I think it is extremely important to take time and recognize those who dedicate their careers to public service. The five people I am writing about today have all taken different approaches to their respective careers but have touched the agencies and people they have come into contact with in a very positive and meaningful way. These people were either recommended to me or were chosen based on their remarkable careers thus far. We will need their passion, energy, talents and leadership as they transition into the leaders of the future. If you are in the affordable housing industry, you should know these names.
- Gloria Bowens, JD: Orlando Housing Authority: Gloria packs quite a bit of experience and operational expertise into her CV. She received a BA in Political Science as well as a Law Degree from The University of Florida. Gloria started her real estate career out in the private sector and eventually started working for the Atlanta Housing Authority. While in Atlanta, Gloria served as an interim manager in the admissions, portability and contract management areas of the HCV department. She grew into the role of the compliance manager for AHA worked in this role for over 5 years. At the end of 2016, she took her skills to Orlando where she is now the Director of Housing Operations. She now has oversight over the agency’s public housing program as well as playing a role in maintenance oversight. Gloria is one to keep an eye out on.
- Alice Kimbowa: The Seattle Housing Authority: Alice has spent the better part of the last decade dedicated to learning the craft of affordable housing. She started her career at the Tacoma Housing Authority in the Housing Choice Voucher program before moving into an asset building position. While in Washington State she attended the University of Washington where she attained a BA in Urban Studies and Non-Profit Management. She took her talents to Chicago and spent the next couple years as a business analyst for the Chicago Housing Authority. In her spare time she picked up a Master’s Degree in I.T. Systems Management. Alice then moved into a compliance role with the Habitat Company for several years. Habitat is the group that manages part of The Chicago Housing Authority’s Public Housing programs. She is now the HCV Occupancy and Compliance Supervisor at the Seattle Housing Authority. With her mix of skills, education, and brilliant personality it should be expected she will be a director of a department in no time.
- Holly Hawes-Paterson– Housing Kitsap: Holly has slowly moved her way through several positions including running compliance and being a property manager at Catholic Housing. Her career brought her to the Kitsap Housing Authority where she transitioned from being a housing manager to the Director of their Housing Programs. When I contacted her Executive Director, he let me know that Holly is rebuilding the property management function for their agency from the prior private sector management to being self-managed. She has also updated all the major policy documents and put into place performance metric tracking. Holly was also recently elected to the Board of PNRC NAHRO.
- Cupid Alexander: City of Portland- With a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Portland State University, Cupid has taken off like a rocket ship in the industry. He started working in Washington County, Oregon learning housing programs from the ground up. After working his way through school and building up a solid foundation, Cupid became a program specialist with the Portland Housing Bureau before being promoted to an analyst/advisory role. He is now a senior adviser to Portland Mayor (Ted Wheeler) with a focus on housing. If he is not busy enough he also serves as the President of the Urban League’s young professionals and is the Executive Vice President of the Pacific Northwest Region’s NAHRO Chapter. We look forward to seeing him continue to rise up in the industry. His humbleness and focus on low-income families will continue to be his motivation.
5. Benjamin Palmer : Department of Housing and Urban Development: Benjamin works for HUD’s Public Housing Portfolio Management in the Boston HUD Office. He works closely with Housing Authorities throughout New England and has been a real force for improving collaboration at all levels of government. Ben provides technical support, regulatory oversight, and risk assessment to ensure alignment with goals of the HUD mission. Within his duties, Ben reviews IPA audits, close HUD-OIG findings, monitor HCV funding for Shortfall Agencies, and manage several Family Self Sufficiency Grants and Resident Opportunity Self Sufficiency Grants. Benjamin studied communication from Northeastern University where he received his BA. 5
I will continue to run this series and focus on the leadership of tomorrow. Lets continue to build up these talents and encourage them to stay in the affordable housing industry! If you have someone you would like to nominate as a leader to be highlighted- shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org