Ylenia Aguilar was born in Mexico and raised in Arizona and rural Illinois. She enjoys running, hiking, camping, kayaking, cycling, rowing, and hot yoga at Radia8. She has traveled with her two sons throughout Arizona’s extensive and breathtaking mountain biking trails. Her oldest son attends Northern Arizona University (NAU), majoring in Environmental Sciences and Sustainability. Her youngest is a freshman attending the IB Program at PHXU and plays for Excel Soccer Academy. Ylenia earned a B.A. in Latin American Studies from the University of Arizona.
As the SOURCE Global Business Development Manager for Arizona, she ensures that the clients and communities she serves catalyze lasting, positive change. Her work with Rural, Tribal, and School communities focuses on providing the most vulnerable populations with access to clean drinking water through a renewable water technology that creates water from sunlight and air.
Ylenia learned the importance of conservation and sustainability through her father, a retired Civil Engineer. He also instilled the value of serving the community; she is currently serving her second term as a Governing Board Member in the Osborn School District, Vitalyst Health Foundation Board of Trustees, and Hispanics Enjoying Camping, Hunting, and the Outdoors (HECHO) Advisory Council.
Cornelius Antone is a member of the Tohono O’odham Nation and has worked for the Tohono O’odham Nation for 22 years, the last eight as the Manager of the Tohono O’odham Nation Environmental Protection Office. Cornelius was also a member of the EPA Regional Tribal Operations Committee (RTOC), served as their Tribal Co- Chair for three terms. He currently resides in the community of New Fields, in the Chukut Kuk District where he loves gathering traditional O’odham foods, preparing them, and giving them away. His hobbies also include being an avid reader of different types of authors and an amateur photographer.
Chris Billey is a voice in the realm of tribal housing with a career spanning two decades. As the Executive Director of the non-profit Tribal Homeownership Coalition of the Southwest, he has dedicated his professional journey to advocating for robust, and sustainable housing solutions within tribal communities. Chris brings a wealth of expertise to this role, having not only navigated the landscape of affordable housing but also worked in tribal local governance, commercial development, and entrepreneurship.
Chris Billey’s credentials as a licensed real estate agent are a testament to his commitment to making housing accessible and affordable for all. His contributions have extended beyond his current role, as he has previously served as the President of the American Indian Chamber of Commerce of Arizona, helping further economic opportunities for indigenous communities. Chris’s academic foundation, anchored by his graduation from Arizona State University with a focus on Housing and Real Estate Development, underscores his dedication to excellence in the field. With his experience and dedication, Chris continues to be a driving force in shaping the future of tribal housing and community development in the Southwest.
Mr. Brad Bishop has 27 years combined housing experience with Rural Housing Development Corporation dba Self-Help Homes (SHH) and the Housing Authority of Utah County. For 23 of those years he has served as the SHH Executive Director where he administers several housing programs, including the development of over 600 affordable homes for both the Urban and Mutual Self-Help Housing Programs. He has a graduate degree in Public Administration and is currently serving as the Board President of the National Rural Housing Coalition, a non-profit organization that gives a voice for rural housing and community development programs nationally. He is married with 5 children and is an Arizonan at heart but has loved living in Utah for the last 35 years.
Samantha Booth has been working on federal rural housing policy at the Housing Assistance Council (HAC) since 2019. Prior to her position with HAC, Samantha was the Public Policy Director at the Community Development Bankers Association and a Legislative staffer in the offices of Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Senator John Walsh (D-MT), and Senator Max Baucus (D-MT). She lives in Bozeman, Montana.
Stephanie is the Executive Director of Newtown. She joined the Newtown team in March 2015 as the Deputy Director when the position was first created. With her education and experience in construction and non-profit management, Stephanie has been able to expand the opportunities, funding and overall growth of Newtown. Her innovative approach and “thinking outside the box” provides the necessary tools and mindset to keep Newtown ahead of its goals in providing affordable housing to all levels of homeownership.
She graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in Housing and Urban Development and completed the American Express Leadership Academy at the ASU Lodestar Center in 2015.
Her work history includes working for Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) where her responsibilities included monitoring compliance with HUD Section 4 Capacity Building Grants, creating an annual budget and assessing monthly financials, fundraising, event planning, marketing and communications. She also worked in the construction industry for 10 years before LISC.
Overall, Stephanie’s work experience and education in commercial and residential construction as a superintendent, project engineer and an estimator translates her ability to know how to continue Newtown’s success for the future in keeping Newtown as a “household” name in growing affordable housing.
Tedd Buelow is the Tribal Coordinator for USDA Rural Development (RD). In this role he leads the Tribal team within the Innovation Center’s Strategic Engagement Division that provides technical assistance and works to increase access to RD’s programs for Tribe’s, Tribal members and organizations focused on improving the quality of life and economic opportunity throughout Indian Country and Alaska. In between stints at USDA Tedd worked for the CDFI Fund on the Native American Program team. Prior to that he worked for USDA RD’s Community Development Programs as a desk officer for the NW region. Tedd began his federal career as a volunteer with the Peace Corps in the Eastern High Atlas National Park in Morocco.
Erin Clark joined the Denver Housing Authority as its Chief Real Estate Investment Officer in April 2022 and provides leadership and strategic direction to the real estate division, including overseeing policies, procedures and investment decisions for affordable real estate development, acquisitions, dispositions, financing, marketing and partnership activities. She also establishes and maintains strategic relationships with government agencies, community stakeholders, residents, vendors, financial partners, and various associations for the execution of DHA’s real estate investment financing and development goals among other key responsibilities.
Prior to joining DHA, Clark worked for Urban Land Conservancy (ULC), a Denver-based non-profit real estate development organization focused on land acquisitions and development of affordable housing and supportive community benefit uses. Earlier in her career she worked with the real estate and community land trust teams at the Lowry Redevelopment Authority, in city government in the planning and development department for the City of Pasadena, California, and in the private sector for various law firms supporting property acquisitions and dispositions, redevelopment, and public financing for infrastructure improvements.
Clark currently serves on the Colorado State Land Board as commissioner at large as a gubernatorial appointee and recently ended her term as Vice Chair of the Denver Planning Board after five years. In 2021, she earned the Trailblazer Award from the Denver Chapter of Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) and was an Eagle Award nominee as an affordable housing leader from Housing Colorado.
Clark holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Wisconsin Law School, a Master of Planning from the University of Southern California, and a Bachelor of Arts from Brown University.
Diana Dorn-Jones was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She is a community organizer and a housing and economic development professional whose key interests include financing for affordable housing and small business development and advocacy on behalf of low income people.
Diana is currently the Executive Director of United South Broadway Corporation, one of Albuquerque’s oldest non-profit Community Development Corporations that provides home ownership opportunities to low-and-moderate-income households, support to small business owners, and development and job training activities to youth living in Albuquerque’s historic core neighborhoods.
On the housing front, Diana advises the City of Albuquerque’s Office of Black Community Engagement (OBCE) on how to increase homeownership opportunities for Black residents.
She has organized community groups to implement the Community Reinvestment Act, bringing millions of dollars into the state for low-income housing and small business development. She was instrumental in passage of the New Mexico Home Loan Protection Act, whose anti equity-stripping language is mirrored in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. After the mortgage meltdown of the mid-2000s she convened the New Mexico Foreclosure Process Legislative Task Force to improve mortgage servicing practices in the state.
Stefka Czarnecki Fanchi holds degrees from the George Washington University and School for International Training. She has held executive level positions with statewide nonprofits and municipal government, including Habitat for Humanity of Colorado and the City of Lakewood. She has raised nearly $200 million dollars over the course of her career, and was recognized as one of the Denver Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 and as one of Midwest CEO Magazine’s Most Influential Women. She currently serves as President & CEO for Elevation Community Land Trust, leading efforts to develop more than 1000 affordable homeownership opportunities in Colorado.
Heather Fleming (Diné/Navajo) is the co-founder and Executive Director of Change Labs, an organization supporting entrepreneurship and innovation on the Navajo. Heather engages partners in and around the Navajo Nation to incubate, finance and train new and prospective Native American social entrepreneurs in an effort to diversify local economies and promote innovation. The inspiration for Heather’s work to seed Native American social entrepreneurship was inspired by her upbringing in rural New Mexico and her work with Catapult Design, a company she co-founded in San Francisco and led for 10 years. Catapult is a product and service design firm with expertise in human-centered design for marginalized communities. Prior to starting Catapult, Heather was an Adjunct Lecturer at Stanford University and California Academy of the Arts, and worked as a design and innovation consultant in Silicon Valley, designing products and services for a diverse range of corporate clients. Early in her career she co-founded and led a volunteer group, the Appropriate Technology Design Team, focused on social impact design work through a professional chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB) in San Francisco. Heather was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and a Pop!Tech Social Innovation Fellow for her work with EWB and Catapult Design.
Colleen Flynn is the Co-Executive Director of Build Healthy Places Network. She brings over 20 years supporting community development strategies that advance health and racial equity. Previously, Colleen was the Director of Programs at Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), the country’s largest community development nonprofit. In this role, Colleen directed multiple initiatives supporting cross-sector collaborations in community-led efforts across New York CIty.
Before joining LISC, Colleen worked for PolicyLink, a national organization that advances economic and social equity, and the Neighborhood Parks Council, a nonprofit advocate for parks and open space in San Francisco. Colleen also served as a Municipal Development Peace Corps Volunteer in Guatemala. She currently serves on the Partners for Better Health Board of Directors. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and a master’s degree in Urban Planning from the University of Texas, Austin.
Mrs. Patricia Garcia Duarte is Executive Vice President, Homeownership Initiatives at Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc. (CPLC), a multi-state nonprofit organization headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona dedicated to: Health & Human Services, Housing, Education, Economic Development, and Advocacy and President of CPLC Home Lending, LLC.
Currently, she is a board member at Community Housing Capital, a national Community Development Financial Institution; City of Phoenix, Parks & Preserve Initiative Oversight Committee, National NeighborWorks Association, Downtown Phoenix Community Development Corp., Rio Reinvestment & Redevelopment Committee, the Arizona Community Foundation and Governor’s Interagency and Community Council on Homelessness and Housing. She is also a community advisory member to Comerica Bank, Western Alliance Bank and Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco Affordable Housing Advisory Council.
As an advocate, she is attentive to matters that impact consumers, especially low-moderate income individuals and families. Mrs. Garcia Duarte is an Arizona native, raised in Yuma County and lives in Chandler, AZ.
MiDian Holmes grew up in Denver, Colorado, and recalls stories and experiences in her childhood filled with racial tensions. Some events were in the national spotlight and others were casual occurrences in her classroom or neighborhood. Stories centered around Rodney King, Latasha Harlins, Amadou Diallo, and the verdict of O.J. Simpson were just a few triggering reminders during MiDian’s formative years that the country was divided, despite being taught that America was a place of freedom and acceptance. While she was able to compartmentalize these national headlines, MiDian was no stranger to racism from her peers, teachers, and sadly enough, her mentors.
As the CEO of the Epitome of Black Excellence & Partnership and Owner/Founder of 8PM Consulting for Humanity, MiDian brings her life experience, a relentless pursuit of racial justice, and her expertise as a community leader, corporate executive, and social justice advocate to a new mission. MiDian’s work is centered on three main pillars, each addressing a community and providing them with opportunities to learn, reflect, grow, and change our society. MiDian teaches and lives her commitment to this work.
While society continues to produce countless individuals and families impacted by the plague of racism and injustice, MiDian recognizes that our culture is suffering. She seeks to educate, enlighten, and empower people through personal connection and reflection, as she has done throughout her own life.
MiDian is sought out and leveraged by the community at large and is committed to holding the hands and hearts of others to join her on the journey to Get Uncomfortable, Stay Uncomfortable, and Transform our Comfort!
Deidre Johnson is the CEO and Executive Director of Center for African American Health, a community-based organization dedicated to empowering the Black community to make informed health decisions that benefit the whole person through education, collaboration and advocacy.
Johnson is an ASCEND Aspen Institute Colorado Children and Families Health and Human Services Fellow, a Transformative Leadership for Change Fellow, a Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Livingston Fellow and an Adjunct Professor in the University of Denver, University College Nonprofit Leadership Program.
Johnson currently serves on the following boards and steering committees: Colorado Public Radio Board of Directors, Colorado Maternal Health Task Force, Rose Community Foundation Community Grantmaking Committee, Colorado School of Public Health Advisory Board, HB22-1157 Data Advisory Work Group, Yale Philanthropy Conference Advisory Board and Colorado State Senator James Coleman’s Health Care Policy Cabinet.
A Denver native, Johnson graduated from St. Mary’s Academy, holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English from Princeton University, and an MBA from the Yale School of Management.
Elise Jones is the Executive Director of the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP), managing the organization and its impactful work on energy efficiency, electrification, clean transportation and other climate solutions in the six-state region covering Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. She brings to this position more than three decades of public policy-making experience, accumulated from a variety of vantage points: as a local elected official, former chair of the Denver Regional Council of Governments, gubernatorial appointment to the Air Quality Control Commission and Regional Air Quality Council, Congressional legislative staff person, and a conservation advocacy nonprofit leader.
Elise served as an elected county commissioner for Boulder County from 2013-21, where she focused on climate action, sustainability, equity, and multimodal transportation issues. Prior to running for public office, for 13 years she directed a statewide conservation organization, Colorado Environmental Coalition (now called Conservation Colorado), advocating for policy change on climate, energy, wilderness, land use, transportation, and a host of other environmental issues. Elise has also worked as a regional director for the League of Conservation Voters, a senior legislative staff person for Oregon congresswoman Elizabeth Furse, and a policy advocate for the National Wildlife Federation. She has a master’s degree in Resource Policy, Planning, & Administration from the University of Michigan, and a bachelor’s degree in Natural Resources from Cornell University.
Joe, with his broad experience in all phases of affordable housing development and operations, oversees the development and management of the nonprofit’s housing stock and real estate portfolio. He has a specific focus on expanding housing opportunities for tribal and other Native American communities, and is versed in intergovernmental affairs between tribal, federal, and state entities and in the leveraging of funds provided through Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act legislation, low-income housing tax credits, and other affordable housing resources. He joined Native American Connections in 2002. Joe is a registered member of the Cross Lake Band of First Nations
Chris Krehmeyer is the President & CEO of Beyond Housing, a nonprofit that started out helping St. Louis residents gain access to affordable housing and grew into so much more. Today Beyond Housing is a comprehensive community development organization convening partners and providing leadership with the voice of residents constantly driving their work. From purchasing a home to health, education, jobs, and economic development, they offer holistic resources and support. In 2021 Beyond Housing Launched the Once and For All Movement with Chris as its leader. Chris earned his Bachelor’s Degree from Washington University in Saint Louis and later received an honorary doctorate at both Washington University in Saint Louis and University of Missouri Saint Louis.
Aaron Martinez serves as the Chief Operating Officer for ULC and brings nearly 20 years of experience in the non-profit sector, focusing on critical social issues such as environmental sustainability, affordable housing, energy equity, food access, and youth development. His primary responsibilities include overseeing the seamless and efficient functioning of day-to-day operations and supervising the management of ULC’s assets. He also plays a crucial role in achieving the organization’s strategic goals and upholding its core values, including anti-racism, sustainability, real estate stewardship, collective impact, and innovation. With a clear focus on these principles, Aaron leads ULC towards making a lasting positive impact in the communities it serves.
Since growing up in Pueblo, CO, Aaron has a broad base of experience ranging from the construction industry to the nonprofit sector. From framing houses in the heat of the Texas summer to leading at-risk youth development programs in Pittsburgh, PA and Denver, CO, to implementing emergency home rehabilitation programs in Boulder, CO after disastrous flooding in 2013 and leading nonprofit organizations focused on affordable housing and energy efficiency.
Shelly Marquez leads the Mountain Plains regional operations across seven states. The region has 41 affordable housing developments and serves over 3,000 residents who call Mercy Housing home. She leads a team, which includes real estate development, resident services and fundraising. The team is focused on new affordable housing development and preserving existing affordable housing. They provide resident services to Mercy housing residents with programs focused on Housing Success, Health & Wellness, Financial capabilities, Out of School time and Community Engagement.
Marquez has over 35 years of experience in the financial services industry where she spent the last 28 years with Wells Fargo Bank. She led Community Relations activity across a 13-state region, in her role she managed a philanthropic budget for the region and was responsible for community outreach, stakeholder engagement and reputation activities across the region. She brings commercial lending experience in serving the needs of business customers. She is a thought leader in financial health with deep expertise in asset building, particularly in underbanked communities.
She holds her Bachelor of Science degree in BA, from Colorado Christian University. She currently serves as the Vice Chair for National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders, she serves on Colorado Gives Foundation, and Energize Colorado as board member.
Aaron Miripol joined Urban Land Conservancy in 2007 and leads this unique real estate company in forming partnerships for the strategic acquisition and development of land and buildings; thereby creating sustainable benefits in underserved communities.
He has over 25 years of experience running community development and affordable housing companies, including nine years as Executive Director of Thistle Community Housing, where he provided oversight for one of the fastest growing non-profit housing providers in Colorado. During his tenure, the organization’s affordable housing production increased drastically, going from around 100 homes to over 1,000 rental and ownership homes, valued at over $70 million.
Before moving to Colorado, Aaron ran two inner city Baltimore non-profit community development corporations, Southwest Visions and The Loading Dock. He was a Goldsmith Scholar in International Studies at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, has his BA in History & International Studies from Macalester College in St. Paul, and a Masters in Public Policy from Johns Hopkins University.
John Morseau is a Senior Policy Analyst for the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis’s Center for Indian Country Development (CICD). Mr. Morseau’s policy and research areas cover issues related to accessing capital within Indian Country and other economic development related topics. Mr. Morseau also currently serves his Tribe as a Member at Large on the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Tribal Council. Mr. Morseau formally served as Treasurer for the Pokagon Band Tribal Council as well as Treasurer for the Board of Directors of the Pokagon Band’s Four Winds Casino enterprise.
Prior to working for the Federal Reserve and his Tribal Council service, Mr. Morseau was a Tribal Relations Lead for an international sustainable energy developer where he worked with Tribes to understand and resolve concerns regarding impacts of sustainable energy development. Mr. Morseau also represented low-income Natives residing in Michigan as a staff attorney for Michigan Indian Legal Services after graduating law school. Mr. Morseau earned his JD from the University of New Mexico School of Law and a Bachelor’s in Political Science from Michigan State University.
Tony Moya recently joined Chicanos Por La Causa (CPLC) as Director of Strategic Projects. CPLC is a nonprofit agency that is from Phoenix Arizona and has offices in California, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas. The areas of focus are: Health and Human Services, Housing, Education, Economic Development and Advocacy. Tony recently retired as manager of the Latino Relations Department at Salt River Project (SRP), a $2.8 billion public power utility providing power and water services to more than 2 million Arizona residents. Tony was with SRP for more than 34 years, during which time he has held several positions throughout the company. Tony is very involved in the community, especially with the issues facing the Hispanic population.
An active community leader, Tony has many affiliations with different organizations including: Alumni and Chair for the Hispanic Leadership Institute selection committee hosted through Valle Del Sol; Board Chair for Chicanos Por La Causa; Friendly House Scholarship Selection Committee Chair and Board President and Alumni Class of XXIII for Valley Leadership; Board member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute and Board Chair of the Phoenix Park and Recreation Board. Tony, worked with many local UnidosUS affiliates as part of his outreach and is also a member of the President’s Council of donors.
Tony graduated from Western International University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Management. In addition, he received his Certificate in Corporate Community Involvement from the Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College. He has more than 30 years of experience in leadership roles and most recently serves as SRP’s Latino Community Liaison. Tony was named one of the 2009 Exemplary Leadership Award recipients for Valle Del Sol’s Profiles of Success Awards.
Alisha is the Navajo Nation Division of Economic Development economist, the first-ever Navajo economist for the tribe. Alisha is also a doctoral candidate at New Mexico State University in the Doctorate of Economic Development program. She is also the vice-chair of the board of directors of The Global Centre of Indigenomics, a platform for collaboration among Indigenous entrepreneurs, and is one of the 2021 National Center of American Indian Enterprise Development Native American 40 Under 40 inductees. She has her master’s degree in social work from Washington University in St. Louis, MO, and a master’s degree in economics from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, NM.
Michael Elizabeth Sakas is a climate and environmental journalist at Colorado Public Radio and she specializes in water reporting. As the host of the podcast “Parched,” she explores the critical issues surrounding the Colorado River through stories of visionary individuals striving to preserve a vital resource for millions of people. Born and raised in Colorado, Michael’s deep connection to the region fuels her passion for environmental storytelling in the West. She has a Master of Science in Journalism and Media Communication degree from Colorado State University.
Joel is a member of the Caddo Nation of Oklahoma, and serves on the board of the Caddo Nation Economic Development Agency. He is the SVP and Chief Credit Officer at Native American Bank. NAB is a national tribally owned bank focused on providing access to capital to Indian Country. There, he also oversees the New Market Tax Credit activity at the bank.
Michele Weaver brings a broad background of experience with her as RD’s first female Utah State Director. Weaver has experience working as a small business owner, spent time in the banking industry and non-profit sector. In 2018, she was appointed to the Utah Commission for Housing Affordability by Governor Gary Herbert where she effectively highlighted challenges in rural communities and led efforts to increase funding and positively impact statewide policy. With more than 25 years of experience in affordable housing development, Weaver has been an instrumental advocate for rural Utah residents and their issues. She has provided economic development technical assistance and training, assisted nonprofit organizations, tribal housing developments and administered small business lending programs. Weaver is a finance graduate from the University of Utah and enjoys spending time outdoors and appreciates the uniqueness of the nation’s geography and culture.
Stu Wright is an Executive Vice President with FirstBank Holding Company. He has been with the company for 25 years, working in Boulder, Westminster, Wheat Ridge, Lakewood, Littleton. He joined the Accounting Department in 2022 where he oversees the bank’s Regulatory Reporting, Real Estate and Facilities, Corporate Insurance, and Stock/Shareholder areas.
Prior to joining the Accounting team Stu focused on commercial lending, business development, and management. Stu has provided instruction through the bank’s internal training classes Construction Lending and Advanced Commercial Real Estate Lending. He has also served on FirstBank’s Credit Policy Committee (Advisory), and Customer Development Committee. He worked with the Urban Land Conservancy to create the Metro Denver Impact Facility. This $75 million facility provides acquisition capital for community-focused real estate projects.
Stu is a board member of the Lakewood-West Colfax Business Improvement District, and Radian, Inc. He is an emeritus member of the Family Tree Board of Directors and has served on the boards of Brothers Redevelopment, Inc., and the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program of Boulder. He was a member of the Westminster 7:10 Rotary Club. Stu is also a member of the Vitalant (formerly Bonfils Blood Center) Three Gallon Club.