Housing Up’s board of directors currently has 11 members. Many board members are recruited from key sectors of housing development, housing advocacy and and finance. Each board member is assigned to one or more committees, which include: executive committee, finance committee, resource development committee, program committee, governance committee, and the affordable housing committee.

Housing Up’s board of directors actively participates in the governance and financial oversight of Housing Up’s operations. The board members provide expertise in critical areas of the organization’s operations, programs, and finances, including: DC affordable housing policy, housing development, social work, nonprofit housing accounting, fundraising, and employment practices.

2018-2019 Board of Directors

Joseph Howell, Chair | Joe Howell Consulting, Inc. 

Annika Brink, Vice Chair | National Housing Trust 

Robert Leland, Treasurer | RC Leland Consulting

Phyllis Jordan, Secretary | Media Consultant

Kimball Griffith, Member Emeritus | Freddie Mac

Alison Herrick | Fannie Mae

Paula Singleton | Affordable Housing Management

William Ferrell | PNC Real Estate 

Devi Ramachandran | CohnReznick 

Iyon Johnson | DC Department of Human Services 

Rene Petaway | Thrive DC


Joseph Howell | Chair 

Joseph Howell brings years of invaluable experience in senior and affordable housing to the Housing Up board of directors. In 1981, Howell founded Howell Associates, Inc., a full service company specializing in real estate development, marketing and strategic planning services to both senior housing and affordable housing industries.

After 17 years operating Howell Associates, Inc., Howell added his expertise to ZA Consulting as an advisor to the senior housing and long term care practice teams. Now Howell is mostly retired and serving on a number of nonprofit boards. He is the author of several books including Hard Living on Clay Street and Civil Rights Journey and has taught affordable housing and urban development courses at George Washingon University and the University of Maryland.

Howell earned his bachelor’s degree from Davidson College and his Masters in Urban Planning
from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Annika Brink Vice Chair 

As the National Housing Trust’s Energy Efficiency Advisor, Annika Brink works with state and local partners across the country to advance NHT’s mission to increase energy efficiency in multifamily affordable housing. She analyzes efficiency policies, advocates for solutions, and helps build strong relationships among utilities, regulators, affordable housing owners, energy efficiency advocates, and financial partners.

Prior to joining the National Housing Trust, Brink led the Alliance to Save Energy’s engagement of publicly-owned non-for-profit electric power utilities. She helped utilities share best practices,evaluate energy efficiency program models, benchmark their energy efficiency portfolios, develop innovate online tools, and achieve consensus on priority topics. While at the Alliance she also worked on building energy codes.

Annika has experience working on green affordable housing for a small community development corporation in Minnesota, conducting clean water advocacy, researching rental-sector energy efficiency solutions, and consulting to local governments in Massachusetts on carbon, housing, and energy efficiency retrofit policies. She holds a B.A. in American History and German Studies from Wesleyan University and a Master’s in Public Policy with a concentration in Social, Urban, and Energy policy from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Robert C. Leland | Treasurer

Mr. Leland has served on the Housing Up board of directors since 2008. He has over 45 years of experience as a senior executive and consultant in local and national nonprofits, as well as local and federal government agencies engaged in affordable housing finance and development, community economic development, and municipal planning. In 2002, he established RCLeland Consulting LLC in Washington, DC to provide project management, policy research, training and technical assistance services to a variety of public and private clients.

Mr. Leland is a parishioner of St. Columba’s Episcopal Church in Washington, DC, where he has been active in outreach programs, including Housing Up’s Adopt-an-Apartment Program. He also serves on the loan committee of a Community Development Financial Institution financing water and sewer infrastructure projects, affordable housing, and small businesses in rural poverty areas of seven east coast states.. Mr. Leland states, “my service on the Housing Up board has been a great opportunity to use my experience in affordable housing and nonprofit management to help advance Housing Up’s mission.”

Phyllis Jordan | Secretary

Phyllis Jordan is editorial director for FutureEd, an education think tank affiliated with Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy. She has worked in communications for a variety of nonprofits and foundations, including the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and Attendance Works, two projects dedicated to improving educational outcomes for children from low-income families. Before joining the nonprofit sector, Phyllis spent 26 years in daily journalism, including nearly a decade as an editor at The Washington Post.

Before joining the Post, Phyllis was city editor of the Los Angeles Times’ Ventura County edition. Her 12 years as a reporter included stints as a Washington correspondent for The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, a state house reporter for The Fairfax Journal and extensive experience covering education, local government, housing, social services, health care and military affairs.

Ms. Jordan has a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and a bachelor’s degree in English and history from Sweet Briar College in Virginia. A native of Lexington, Va., she now lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and two children.

Kimball Griffith | Member Emeritus

W. Kimball (Kim) Griffith has decades of experience in affordable debt and equity platforms, public finance, commercial real estate and multifamily housing transactions. Griffith has served as counsel to Norris George & Ostrow PLLC since its founding in 2017. Prior to joining the firm, he was Vice President of Affordable Sales and Investments in Freddie Mac’s Multifamily Division from 2003 to 2015. Under his leadership Freddie Mac significantly increased its participation in the affordable market, ranging from working effectively with the US Treasury on the New Issue Bond Program to the development and initial implementation of the Tax-Exempt Loan program. Prior to joining Freddie Mac, he was a partner at Ballard Spahr Andrew & Ingersoll, LLP and Kutak Rock, LLP, representing parties in commercial real estate and in affordable housing development and finance.

Griffith serves currently on the Boards of Directors of Enterprise Community Investment, Inc., Community Preservation Development Corporation and America First Multifamily Investors LLP. Griffith graduated cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Davidson College in 1971 with a degree in Political Science. He received his law degree from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in 1974 and he is a member of the Washington DC bar association.

Alison Herrick Fannie Mae

Alison Herrick is Fannie Mae’s Vice President and Multifamily Chief Financial Officer. Herrick is responsible for providing financial advice and oversight to Fannie Mae’s Multifamily business.

Previously at Fannie Mae, Herrick held a number of management roles in Finance and Corporate Strategy. She has extensive experience in financial advisory services; strategic, financial, capital, and business planning and analysis; competitive analysis; organizational design; people management and development; financial accounting; and project leadership. Prior to joining Fannie Mae, Herrick advised large and mid-size financial services companies as a manager in KPMG’s National Mortgage Banking Group. She began her career on the audit staff of KPMG. Herrick has a bachelor of science in business administration from Georgetown University and is a certified public accountant in the District of Columbia. Being on the Housing Up board provides an opportunity to offer her professional skills and multifamily and affordable housing knowledge to increase access to quality housing and improve communities.

Paula Singleton Affordable Housing Management

Paula Singleton understands the intricate details of housing development and management, having decades of experience managing multi-million dollar properties for real estate development firms in the District of Columbia. Singleton established effective procedures to expand and maintain a low-income, HUD subsidized, multifamily apartment complex for more than 34 years.

A Howard University graduate, Singleton has dedicated her time to improving her community through volunteer service since her retirement in 2006. Singleton is an active member of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, served for six years as Treasurer of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington and serves on the board of Seabury Resources for the Aging.

William Ferrell |PNC Real Estate 

Will Ferrell’s background in multifamily finance spans over 17 years and across a spectrum of roles involving construction debt, permanent debt, and low-income housing tax credits. Ferrell currently manages PNC’s affordable agency loan activities in several states across the Northeast, Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, and Southeast. He originates permanent debt financing for multifamily transactions utilizing the company’s Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and HUD platforms. Prior to joining PNC, Ferrell served as Vice President and Senior Credit Products Officer for Bank of America’s Community Development Banking group, where he structured and closed construction and permanent debt executions for affordable multifamily developments and charter schools nationwide. Ferrell holds a BBA in Finance from Texas Tech University, a MBA from New York University, and a Master’s Degree in Real Estate from Georgetown University.

Devi Ramachandran | CohnReznick

Devi Ramachandran is an experienced audit professional with more than fifteen years of public accounting experience. She specializes in delivering comprehensive accounting services to nonprofit organizations, affordable housing projects, developers and construction companies in the DC metro area. Ramachandran is a Director at Bethesda-based accounting firm, CohnReznick. She earned her MBA from Western Carolina University.

Iyon Johnson DC Department of Human Services 

Iyon Johnson understands the challenges DC families face in maintaining stable housing and independence. Johnson was a former Housing Up client, first in our transitional housing program and later as one of the first residents in one of our affordable housing properties, Fort View (opened in 2012).

During her time at Housing Up, Johnson pursued her Master’s degree in Counseling from Trinity College, and graduated in 2012. Johnson has worked at the DC Department of Human Services (DHS) since 2013, helping families secure important subsidies and benefits and transform their circumstances. Johnson and her family currently live in their own home in Anacostia.

Rene Petaway US Department of Transportation

Rene Petaway has a long worked with social services organizations, delivering supportive services to youth and vulnerable populations. Petaway worked for several years as a behavioral specialist and program manager for the Boys & Girls Village Youth and Family Services in Milford, CT before moving to Washington, DC. She currently works at Thrive DC, a homeless services nonprofit organization, educating clients about program requirements and referring clients to case managers.

Petaway resides at Webster Gardens, one of Housing Up’s affordable housing properties, and is actively involved in tenant leadership and community events.