Jean Kilheffer Hess, recently Director of Strategic Development for United Zion Retirement Community in Lititz, Pennsylvania, becamethe new executive director of the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society. She assumed her role in mid-April, replacing Herman Bontrager, who has served as interim director since December.

“The Board of LMHS is very pleased and excited to have Jean Kilheffer Hess come on board in the role of Executive Director,” says Dan Hess, LMHS board chair. “The professional skills and experiences, along with leadership and personal qualities which she brings, fit very well with the profile we had defined. We have great anticipation for how she will empower our strong staff, and help the whole organization to explore and achieve new developments, for the strengthening of LMHS, and for the benefit of the entire LMHS community.”

In addition to her work with United Zion Retirement Community, Kilheffer Hess also runs Story Share, LLC, an oral history and life story project-management firm. She previously worked as a consultant, coach, and interim executive as well as in various positions for Mennonite Central Committee.

Kilheffer Hess graduated from Messiah College with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and received her CPA license in 1998. She spent 5 years working as audit staff for Dorwart Andrew and Company in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. In 2004, she graduated from Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary with a Master of Arts in Theological Studies and an emphasis in church history.

Kilheffer Hess is an active member of East Chestnut Street Mennonite Church and active in the broader church as well. She is currently on the board of Nazareth Project, a nonprofit that offers support to Nazareth Hospital and School of Nursing in Nazareth, Israel. In the past she served on the boards of the Mennonite Historical Society, Goshen, Indiana, and Mennonite Women USA.