MARDIE OAKES, CHAIR
of the Board
Jennifer Duffy, President
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. After 16 years as Hello Housing’s President, Mardie transitioned into a board chair role in the spring of 2021.
LIN CHIN, SECRETARY
Lin Chin has over 12 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. Lin served as Special Projects Manager for Hello Housing until she transitioned into a board member role in the spring of 2021.
THOMAS CASEY, TREASURER
Tom Casey has over 20 years of experience in affordable homeownership, mortgage finance, property management, constrution and real estate development. He is a VP of Real Estate Development with Dogtown Development Company where he develops residential projects, primarily in Oakland. Prior to this, Tom served as a VP of HomeBricks (the predecessor to Hello Stewardship) where he oversaw strategic, operational and IT responsibilities for the organization’s administrative, marketing and lending services. Tom has a Bachelors degree in Music and History from Stanford University and an MFA in Classical Performance. He is a licensed real estate broker and general contractor.
Rick Jacobus, a national expert in inclusionary housing and affordable homeownership, is the principal of Street Level Urban Impact Advisors. He serves as a strategic advisor to Grounded Solutions Network, a national initiative focused on building more inclusive communities. Rick served as an F.B. Heron Foundation Joint Practice Fellow at CoMetrics, was previously a partner in Burlington Associates in Community Development and a visiting fellow at the Lincoln Institute for Land Policy. He has also served as a lecturer at UC Berkeley and a senior program officer for the Local Initiatives Support Corporation. Rick is the author of Inclusionary Housing: Creating and Maintaining Equitable Communities published by the Lincoln Institute for Land Policy and numerous other landmark publications. He has a Bachelors degree from Oberlin College and a Masters of City Planning degree from UC Berkeley.
Violet Pearson is recognized as a catalyst for growth and change. Her professional career as an entrepreneur, business strategist, master coach, change igniter, and human rights activist spans 20+ years of expertise in organizational leadership and development, strategic business planning and implementation, executive recruitment and coaching, and developing high-performance teams. Violet offers a distinguished record of achievement in new business development and optimizing organizations including small, mid-sized, and Fortune 100 companies. She has worked with clients throughout the United States, Africa, South America and Asia in several industries, including consumer products, food & beverages, healthcare, utilities, Oil and Gas, High Tech, and professional services. She is highly skilled in driving revenue growth, exceeding performance objectives, and standardizing procedures while ensuring delivery of unmatched service and support to clients. Violet co-founded and is currently a partner at ChangeIgnitors, LLC, an international change management firm. Serving in the capacity of Leadership and OD practice lead, she works with leaders and organizations to transform lives and organizations by igniting and unleashing passion and creative brilliance in leaders of excellence.