Board of Directors

Meet Better Housing Coalition’s Board of Directors

Laura Dillard Lafayette, Chair
Richmond Association of REALTORS®

Laura Lafayette 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.

John P. McCann, Immediate Past Chairman (retired)
McCann Realty Partners, LLC

john mccann bhcJohn McCann is retired Chairman of McCann Realty Partners, LLC (MRP). He was previously a partner at MRP, which was 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.

Michael J. Schewel, Vice Chair
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.

Freda Green Bolling, Secretary
Virginia Department of Health

Photo: Freda Bolling

Freda Green Bolling is currently a Program Administrative Specialist II with the Division of Community Nutrition, 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 licensed Real Estate Agent and former 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 also serves on the board for a faith based non-profit that serves Women and Children in the Metro Richmond area.  She is the owner of My Own Home Soon, LLC and partners with local realtors to provide housing counseling services to first-time home buyers. Freda is proud to be a BHC first-time home buyer 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 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.  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
McNeil Street, LLC

Brooks, Philip A

Philip A. Brooks is Managing Principal of McNeil Street, LLC.  He advises on capital formation and financing for the seniors housing and healthcare sectors, having been involved in over $10 billion of transactions.  Philip has almost 30 years experience in the commercial real estate finance sector including managing several programs under Fannie Mae’s multifamily housing division.  He is an independent director for Capital Senior Living (NYSE, CSU) serving on the Audit and Corporate Governance Committees.  He was an investment banker and a staff assistant for the U.S. House of Representatives.

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 case worker for Virginia Supportive Housing.  He was previously a mental health specialist at the Central Virginia Healthcare Association where he teaches clients a full myriad 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 Today’s Youth Services, Family Restoration Services, Youth Empowerment Services, House of Prayer Church, and 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 Master’s degree in Human Services with a concentration in Marriage and Family Therapy at Liberty University.  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

Penny J. McPherson is Vice President and Senior Community Development Officer for Wells Fargo. She manages their markets in Richmond-Petersburg MSA, Hampton Roads and Fredericksburg to meet the needs of the community and the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) goals. She provides counsel to ensure strong community development performance, focusing on service to the community which includes financial literacy education, investments to nonprofits, and CRA lending.  Penny is also a board member of the Black History Museum and LISC, where she chairs the Neighborhood Investment Committee.  She is also a member of the Virginia Community Capital Council of Advocates.  Penny was appointed by Richmond City Council to the Maggie L. Walker Initiative Citizens Advisory Board. She is a member of LMR’s Class of 2010. She has her B.S. in Business from High Point University and a Competent Toastmaster Certification from Toastmasters International.

W. Douglas Moran
If You Will Lead

Doug Moran is the founder of If You Will Lead, LLC, and he is the co-Founder of the CoHero Institute, LLC.  Doug provides leadership development, executive coaching, and organizational 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 30 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 Gilliam Center for Ethical Leadership Board.

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.

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
The Fahrenheit Group

Scott Ukrop is Director of Business Development at The Fahrenheit Group. Earlier in his career, Scott was a partner at 3north, an award-winning architectural and design firm. 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.

Greta J. Harris
BHC President/CEO

 Greta Harris

Greta Harris is BHC’s president and CEO. As an established leader with hands-on experience in Richmond, Greta oversees BHC’s strategic growth and mission, and leads BHC’s operational areas of real estate development, construction, property management, community social work, fundraising and administration. Before joining BHC, she was vice president for the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). 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,  she was the senior program director for Virginia LISC. 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 LMR’s Class of 1995.  Greta earned her bachelor of architecture degree from Virginia Tech, and holds a master of science in architecture and urban design from Columbia University.