Gulf Coast Housing Partnership is governed by a Board of Directors, represented by respected affordable housing, finance and civic leadership, affording the organization access to a broad cross-section of expertise and industry insight from both a national and local perspective.
Former President, Mid-Peninsula Housing Coalition, Palo Alto, CA
Fran Wagstaff is the former president of Mid-Peninsula Housing Coalition, one of the largest and most respected affordable housing developers in Northern California. Under Ms. Wagstaff's leadership, Mid-Pen developed over 6000 affordable new homes for 14,000 California residents across eight counties. During her tenure, Ms. Wagstaff grew Mid-Pen from $50 Million to $1 Billion in real estate assets and from 25 to 300 full-time employees.
Above and beyond her accomplishments at Mid-Pen, Ms. Wagstaff is recognized for her leadership in advancing the entire field of affordable housing. She is a fierce advocate for state-wide policies that create economically integrated housing in every community and has worked hard to get key legislation passed, including Proposition 1C, a 2006 bond measure that provides $2.85 Billion to affordable housing. Ms. Wagstaff also championed and supported other non-profit organizations in an effort to raise up additional leaders in the field. She is known and respected as a collaborator, bringing together diverse organizations for the sake of moving the entire social sector of housing forward.
Throughout her three decades of experience, Ms. Wagstaff became known as an innovator who has redefined the way affordable housing is perceived, designed, developed and financed. She has a proven track record in developing high-quality housing that creates opportunities for those who are most economically challenged while also improving the neighboring communities. Ms. Wagstaff often speaks at housing conferences across the nation and internationally, sharing this expertise and her knowledge of how to overcome development challenges in high-cost areas. Among her many honors are: Woman of the Year by the California State Legislature, the KQED Local Hero Award, Affordable Housing Leader of the Year by the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California and, in 2006, was inducted into the California Housing Hall of Fame by the California Housing Consortium. Ms. Wagstaff holds a BS from the University of Wisconsin.
Ashton J. Ryan, Jr.
President & CEO, First NBC Bank, New Orleans, LA
Ashton Ryan is the founder, CEO and board chairman of First NBC Bank, a community bank that seeks to meet the diverse banking needs of New Orleans. First NBC received its banking charter in 2006, with a focus on redevelopment of city housing through community-based organizations. The bank’s board of directors is composed of representatives from different segments of the New Orleans population, including faith-based groups, labor unions, small business executives and government officials.
Prior to launching First NBC, Mr. Ryan spent 15 years as a leading commercial banker in New Orleans. In 1991, he joined First Commerce Corporation as president of First National Bank of Commerce, First Commerce Corporation’s lead bank. He became senior executive vice-president of First Commerce Corporation the following year, responsible for all customer contact functions, supervising five non-New Orleans banks as well as the human resources, investments, asset liability management and venture capital areas of the corporation. In 1998, Mr. Ryan became president of First Trust Corporation as well as CEO and president of First Bank and Trust. Prior to starting his career in banking, Mr. Ryan spent 20 years, the last 10 as an audit partner, at Arthur Andersen & Co., where he began as a staff auditor after graduate school.
Mr. Ryan is a Certified Public Accountant. He earned a BS in Physics and a MBA from Tulane University. He sits on the board of directors of two publicly traded companies – First NBC Bank Holding Company and Stewart Enterprises. He is also on the board of directors of East Jefferson Hospital, Harmony Neighborhood Development (formerly NONDC), Junior Achievement, Delgado Community College Foundation, Neighborhood Development Foundation, Gulf Coast Housing Partnership, Greater New Orleans, Inc., and the Louisiana Cancer Research Consortium. He is a member of the New Orleans Business Council and the Jefferson Business Council and has a long history of active participation in nonprofits. Mr. Ryan received the Golden Hammer Award from the City of New Orleans for spearheading efforts at First National Bank of Commerce and First Bank and Trust to provide quality and affordable housing to homeowners who did not qualify for traditional mortgage financing. He has received a number of honors including, Junior Achievement Hall of Fame, YLC Role Model, Louisiana CPA Society Distinguished Service Award, and the Tulane Association of Business Alumni Distinguished Alumnus Award.
Douglas B. Smith
Director, National Community Development Fund, Littleton, CO
Mr. Smith has over 30 years experience in all major facets of real estate investment, development and management, as well as the operation and management of mission driven organizations. His responsibilities for NCDFI include advising clients on business and real estate strategies, as well as, arranging debt and equity funding for small businesses which serve low and moderate income families. Most recently, he served as Director of Housing and Neighborhood Development for the City and County of Denver, as an appointee of Mayor Hancock. In this role, Mr. Smith was responsible for implementing key recommendations of the Mayor's Housing Task Force to generate affordable housing options for Denver citizens from those in poverty to first time homebuyers. In addition, Mr. Smith oversaw the allocation of federal funds used to support neighborhood programs and services to help improve the lives of low income residents. Prior to that, Mr. Smith served as CEO of Rocky Mountain Communities, a nonprofit provider of affordable rental properties and supportive programs for residents. In his eight year tenure, he orchestrated the financial restructuring of the organization and its multifamily portfolio, allowing it to operate profitably, while continuing to achieve its mission.
Mr. Smith held prior positions with Metropolitan Life, Commercial Federal Savings, RECOLL Management Corporation, and Northmarq Capital. He is experienced in the disciplines of debt and equity financing, development, asset management, property management, leasing and sales. Mr. Smith has served on the board of directors of the Housing Partnership Network and the Smart Energy Living Alliance. He currently serves on the boards of the Gulf Coast Housing Partnership, Calvary South Denver and the New Market Tax Credit Advisory Committee of Mercy Housing.
Mr. Smith is a graduate of Tulane University in New Orleans, LA.
Sean M. Bruno
President, Sean M. Bruno CPA's, New Orleans, LA
Sean M. Bruno started Sean M. Bruno CPA's in April of 2009, a full service CPA firm specializing in audits of non-profit organizations. Graduating from Morehouse College in 1993, Mr. Bruno began his career in public accounting with the "Big Six" accounting Firm of Deloitte & Touché, LLP. After working with Deloitte & Touché for three years, he joined Bruno & Tervalon LLP, working his way up to become a Director with the company.
Mr. Bruno has over seventeen years of experience in performing audits and providing consulting services to governmental, not-for-profit organizations and small businesses. Mr. Bruno is a member of the Louisiana Society of Certified Public Accountants and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. He was elected to represent District 100 on the Democratic State Central Committee and continues to hold the seat. In addition to serving on the board of GCHP, Mr. Bruno also serves on the board of directors for Citizens United for Economic (board chair),Harrison-Rochon CPAs Educational Foundation (vice president); New Orleans Chamber of Commerce (treasurer) and the Accounting Career Exploration Program.
President & CEO, Housing Partnership Network, Boston, MA
Thomas Bledsoe is the chief executive officer of the Housing Partnership Network and three affiliates - the Housing Partnership Fund, Housing Partnership Ventures and Housing Partnership Insurance. He is also vice chairman of the Charter School Financing Partnership, launched by the Network in 2008 in collaboration with five member organizations. Mr. Bledsoe became the first full-time president of the Housing Partnership Network in 1998. Under his leadership, the Network has become the leading voice for the high-capacity, partnership-based nonprofits in the affordable housing industry and responsible for launching innovative, high-impact efforts and business enterprises. Mr. Bledsoe has been repeatedly recognized by Fast Company Magazine as one of the leading social capitalists in the country.
Prior to joining the Network, Mr. Bledsoe was the executive director of the Metropolitan Boston Housing Partnership (MBHP), one of the nation's first public/private housing partnerships. He facilitated the merger of two nonprofit housing agencies, creating a comprehensive regional organization that operates a continuum of programs that range from services for the homeless to homeownership. While at MBHP, he spearheaded the growth of the National Association of Housing Partnerships (which became the Housing Partnership Network) as its board president. Previously, Mr. Bledsoe served as deputy secretary of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Communities and Development and as director of the City of Boston's Office of Neighborhood Services. Mr. Bledsoe holds a BA from Wesleyan University and a Master's in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
Compliance Executive, Senior Vice President, Regions Bank, Birmingham, AL
Jon Davies is the Compliance Executive for Regions Bank who oversees the Community Affairs group, responsible for Community Reinvestment Act outreach and exam preparation, Corporate Contributions, Americans with Disabilities Act outreach, and Active Military and Veterans outreach. He has been with Regions, a top U.S. bank-holding company headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, with $118,801,412 billion in assets, operating 1,678 banking offices in 16 states, for 30 years.
Davies joined Regions in 1985 as a staff auditor. In 1989, he became an investigator in the Corporate Security Department. In 1992, Davies moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee, to serve as the Audit Supervisor for Tennessee, Georgia, and parts of Northeast Alabama. In 1996 he was named Vice President and Branch Manager of the Chattanooga Main Office, and in 1999 he was named Group Sales Manager for Chattanooga, Tennessee. Davies was named Senior Vice President and City President of the Auburn/Opelika, Alabama market in 2001. He returned to Birmingham and was
named Fair Lending Manager in October 2002. He transitioned into Community Affairs in 2007, and has been in his current position since June 2011.
Davies holds a bachelor’s degree in Finance from the University of Alabama in Birmingham. He also completed studies at the Alabama Banking School, American Banker’s Association National Compliance School, American Banker’s Association National Graduate Compliance School, and Leadership Lee County.
Davies serves as a classroom consultant for Junior Achievement of Greater Birmingham. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Southeast Community Capital, Teach for America – Alabama, Operation Hope – Hope Inside Advisory Board, and Advisory Board for the Greater Birmingham Academy of Finance. He has also served on the boards of Junior Achievement of Chattanooga, Tennessee; Red Cross of Lee County, Alabama; Greater Peace Community Development Corporation; and Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Lee County, Alabama.
Dr. Willie Gable, Jr
Dr. Willie Gable, Jr
Executive Director, McCaleb Educational Fund, Inc. & Pastor of Progressive Baptist Church, New Orleans, LA
Dr. Willie Gable, Jr., a native of New Orleans, received his Doctorate of Ministry from United Theological Seminary (Dayton, OH), Masters of Divinity from Union Baptist Theological Seminary (New Orleans, LA), Masters of Public Health from the University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA) and Bachelors of Science from Tennessee State University (Nashville, TN).
Committed to a life of ministry and community service, Dr. Gable is the pastor of Progressive Baptist Church, only its third pastor in 117 years. He is also the founder and executive director of the Dr. M. W. McCaleb Educational Fund, Inc., a non-profit organization that offers housing, rental assistance, and tutoring to low-income individuals and families. Dr. Gable has numerous years of experience in the health administration field and played an essential part in the building of Pembroke Area Family Health Center and Health Department where he served as CEO. In 1976, he was recruited to Chicago, Illinois as the administrator of Tabernacle Hospital, a 150-bed African-American church-owned facility. In addition, he was the fiscal administrator of the Nashville Model Cities Program. His achievements in program development created the opportunity for him to join Meharry Medical College faulty to develop a new undergraduate program in Health Administration and Planning.
Dr. Gable has formerly served on many community boards. He currently is a member of American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, National Baptist Convention Housing and Economic Development Commission (chair), National Conference for Community and Justice, Legacy Foundation, Faith Based Initiatives (director) and HUD National Baptist Convention USA, Inc. Dr. Gable is board member of the First District Missionary Baptist Association and an Instructor with Louisiana Baptist and National Baptist Convention's Congresses of Christian Education.
Former President, Mercy Loan Fund, Mercy Housing Inc., Denver, CO
Julie Gould is the former President of Mercy Loan Fund and Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Advocacy at Mercy Housing. Mercy Loan Fund is a national affordable housing lender affiliated with Mercy Housing, certified by the U.S. Treasury Department as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). Their $42.1 million loan pool includes investments from religious communities, health care organizations, private foundations, individuals, banks, the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund as well as other investment partners. Since 1985, the Fund has made 443 loans totaling $228 million, leveraging $1.59 billion to develop 18,500 units of affordable housing. Ms. Gould chaired the Mercy Loan Fund Board from 2001-2008, leading their public policy and advocacy mission by engaging every level of the organization to educate national, state and local officials on affordable housing from a practitioner’s viewpoint. Before taking the helm as President of the Loan Fund in November 2010, Ms. Gould managed five departments across Mercy Housing to unify products, tools and services that provide community impact or community investment, including a unique collaboration among nine of the largest non-profit health care systems, cohesively linking health care, housing, resident service and resource development.
Prior to joining Mercy Housing, Ms. Gould was vice president for Community Lending at Fannie Mae, responsible for managing the new affordable multifamily Financial Intermediary business activity with a focus on providing debt and liquidity for affordable housing lenders, Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), and the loan consortia. Under her leadership, the loan portfolio grew to $450 million. She led a diverse range of special assignments including consulting with the South African Housing Ministry, business planning in the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina, co-chairing the company’s Help the Homeless campaign in Washington D.C. and overseeing the company’s Housing Tax Credit investments with non-profit housing developers. Joining Fannie Mae in 1988, her tenure in the Housing & Community Development Group included serving as vice president for Single-Family Community Lending, acting vice president for Housing Impact in the Midwestern Regional Office, and acting senior vice president for the National Community Lending Center. Ms. Gould's prior experience includes budget examiner with the Office of Management and Budget, deputy staff director at the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, and vice president at the Federal Asset Disposition Association as well as working for three members of Congress.
She is currently consulting in the housing, community and economic development fields for affordable housing developers, CDFIs and federal government agencies in these fields.
In addition to serving on the board of GCHP, Ms. Gould serves on the board of Boston Community Capital and the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing. Previous board commitments include Mercy Housing Inc., Mercy Loan Fund, Doorways for Women and Families, and Women in Housing and Finance. Gould has a Master’s in City Planning from the University of California, Berkeley and a BA from Pitzer College.
Mississippi State Senator, Business Development Consultant, Jackson, MS
John Horhn, a 23-year veteran of the Mississippi Senate, has been a champion for economic development over the course of his career. Prior to being elected, his public service includes serving as a program manager for the Mississippi Arts Commission, film commissioner for Mississippi, state tourism director, and executive director of the Governor’s Office of federal/State Programs. A graduate and former member of the Board of Trustees at Centre College of Kentucky, John has also completed work at the Jackson State University Community Leadership Development Program and the Governor’s Center at Duke University.
Currently Chairman of the Senate Economic Development Committee, John has sponsored bills authorizing more than $700 million in projects throughout Mississippi, including $300 million for water/sewer and street improvements for the City of Jackson through a 1% sales tax, which Jackson voters approved in 2014, He also championed the securing of $92 million in state funding for the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and the Mississippi History Museum and personally raised more than $3.5 million in private sector support for the museums. Recently, the Mississippi Legislature held a special session to attract Continental Tires to Hinds County. Although the project would bring 2500 jobs to the area, Sen. Horhn held up the legislation until language ensuring minority participation on construction and professional services was inserted into the bill. He also has worked on behalf of disadvantaged businesses throughout state government, within the gaming industry, and with Nissan and Toyota automotive infrastructures.
John serves on numerous boards, including the Foundation for Mississippi History, Metro Jackson Chamber of Commerce, Mississippi Museum of Art, the B.B. King Museum, the JSU Public Advisory Board, and the Civil Rights Museum Advisory Commission, among others.
In private life, Sen. Horhn works as a business development consultant in affordable housing, health care, and information technology. A member of the Screen Actors guild, he is also an accomplished actor and story teller and has appeared in several movies and made-for-television projects. Senator Horhn is married to the former Lydia Gail Cole, and they are the proud parents of two children.
Principal, Nancy Rase Consulting Services, Annapolis, MS
Nancy Rase Consulting Services was created in October 2015 to provide consulting services to housing organizations with a focus on helping nonprofit organizations improve their operations and portfolios and become sustainable for the long term.
Ms. Rase is a co-founder, Director Emeritus, and the former President and CEO of Homes for America, Inc. (HFA), a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt housing development corporation located in Annapolis, Maryland. HFA specializes in developing and preserving housing, enhanced with services, for low and moderate income households and special needs populations. During her tenure from September
1994 through October 2015 HFA developed or preserved 75 rental communities with over 6,000 apartment homes in the mid-Atlantic states of Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Delaware.
Prior to HFA, Ms. Rase was the Deputy Director and Director of Housing Development of the Maryland housing finance agency, the Community Development Administration (CDA), until August 1994. During her tenure 255 housing developments with over 13,000 rental housing apartment homes were financed with tax-exempt bonds, taxable bonds, State loan funds, HOME and Low
Income Housing Tax Credits. During her 15 years at CDA Ms. Rase also managed CDA’s rehabilitation loan programs.
Prior to joining CDA Ms. Rase was a manager at a public housing authority in Hagerstown, Maryland where she was responsible for occupancy in 1,000 apartments and managing the agency’s housing choice voucher program.
She currently is on the Boards of: Housing Association of Nonprofit Developers (HAND) and is a past President, Volunteers of America National Services, Enterprise Homes, Inc., Anne Arundel Affordable Housing Coalition, Arundel Community Development Services, Inc. Chesapeake Neighbors (an affiliate of the ARC of the Central Chesapeake), and Women’s Housing Coalition. She serves on the Development Review Committee of the Volunteers of America, the Investment and Asset Management Committee of the Housing Partnership Network, and the Loan Committee of the Housing Partnership Fund, a national CDFI and the National Housing Trust Fund Developer Advisory Group of the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
She has a B.S. in Finance from the University of Baltimore
Mtumishi St. Julien
Mtumishi St. Julien
Former Executive Director, Finance Authority of New Orleans, New Orleans, LA
Mr. Mtumishi St. Julien served as Executive Director of The Finance Authority of New Orleans for 26 years retiring in 2016. Under his leadership The Finance Authority issued more than $300,000,000 in mortgage revenue bonds providing affordable housing for more than 3200 families. He also oversaw the issuance of $35,000,000 in capital improvement financing for Xavier University, the renovation financing of the 236 unit Willows Apartments and the $12,500,000 financing for the GCHP-MLK mixed-use senior housing and commercial development. Mr. St. Julien now serves as General Counsel.
After graduating from Loyola University School of Law, Mr. St. Julien began a private practice with an emphasis on business and finance. He served as a consultant and later on the Board of the Southern Development Foundation which made business loans to farm cooperatives, hotels and other minority owned businesses throughout the southernUnited States. In 1992 Mr. St. Julien became a graduate of the School of Mortgage Banking. In 1996 he completed the Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. In 1998 he received a Masters Degree in Business Administration from the University of New Orleans.
Mr. St. Julien was a radio commentator for six years hosting a show called “You and the Law”. He is the author of the Trouble Book: Almost Everything You Wanted To Know About The Law But Couldn’t Afford To Ask An Attorney, the editor of The Fifty Black People Your Child Should Know, author of Upon The Shoulders of Elephants We Reach The Sky: A Parents Farewell to a Collegian, and the co-author of Bonds for Beginners: An Instructional Guide to the Key Concepts of Tax-Exempt Housing Bond Finance. Prior to his directorship of The Finance Authority of New Orleans, he served five years as General Counsel for the Housing Authority of New Orleans, at that time the sixth largest public housing authority in the United States.
Mr. St. Julien has served on the Boards of Loyola University of New Orleans, Acadiana Work Study Center, the National Economic Development Law Center, the Southern Cooperative Development Fund, the Fannie Mae Housing Impact Advisory Board and the Freddie Mac Affordable Housing Advisory Council. He is a Past President of the National Association of Local Housing Finance Agencies.
Chief Operating Officer, Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners, New York, NY
John Weiler is an independent consultant, serving foundations and nonprofits, focusing on strategic planning, board development, program development, operations and administration, investment underwriting and resource development. Mr. Weiler is currently also the Interim President of Neighborhood Trust Federal Credit Union.
For a dozen years, Mr. Weiler held positions of increasing responsibility at the F.B. Heron Foundation, a New York City based private foundation. As vice president for Operations, Mr. Weiler was responsible for Heron’s budgeting, finance, tax compliance, human resources, information technology, and communications. Previously, as senior program officer and program officer, Mr. Weiler was responsible for the foundation’s grant making and program-related investing in California, New York City, and South Africa (approximately $28 million in grants and $11 million in investments). He also managed the foundation’s work in access to capital, child care, and effective practices in philanthropy. Prior to joining Heron, Mr. Weiler directed national employment programs for the Corporation for Supportive Housing, was the director of economic development for Common Ground Community, a New York City nonprofit, and worked at Development Training Institute where he designed and delivered training programs for bankers, bank regulators, and community-based organizations. Mr. Weiler began his career in banking with positions at Chase Manhattan Bank and Manufacturers Hanover Trust.
Mr. Weiler has served on the board of Neighborhood Funders Group and Neighborhood Trust Federal Credit Union, on the advisory committee for New York City’s Office of Financial Empowerment and for the New York City Acquisition Fund, LLC, and has served on Philanthropy New York’s program and City Connect committees.
Vice President & Market Leader, Gulf Coast,Enterprise Community Partners, New Orleans, LA
Michelle Whetten is vice president and Gulf Coast market leader for Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. She is based in New Orleans, where Enterprise has invested over $320 million in loans, grants and equity towards the production of over 9,300 affordable homes in the years following Hurricane Katrina. Michelle leads Enterprise’s work to create and support effective systems and tools for high quality affordable housing production, attract private-sector capital and strengthen the affordable housing industry. As part of this work, Michelle oversees Enterprise’s involvement in the award-winning transformation of the former Lafitte public housing complex in New Orleans’ Treme neighborhood into a healthy mixed-income community. She also advises other areas affected by disaster on effective disaster recovery policy and program design.
Prior to her assignment in the Gulf Coast, Michelle was deputy director for Enterprise’s New York office, where she led neighborhood initiatives and public policy efforts. In that role, Michelle managed organizational development, resident services-related technical assistance and grant making programs, and directed advocacy and outreach to local, state and federal officials on housing and community development issues. She was also charged with guiding and implementing strategic planning for Enterprise’s New York team.
Before joining Enterprise, Michelle managed the Prince George’s County, Md., office of the Neighborhood Design Center, a Baltimore-based nonprofit organization, where she recruited and coordinated pro bono services of architects, engineers and planners to assist with community-sponsored projects.
Michelle graduated from the University of California, Davis with a Bachelor of Science in environmental policy analysis and planning, and received a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from the University of Illinois.
Michelle serves as chair of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas Advisory Council and on the boards of Reconcile New Orleans, Louisiana Housing Alliance, Gulf Coast Renaissance Corporation and Springboard To Opportunities. She is past president and current board member of the board of the Louisiana Association of Affordable Housing Providers.
Executive Director, Biloxi Housing Authority, Biloxi, MS
Ashton J Ryan, Jr.
Douglas B. Smith
Co Vice Chairman
Co Vice Chairman
Sean M. Bruno
President & CEO
Gretchen Edinburgh is the Director Of Asset Management for the New-Orleans based Gulf Coast Housing Partnership. Before joining the GCHP staff in March 2007, Ms. Edinburgh worked for Freddie Mac as Expanding Markets Manager for the southeast region, responsible for developing new public-private opportunities for Freddie Mac customers in the Gulf Opportunity Zone. Prior to her work with Freddie Mac, Ms. Edinburgh served as the director of operations and compliance for The Finance Authority of New Orleans where she served in various capacities over her ten-year tenure. She previously worked in the banking industry in California and Louisiana.
Ms. Edinburgh has a degree in business management from Northwood University. She is also a graduate of the Residential Underwriting University and the School of Mortgage Banking - professional coursework operated by the Mortgage Bankers Association - and has real estate professional designations.