2023 Speakers and Presenters


Eric Alexander
Director of Multifamily Programs

TN Housing Development Agency (THDA)


Eric Alexander joined THDA in October 2022 as its Multifamily Programs Division Director. He has over two decades of experience in affordable housing finance. Previously, he served as the Multifamily Development Director for the South Carolina State Housing Finance and Development Authority (SCHousing), overseeing the 9% and 4% LIHC and MTBA programs along with South Carolina’s community development funding programs. Prior to that role, he served as the Assistant Director of Real Estate Development for housing programs at RIHousing, overseeing gap financing funds for the agency in Rhode Island. He began his affordable housing career at the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development, serving in a variety of program staff and leadership positions. In all of these roles, he has worked closely with non-profit and for-profit developers, as well as various municipalities, to fund the construction, renovation, and acquisition of affordable housing, public facilities, and commercial improvements supporting affordable housing.

Mikki Anderson
Vice President

Purpose Built Communities

Mikki is a seasoned and passionate community development professional whose career has been intentionally focused on affordable housing development, community engagement and capacity building. In her role as Vice President at Purpose Built Communities, Mikki provides pro bono consulting and technical assistance to local leaders implementing Purpose Built’s proven neighborhood revitalization strategy designed to create a healthy, mixed-income neighborhood with pathways to prosperity for the lowest-income families.


Prior to joining Purpose Built Communities, Mikki served for more than 13 years as Vice President of Development for The Michaels Organization, one of the nation’s largest owners and developers of affordable housing. During her time at Michaels, she played an integral role in the development of more than 1,600 affordable and mixed income housing units.

Ms. Anderson received a BA in English from Northern Illinois University and completed extensive post graduate studies in public policy, housing and community development both at the University of Illinois at Chicago and through the Chicago Rehab Network’s award-winning Community Empowerment Series.

Simone Beaty
Senior Director of Affordable Lending, Single Family Mission and Community Enhancement Division

Freddie Mac

Simone Beaty is the senior director of affordable lending for Freddie Mac’s Single-Family Mission and Community Engagement division. She focuses on housing policy to support underserved markets, including rural housing, manufactured housing, shared equity and energy efficiency on single-family properties.

Ms. Beaty has more than 25 years of experience in the mortgage industry. With Freddie Mac since 2004, she was previously the director of servicing policy for nine years and her responsibilities included developing servicing policies related to loss mitigation. She was instrumental in developing Freddie Mac’s policy and implementation of the federal government’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), the Neighborhood Stabilization Initiative and the standardization of servicing requirements under the Servicing Alignment Initiative with the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Freddie Mac makes home possible for millions of families and individuals by providing mortgage capital to lenders. Since our creation by Congress in 1970, we’ve made housing more accessible and affordable for homebuyers and renters in communities nationwide. We are building a better housing finance system for homebuyers, renters, lenders and taxpayers. Learn more at FreddieMac.com, Twitter @FreddieMac and Freddie Mac's blog FreddieMac.com/blog.

Ben Bentley

Executive Director/CEO
Knoxville's Community Development Corporation (KCDC)

As Executive Director/CEO, Ben develops and implements strategic initiatives to expand affordable housing and foster high quality, private development in Knoxville and Knox County. Prior to his current role, Bentley served as COO of the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency (MDHA) in Nashville, with broad oversight of all housing and development programs. Bentley also served as Division Director in HUD’s Denver Office of Public Housing, covering the six state Rocky Mountain region. He holds a Master of Public Policy from the University of Denver and is working toward a Master of Real Estate at Georgetown University. An Alabama native, he also holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from Birmingham-Southern College.

Emily Baron Bernstein
Senior Vice President of Development

McCormack Baron Salazar


As Senior Vice President of Development, Ms. Bernstein isresponsible for all aspects of the development process, including leveraging and securing project financing and coordinating a diverse team of specialists, consultants, investors, stakeholders, and public officials from project inception through project stabilization.

Ms. Bernstein brings 15 years of experience to the role, including nearly 10 years at McCormack Baron Salazar. She has worked on multiple development projects, including North Sarah Apartments, Flance Early Learning Center, Covenant Place, and Preservation Square in St. Louis, Foote Park at South City in Memphis, Tenn., and the Cedars and Magnolia in Galveston, Texas.

Ms. Bernstein has held the positions of Vice President, Project Manager and Associate Project Manager at McCormack Baron Salazar. Prior to joining McCormack Baron Salazar, Ms. Bernstein worked at the Nathalie P. Voorhees Center for Neighborhoods and Community Improvement and the Community Development Financial Institution, IFF, in their Real Estate Development Group. Ms. Bernstein’s experience extends beyond managing development and construction into financial structuring of both 9% and 4% low-income housing tax credit deals, as well as mixed finance transactions.

Ms. Bernstein holds a Master of Arts in Urban Planning from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. She is a board member of St. Louis Artworks.

Jamie Berry
Director of Communications

Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency (MDHA)

Jamie Berry is the Director of Communications at the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency. She manages all marketing and communications for MDHA and serves as the primary external contact, media spokesperson and event coordinator. Berry also oversees the creation of MDHA’s annual calendar, annual report, newsletters and publications.

Before devoting her work full-time to MDHA, Berry served as the PR & Communications Manager at Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee. She also spent 14 years in television news as a producer.

Berry is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University. In 2018, she earned a Certificate in Business Excellence from Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate School of Management.

Berry serves on the Habitat for Humanity of Tennessee Board and is a member of Cable.

Eric Davis
Director of Programs for Young Adults

Crossroads Campus

Eric Davis is currently serving as the Director of Programs for Young Adults with Crossroads campus. Eric has dedicated his life and career to giving him back to a system that once supported him. Eric has both lived and professional experience with social justice issues such as the foster care system, youth homelessness and poverty. With this knowledge from both sides of the spectrum, he understands how crucial it is to break these cycles and the dedication it takes from those who are experiencing it. He has a Bachelors of Science in Supervision and Management and is certified in trauma informed care.

Michelle Dusseau Diller
Policy Program Director for Green Communities

Enterprise Community Partners

Michelle Dusseau Diller is the Policy Program Director for Green Communities at Enterprise Community Partners.

At Enterprise, Michelle works with state and local policy directors to advance the adoption of green building practices in the affordable housing sector across the country and with federal staff to align our national agenda with state, regional and local policy needs.

Michelle brings over a decade of experience in the high-performance building arena. Prior to joining Enterprise, she worked for the National Association of Home Builders where she provided technical expertise, education and advocacy in all aspects of high-performance residential building and served as the resident technical expert for the National Green Building Standard.

Previously she promoted sustainability in the built environment in private consulting where her portfolio included multifamily, mixed use, healthcare, federal, higher education and commercial projects; as an engineer overseeing transportation drainage design and neighborhood retrofits; and as an environmental regulator in Florida.

Michelle holds a bachelor’s degree in Engineering from the University of Michigan and masters’ degrees in Environmental Science and Public Affairs from Indiana University.

Tom Gillen
Senior Vice President

Churchill Mortgage Corp.

Tom Gillen is responsible for leading capital markets and secondary marketing efforts as well as all residential loan servicing activities. Responsibilities include leading all trading, hedging, pricing strategies, interest rate risk management, product development and implementation, investor relations, investor reporting and remittance, audits, default management and claims, loss mitigation and general customer service around conventional and government insured loans. Gillen establishes all of Churchill’s capital market efforts and relationships. Gillen has more than 30 years of experience in the mortgage industry.


Prior to his time at Churchill, Gillen served as President of Susquehanna Bank Mortgage where he oversaw more than 200 mortgage employees and managed more than $15 billion in servicing with more than $1B in annual originations. Gillen also served as Senior Vice President of Secondary Marketing for First Niagara Bank between 2010 and 2012 where he was responsible for all aspects of Secondary Marketing but also managed investor reporting functions for the in-house agency servicing portfolio, and the sub-servicing facility. Gillen also served as Senior Vice President of Secondary Marketing for Fieldstone Mortgage Company and held senior positions with M&T Bank, Columbia National, Inc., National First Mortgage Corporation and Ryan Financial Services, Inc (succeeded by NVR Financial).
Gerald M. Howard

CEO
National Association of Homebuilders

Jerry Howard, Chief Executive Officer of the National Association of Home Builders, has over 25 years of association experience and a lifetime in the housing industry. Jerry began his association career at the National Association of Realtors, where he served as a Legislative Analyst for tax issues. Prior to joining NAHB, Jerry served as the Chief Lobbyist for the National Council of State Housing Agencies where he was instrumental in the development of the low-income housing tax credit as part of the Tax Reform Act of 1986.

Jerry came to NAHB as tax counsel in 1988 and served in a variety of roles, including Chief Lobbyist. He was promoted to Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer in February 2001.

Before embarking on his association career, Jerry practiced real estate law in his home state of South Carolina. His exposure to the housing industry has literally encompassed a lifetime; Jerry grew up working in a variety of roles for his father, a developer.

Jerry earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Vermont and received his Juris Doctorate from the University of South Carolina. He, his wife Christina and their children Eirann, Meaghan, and Sean live in Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C.


Angela Hubbard
Director

Housing Division of Metro Nashville


In January 2022, Angela Hubbard stepped into the role of Housing Director with the Metro Nashville Planning Department to establish the City’s first Housing Division. In this role, she leads the development of a long-term housing plan that aligns systems, partners, and resources to address Nashville’s housing challenges and the creation of a housing data clearinghouse with public facing dashboards. She is committed to creative and innovative approaches that are resident centric and neighborhood appropriate and that address long-standing housing inequities in Nashville.

Prior to joining Metro, Angela had served as the Director of Economic and Community Development for the Greater Nashville Regional Council (GNRC) since September 2018. Her team worked on projects and initiatives to help increase economic prosperity and improve quality of life in communities throughout the 13-county, northern Middle Tennessee region. One of her first accomplishments was leading the creation of the Greater Nashville Qualified Opportunity Zones Network, which launched in April 2019. In 2021, Angela guided a major update to the region’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy.

Beginning in 2007, Angela spent 10+ years with the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency (MDHA) in a range of capacities from legal affairs to urban and community development. For the last 6 years of her tenure at MDHA, she was the Director of Community Development where her responsibilities included the administration and oversight of Federally funded affordable housing, community development, disaster recovery, and homeless assistance grant programs for Nashville-Davidson County. She led the development of two Analyses of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice and two Consolidated Plans for Housing and Community Development on behalf of Metro Nashville as well as the establishment of the Nashville Promise Zmone. Before MDHA, she worked for 10 years for the State of Tennessee Coptroller of the Treasury as a legislative performance auditor.

Angela received a bachelor’s degree in political science and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where she has served as a UT Promise Mentor. She earned a J.D. from the Nashville School of Law and is admitted to the Tennessee Bar. Angela serves as the Vice Chair of the Tennessee Affordable Housing Coalition and is a member of the Tennessee Bar Association. She previously represented the Southeast Region as a Board Member of the National Community Development Association and served on the NashvilleNext Housing Resource Team and Mayor John Cooper’s Affordable Housing Task Force.

Derwin Jackson
President and CEO

Franklin Housing Authority

Derwin Jackson has been the President and CEO of the Franklin Housing Authority since 2008. As President, Jackson has added valuable programs for residents, such as the Residents Opportunities and Self-Sufficiency (ROSS) program and the Family Self Sufficiency (FSS) program, a scholarship program for FHA youth, and the Homeless Rapid Re-housing program through the Central TN 503 Continuum of Care.

On the housing side, he directed the development of a Master Housing Plan to redevelop or rehabilitate FHA’s almost 300 units of public housing. The first phase was completed with the opening of the $8.5 million Reddick Senior Residences in 2013, a 48-unit elderly residence. The second phase was completed with the opening of the $14.3 million Reddick Street Apartments in 2016, a 65-unit family community. Both projects were built through public-private partnerships utilizing the 9% Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program, a TN Housing Trust Fund grant, CDBG funds and a contribution from the Franklin Housing Authority. The third phase of redevelopment included the completion of the $1.4 million renovation of 22 units at Park Street. This was completed utilizing a TN Housing Trust Fund grant, a TDEC Energy grant, a FHLB grant and a loan from Pinnacle Financial Partners. The fourth phase was completed in 2019 with the opening of the Chickasaw Senior Community, a second 48-unit $12.2 million elderly residence, with financing that included the 9% Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program, a National Housing Trust Fund grant, and a contribution from the Franklin Housing Authority. The fifth phase was completed in 2020 with the $8.2 million rehabilitation of Spring Street and Johnson Circle, with financing that included the 9% Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program, a TN Housing Trust Fund grant, a National Housing Trust Fund grant, and a contribution from the Franklin Housing Authority.

Current projects for the Franklin Housing Authority include construction of Cherokee Place and Shawnee Drive, a multi-phase project that includes the new construction of a 126-unit family community with financing that includes the 9% Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program, a TN Housing Trust Fund grant, a National Housing Trust Fund grant.

Prior to joining the FHA, Jackson was the Executive Director of the Meridian Housing Authority where he oversaw the implementation of a Hope VI grant and the redevelopment of the public housing portfolio. He also spent over 7 years with the Memphis Housing Authority as the Director of Internal Audit and Manager of Housing Services. Jackson holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and a Master’s in Public Administration. He also serves on Franklin’s Affordable Housing Commission.

In addition to his career in housing, Jackson played college basketball for the University of Arkansas-Monticello, coached for two years at Arkansas State University, was a high school and college basketball official for 18 years, and has served as a youth soccer coach.

Katie Kitchin
Director

Corporation for Supportive Housing

Katie Kitchin is the Director of CSH’s Columbus office, serving Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee. She is responsible for managing partnerships with state agencies and local communities that serve to improve capacity throughout the three states to house and support vulnerable populations. CSH’s Ohio program manages supportive housing programs, and offers technical assistance and training for the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, Department of Corrections, Mental Health and Addiction Services, and Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing. Katie is currently working with the Kentucky Housing Corporation on a range of Supportive Housing initiatives, and providing technical assistance to a number of non-profit housing organizations in all three states. Prior to joining CSH in 2014, Katie served as the Executive Director of the Community Alliance for the Homeless, the lead agency for the Continuum of Care and City and County Mayor's Action Plan to End Homelessness in Memphis, Tennessee. She was appointed to the National Alliance to End Homelessness Leadership Council in 2013. Katie previously was the Director of the Office to End Homelessness for the City of Norfolk, Virginia where she developed and implemented a successful ten-year plan to end homelessness. Ms. Kitchin has over 20 years of experience in local, state, and federal government including as a professional staff member of the US House Ways and Means Committee and as the federal legislative director for Pennsylvania Governor, Tom Ridge. She holds a B.A.from the University of Virginia and a Masters of Public Administration from the University of Southern California.

Leon Leinbach

Founder and CEO
Keystone Construction

Leon Leinbach is the Founder and CEO of Keystone Construction. At age 16, he started working on a construction crew. By age 17, he was promoted to foreman. At age 19, Leon decided to take the risk and go out on his own. Since November of 2005, Leon has been helping people build their dream post-frame buildings and barndominiums; also known as "pole barns.” Currently, they serve customers in Kentucky, Tennessee, Illinois, and Indiana.

High-quality buildings with excellent service are their standard. Although, more notably than providing excellent customer service and exceptional quality products, Leon founded Keystone Construction on five Core Values that outline the company's standards for how they operate.

Keystone's Core Values are “putting God first in all decisions,” a “people first” mentality, “humility,” a “growth mindset,” and “having fun!”

Elizabeth McCright
Executive Director
Chattanooga Housing Authority

Elizabeth (“Betsy”) McCright is a native of Massachusetts who relocated to Chattanooga twenty-two years ago. She has worked in the subsidized housing industry for over 30 years, having served as the Deputy Director of the Worcester, MA Housing Authority and the Executive Director of the Springfield, MA Housing Authority.

She has served as the Executive Director of the Chattanooga Housing Authority since December 2008. She is part owner and principal of McCright & Associates, a Chattanooga based business that provides consulting services to housing authorities nationwide.

Betsy current serves on the Siskin Hospital for Physical Rehabilitation Board and related committees, the CHI Memorial Hospital Board and related committees, and the FUSE Board. She has co-chaired the Grateful Gobbler Walk for nine years which raises funds for Maclellan Shelter for Families, a shelter serving families experiencing homelessness. Betsy has also served on other boards and committees including: The Chattanooga Area Food Bank, the Urban League, the Women’s Fund, the Chattanooga Women’s Leadership Institute, the Chattanooga Regional Homeless Coalition, the City of Chattanooga’s Interagency Council on Homelessness, and has co-chaired the Possibilities Luncheon designed to raise funds for people in need of physical rehabilitation at Siskin Hospital.

Betsy is a graduate of Smith College, Northampton, MA and Suffolk University Law School in Boston, MA. She is a member of the Tennessee and Massachusetts Bars. Betsy is a veteran of the U.S. Navy, having served nine years in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. Betsy enjoys golf, fitness activities, foreign languages and world travel.

Amy McDonald
Executive Director

Tennessee Homeless Solutions

Amy has been with Tennessee Homeless Solutions since 2014, becoming Executive Director in 2017. Amy has a deep background in administering several federal grants that serve the homeless population, Coordinated Entry and HMIS. Tennessee Homeless Solutions serves 23 counties in West TN.
Marisa Moazen
Vice President of Policy and Strategic Partnerships

Knoxville Community Development Corp. (KCDC)

As vice president of policy and strategic partnerships, Marisa Moazen expands and strengthens strategic partnerships with local, state and federal agencies, residents and community stakeholders. She also develops and leads initiatives to increase access to education, employment, connectivity, workforce development, transportation and health resources for residents at KCDC communities.

Prior to joining KCDC, Moazen worked at the University of Tennessee, most recently as assistant vice chancellor for research engagement, and Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU), where she guided, developed and coordinated projects and programs for several clients.

She holds both a Bachelor of Science in finance with minors in German and economics and an MBA with a marketing concentration from the University of Alabama. She earned a Ph.D. in higher education administration with a concentration in leadership, statistics and quantitative analysis from UT.

Outside of work, she is currently involved with the United Way of Greater Knoxville, the Girl Scouts of the Southern Appalachians, a local homeowner's association, Scouts BSA, and several genealogy associations.

Cynthia Peraza
Director of Community Programs

TN Housing Development Agency (THDA)


Cynthia Peraza is the Director of Community Programs at the Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA), where she has worked since 2011. Cynthia has over 20 years of working experience in the mortgage industry, marketing with an emphasis on customer experience, relationship management, and strong leadership skills. Her career extends across business strategies, organizational development, administration of federal and state funded programs, program budget and finance, learning strategy, and building and retaining strong teams.

Cynthia has played an instrumental role in the creation and development of multiple programs that help prevent foreclosures, stabilize communities, increase the access and inventory of affordable housing, and assist low-to-moderate income families to age in place. She drives for the attainment of stronger program governance, sustainability, and efficiency within state government. Currently, Cynthia oversees over 28 state and federally funded programs across Tennessee.

Cynthia has completed numerous well-regarded leadership programs. She graduated from LEAD Tennessee in 2014, Tennessee Government Management Institute in 2017, and the Tennessee Government Executive Institute in 2018. In 2019, she completed the Era of Complexity Executive Management Program at the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame.

Kim Randell
CEO

Habitat for Humanity of Williamson County

Raised in a military family, Kim Randell has lived across the USA from Florida to Alaska, with a dozen stops in between. She and her family moved to Middle Tennessee in 2007 and currently live in Franklin.

A graduate of the University of Alaska with a BA in journalism, Kim started her career as a copyeditor in the newsroom of the Anchorage Daily News. From there she moved on to social worker, sales rep, and teacher before finding her place in the nonprofit sector. In this field she has worked at the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Easter Seals, and has led the development team at Habitat for Humanity Williamson-Maury since 2013.

Making a positive impact today and for generations to come is what makes Habitat for Humanity such a worthwhile job. She and the Habitat leadership team have traveled to Cambodia, Vietnam, Guatemala, Kenya, and Thailand in partnership with Habitat International’s Global Village Program.

In addition to serving international missions, Kim has served as a foster parent, a Tennessee Promise Student Mentor, a member of the Franklin Housing Commission, the TN Housing Coalition, and a member of the Thrivent Community Advisory Council.

Kim and her husband Ron, an architect, have 3 children and one grandson.

Frank Rapley
Senior Manager, EnergyRight for the Home

Tennessee Valley Authority

Frank Rapley has 33 years of experience in the electric utility industry. He currently leads the EnergyRight Solutions for the Home group in the Tennessee Valley Authority’s EnergyRight Solutions organization. Previously he led TVA’s energy efficiency program design group and also served as communications manager for TVA’s Customer Resources organization. His utility experience includes four years at NRG Energy, Inc., where he was director of communications and later NRG’s market representative at the New York Independent System Operator. Frank began his utility career at Entergy Corporation, where he held positions in communications, customer service, and consumer and small business marketing.

Ed Rogers
Manager of Consumer Solutions
Built Technologies

Ed Rogers brings over 25 years of experience in residential construction and renovation lending, joining the Built team as Manager of Consumer Solutions. In this role, Ed will work closely with Lender clients as well as sales, product and engineering teams to ensure Built’s products and service delivery add value throughout all new residential construction and renovation lending processes. Previously, Ed served as Vice President of Agency Construction and Renovation Financing at Caliber Home Loans Incorporated, where he contributed to the implementation of Built’s CLA platform, which Caliber has utilized since 2018.

L. Thomas Rowe
CEO

Murfreesboro Housing Authority

L. Thomas Rowe was born in Rocky Mount, NC and graduated from Atlantic Christian College in Wilson, North Carolina with a B.S. in Accounting. He started his housing career with the Rocky Mount Housing Authority in 1980 as the assistant to the Comptroller. He held various positions in Rocky Mount before becoming the Executive Director.

Thomas took a six-year sabbatical from housing and become the Finance Director for the Rocky Mount YMCA. In 1996, he took the position of Executive Director of the Fort Mill Housing Authority until December 2013 when he joined the Murfreesboro Housing Authority. He was also the Director of three other non-profit entities that were involved in land development for affordable housing.

He has volunteered with many Boards of non-profits and served on the Springs Close Foundation. He is Past President of SERC-NAHRO and the Carolina Council of Housing and Redevelopment Officials. He is a NAHRO Fellow and serves as a Trustee on the PHADA Board and is Chair of the Housing Benefits Board.

Jeboria Scott
Director of Rental Assistance

TN Housing Development Agency (THDA)

Jeboria Scott is the Director of the Rental Assistance Division at Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA) and she has more than two decades of experience furthering fare housing opportunities and non-profit sector service within the state of Tennessee. During her 16-year tenure with THDA Jeboria served as the Assistant Director of Rental Assistance, Policy and Program Coordinator, and Family Self-Sufficiency Manager. Prior to her service with the State of Tennessee, Jeboria was employed with Catholic Charities where she served as the Outreach Coordinator in the Bridges to Care Program. As a graduate of the of NCSHA’s Executive Development Program with Indiana University, a graduate of Tennessee Government Executive Institute (TGEI), and a former volunteer with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee she is committed to professional development and community service.

Jeboria left her home in The Bahamas to attend Nashville’s Fisk University where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree, after having completed a study abroad program in Belgium and Spanish studies in Madrid, Spain. Jeboria went on to pursue a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Tennessee State University where she graduated with honors. Jeboria is passionate about serving those in need. She has dedicated her career to supporting federal and state programs that provide affordable housing opportunities in an increasingly complex world.

John Shepard
Vice President

Elmington Capital

John is responsible for the development and acquisition of residential and mixed-use communities with a particular focus on community-focused development and public-private partnerships. Since joining Elmington, he has led over $900 million in development. John received MBA and JD degrees from Harvard University.

Dana Solberg
Director of Construction Finance

Churchill Mortgage

Dana Solberg, Director of Construction Finance for Churchill Mortgage, has been in the mortgage industry for the last 13 years, with specific focus on construction and renovation lending. Prior to Churchill Mortgage, Dana built out and implemented the construction program at Mann Mortgage. She is well versed in several construction draw management platforms: Built, Land Gorilla and Granite.

Dana has a Bachelor of Liberal Studies from Montana State University- Billings and lives in beautiful Bigfork, MT with her two kids, Grant, and Miller.

Derrick L. Solomon
Executive Director

Hard Bargain Association

Derrick L. Solomon is a native of Shreveport, Louisiana and graduated from Shreveport Job Corps 2004. He was certified in Business Office Technology at the top of his class as Sergeant of Arms of Association of Student Workers at the age of nineteen. Deacon Solomon spent most of his career in telecommunications, having worked 12 years for Comcast NBCUniversal as a four-time Elite Leader for the company's top two percent of employees. In 2020, God changed his life by changing his career to a ministry of affordable housing for low to moderate income families, which lead him to Hard Bargain Association.

Deacon Solomon’s wife's grandfather is the co-founder of Hard Bargain Association along with Pastor Scott Roley and Empty Hands Fellowship. Deacon Solomon has served with the non-profit for 10 years, two as Vice President, before moving into his current role as Executive Director. He has faithfully served Boys and Girls Club of Middle Tennessee and S.T.E.M. Scouts for a decade with countless volunteer hours. He serves on the City of Franklin Task Force, as an Advisor to the City of Franklin Affordable Housing Commission and is a new member of the Leadership Franklin class of 2022-2023.

He has been married to wife Marquita Solomon for 15 years and has one son, 15-year-old Darius Solomon. In October 2019, he joined and started serving at the Empowerment Community Church in the discipleship ministry. The Solomon family resides in a historic African American neighborhood in the heart of downtown Franklin.
Dr. Emily Thaden
Vice President of National Strategy

Grounded Solutions Network (GSN)

Dr. Emily Thaden is the Vice President of National Strategy for Grounded Solutions Network (GSN) where she has worked since 2011. GSN is a national nonprofit membership organization of local nonprofits and governments that create housing with lasting affordability. She leads GSN’s work to increase financing and funding for shared equity homeowners and programs and develops innovations to expand permanently affordable housing. Previously Emily developed a shared equity program in Nashville, TN. She is currently the Vice Chair for Housing on the board of commissioners for Nashville’s housing authority, the Metropolitan Development & Housing Agency. She is also Chair of the board for Shelterforce Media, Inc. She received her doctorate in applied community research from Vanderbilt University. Her relevant research has been published in Housing Studies, Urban Geography, Journal of Architectural and Planning Research, Social Science Quarterly, Shelterforce, and numerous reports published by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.

Chris Thompson

Director of Strategic Housing
Virginia Housing

Chris Thompson is the Director of Strategic Housing at Virginia Housing. He leads a team charged with developing and managing relationships with the Commonwealth’s Housing Services Delivery Network. Mr. Thompson coordinates the design and delivery of trainings intended to strengthen the ability of local officials, land use planners, planning entities, and housing developers to better address local affordable housing and neighborhood revitalization issues. He also identifies strategic opportunities to provide technical assistance to individuals and organizations seeking to undertake transformational revitalization projects. Prior to joining VHDA he served as Deputy Director for Housing at the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD).

Michael Walton
Executive Director

green|spaces

Michael is the Executive Director of green|spaces, Chattanooga's sustainability nonprofit. Their award-winning programs focus on improving environmental and quality of life outcomes in vulnerable communities; advancing green building practices through consulting, training and workforce development; helping businesses identify and improve their triple bottom line; and coordinating long term sustainability strategies for the Chattanooga region with over 50 partner organizations.

He is a licensed architect with experience in commercial, residential, and urban design with a focus on maximizing quality of life while minimizing impacts on the environment. Michael serves as Past President of the American Institute of Architects of Chattanooga, on the boards of AIA Tennessee, US Green Building Council Tennessee, Creative Discovery Museum, ACE Mentor Program, and on advisory boards for the Interior Design, Master of Public Health, and Interdisciplinary Geospatial Technology Lab programs at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Michael studied at the ETH-Zurich as a guest student, received his Architecture degree from the University of Tennessee College of Architecture and Design and attended Harvard Business School's Young American Leaders Program.

Wayne Weaver
President and CEO

Community Housing Partnership


Wayne Weaver brings a wealth of unique personal and professional experiences to the Affordable Housing industry with over 20 years of combined experience leading efforts in real estate and finance, land acquisition and development, construction management, community economic development, affordable housing, policy advocacy and financial inclusion. Wayne is the President and CEO of Community Housing Partnership in Franklin, Tennessee. CHP is dedicated to building, uplifting and restoring community by constructing and preserving affordable housing options for workforce and low to moderate income families.

Prior to joining CHP, Wayne served as the Executive Vice-President of Operations for Habitat for Humanity. At Habitat his efforts were vital in the collaborative success of the expansion of their new construction development pipeline, recapitalization and renovation of their existing mortgage portfolio and the growth of the organization’s financial reserves. Weaver is a community advocate, having served on the Franklin Housing Commission for the past several years. His work also extends to Kenya, South Africa, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Guatemala, to name a few places where he has spent countless hours raising funds and on the mission field building homes for those in need. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Southern California and a Master of Non-profit Management from Northeastern University. Weaver lives in Brentwood with his wife Alice and 4 children.

Chris Reeder Young
Director of Research and Policy

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis


Chris Reeder Young is an applied anthropologist and Director of Research and Policy at Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis. She specializes in research and evaluation that focuses on neighborhood revitalization, affordable homeownership, and older adult home interventions as social determinants of health and community wellbeing. She has also worked collaboratively with global social scientists, economists, and think tanks to promote holistic and objective analyses of Habitat’s impact.

Jeff Zitelman
Product and Policy Development

Fannie Mae

Jeff Zitelman has been with Fannie Mae since 2010. He has experience in green bonds, loss mitigation, loan modifications, and mortgages which finance energy efficiency, renovations and accessory dwelling units. He is part of Fannie Mae’s Affordable Lending Team, enabling affordable mortgage solutions to low- and moderate-income borrowers.