MARDIE OAKES President
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Mardie combines experience in architecture, development and finance with a passion for creating inspired affordable housing. After earning her architecture degree from Rice University, she spent five years developing affordable housing to revitalize the Fifth Ward, Houston’s lowest income neighborhood. There, she co-created an exhibition and demonstration project, “16 Houses: Owning a House in the City” in partnership with the Rice School of Architecture and Diverse Works Artspace. As a result, Mardie recognized the need for creative financing and for building bridges across disciplines to help make cutting-edge projects a reality. After earning her MBA from Harvard Business School, she served as a Harvard fellow at Boston Community Capital, a nationally recognized CDFI. Mardie moved to the Bay Area in 2003 to be the Director of Real Estate Lending for Opportunity Fund, making investments in affordable housing and community facilities throughout Silicon Valley. Here, she was introduced to many people committed to creating a brighter future for the residents of Agnews Developmental Center, which led to the launch of Hello Housing in 2005. In 2006, Mardie was awarded the highly selective Echoing Green Fellowship and featured in the book, Work on Purpose.
JENNIFER DUFFY Vice President
Jennifer brings 20 years of experience pioneering new models of housing and service delivery for individuals and working families across the socioeconomic spectrum. Designing and implementing new programs is a strength and a passion that Jennifer brings to her work. She has helped Bay Area cities and counties craft new approaches to maintain and protect existing affordable housing stock during the economic downturn while also designing anti-blight and anti-displacement strategies through innovated public-private partnerships with mission oriented companies. Throughout her career, Jennifer has researched and disseminated effective management and service technologies to assist people with developmental disabilities, physical limitations, and other challenging conditions associated with housing access issues to find their way home. In her current role Jennifer assesses feasibility of new housing programs and projects, manages site selection, acquisition and resale of homes, and manages partnerships with lenders, homebuyers, government funders, service providers, peer nonprofit organizations and partner developers. Jennifer is currently serving as an Advisor of the Board of Directors for California Community Opportunities, a well recognized non-profit residential service corporation, which deploys innovative service models for children and adults with developmental disabilities. Jennifer earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Education and a Masters of Social Welfare from the University of Kansas and is a licensed Real Estate Broker in the State of California.
TESLIM IKHARO Director of Business Development
Teslim Ikharo has worked as an investment advisor, real estate developer, financial services writer, and managing director of social service programs in the mental health, homeless, formerly incarcerated, and social justice disciplines. He uses finance, real estate development, social services, and policy to produce positive community change. Most recently, he served as Managing Director of Social Innovation for Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency (BOSS) where he helped develop the county’s first pay for success agreement to reduce recidivism. An Oakland native, Teslim grew up in the city’s Dimond District, a neighborhood he credits with helping to shape his worldview and belief that diversity and equity are necessary components of resilient communities. He believes that proximity and access to public spaces, academic and cultural institutions, jobs and public transit are the bedrock of inclusive, diverse, safe and healthy blocks, neighborhoods, and cities. Teslim received his B.A. from Indiana University, Bloomington and his J.D. from the Paul. M. Hebert Law Center at Louisiana State University.
MATT WARNER Program Director
Matt Warner is the Program Director for Hello Stewardship, a program of Hello Housing. Matt brings 8 years of program design and management experience of deed-restricted affordable homeownership, down payment assistance loan, foreclosure recovery, home rehabilitation and inclusionary housing programs. Hello Stewardship is currently charged with the management of 12 affordable housing programs in seven cities across the Bay Area, including the oversight of over 1,000 below market rate (BMR) ownership homes. Prior to joining Hello Housing in 2012, Matt worked for HomeBricks, Inc., where he gained valuable experience in BMR housing, DPA loans, marketing of inclusionary housing campaigns and monitoring of municipalities’ portfolios of affordable homes. Matt attended San Diego State University, where he earned a B.A. degree in Economics.
SARAH SHIMMIN Senior Program Manager
Sarah’s background in community development projects, green building and education brought her to Hello Housing as a Program Manager for Hello Stewardship. While working at GRID Alternatives, she interfaced with homeowners and developers of affordable housing to coordinate over 200 solar PV installations with low-income homeowners throughout Northern California and in Native American tribal communities. Her responsibilities included marketing, community outreach and education, partnership building and project management for the Single-Family Solar Affordable Homes (SASH) Program. She has since worked as a Project Manager for utility-funded energy efficiency incentive programs with the consulting firm Newcomb Anderson McCormick and spent a year teaching English in Chile. She is passionate about sustainable development, working with underserved communities and using her Spanish language skills. Sarah holds bachelor’s degrees in both Spanish and Environmental Studies, with an option in Land Use Planning and Management, from California State University, East Bay.
SARAH DUVAL Program Manager
Sarah started her career in non-profit housing in 2007 at a residential SRO hotel in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood. Initially focused on supportive services, she transitioned to affordable housing property management and development with BRIDGE Housing in 2012. While at BRIDGE she supported the Senior Leadership Team in maintaining financial and program compliance, which led her to Eden Housing in 2014. At Eden, she took on a more elevated role as Compliance Manager, co-managing the organization’s compliance team. In 2016, her background in affordable housing brought her to Hello Housing as a Program Manager for Hello Stewardship. In addition to working in non-profit affordable housing, her passion for social justice has led her to several outside projects along the way, which have included collaborating on the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California’s miACLU campaign, where she worked toward appealing anti-immigrant laws at the state level, as well as serving on the board of a local bay area women’s networking organization, Good Ol’ Girls. Sarah hails from Sacramento, CA and attended the University of California at Santa Cruz, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Sociology.
BROOK BAIRD Program Manager
Prior to joining Hello Housing, Brook was a residential real estate agent with Gimme Shelter in Oakland, CA, representing both buyers and sellers in the sale of single family, condo, and multi-unit properties. For seven years, she managed the successful closings of short sale, foreclosure, probate and traditional transactions. As a brokerage supervisor, she created and implemented training programs for new sales agents, support staff and transaction coordinators. Brook recently earned her MBA from Mills College Graduate School Business and Public Policy where she crafted much of her coursework around exploring the current Bay Area housing crisis, including an internship with the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development Small Sites program. Before her career as a realtor, Brook was the co-founder and director of the Bay Area Visual Art Network (BayVAN), an art consulting business dedicated to bridging communities and creating economic opportunities for artists. Brook received her BA in Studio Art from San Francisco State University and her MBA, with an emphasis in Socially Responsible Business, from Mills College in Oakland. She is a licensed California Real Estate Broker.
RODOLFO DUEÑAS Project Manager
Rodolfo Dueñas brings over 16 years of experience in design, design-build, and construction project management. From an early age growing up in Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood he had a dream to build a bigger and healthier home for his Mom and Sister. He received his degree in Architecture from the University of California at Berkeley and embarked on providing design-build services for clients with minimal resources to help them attain their dream of their home. Rodolfo later had the honor of working for his hometown as a city planner, building inspector, housing rehabilitation advisor, and housing rehabilitation supervisor. As rehabilitation supervisor, Rodolfo managed the portfolio and budget for the city’s housing rehabilitation programs and acted as the direct liaison between the Housing and Community Development department and the Bureau of Building and Planning, as it related to Receivership, Vacant Land initiatives, problem property abatement strategies, and co-applied and managed seismic retrofit grant programs, totaling six million dollars. Still a resident of his hometown, Rodolfo is commitment to making communities like his better through housing. Rodolfo is excited to join Hello Housing to continue with the evolved dream of providing affordable, safe, and well designed and built housing to working families like his. Rodolfo holds certifications as a State of California Lead Supervisor, Post Earthquake Safety Evaluation of Buildings, CalOES Safety Assessment Program (SAP) (ATC 20), and Safety Evaluation of Buildings after Windstorms and Floods (ATC 45).
LIN CHIN Special Projects Manager
Lin Chin has over 10 years of experience developing and advocating for local programs and policies that address housing and economic justice. For 8 years, she worked at the City of Oakland in the City Administrator’s Office and the Department of Housing and Community Development. Her projects have included addressing abandoned properties, seismic retrofit programs, foreclosure prevention and mitigation programs, launching the one-stop Housing Assistance Center, leading the City’s efforts to advance green and healthy housing, directing community outreach for housing programs, and overseeing citywide Recovery Act compliance. Prior to joining the City of Oakland, Lin was an attorney at Cooley LLP, where she advised companies and nonprofit organizations on corporate governance and business transactions. Her professional experience also includes policy advocacy roles at the East Bay Community Law Center, Public Counsel Law Center, and the Advancement Project. She is a graduate of Harvard College and UC Berkeley Law School and a member of the California State Bar.
SODANY (JUDY) KEO Program Compliance Manager
Prior to joining Hello Housing in 2017, Judy spent six years serving low-income residents as a housing counselor with Asian Inc. and Habitat for Humanity. Judy has worked closely with more than 230 clients to prevent foreclosure by accessing local and Federal foreclosure prevention programs and assisted over 760 of first time homebuyers by coaching them through various affordable homeownership programs, including; Down Payment Assistance (DPA) and Below Market Rate Programs including MCC, FHA, CalHFA, WISH, San Francisco’s DALP and Mortgage Assistant Loan Program (MALP). Judy most recently has been performing application processing, credit analysis, income calculation, and income eligibility. In addition, Judy managed the Homebuyer Readiness Program at Habitat for Humanity, which included financial literacy and coaching using proven strategies for obtaining financial objectives. Judy is fluent in English, Mandarin, Cantonese, and Cambodian. Judy is a graduate of San Francisco City College and is completing her BA in Business Finance at San Francisco State University.
KATORI KNIGHT Program Associate
Katori recently graduated from UC Berkeley with Distinction, majoring in Political Science and minoring in Public Policy. Katori’s focus is on the intersection of political psychology, policy, and immersive experience design. Prior to moving to the Bay Area, Katori was a legislative intern for the Faculty Association of California Community Colleges (FACCC) and was a leader in multiple honors societies and psychology research, presenting findings at the 2015 WPA Conference. Katori returned to school in 2015 after a debilitating illness, and had previously co-run a haunted house and was the Production Manager for SkullTronix. In order to help the homelessness crises in the Bay Area, Katori has recently founded A Simple Hello to bring a face to homelessness in the area and engage the community in the discussion. In their spare time, Katori is a performance artist, and designs and runs immersive events in the Bay Area.