As the seasons change, the staff at Minnesota Housing Partnership is also shifting, with exciting incoming talent building internal capacity and past staff departing for new endeavors. In October and November, staff from the Communications and Community Development teams transitioned to new roles and a wealth of expertise came on board throughout the organization.
Departing for new adventures
During her tenure at MHP as a Community Development Manager, Cherré Palenius served as an invaluable asset to MHP's nation-leading technical assistance expertise, executing more than 50 TA assignments in Minnesota and communities across the country. "Over the past 10 years, I have had the extreme pleasure of working with an amazing number of individuals and communities providing guidance, education, sample materials and informing the community on how to address their unique and individualized housing needs," she said. "At this time, my future plans are to continue working in the Community Development field as a consultant."
As MHP's first Economic Development Manager, Luis Pereira added to the organization's toolkit, providing technical assistance to rural and tribal communities in Arizona, Maine, North Carolina, and South Dakota, and created a soon-to-be-published manual on creating and implementing Local Housing Trust Funds. Pereira will continue to advance community development in his new role as the Planning Director at the City of St Paul. "I am excited and extremely honored to again serve St. Paul,” Pereira said in an article for Insight News. “I look forward to supporting the excellent planning team to implement citywide plans, assist neighborhood organizations, and carry out zoning and heritage preservation functions with the goal of linking people and businesses to opportunities to learn, make a living, and support community development, especially wealth building.”
As Director of Communications and Research since mid-2016, Carolyn Szczepanski continued to grow and elevate MHP's reputation as a leader in research and data on affordable housing in Minnesota. Szczepanski will continue in a limited consulting role for MHP as she transitions to Communications and Programming Coordinator at The Alliance. "It has been an immense honor to work with and learn from the tremendous expertise of MHP staff and community partners," Szczepanski said. "And it's been a particular privilege to co-create new research projects like Market Watch and State of the State's Housing with my colleagues and MHP stakeholders. I look forward to continuing to collaborate on those important projects as a consultant moving forward."
"The expertise, dedication and passion that Carolyn, Luis and Cherre brought to MHP has had a deep and lasting impact on the organization and our many stakeholders, and we look forward to working with them in new ways as they continue their efforts to advance affordable housing and community development in their new endeavors," said MHP Executive Director, Anne Mavity. "At the same time, MHP is welcoming new staff with a wealth of experience and insights that will enhance MHP’s work as we lean into our new strategic plan with a focus on collaboration, innovation, race equity and data-driven solutions for those with the greatest need."
New staff at MHP
As Grants and Contracts Officer, Mozell Jefferson oversees contracts, compliance for MHP’s technical assistance grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and ensures agency compliance regarding the procurement of goods and services. She comes to MHP with over 18 years of progressive achievements in business administration, project management and grant compliance and oversight. Mozell is also skilled at both establishing and maintaining strong working relationships between organizations that create an efficient, positive, and productive work environment. When she doesn’t have her nose in a spreadsheet, you can find Mozell creating new memories with her husband and two sons.
As Office and Finance Associate, Poua Khang keeps MHP on track and efficient as Office and Finance Associate. With extensive experience in human resources, payroll, and employee onboarding and training, she's an important asset to the MHP team. Poua also has experience as a paraprofessional teaching and coaching students and assisting special education students. In her spare time, Poua loves to cook, walk in the park, and spend time with her family taking in new sights.
As a Community Development Officer, Casey Lauderdale provides support for technical assistance and capacity building programs at MHP, drawing on her background in long-range city planning and project experience in non-profit affordable housing development. She has specialized knowledge in land use and zoning applications, community-focused research and analysis, and housing funding sources such as LIHTC. Originally from Fresno, California (Go Dogs!), Casey relocated to the Twin Cities to complete a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. In her spare time she enjoys reading, video games, walks in the park, and going to new breweries.
On October 30, Tahera Mamdani began her adventure at MHP as Finance and Human Resources Director. Tahera has a wealth of experience in finance, overseeing all accounting and finance functions, budget, regulatory compliance, annual audit and grants. She has worked for a number of nonprofits over the years, and as an independent accountant. She has a Bachelor’s in accounting (Augsburg, Summa Cum Laude) and a Master’s in Public and Non-profit Administration from Metro State. In addition to ten years of direct financial leadership experience, Tahera will bring skills that are detailed oriented, analytical, looking for process improvements, yet balanced with excellent interpersonal communication skills.
Learn more about current and future staff openings at MHP here!