WHF 2021-2022 Year in Review

Despite the challenges of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it was a great year of programming for Women in Housing and Finance.  Commencing with our 40th Anniversary Virtual Celebration on July 14, 2021, we reflected and celebrated our past and present, recognizing the immeasurable contributions of our founders, presidents, board members, advisors and members who have all worked to create a welcoming community and supportive environment within the housing and community development industry in New York.  We also launched our inaugural mentoring program, thoughtfully pairing experienced mentors with mentees with the goal of fostering continued professional growth and development of our participants.      

In November we kicked off our lunch and learn series with Susan Wright, VP of Design and Construction at Selfhelp Realty Group, who provided an in-depth overview of the basics of reading and understanding floor plans.  In December, WHF President and Partner at Goldstein Hall Niki Tsismenakis presented with Sharmi Sobhan, Executive Director of Community Development Banking at JP Morgan Chase.  They led a lively and engaging discussion on the many guaranties required in affordable housing development.

Our 2022 Keynote Speaker was Denise Scott, President of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, and board member of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.  In February, she gave us an insightful look into her 40-year career in community development.  Empowering and uplifting the voices of communities served, cultivating the next generation of leadership, and comprehensive approaches to community development that deepen investments in people - with purpose and intention - are some of the important points Denise touched upon in her keynote address.  We were left inspired by her professional journey and continued commitment to the inclusion of diverse voices and perspectives of people of color.

Our third lunch and learn was held in March and featured Cherita Perry, Vice President of Insurance Risk Management at the National Equity Fund.  She gave an incredibly informative and enthusiastic presentation on insurance and the many items to consider from both a contractual and operational perspective.  We are thankful for Ms. Perry sharing her 20 years of experience with our members.   

Also held in March was our panel on Supporting Emerging MWBE Developers.  Moderated by Raquel Vazquez, CEO of The Empowered Block, our panel featured developers and capital providers who spoke to their experiences on the topic.  Vogue Jackson, Director of Development at JP Design and Melissa Bindra, Principal of Vaya Development shared the motivations for founding their firms and the many challenges faced.  How do we level the playing field?  Wilhelmena Norman-Hernandez, Manager of Community Impact – ACCESS with the Community Preservation Corporation and Sara Myerson, Managing Director of MSquared, spoke to the initiatives of their respective organizations and how they are addressing these inequities.  The Community Preservation Corporation has created and funded a $20 million initiative, ACCESS, which aims to empower BIPOC developers by providing access to capital and other resources that enable continued capacity building, such as their CPC ACCESS Developer Incubator, which provides free training to emerging BIPOC developers.  CPC has also launched a $6 million fund with TruFund Financial Services, Inc. which provides equity capital and technical assistance to emerging BIPOC developers in New York State.  MSquared, a WBE development and impact investment firm has raised capital focused on funding MWBE sponsored development projects through its Equitable Housing Solutions Fund and MSquared Impact Partners Fund. 

March was also host to our annual Women’s Executive Roundtable, featuring Satpal Kaur, Founder & Design + Building Science Principal at Satpal, Elaine Braithwaite, Senior Director, L+M Development Partners, Page Travelstead, Managing Director, Wells Fargo, Ruth Moreira, Executive Vice President of Development, New York City Housing Development Corporation, Christine Coletta, Partner, Hirschen Singer & Epstein LLP, and Nicole Clare, Chief Real Estate Development Officer, Bowery Residents' Committee.  Our roundtable attendees conversed in virtual small group settings with our esteemed group of women executives who shared their personal experiences and reflections on their careers.

May featured our last lunch and learn with Mark Deceglie of William Vitacco Associates who provided a comprehensive overview of the plan approval and permitting process through the new DOB NOW Portal.

This month, we hosted our annual member’s dinner, which was our first in-person event in two years!  It was an inspiring and uplifting evening, with dozens of members gathered on a beautiful Spring day to enjoy dinner and drinks on a Manhattan rooftop and re-connect with each other.  Our members elected a new slate of board members and officers, received updates on the past year’s activities, and heard our plans for the future.

As we near the end of this year’s programming, it’s wonderful to reflect upon all the time and effort that went into making this year a success.  I’d like to recognize all the board members for their hard work and dedication to the organization and all the participants who so graciously gave of their time.  Thank you to everyone who joined us this year.  We very much look forward to seeing you in the future.

 

 


WHF 2022 Member Meeting Results

Hello!  The votes are in!  WHF is pleased to announce the results of the vote of the Members at the 2022 Member Meeting, held on June 6, 2022.  We welcome our incoming Board members and thank those that are continuing with us at WHF!

Election of new Directors to the WHF Board of Directors:

  • Leslie Cook
  • Katelyn Meehan
  • Sharmi Sobhan
  • Suzanna Tharian
  • Saiydah Walls

Re-Election of current board Directors to second term (Board members can serve two consecutive two-year terms per role):

  • Danielle Ash
  • Simone Gross
  • Pam Razo
  • Jennifer Steinberg

Re-Election of Officer to a second term (Board members can serve two consecutive two-year terms per role):

  • VP of Membership: Amy Chandra

Election of Director to an officer position:

  • Co-VP Programs: Emily Chen

Thank you again to the Board members and officers stepping down from WHF this year, after several years of commitment and service!

  • Mar Granados
  • Joanna Kandel
  • Katie Vail

Cheers!


WHF 2022 Board Nominations

Hello!  WHF's leadership has formed the 2022-2023 Nominating Committee.  We are pleased to announce that we are now accepting nominations for a position on WHF's Board.  

Please send all Board nominations, including the nominee's resume to [email protected] or any other WHF Board member for consideration by April 20th.  You can nominate yourself or another WHF member for candidacy.

WHF will send out the list of Board candidates to the WHF membership at least 15 days prior to the Annual Member Meeting.  Elections will take place at our Annual Member Meeting in the beginning of June (invite to follow).

 

Board Director roles & responsibilities:
• Board Director terms are two years, with a maximum of two terms
• Board members have the opportunity to be elected to an officer position
• Board meeting attendance
• Event attendance
• Member recruitment
• Planning events (one “large” or series of “small”)
• Fundraising – our events typically have sponsors to help cover costs
• Staying current on membership dues

Eligibility requirements:
• Member in good standing ideally for at least one year
• Actively professionally engaged in the field of housing finance and/or development for at least two years
• Confirmation of eligibility by a current board member


WHF 2021-2022 Board Election Results

A hearty congratulations to the following newly elected and continuing board members and officers. These outstanding women were duly elected at WHF's annual member meeting on May 26, 2021.

Election of new Directors to the WHF Board of Directors:

Re-Election of current board Directors to second term (board members can serve two consecutive two-year terms per role):

  • Gloribel Cruz, TD Bank
  • Corey Eilhardt, Citi

Re-Election of Officer to second term (board members can serve two consecutive two-year terms per role):

  • Co-VP Programs: Joanna Kandel, Camber Property Group

Election of Directors to officer positions:

  • President: Niki Tsismenakis, Goldstein Hall PLLC
  • Deputy to the President: Emily Kurtz, Riseboro
  • Secretary: Akiko Kyei-Aboagye, Urban Architectural Initiatives
  • Treasurer: Susan Calderon, Community Development Trust
  • VP Operations: Kristin Nelson, The Community Builders
  • Co-VP Programs: Tatiana Gutierrez, Nixon Peabody
  • VP Communications: Julie Gonzalez, NYC HDC

A big thanks the following board members for their years of service to WHF as they step down from the board this year:

  • Julie Behrens, NYS HCR
  • Amy Boyle, NYC Mayor’s Office
  • MyPhuong Chung
  • Karen Heller, Houlihan Lawrence Commercial Group
  • JaVonna James, APEX
  • Blanca Ramirez, Hudson Housing Capital

WHF 2021 Board Nominations

 

WHF is now accepting nominations for Board Directors for the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 fiscal years. Both self-nominations and nominations by another WHF member are acceptable. Please send all board nominations, including resume of nominee, either directly to me at [email protected] or a current board member for consideration ideally by the end of April. Elections will take place at our Annual member meeting at the end of May – stay tuned for more details on date and time.

The WHF board will send out the final slate of board nominees for review at least 15 days prior to the meeting.

Board Director roles & responsibilities:
• Board Director terms are two years, with a maximum of two terms
• Board members have the opportunity to be elected to an officer position
• Board meeting attendance
• Event attendance
• Member recruitment
• Planning events (one “large” or series of “small”)
• Fundraising – our events typically have sponsors to help cover costs
• Staying current on membership dues

Eligibility requirements:
• Member in good standing ideally for at least one year
• Actively professionally engaged in the field of housing finance and/or development for at least two years
• Confirmation of eligibility by a current board member


WHF Fall Panel Recap; Moving Towards Racial Equity and Inclusion in your Organization and Beyond

On November 16th, 2020, Women in Housing and Finance’s New York Chapter (WHF) hosted a virtual fall panel on an important topic for 2020 – Moving towards Racial Equity and Inclusion in your Organization and Beyond. Moderated by Brittany S. Hale, the founder, CEO, and Chief Culture Architect of BND Consulting Group, the panel featured prominent women in the affordable housing and community development sector and discussed how each speaker approached racial equity and inclusion within her organization – both externally, as part of her organization’s mission, and internally, as part of her organization’s culture. Over 130 participants registered for the program.

WHF Board Members, Danielle Ash (Duval & Stachenfeld LLP) and Tatiana Gutierrez (Nixon Peabody LLP), introduced the program – the proceeds of which were donated to Project REAP, a national organization which aims to advance diversity, equity and inclusion in the commercial real estate industry by providing training, networking and mentorship opportunities to minority professionals. Following a brief few words from Project REAP’s Chief Program Officer, Osayamen Asemota-Bartholomew, Ms. Hale introduced the panelists: (i) Lori Chatman, Senior VP of Enterprise Community Investment Inc., (ii) Elizabeth M. Harris, General Counsel of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Economic Development Corporation (UMEZ), and (iii) Kerry McLean, Vice President of Community Development, Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation (WHEDco). Each panelist described her current programming and respective organizational role. More detailed biographies for Ms. Hale and each panelist are included in the recorded presentation.

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NYC’S TREASURED AFFORDABLE HOUSING STOCK IS GETTING RENOVATED A PIECE AT A TIME

On October 26th, Women in Housing and Finance New York held our first event of the year, a zoom lunch and learn on the progress of NYCHA 2.0, or PACT which stands for Permanent Affordability Commitment Together.

In a sentence, the talk covered the financial and structural innovations in the restoration of 62,000 New York City housing units, presented by speakers Lovaeta Amoako and Jennifer Hiser of NYCHA, and Hannah Blitzer of NYCHDC. In context, NYCHA was created in 1935 to provide decent affordable housing for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers. It encompasses 170,000 units across 302 developments, and if it were a city unto itself it would be larger than Atlanta or Miami.

Most of the units have components that have far outlived their lifespan, and federal funding covers only a fraction of the costs of repair and maintenance. The PACT innovation is repairing the units and creating permanent housing through conversion of the units into the Section 8 program.

The PACT plan utilizes several financing innovations and has so far sent out 8 RFPI’s (requests for proposals of interest) or rounds, for bundles of apartment renovations. Financing has included the issuing of bonds, and debt through the Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHA programs among other innovations. Tax credits are not applicable. There is a requirement of 25% plus MWBE participation in the awarding of renovation contracts.

The zoom conversation covered the concerns of residents that any rights or responsibilities would significantly change. Leases and protections are being strengthened. One of many programs embedded is permanent training and employment of residents in the ongoing care of their developments. Another is the building of credit through rent payment. The hour “zoomed” by with a bounty of practical and inspiring information and closed with some B-roll of three handsome completed projects at Baychester, Twin Parks West, and Betances.

DUE TO THE TIMES WE FIND OURSELVES IN OUR PROGRAMMING AND ACCOMPANYING PRESENTATION DECKS ARE BEING PROVIDED for the first time ever VIA RECORDING:


Click here for the Zoom Meeting Recording


By Karen Heller, VP Communications, WHF-NY

 

 


Seasons of Change

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, feminist pioneer and progressive icon, dies at  87 - SCOTUSblog

The seasons are literally and figuratively changing before our eyes and under our feet. The recent loss of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is an emotional one that reminds us of how far women's rights have come in just a short time. To think, women couldn't get a credit card in their own name not that long ago? The loss of RBG and the vacancy she leaves on the Supreme Court reminds us how fragile hard-fought wins are, and the need for organizations like WHF to protect and reinforce a strong network of support for women. 

The passing of giants in the civil rights movement, like John Lewis and Rev. Cordy Tindell “CT” Vivian, shows us the importance of the next generation taking the torch and continuing our country’s movement towards social justice.

The seasons and the times are changing and this is our season, my fellow WHF members and friends. We must do all we can to carry the bright flame for women’s rights, racial equity, and social justice.

Women in Housing and Finance’s season is also changing with the start of the 2020-2021 events calendar year and our 40th Anniversary. It's a season to look forward and to look back: For us to honor WHF's strong history and think about how WHF prepares itself for the next 40 years! 

Our affordable, newsworthy and educational events will start in October including a membership vote on changes to WHF's Bylaws and Certificate of Incorporation - members can click here to register for this important event on October 13th. We need your votes!

We also have a virtual Brownbag event and our Fall Panel discussing race, equity and diversity coming up soon. And we're planning a big event for next year to celebrate WHF's 40th anniversary, so stay tuned for that as well. A full calendar of what to look forward to will be posted to this site for reference.

Thank you all for being a vital part of what we are accomplishing.

 

Sincerely,

Jen Trepinski, WHF President