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The Up for Growth Action Board of Directors represents expertise across all sectors of housing and community development.

Meet Our Executive Committee


Akilah Watkins

President and CEO
Center for Community Progress

Akilah is the Vice Chair of the Up for Growth Action Board of Directors. She is based in Washington, DC, and leads the Center for Community Progress, America’s nonprofit leader for turning “Vacant Spaces into Vibrant Places.”


Chuck Leitner

Chief Executive Officer
CBRE Investment Management

Chuck is the Chairman of the Up for Growth Action Board of Directors. With 40 years’ experience, Chuck has extensive expertise in global alternative asset management encompassing the full range of investment strategies in real estate.


Doug Bibby

National Multifamily Housing Council

Doug is the President of the Washington, DC-based National Multifamily Housing Council, the national voice of the apartment industry.


Ken Gear

Chief Executive Officer
Leading Builders of America

Ken is the CEO of Leading Builders of America, a Washington, DC trade association representing many of the largest home builders in the nation.


Mike Kingsella

Chief Executive Officer
Up for Growth

Mike is responsible for leading the organization to achieve its strategic vision. He has over two decades of experience in housing policy, community development, and urban planning.


Neala Martin

Senior Vice President

Neala is the Secretary of the Up for Growth Action Board of Directors. She is based in New York City and leads acquisitions for CREA, LLC, a national affordable housing tax credit syndicator.


Noerena Limón

Terner Center Fellow
Terner Center for Housing Innovation at the University of California, Berkeley

Noerena is a Fellow at the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at the University of California, Berkeley.


Roger Heim

Chief Financial Officer
Vitus Group, LLC

Roger is the Treasurer of the Up for Growth Action Board of Directors. He currently serves as CFO for Seattle, Washington-based VITUS Group, and has over 20 years of audit, assurance, and finance experience.

Meet Our Directors


Adrienne Bush

Executive Director
Homeless and Housing Coalition of Kentucky, Inc.

Adrienne is the Executive Director of the Homeless and Housing Coalition of Kentucky, an organization focused on eliminating homelessness and increasing affordability.


AJ Jackson

Executive Vice President, Social Impact Investing
JBG SMITH Properties

AJ leads Social Impact Investing at Maryland-based JBG Smith Properties, which works to build and preserve affordable workforce housing in high opportunity neighborhoods.


Antonio Marquez

Principal and Managing Partner
Comunidad Partners

Antonio is the Principal and Managing Partner of Austin, Texas-based Comunidad Partners, a real estate investment firm specializing in workforce and affordable housing.


Bambie Hayes-Brown, Ph.D., Th.D.

President and CEO
Georgia Advancing Communities Together, Inc.

Bambie is the President and CEO of Georgia Advancing Communities Together. She has over 25 years of experience in rural and urban housing, and community and economic development.


Barry Altshuler

Executive Vice President, Investments
Equity Residential

Barry is the Executive Vice President of Investments at Equity Residential, where he is responsible for the firm’s corporate investment teams.


Benson "Buzz" Roberts

President and CEO
National Association of Affordable Housing Lenders

Buzz is the President and CEO of the National Association of Affordable Housing Lenders, a national alliance of major banks, CDFIs and other capital providers for affordable housing.


Bob Pinnegar

President & CEO
National Apartment Association

Bob is the President & CEO of Washington, DC-based National Apartment Association, the leading voice for America’s rental housing industry.


Bob Simpson

Founder and CEO
Simpson Impact Strategies

Bob is Founder and CEO of Sioux Falls, South Dakota-based Simpson Impact Strategies. Bob has over 25 years working at the highest levels of housing finance and public policy.


Brandon Mendoza

Executive Director
NAIOP Pittsburgh

Brandon is the Executive Director of NAIOP Pittsburgh, which represents the interests of developers and owners of industrial, office, mixed-use, and related commercial real estate.


Bryan Greene

Vice President of Policy Advocacy
National Association of REALTORS®

Bryan is the Vice President of Policy Advocacy at the National Association of REALTORS®. There, he oversees all legislative and regulatory advocacy for the association’s 1.4 million members.


Charles Barrus

Executive Managing Director
Wood Partners, LLC

Charles is the Executive Managing Director of Wood Partners’ South Region, covering Georgia, Florida, and Tennessee. He has led the development of more than 9,000 multifamily homes.


Christopher Leinberger

Founding Partner and Managing Director
Places Platform, LLC

Christopher is the Founding Partner and Managing Director of Places Platform. He is a land-use strategist, real estate developer, professor, researcher, and published author.


Craig Parker

Chief Executive Officer
Holland Partner Group

Craig is the CEO of Holland Partner Group, a privately held and vertically integrated developer of high-quality residential investment properties across the Western United States.


Dan Garibaldi

Managing Partner and Head of Development and Construction
Carmel Partners, Inc.

Dan is Managing Partner and Head of Development and Construction at San Francisco, California-based Carmel Partners.


Doug Ryan

Senior Fellow
Prosperity Now

Doug is a Senior Fellow at Prosperity Now, where he focuses on housing and land-use policy. Doug has over 20 years of experience working with federal and local policy issues.


Drew Sparacia

Chief Executive Officer
Gbx Group LLC

Drew is Chief Executive Officer of Cleveland, Ohio-based GBX Group. GBX Group is an active developer of historic real estate in urban markets across 21 states.


Faith Pettis

Pacifica Law Group LLP

Faith is a Partner with Seattle, Washington-based Pacifica Law Group. She serves as bond and outside counsel to a variety of state and local governments, with a primary focus on housing.


Janessa Chastain

Executive Director
Boise Valley Habitat for Humanity

Janessa is the Executive Director of Idaho-based Boise Valley Habitat for Humanity, where she works to create opportunities for affordable homeownership for families across Ada County.


Joshua Dick

Executive Director
Apartment Association of North Carolina

Joshua is the Executive Director of the Apartment Association of North Carolina. Based in Raleigh, the organization represents the apartment industry across the state.


Kevin Dinnie

Chief Operating Officer
Trammell Crow Residential

Kevin is the Chief Operating Officer of Dallas, Texas-based Trammell Crow Residential, which specializes in building state-of-the-art multifamily properties across the U.S.


Kristin Siglin

Vice President for Policy and Partnerships
National Community Stabilization Trust, LLC

Kris is the Vice President for Policy and Partnerships at Washington, DC-based National Community Stabilization Trust.


Kurt Creager

Executive Vice President
Bridge Housing Corporation

Kurt is Executive Vice President leading the Pacific Northwest region for California-based BRIDGE Housing.


Laura Foote

Executive Director
YIMBY Action

Laura is the Executive Director of YIMBY Action, a national advocacy organization with 38 chapters across the U.S. that advocate for state and local housing supply policies.


Maria Salinas

President and CEO
Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce

Maria is the President and CEO of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, which represents more than 235,000 businesses across the Los Angeles region.


Rafael Cestero

President & CEO
The Community Preservation Corporation

Rafael is the President & CEO of the Community Preservation Corporation, which is committed to investing in physical, social, and economic infrastructure of communities.


Rick Hurd

Chief Investment Officer
Waterton, LLC

Rick is Chief Investment Officer at Chicago-based Waterton, LLC. Rick oversees all real estate transactions for the firm.


Roderick Hall

Economic & Planning Systems

Roderick is an Associate with Los Angeles-based Economic & Planning Systems. He has a background in research and data analytics, community organizing, and affordable housing.


Stephen Gullo

Senior Managing Director
CBRE Investment Management

Steve is a Boston-based Senior Managing Director at CBRE Investment Management, where he leads the firm’s residential acquisition and development efforts.


Taylor Smiley Wolfe

Director of Policy and Planning
Home Forward

Taylor is Director of Policy and Planning for Portland, Oregon-based Home Forward, the largest provider of affordable housing in Oregon.