Most Influential 2016: Donna Gallup

Age: 49

Role: Chief executive of American Family Housing

Bio: Gallup, a married mother of two, is a New Jersey native who resides in Palm Desert. She earned degrees in social work from New York State University and Northwestern and is working toward a doctorate from the University of Southern California. She grew up in a family of military veterans and has spent much of her career helping servicemen and -women get off of the streets, and stay off of them.

Why she is an influencer: Her organization’s most recent project, Potter’s Lane, is billed as the nation’s first permanent housing project for homeless veterans built with shipping containers. Gallup said the 16-unit complex in Midway City is on track to open in February. She is hopeful that the Potter’s Lane model can be replicated in communities across the country.

Biggest challenge: “How do we make our organizations less visible and the needs of the people we’re trying to serve more visible?”
Thoughts on topic: “No veteran should ever have to live on the street.”

Inspiration: “I believe it’s important for all of us to look out for those who can’t advocate for themselves.”

Can’t live without besides my phone: “I don’t really think of myself as a material person. I live for being surrounded by those who share a passion and my philosophy of sacrifice for others.”

What’s next: “A really fantastic debriefing, so we can replicate this model (Potter’s Lane) as quickly as possible.”