Board of Directors

Meet Better Housing Coalition’s Board of Directors

John P. McCann, Chairman
McCann Realty Partners, LLC

john mccann bhcJohn McCann is a partner in McCann Realty Partners, LLC (MRP), formed in 2004. MRP teams with institutional capital sources to acquire, develop and manage garden-apartment communities in the Mid-Atlantic, Southeast and Texas markets. John retired as Chairman/CEO of United Dominion Realty Trust, Inc. in 2001, where he oversaw company growth from 3 million dollars in real estate investment in Virginia and three employees to more than 4 billion dollars of apartments nationally and 2,600 employees. John is an alumni of University of Notre Dame and New York University (NYU), where he earned an M.B.A. He is a member of the National Multi-Housing Council, the Urban Land Institute (ULI), and served on the Board of St. Joseph’s Villa. John was a former member of the Board of Virginia Housing and Development Authority (VHDA) for 8 years and served as its Chairman from 2006 to 2008.

Lissy Bryan, Immediate Past Chairman
Community Volunteer

Lissy Bryan is an active community volunteer in affordable housing and child welfare. Before coming to Richmond in 1993, Lissy earned a B.A. from Columbia University and served as Vice President/Marketing for the National Audubon Society, as well as Director of Licensing and Product Development for The Smithsonian Institution. Her leadership is also evident as a member of Virginia Local Initiative Support Coalition (LISC-VA) and as a court-appointed special advocate (CASA) for abused and neglected children.  She also volunteers with Bolling Haxall House Foundation, Belle Bryan Day Nursery, The Community Foundation, George Washington’s Fredericksburg Foundation and the Metro Richmond Sportsbackers. Previous service included the Boards of Directors of Downtown Presents, the Virginia League for Planned Parenthood, and The Children’s Museum of Richmond. She was awarded the Outstanding Woman of the Year in Human Services by the YWCA.

Laura Dillard Lafayette, Vice Chair
Richmond Association of REALTORS®

Laura Dillard is Chief Executive Officer of the Richmond Association of REALTORS® and the Central Virginia Regional Multiple Listing Services—two organizations that serve the over-4,000 REALTORS® in the Central Virginia area. In addition, she serves as the Executive Director of the Partnership for Housing Affordability, a non-profit dedicated to ensuring that an adequate and diverse supply of affordable housing is a public policy priority in the Richmond metropolitan area. Within the broader community, currently Laura serves as Vice Chair of the Board of Housing Virginia and as a gubernatorial appointee on the Virginia Housing Commission. Laura received her B.A. in Religion from the College of William and Mary; and pursued post-graduate work at both Yale Divinity School and University of Virginia. She resides in Henrico County, Virginia with her husband and three children.

Freda Green Bolling, Secretary
Community Volunteer

Photo: Freda BollingFreda Bolling is currently a Program Healthcare Compliance Specialist with the Division of W.I.C and Community Nutrition Services, Virginia Department of Health.  She handles contract compliance, vendor reimbursement, and retailer training.  Freda is a Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) Certified Trainer and volunteers as a facilitator for the First-time Home Buyer Training Program at the Richmond Public Library–East End Branch.  Also, she is a Certified Housing Counselor and a member of the Virginia Association of Housing Counselors. Currently, she serves as the Correspondence Secretary for the New Visions Civic League of East End, responding to solicitations for support of zoning and/or special use permits.  Freda is the owner My Own Home Soon! LLC and partners with local realtors to provide housing counseling services to first-time homebuyers.  She is proud to be a BHC first-time homebuyer after purchasing one of our homes in Church Hill.

R. Wheatley McDowell, Treasurer
Richmond Capital Management

Wheat McDowell is a Managing Director and Portfolio Manager at Richmond Capital Management.  He has been on the investment team at Richmond Capital since April of 2001.  Prior to that date, he worked 15 years for Sell-side institutions (Lehman Brothers and First Union Securities) as a Corporate Bond Trader.  Wheat serves on the Foundation Board and the Investment Committee of St. Christopher’s School in Richmond.  Previously, he volunteered on the Board of CFA Virginia, a member society of the CFA Institute.  In addition to his CFA Charter, he holds a B.A. and a M.B.A. from the University of Virginia (UVA).  Wheat was raised in Richmond and is the son of Better Housing Coalition’s Co-founder Carter McDowell.

Neil Amin
Shamin Hotels

Neil Amin oversees the operations of 33 hotel properties as Chief Executive Officer of Shamin Hotels in Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina.  Additionally, he is President of Shamin Assisted Living, which operates facilities in Central Virginia.  Neil serves on the Boards of the Richmond Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau and First Freedom Center.  He is a member of the Gerson Lehman Group’s Real Estate Experts Council.  Previously, Neil worked at Goldman Sachs and Company where he advised technology companies on public and private market transactions.  Neil graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School’s B.S./M.B.A. sub-matriculation program.

Ronald A. Bertolini
Genworth Financial

Ron Bertolini is Managing Director, Vice President Liquidity and Capital Planning for Genworth Financial where he manages and determines appropriate asset allocation of short-term investments and liquidity and capital markets activity.  Previously, he developed the Capital Markets risk group at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond (Charlotte Branch).  Before coming to Richmond, Ron spent 26 years in New York running banks or trading rooms including Goldman Sachs, with extensive experience in the Municipal market and public housing finance.  He has a B.S. degree in Economics with a minor in Finance from Wagner College.

Philip A. Brooks
Ascential Equity, LLC

Brooks, Philip A Philip Brooks is Managing Principal of Ascential Equity, LLC. He has more than 25 years experience in the real estate finance industry including managing several financing programs under Fannie Mae’s multifamily product line and implementing its senior housing finance program.  Most recently, Philip served as Senior Vice President for VW Capital, LLC, arranging financing for the senior housing and healthcare industry. Prior to that, he was a mortgage banker with the B.F. Saul Company, a government affairs representative for the Mortgage Bankers Association of America, and a former staff assistant for the U.S. House of Representatives.  Philip is a member of the Boards of Directors of the National Investment Center for the Seniors Housing and Care Industry and American Seniors Housing Association.  He has a B.A. in History and Political Science from the University of  Tennessee and a professional certification from a 3-year  program in the School of Mortgage Banking sponsored by Mortgage Bankers Association of America.

Regina Chaney
Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME) of Virginia

Chaney, Regina B&WRegina Chaney is a Senior Housing Education Specialist in the Center for Housing Education at Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME) of Virginia. During her 25-year tenure at HOME, she served as the director of homeownership counseling programs, director of counseling services and community relations coordinator. A long-time proponent of fair housing issues, Regina participated in the first redlining challenge in the South to decry a practice in which banks discriminated against prospective borrowers in low- and middle-income income neighborhoods. Regina also currently serves on the Board of the Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC). She was a founding Board member of Richmond Habitat for Humanity and served the Virginia Federation of Housing Counselors as president and treasurer. She is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University.

Anthony Clary
Virginia Supportive Housing

Anthony Clary is a social worker at Virginia Supportive Housing, where he works to provide permanent housing for homeless adults. He also educates clients on a full array of personal and household skills; and coordinates clients receiving related services for outreach, community resources and therapy.  Since 2003, Anthony has worked in the Richmond area as a counselor at Central Virginia Healthcare Association, Today’s Youth Services, Family Restoration Services, Youth Empowerment Services and The Boys and Girls Club of Falling Creek.  He is skilled as a public speaker and is an intermediate motivational speaker.  Anthony received his Bachelor of Arts and Sciences degree from Saint Paul’s College in Lawrenceville, Virginia.  Anthony is currently pursuing his MA in Human Services with cognate in marriage and family counseling from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.  Anthony is a recent BHC first-time homebuyer and resides in a home built by BHC in the Blackwell community.

Laura Lee Garrett
Hirschler Fleischer

Laura Lee Garrett is a partner in the law firm Hirschler Fleischer, practicing in the areas of commercial real estate and finance.  She focuses on real estate investment, mixed-use and shopping center development and medical campus development.  Laura Lee represents developers, tenants and lenders in a wide variety of complex transactions including historic tax credits, green building and LEED® projects.  She earned her under-graduate degree at University of Virginia (UVA), and her law degree at the College of William and Mary Law School, where she has taught Real Estate Transactions as an adjunct professor.  She volunteers as the Chair of the Richmond District Council of the Urban Land Institute (ULI).  She is a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW).

Mark M. Gordon
Bon Secours

Mark Gordon has been the CEO of Bon Secours St. Francis Medical Center in Midlothian, VA, since 2008, having joined Bon Secours in 2004.  He is responsible for the leadership and daily operations of the 130-bed, acute-care hospital.  Mark earned his Master of Health Services Administration from the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor and his Bachelor of Science from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.  He served in key leadership positions in Kentucky, Mission Health System in Asheville, NC, Duke Health System, and Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville, NC.

Amy L. Howard, Ph.D.
University of Richmond

Amy Howard is the Executive Director of the Bonner Center of Civic Engagement at University of Richmond.  Before directing the Center, Amy acquired considerable teaching experience while completing her M.A. and Ph.D. in American Studies at the College of William and Mary.  Amy’s areas of expertise are Urban and U.S. History.  In her role at University of Richmond, she connects campus and community members to address social issues in Richmond and beyond.  Students in her Urban America course examine urban history and policies, both nationally and locally, as they learn about affordable housing, transportation, poverty, and gentrification.  Amy currently serves on the Planning Commission for the City of Richmond.

Atma Iyer
Capital One

Atma IyerAtma Iyer joined Capital One in 2002 and has played a variety of roles across Strategy, Operations, Analysis and Risk Management. He is currently the Managing Vice President leading the Business Risk Office and serves as the Business Chief Risk Officer for the Card division. He also has responsibility for Capital One’s India office and Enterprise Offshore Risk. Atma’s previous work experiences include time at American Airlines, where he led efforts to design and develop large scale airline scheduling and planning solutions; McKinsey & Company, where he served as a consultant for a variety of clients and engagements spanning strategy, operations and organization; and Pathfire, a technology startup company, where he led their business development and investor fundraising efforts. He received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Anna University in Chennai, India, where he was a founding member of the Society of Printing Engineers.  He earned his M.S. in Computer Science at the University of Houston and his M.B.A. at The University of Chicago.  Atma lives in Richmond with his wife and daughter.

Monique S. Johnson
Virginia Community Capital

Monique Johnson imageMonique Johnson is a Senior Loan Officer for Virginia Community Capital (VCC) where she manages relationships with developers and community partners, and supports lending transactions that produce social and economic impact across the Commonwealth. Prior to her work at VCC, Monique worked as a senior community housing officer with VHDA, as the director of real estate development at Highland Park Community Development Corporation and as a senior project manager at the Better Housing Coalition. She was also a recognized by Style Weekly as one of the Top 40 Under 40, and as a Young Leader of Affordable Housing by Affordable Housing Finance Magazine. She currently serves on the boards of Commercial Real Estate Women Richmond, the Virginia Housing Coalition and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Richmond and Tri-Cities. She has been a director on the BHC Management Company’s Board since 2010, and is presently the Chair. She also serves as an adjunct professor in the Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Penny Johnson McPherson
Wells Fargo

PennyMcPherson is Vice President and  Senior Community Development Officer for Wells Fargo.  She manages their markets in Richmond, Hampton Roads and Fredericksburg to meet the needs of the community and the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) goals.  Penny has helped the bank earn an outstanding CRA rating over the last 16 years.  She provides counsel to ensure strong community development performance, focusing on service to the community in financial literacy education, investments to nonprofits, and CRA lending.  She is a member of LMR’s Class of 2010 and has her B.S. in Business from High Point University and a Competent Toastmaster Certification from Toastmasters International.  Penny serves on the City of Richmond’s Small Business Advisory Board and the Virginia Community Capital Council of Advocates, and is a member of the Local Initiative Support Coalition (LISC) Advisory Committee.

W. Douglas Moran
If You Will Lead

Doug Moran is the founder of If You Will Lead, LLC. Doug provides leadership development, executive coaching,  and infrastructure consulting to help leaders and their organizations excel and grow.  He is the author of If You Will Lead: Enduring Wisdom for 21st Century Leaders. Doug has more than 25 years of leadership experience in a variety of industries.  His prior experience was most recently at Capital One.  Also, he has served a former Governor of Virginia as the Deputy  Secretary of Health and Human Resources, COO of the Department of Social Services, and was the Commonwealth’s Telecommunications Director.  He began his career at Verizon and holds a B.S. from Madison University.  Doug has served on numerous boards and commissions, and is currently serving on the Board of the Virginia Children’s Health Insurance Program Advisory Commission.

Walter J. O’Brien, Jr.
Community Volunteer

Wally O’Brien retired and moved from New York to Richmond. He is a Director on the Boards of the Richmond Symphony and the World Affairs Council of Greater Richmond and has close ties with the University of Richmond.  He had a distinguished career in the communications industry, primarily at J. Walter Thompson (JWT), as a strategic thinker and builder of successful brands.  Wally’s career at JWT lead him to be a member of their worldwide Board of Directors, working with over 40 corporations and the U.S. Marine Corps. He was President of JWT when it was the world’s largest advertising agency.  Later, he was the CEO/Founder of the branding agency of O’Reilly, O’Brien, Clow, Inc. and President of Hill Holiday Advertising, leading them to win Clios for Best Advertising in their product categories. He worked on issues surrounding the Internet and the New Economy and contributed to President Clinton’s Framework for Global Electronic Commerce. He graduated from Marquette University, followed by studies at Graduate Schools of Business at both Harvard and Stanford.

Michael J. Schewel
McGuireWoods, LLP

Mike Schewel joined McGuire Woods in 1979. His practice focuses primarily on corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, and the development and financing of energy projects.  He has also been involved in economic development work in Virginia and across the U.S.  In the energy area, he has represented owners, investors and lenders as well as electric and gas utilities, and non-utility energy companies.  In January 2002, Mike was appointed Virginia’s Secretary of Commerce and Trade by Governor Warner.  In that capacity until January 2006, he was responsible for 16 state agencies including the Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) and the Department of Housing and Community Development.  He previously served for eight years as a Board member and Vice Chairman of VHDA and for seven years as a Board member of Interfaith Housing Corporation.  He is a member of the Energy Bar Association, ACORE and the Virginia State Bar.  Mike graduated Summa Cum Laude from Princeton University in 1975, and University of Virginia (UVA) School of Law in 1979.  Mike was born in Lynchburg, VA.

Rev. Dr. Sylvester Thomas Smith
Good Shepherd Baptist Church

Sylvester Smith is a native of Florida.  He received his Mathematics degree from Bethune-Cookman College, graduating Magna Cum Laude and he graduated Summa Cum Laude from Virginia Union University’s (VUU) School of Theology, earning his Master of Divinity degree.  He earned his Ph.D. in Christian Social Ethics from University of Virginia (UVA). He has been the pastoral leader for Cornerstone Baptist Church in Cumberland, Calvary Baptist Church in Prince Edward, Mount Vernon Baptist Church in Richmond, and presently Good Shepherd Baptist Church in Richmond.  He serves as an Assistant Professor at VUU.  Sylvester is a member of East End Ministers’ Fellowship and Richmonders Involved to Strengthen Our Communities (RISC).

R. Scott Ukrop
3north

Scott Ukrop is principal and director of communications at 3north, an award-winning architectural and design firm, and is a partner in 3north’s related development firm, REDShed.  Earlier in his career, Scott founded and served as CEO of Grace Street Home Additions, and was also vice president of marketing for Ukrop’s Super Markets, Inc., where he led the company’s pioneering card-based relationship marketing program.  Scott serves on the Board of Trustees for Historic Richmond Foundation, and has served on the Board of The Healing Place, the Virginia Foundation for Architecture and the YMCA of Greater Richmond, among other organizations.  He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from the College of William and Mary and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Virginia’s Darden School.

Todd Waldo
Royall & Company

Waldo, Todd B&WTodd Waldo is Enterprise Engineering Manager at Royall & Company. He is responsible for the development and maintenance of all systems to support clients’ needs and requirements.  He graduated from North Carolina State University (BSEE) and the Interactive Marketing Institute at V.C.U.  He currently serves on the Board of the Robinson Theater Community Arts Center, and is a past board member for Church Hill Activities and Tutoring (CHAT) and the Church Hill Academy.  He also serves Church Hill through the Church Hill Central Civic Association, among other organizations.  Prior to his election to the BHC Board, Todd served on 3HC, BHC’s junior board. He is the author of Poetry: The Todd B. Waldo Collection, and performs regularly as a drummer, percussionist and pianist at venues throughout Richmond.

Michael Whitlow, APR
PadillaCRT

Michael Whitlow is Chief Growth Officer at PadillaCRT (formerly CRT/tanaka). He is an experienced leader of strategic communications and sales operations. Michael has led communications around mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, public policy issues, union negotiations, international environmental policy and a variety of shareholder matters for public companies. He has also been a top sales executive for national and international programs. Prior to joining CRT/tanaka, he served as the vice president, external affairs and investor relations for Albemarle Corporation and as vice president of Americas sales and global accounts on Albemarle’s Global Leadership Team. Previously, he held communications positions at Ethyl Corporation. He was an adjunct faculty member at University of Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), and served as president of the Old Dominion Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). Michael earned his B.S. in Mass Communications at VCU and is an accredited member of PRSA.

Greta J. Harris
BHC President/CEO

 Greta HarrisGreta Harris succeeded T.K. Somanath as President and CEO of the Better Housing Coalition in August 2013. Before joining BHC, she was vice president for the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), a national non-profit community and economic development corporation. In this role, she provided strategic and managerial support to 10 of LISC’s local offices in southern and mid-western regions. Prior to that role, she was the senior program director for Virginia LISC, based in Richmond, which supported local organizations in developing more than $250 million in real estate in Central Virginia.

Greta serves on the City of Richmond’s Economic Development Authority and has been a member of the Federal Reserve Bank’s Board of Governors’ Consumer Advisory Council, the Virginia Housing Coalition, the Richmond Community Development Alliance and Seven Hills Boys Middle School. Among other community leadership roles she has held within the region, she is also a member of Leadership Metro Richmond’s Class of 1995.

Greta earned her bachelor of architecture degree from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and holds a master of science in architecture and urban design from Columbia University.