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A Presidential Chat: FH Canada welcomes a new leader

Shawn Plummer (left), FH Canada President Emeritus, and Musu Taylor-Lewis (right), FH Canada President

After 13 years with Food for the Hungry (FH) Canada, and over five years serving as our President and CEO, Shawn Plummer is saying farewell. 

Shawn’s gentle and relational presence will be missed! His leadership guided FH Canada through seasons of growth, major change, and the uncertainty we all faced during the global pandemic. We are so grateful for his integrity and heart.

While we are sad to see Shawn go, we are excited for what lies ahead for him—and for FH Canada! We are thrilled to introduce Musu Taylor-Lewis as FH Canada’s next President and CEO as of June 1st. Musu and Shawn recently sat down for a virtual conversation to share their passions for FH and their hopes for the future. 


Shawn, how did you experience your time as President unfolding?

FH Canada has enjoyed steady growth for over 20 years. I was invited to this seat to bring my experiences living and working in East Africa to the role. My time as CEO was defined by a healthy growth, but also a lot of change. And then COVID! Which took its toll on us all. In hindsight, I felt God put me there to help take FH Canada through the pandemic and to help settle all the changes. And over the past year, I discerned it wasn’t me who would take us into the next stage of our journey.

Can you tell us more about that process of discernment?

Over a year and a half ago, while at a global leadership meeting for FH, I was challenged by the words of John 12:24-25—how a single seed, if it dies, will bring forth an abundance of new fruit. I felt it was time for me to “die” to my own leadership and sow a new opportunity for renewed leadership at FH by stepping out of the role of President. We’d come through a long season of pandemic challenges, rebuilt our leadership team and strategic plans, and this would be the next big step. 

Can you believe I even remember saying to a confidante over coffee, “FH needs a leader… like Musu! She’s a strong leader in our sector and well connected to our work”? Well, you can imagine how happy I was to later hear she’d been selected as the next President of FH Canada.

Musu, tell us what brought you to FH.

Community development is my passion—it has been for as long as I can remember. I am Canadian and Sierra Leonean, and grew up conscious of disparity in the world.  This area of work has always spoken to me. 

FH’s reputation for community development is just so great! It’s the idea of working with communities to support them in moving out of poverty that appeals to me. FH does what I believe is true community development, that is, going in with an exit plan; facilitating a community’s potential to do more, on their own; and building independence! Seeing that happen is my passion.



How did you feel when you were extended the invitation to your new role?

It was a great feeling! When I got the call it felt like a full circle moment, my first love is in community development—I even worked for the government for a year, which gave me time to think about ‘what I wanted to be when I grew up’ and I was always led back to international development. So, I thought, wow… God has brought me full circle! I’m in my ‘heart-home’! I’m thoroughly excited and pleased.

Shawn, tell us where you see new opportunities for FH Canada.

We have a strong team and a solid, integrated plan. Our relationships with the global FH community remain stronger than ever. And our supporters! What a devoted family of Canadian child sponsors, churches, business partners, prayer warriors, and more. They are what got so many families in partner communities through a pandemic, through natural disaster, through challenging times these past years! Because of our faithful donors, we’ve never lagged or missed on our commitments to FH’s work in partner communities. I see our capacity to deliver on the promise of self-sustainability as we walk with even more communities over the coming years. 

I was pretty excited when the Board announced Musu as the new champion for FH Canada! Musu impresses me. She’s a passionate spokesperson, loves working with people. She has a proven track record and will bring solid education and experience to our global FH table. I firmly believe this course we are on is truly part of God’s path for FH.

Musu, where do you want to take FH Canada and its work in partner communities?

It’s invigorating to have the confidence of the outgoing leader, to take a seat that has been occupied so well. I love where FH Canada is at. It’s the right size to actually do powerful, meaningful work, yet small and nimble enough that it can reimagine and adjust. 

I'd love to see FH Canada become a case study for what it can look like for a Global North not-for-profit to be more equitable in its work, less colonial in its follow-through. FH Canada is positioned to ask the right questions at all levels in the FH community and is already asking serious questions about Child Sponsorship and how we fight poverty. I think it is possible for FH Canada to be a significant contributor—even a model—to the entire international development community!

Musu, what would you like to say, as you prepare to launch into this role for FH?

I’m really looking forward to meeting as many of our supporters as I can, and getting to know the global FH family better. I’m also anxious to dive into what FH does. I am hoping to discern what contribution I can make in this time to build on the work of past presidents and Shawn that have brought FH to this pivotal point. For me, it all starts with the why—the vision—at FH Canada for our partner communities. I'd summarize how I understand that vision using the words of Isaiah 65:21-23:

They will build houses and dwell in them;
    they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
No longer will they build houses and others live in them,
    or plant and others eat.
For as the days of a tree,
    so will be the days of my people;
my chosen ones will long enjoy
    the work of their hands.
They will not labour in vain,
    nor will they bear children doomed to misfortune;
for they will be a people blessed by the Lord,
    they and their descendants with them.


ABOUT MUSU

Musu Taylor-Lewis comes to FH with over 25 years experience in the non-profit and public sectors working in community economic development, communications, and theology. She deeply desires all Canadians to get involved in working towards a more equitable world. 

Musu was born in Edmonton, AB, to Sierra Leonean (West Africa) parents. By her early 20s she had lived in seven cities on three continents. Such a cultured upbringing forms the basis of her interests, and fires her passion for international development. She lived in BC for over two decades, where she and her husband raised their family. She has deep roots and a wide community in western Canada. Currently Musu and her husband live in Aurora, ON. 

Musu most recently worked with the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, where she directed communications, fundraising, and public engagement since 2018. This was where she solidified her convictions to work with the global Church. She is also a member of the taskforce on accountability on the anti-racism framework for the international cooperation sector in Canada. 

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Food for the Hungry: A Presidential Chat: FH Canada welcomes a new leader
A Presidential Chat: FH Canada welcomes a new leader
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Food for the Hungry
https://blog.fhcanada.org/2023/03/a-presidential-chat-fh-canada-welcomes.html
https://blog.fhcanada.org/
https://blog.fhcanada.org/
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