’m very grateful to both of them for pouring a lot into me and preparing me for this role.”

And now, on the lighter side... 

10 things we bet you didn’t know about our new President!


Um...do you have a license to operate that machine?
1. What’s the longest layover you’ve ever had?
72 hours in Chicago. Massive snowstorm, missed our flight to Brussels with a connection to Liberia, and the flight only went every three days. Classic Chicago.

2. What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?
Flying ants in Sudan..or were they winged termites? Oh, also camel in northeast Sudan and live fish in Japan (you could feel them swimming in your stomach - totally weird).

3. Do like winter or summer sports?
Winter.

4. What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever said in a foreign language?
Um...hmm...it was probably in Korean...can’t think of anything, right now. [sure you can’t]

5. What’s one of the funniest things that’s ever happened to you?
Well, one time in Mozambique, our driver Felipe and I hammered a goat with our truck’s bull bar and drug it along the road about 100 ft….wait, that’s not funny, is it? [No.]

6. What’s the craziest public transportation you’ve ever taken?
Probably camels in Mongolia and donkeys in Egypt - super uncomfortable.

7. Who’s your favourite hockey team?
The Canucks! Of course.

8. What was one time you thought you were going to die in a foreign country?
Ooh, one hairy flight out in Darfur with some crazy Russian pilots. But there was also that ride in Kathmandu, clinging to the roof of a bus as we whipped around sharp mountain bends on narrow roads.

9. How do you take your coffee?
Straight up, extra dark.

10. What was the happiest moment of your life?
When my kids were born, hands down. And if I’m really honest, it’s probably when my twins were born because there was just so much craziness going on.

Aaaand, that’s a wrap! Stay tuned for more from President Plummer on our blog coming soon!

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Food for the Hungry: 10 Things We Bet You Didn't Know About Our New President
10 Things We Bet You Didn't Know About Our New President
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Food for the Hungry
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