Meet The Team
Town Manager for the Town of Apex, North Carolina
Catherine Crosby is the Town Manager for Apex, North Carolina. Previously she served as the Chief of Staff for the City of Toledo with delegated responsibilities of the chief administrator. In her current role, Katy provides leadership to 2700+ employees, oversees the day-to-day operations, and administers a budget in excess of $800 million with all funds included. Her direct responsibilities include the departments of Finance, Human Resources, Information Technology, Diversity and Inclusion, and she provides guidance on the city’s community development strategy. She also oversees implementation of the 2018-2021 strategic plan, development of the data management strategy, and implementation of the new performance evaluation process with the goal of enhancing operational efficiency, and she provides policy and operational guidance to the Mayor, Council, departments, and other stakeholders on legislation, policy, and strategic priorities.
Katy delivers dynamic and charismatic leadership to the workplace environment with a track record of developing staff for upward mobility. She is a systems thinker with a proven ability to build relationships and collaborate to influence change and a public servant that listens to community needs and establishes solutions. She is also a pragmatic administrator with experience contributing to advancing diversity and inclusion through alignment of resources and engaging diverse populations.
Katy played a leadership role in advocating for bank public benefit agreements that support low-to-moderate income communities and successfully assisted with negotiating multiple multi-billion dollar agreements with community, regional and national banks. She also provides recommendations on equitable community and economic development to financial institutions across the country to ensure adherence to CRA.
Currently, Katy serves on several state and national boards and has served on numerous local boards in addition to receiving a number of recognitions for leadership and work in the community.
Executive Director Birmingham Business Resource Center
Bob Dickerson has spent his career finding ways to get money into the hands of people. For years, he did it as a commercial and consumer lending officer while working at several large financial institutions. Today, he does it as the Executive Director of the Birmingham Business Resource Center and Chief Executive Officer of Foundation Capital, a Small Business Administration Certified Development Company.
Bob founded the BBRC in 1996 after realizing there was no program in Birmingham that combined loan programs with capacity building and advocacy – three things every business needs to succeed. Bob secured the support of Birmingham elected officials, and various development companies and boards to start the BBRC. What he ended up with was an organization that has become a “one-stop-shop” for small business financing and technical assistance. The programs the BBRC manages have produced nearly 900 million in loans to businesses since 1996.
Bob graduated from Tuskegee Institute in 1973 with a degree in business administration. He has worked at several financial institutions but said that working for Birmingham business icon, A. G. Gaston may have been the greatest moment in his career. Gaston made such an impression on Bob, that he and others started the A.G. Gaston Economic Empowerment Conference in 2005. The annual conference focuses on challenges and achievements of black and other minority businesses and examines how to strengthen them through networking, skills development, and targeted workshops. The conference is held in February in Birmingham, Alabama. Recently, Bob founded Building Alabama Reinvestment (BAR), a statewide coalition of non-profit organizations that works to make sure that banks’ efforts under the Community Reinvestment Act pay dividends to the community.
Bob is a member of several foundations, boards, and civic organizations. He serves as Chairman of the Board of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) and he also serves on the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute’s Board of Directors. In addition to those, he serves on the boards of the Birmingham Business Alliance, the A. G. Gaston Boys & Girls Club, the Talladega (Alabama) College Board of Trustees, the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama, the Camino Loan Fund Board of Directors, the city of Birmingham’s Commercial Development Authority, the City of Birmingham Community Development Entity, Community Capital Trust Board of Trustees and the Fair Housing Center of Northern Alabama’s Boards of Directors.
His efforts in helping people have recently earned him the NAACP Medgar Evers Award and the Tri County Links President’s Award. In addition to these, Bob also was the recipient of the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce’s Jesse J. Lewis Jr. Community Service Award and the Birmingham Business Journal’s Minority Business Executive of the Year in 2007.Bob and the BBRC received the National “Access to Capital” Award from the Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency in 2009, and in 2013, Dickerson received recognition as “Executive of the Year” from the Birmingham Business Alliance. Bob serves on community advisory boards for several financial institutions including BBVA, IBERIABANK, Valley Bank, Truist Bank, and Cadence Bank where he helps guide executives with support in creating more successful high impact community development programs. Bob was honored as the 2018 recipient of Keeper of the Dream Award presented by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference for his work to achieve economic justice for all.
President and CEO- Urban Land Conservancy
Aaron Miripol has 30 years’ experience running community development and affordable housing companies. He has over seen more than $1 billion in direct economic development, including over 3,000 permanently affordable homes. Aaron joined ULC in 2007 and leads this unique real estate company in partnering with a wide range of organizations in the Denver metro area on the strategic acquisition and development of land and buildings to preserve and enhance their ability to create sustainable benefits in underserved communities. To date ULC has invested in 34 properties totaling $100 million in investments, which leverages over $700 million in development.
Over 10,000 people and (more than 80% are low income households) and 2000 jobs are served by ULC’s real estate. Aaron is a founding member of the Neighborhood Development Collaborative and Mile High Connects, and currently serves on the Board of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition.
Prior to his work at ULC, Aaron was the Executive Director of Thistle Community Housing, providing oversight on one of the fastest growing non-profit housing providers in Colorado. In his nine years at Thistle, the organization’s affordable housing production grew from 100 homes to 1,000 rental and ownership homes valued at over $70 million. Most importantly, Thistle grew from serving 250 people a year to over 3,000 people annually in need of affordable housing.
Before moving to Colorado, Aaron worked in Baltimore running two inner city nonprofit 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 in Baltimore.
Executive Director for HousingNOLA
Andreanecia M. Morris serves as the Executive Director for HousingNOLA, a 10-year partnership between the Greater New Orleans Housing Alliance (GNOHA), the Foundation for Louisiana, the City’s Office of Housing and Community Development, and dozens of public, private, and nonprofit organizations working to solve New Orleans’ affordable housing crisis.
Prior to her role as Executive Director, Morris spearheaded the HousingNOLA 10-year Strategy and Implementation Plan, released on December 10, 2015. The strategy indicates the need for 33,600 additional affordable units in the city by 2025. Further, the data clearly shows that wages have not come close to mirroring the dramatic rise in housing costs.
A graduate of Loyola University, Morris has worked to create affordable housing opportunities in the Greater New Orleans Area in both the public and private sector. Morris has assisted in creating opportunities for approximately 500 families to become first time homebuyers after Hurricane Katrina, and she was lead organizer for GNOHA when it started in 2007 as collaborative coalition of non-profit housing builders and community development corporations who work to rebuild the City of New Orleans.
Morris has established connections with community members, governmental officials and media to successfully promote the agenda for low to mixed-income housing in the Greater New Orleans region, and many people consider her a key player in rebuilding the city of New Orleans. Leaders like Morris and the organizations she is involved in have been actively sowing the seeds of transformation in a city known for its racial polarization, Nimbyism and challenging political infrastructure. Much of the city’s progress to date has depended upon citizen leadership and an emerging infrastructure of nonprofit organizations that have helped local residents build their ability to influence policy decisions and develop creative, bottom-up solutions to the issues facing their communities.
Morris serves as President/Chairwoman for the GNOHA Board of Governors, which supports and advises the efforts to preserve and production of affordable housing for people within the Greater New Orleans Region and places a special emphasis on the needs of the most vulnerable in society—seniors, people with disabilities, veterans, low-wage workers and low-income families. Morris also co-chairs the Louisiana Housing Trust Fund Initiative, and she is a member of the Housing Authority of New Orleans’ Board of Commissioners, City of New Orleans Interagency Council on Homelessness, Lafitte Greenway Steering Advisory Committee, Louisiana Alliance for Economic Inclusion, CONNECT Coalition Steering Committee, JP Morgan Chase Louisiana Community Advisory Board, lowernine.org Board of Directors, ASI Federal Credit Union Board of Directors, Friends of Lafitte Greenway Board of Directors, Project Homecoming Board of Directors American Business Women’s Association (ABWA) Crescent City Connections Express Network and the American Heart Association Multicultural Leadership Committee. She was recognized by the FDIC in 2011 for her leadership and service in supporting the mission of Southeast Louisiana Alliance for Economic Inclusion (AEI) Initiative. In 2014, she was named to 2014 CityBusiness Woman of the Year Class. She received the NeighborWorks ® Community Building & Engagement Staff Award for her work at the Sojourner Truth Neighborhood Center and the NEWCITY Neighborhood Partnership in 2015. Morris was also selected in 2015 to represent New Orleans in the East West Center US-Japan Grassroots Exchange focusing on Citizen Participation in Community Building Post-Disaster. In April 2016, UNITY of Greater New Orleans named Morris Outstanding Advocate for Affordable Housing.
Board Chair Community Reinvestment Alliance of South Florida
Arden brings 30 years of diverse nonprofit housing and community development experience to his role as board chair of CRASF. Mr. Shank, as President/CEO of Neighborhood Housing Services of South Florida, has a deep knowledge of specialized community-based housing issues including corporation start-ups, restructuring, fundraising and capital project implementation. Mr. Shank has capitalized on his skills and expertise to expand NHSSF from a small agency of three staff members to a sophisticated operation with a professional team, an engaged 12-member board, and an expanded territory that includes Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. NHSSF has five lines of business including homebuyer preparation, mortgage lending, housing development, real estate brokerage, and neighborhood revitalization.
As a chartered member of the NeighborWorks network, NHSSF is certified to meet a high standard of fiscal integrity and service performance to assist local residents in developing leadership, improving their neighborhoods, and securing decent, affordable housing. Through his association with NeighborWorks, Mr. Shank graduated from Achieving Excellence, an intensive performance-driven organizational investment program for seasoned senior executives in community development jointly sponsored by NeighborWorks America and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
He worked with a diverse base of partners to form a consortium of community-based organizations that could pool their talents and expertise to help stabilize neighborhoods reeling from the foreclosure crisis. This resulted in NHSSF and six other partners forming a consortium that was awarded $89,375,000 by HUD through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program Round 2. The Consortium, with NHSSF as the lead agency, completed its grant expenditures on time and producing 1500 housing units.
Mr. Shank’s commitment to making communities stronger has resulted in his involvement with numerous organizations including a board member of National Community Reinvestment Coalition, the founder and board chair of Community Reinvestment Alliance of South Florida, a member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors’ Community Advisory Council, and a board of the South Florida Community Development Coalition.
Senior Administrator Fair Lending, Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council, Milwaukee, WI
Bethany Sanchez directs the Fair Lending Program at the Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council, a 40-year old private nonprofit civil rights organization. Bethany has over 30 years of experience working in the housing and community development sector in California and Wisconsin. Early in her career, she ran a nonprofit home repair program and then developed affordable housing. She now develops and operates programs to combat predatory lending and foreclosure, working to ensure that every credit-worthy borrower has equal access to fairly priced credit. Bethany partners with local, state and national groups to create programs and policies to promote fair and affordable housing and equitable community development. She is the immediate past chair of NCRC’s board of directors, and is an active leader in Milwaukee’s homeownership consortium called Take Root Milwaukee, the Wisconsin Affordable Housing Coalition, the Alliance for Economic Inclusion, the Wisconsin Consumer Roundtable.
Former Executive Director of the Tennessee Human Rights Commission, Retired
Nashville native Beverly L. Watts was appointed the Executive Director of the Tennessee Human Rights Commission in July 2007. Prior to her current appointment she served as Special Advisor to the Chair at the U S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission responsible for state and local relations. She has more than 30 years of experience in civil rights enforcement and education in the public and private sector. From October, 2004 to October 2006 she served as the first Executive Director of the National Fair Housing Training Academy.
Beverly served for more than 12 years as the Executive Director of the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights and served in numerous other leadership positions in Illinois, and Kentucky. She was one of the first Title IX Coordinators in the US at the Office for Civil Rights and has served as adjunct faculty in Sociology at Spalding University. She was Senior Consultant for Ralph G. Moore & Associates (RGMA) in Chicago assisting clients in developing strategic initiatives in operations, diversity and supplier diversity programs She has presented to numerous organizations on leadership, civil rights, diversity, and motivation at the local, national and international level.
Beverly Watts is a past President of the International Association of Official Human Rights Agencies (IAOHRA) where she currently serves as the 1st Vice President. She currently serves on the Equal Educational Opportunities Group (EEOG) and the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) Boards. She is a member of the TN Access to Justice Commission. She is a past Chair of Women Executives in State Government, has served on the CABLE Nashville and the YWCA of Middle Tennessee boards.
Beverly is the recipient of numerous awards and honors including the 2019 CABLE Power of Inclusion Champion Award, the 2018 CABLE Spirit of Leadership Award, 2018 YWCA Academy of Women, 2016 YWCA Nashville Athena Nominee, the ECHO 2014 Dreamers Award, the 2014 Frances Dancy Hooks Award, the YWCA 2014 Carrie Hull Award, the City of Louisville Martin Luther King award and the 2005 induction into the KY Civil Rights Hall of Fame.
She is a graduate of Tennessee State University, Southern Illinois University. She has completed the Duke University Leadership Program for State Executives and the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government Executive Leadership Program.
Executive Director, Hawaii Alliance for Community Based Economic Development (HACBED), Honolulu, HI
Brent Kakesako feels humbled to co-learn alongside communities across Hawai’i and beyond and blessed with an awesome team he supports as best he can. He is driven by his family upbringing, the connection he feels to Hawai’i and his initial eye-opening community engagement experiences. As executive director for the Hawai’i Alliance for Community-Based Economic Development (HACBED), Brent works to support families and communities to have choice and control so they can pursue their vision for genuine wealth. Recently, he is excited to work with the HACBED team to support community-based partners in the areas of intergenerational knowledge transfer and succession, ‘aging and food justice, and strengthening relationships between community-based and institutional partners. Brent also dabbled in supporting the local startup ecosystem. He received his J.D. from the William S. Richardson School of Law, an M.B.A. from the Shidler College of Business, and his Bachelors from Harvard University focused on the study of teams.
Executive Director, Arkansas Fair Housing Commission, Little Rock, AR
Carol Johnson, J.D., M.A., is executive director of the Arkansas Fair Housing Commission, the only state agency in Arkansas specifically charged with protecting civil rights. The Commission is a quasi-judicial, regulatory enforcement agency which receives, investigates and resolves fair housing/fair lending complaints. Carol has worked under the administrations of Governors Huckabee, Beebe and now Hutchinson. Since becoming executive director in 2005, Carol was instrumental in building the commission under HUD’s FHAP capacity-building program into a fully functioning fair housing/fair lending civil rights enforcement agency. During her tenure, Carol has resolved numerous fair housing/fair lending cases and has assisted many Arkansas municipalities in creating and/or amending existing ordinances to comply with zoning requirements, and worked with lenders, developers and other housing providers to ensure open housing access. A licensed attorney, Carol has worked in various areas of administrative, civil and criminal law, and is a former deputy prosecuting attorney.
Executive Director of Community Reinvestment Alliance of South Florida
Cornell Crews Jr. is the Executive Director of the Community Reinvestment Alliance of South Florida. A non-profit membership organization serving Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties, dedicated to the enforcement and preservation of the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977. His previous employment included 16 years at Partners for Self-Employment Inc. (PSE).
Prior to working at PSE, Cornell served 24 years and retired from the US Army where his many duties included First Sergeant, Special Operations, Communications Chief, Senior Drill Sergeant and Master Parachutist. He participated in numerous missions and deployments. Cornell attended a variety of military schools and training courses. He holds a BA in music performance from the University of Maryland.
Cornell has served on and chaired several boards in South Florida. To include Catalyst Miami – Chair, Miami Dade Economic Advocacy Trust – Chair, Miami Beach Community Development Corporation – Chair, Nonprofit Executive Alliance of Broward – 2d Vice Chair, Florida Coalition of Micro Business Developers – Chair, Connect Capital Miami – Co-Chair, South Florida Youth Symphony, Truist Bank Community Advisory Board, Miami Dade County Transportation Disadvantaged Local Coordinating Board, First Horizon Bank Community Advisory Board, 5/3 Bank Community Advisory Board, Communities In Schools Miami. He has also served and participated on numerous committees and projects for betterment of our communities.
Cornell is father of three girls and a proud Grandfather of one. Cornell’s interests include music, travel, politics, history, photography and learning to cook.
President and Chief Executive Officer of Chicanos Por La Causa,
Since Adame was named to this post, CPLC has experienced significant growth and expansion in Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, California, Texas, and Mexico.
Adame has been with CPLC since 2008, serving as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer prior to becoming President and CEO. Adame got his professional start at CPLC in 1985 upon graduation from college, serving two years as CPLC’s Director of Economic Development before moving on.
In between this time at CPLC, Adame crafted an impressive career in business, nonprofits and boards, including an extensive resume in real estate and development projects. He was Vice President of Arizona Operations for McCormack Baron & Salazar from 2003 to 2008, responsible for overseeing the firm’s role in Henson Village, a HOPE VI project in Phoenix. He served as Senior Deputy Director of Fannie Mae’s Arizona Partnership Office from 1997 to 2003. Adame was Program Officer with the Phoenix Office of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), from 1994 to 1997, where he managed the HOMESTART program, and he worked at JPMorgan Chase & Co. (then called Bank One Arizona) for eight years, including as Corporate Banking Associate and later as Assistant Vice President in the Retail Business Loan Center.
Born and raised just south of downtown Phoenix, Adame holds a B.S. in Business from Arizona State University (ASU) and an MBA from the ASU School of Global Management. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from the University of Arizona, and an Honorary Doctorate from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM, or the National Autonomous University of Mexico).
Over the years, Adame has served on numerous boards, including: the Greater Phoenix Economic Council; the AARP Foundation; the National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders; the Arizona-Mexico Commission; the Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation; Unidos US; the Community Reinvestment Fund USA; the Creighton University Presidential Health Sciences Phoenix Advisory Board; and the Arizona Housing Commission.
Recent honors include the Individual Hero of Education Award by Maricopa Community Colleges and the Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation, and the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Arizona Asian Chamber of Commerce.