Staff & Leadership

Meet Our Leadership

We do more than just construct buildings. We are rooted in community-led development and work in deep partnerships because we know that together, we can foster better communities. As members of the Seattle community for over 40 years, we aspire to be humble learners, committed to meeting the evolving needs of the community.

Community Roots Housing Staff
October 2019

Leadership

  • Chris Persons 20170223 001

    Christopher Persons

    Chief Executive Officer

  • Fleming

    Jill Fleming

    Senior Vice President & Deputy Director

  • Robert Baca

    Robert Baca

    Associate Director of Real Estate Development

  • Canizio

    Michelle Canizio

    Vice President of Property Operations

  • Dhattk

    Kiley Dhatt

    Foundation and Campaign Manager

  • Drammeh

    Muhammadou Drammeh

    Vice President of Finance

  • Gibson

    Greg Gibson

    Vice President of Strategy and Innovation

  • Hagen

    Jeff Hagen

    Senior Manager of People and Culture

  • House

    Michelle House

    Director of Compliance

  • Abstract Artwork

    Anne Hurt

    Office Manager

  • Scott Matthews

    Scott Matthews

    Accounting Manager

  • Mceachran

    Scott “Mac” McEachran

    Director of Facilities

  • Moodie

    Donna Moodie

    Executive Director of the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict

  • Lange

    Brad Lange

    Vice President of Asset Management

  • Seiwerath

    Michael Seiwerath

    Vice President of Advancement and External Affairs

  • Thomas

    Ashley Thomas

    Director of Resident Services

  • Jeremy Wilkening

    Jeremy Wilkening

    Vice President of Real Estate Development

  • Wong

    Yiling Wong

    Senior Communications Manager

Chris Persons 20170223 001

Christopher Persons

Chief Executive Officer

Christopher Persons has led Community Roots Housing since 2007 and has more than three decades of senior nonprofit leadership experience. Prior to joining Community Roots Housing, he was the executive director of Inspiration Corporation, a homeless and housing services agency in Chicago. Under his leadership, it grew from a neighborhood agency to a city-wide, award-winning corporation. Chris guided the organization through two mergers, started a housing program, and opened a restaurant that doubled as a job training and employment center.

Chris has led the organization through significant transition and growth and has overseen the development of several award-winning properties including 12th Avenue Arts, Liberty Bank Building, the Jefferson, and Station House. In 2010, he oversaw the creation of the Community Roots Housing Foundation, and in 2012 he oversaw the creation of the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict, which leads the community’s efforts around resilience and equity. Chris has provided leadership on many external community boards and currently serves on the boards of the Housing Partnership Network and Seattle Crescent Collaborative.

Fleming

Jill Fleming

Senior Vice President & Deputy Director

Jill Fleming is Community Roots Housing’s Senior Vice President and Deputy Director. She came to the organization in 2006 after 19 years in public accounting, specializing in real estate and affordable housing finance. In her time at Community Roots Housing, she has overseen virtually every department at one time or another. Jill has extensive experience working with developers, owners, and managers of affordable housing and is well-versed in the technical and management aspects of affordable housing. Jill currently oversees finance, serves as senior advisor to the CEO and real estate development team, and is a member of the executive team. Jill is the Treasurer of the Housing Development Consortium of Seattle-King County. Jill has served on the boards of the Affordable Housing Management Association of Washington, the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce, and the Mt. Baker Housing Association. At the national level, she has chaired the Housing Partnership Network CFO Community of Practice and served on the StrengthMatters CFO Advisory Panel. She holds an MBA from the University of Washington and a BA from The Evergreen State College.

Robert Baca

Robert Baca

Associate Director of Real Estate Development

Robert Baca is the Associate Director of Real Estate Development at Community Roots Housing. Robert has 13 years of experience affordable and real estate development totaling 3,000 units of housing. Robert has national housing development experience working in all regions of the United States with various leading affordable housing developers.

Robert received his B.A. in Urban Studies & Planning from San Francisco State University and holds professional designations in Construction Management, Business Process Management, and Agile Management. In his spare time, Robert enjoys hiking, golf, reading, cooking, and eating!

Canizio

Michelle Canizio

Vice President of Property Operations

Michelle Canizio oversees the property operations of nearly 50 buildings with an emphasis on sustainable and equitable communities. Prior to this position, Michelle worked in various leadership roles for the government and nonprofit sectors in New York City, including the New York City Housing Authority, NYC’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, and Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation, with a focus on the sustainable operations, development, and preservation of affordable housing for over 19,000+ multi-family units, as well as 300+ single-family homes. Michelle holds a Master of Public Administration from Baruch College and Bachelor of Science in Communication Studies from New York University.

Dhattk

Kiley Dhatt

Foundation and Campaign Manager

Kiley Dhatt manages the Community Roots Housing Foundation’s annual fundraising program as well as the $25 million collaborative capital campaign called Rise Together. Kiley works closely with staff and partners to develop and execute effective fundraising strategies to support Community Roots Housing programs, community-centered real estate developments, and general operations. In her role, she also helps to oversee the administrative and events work of the Community Roots Housing Foundation. She loves knowing that her work helps to make Seattle a more inclusive, diverse, and interesting place to live. Prior to joining Community Roots Housing in 2015, Kiley came from a background in writing and education. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Washington and a master’s degree in English Composition and Rhetoric from the University of Delaware. In her spare time, Kiley can be found cooking adventurously, playing with her two mischievous cats, and enjoying any remotely decent weather with her husband on the back deck of their little home in the Mt. Baker neighborhood

Drammeh

Muhammadou Drammeh

Vice President of Finance

Muhammadou Drammeh joined Community Roots Housing in August 2019. He leads the Accounting and Finance team. He attended Suffolk University in Boston and DeVry University in Columbus, Ohio for an undergraduate degree in accounting. He later graduated from Keller Graduate School of Management with a graduate degree in management. He is an active CPA from the state of Virginia. Recently, Muhammadou was the Senior Treasury Manager at Boys and Girls Clubs of America at the national headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. Prior to that, he was the Senior Accounting Manager at the American Diabetes Association in Alexandria, Virginia. He has over 13 years of accounting, finance, and treasury experience. He is an active member in the community and volunteers for various events and organizations.

Gibson

Greg Gibson

Vice President of Strategy and Innovation

Greg is a CPA who spent seven years as an auditor with Moss Adams, LLP in Eugene and Seattle prior to joining the Community Roots Housing team in 2017. He received both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in accounting from Washington State University. Greg is an active volunteer in the community, currently serving as the Board Treasurer for Gay City: Seattle’s LGBTQ Center. His previous volunteer experience has included working with buildOn, a national nonprofit working to build schools in developing countries, and serving as the Board Treasurer for Committed Partners for Youth in Lane County. He lives in South Park with his fiancé Derek and their dog Frankie. Greg enjoys spending the bulk of his free time outdoors hiking, backpacking, and running and is also an avid Washington State Cougar and anything Seattle sports fan.

Hagen

Jeff Hagen

Senior Manager of People and Culture

Jeff comes to Community Roots Housing from the Los Angeles area where he worked as an HR professional for 15 years. His HR experience includes work at TBWA/Chiat/Day advertising, Musicians Institute of Hollywood, and Technicolor. He was also the Manager of HR for Kabbalah Centre International, a religious nonprofit. Originally from the Seattle area, Jeff received a degree in economics from the University of Washington and a professional certificate in HR Management from UCLA. He also holds a Senior Professional in Human Resources certification.

House

Michelle House

Director of Compliance

Michelle has worked in the housing industry for over 14 years with experience ranging from site manager, portfolio manager, and compliance positions. Prior to her work in the affordable housing industry, Michelle worked with the Community Action Program in Kitsap County for five years, providing assistance in areas of low-income heating and energy assistance, WIC, and community resources and referrals. Michelle holds multiple certifications within the compliance field for affordable housing and has her real estate brokers license. Michelle is fan of Seattle sports: Seattle Sounders, Seahawks, Mariners, and Storm. When not in the office, Michelle enjoys her time with her husband Shaun, son Chris, granddaughter Alina, and their dog Rocko.

Abstract Artwork

Anne Hurt

Office Manager

Anne has lived in many places and worked in many industries, including a resort in Mexico, a hotel in Alaska, owning a women’s clothing boutique, and working for the Alaska Court system as a Deputy Magistrate. Anne believes life is to be lived and that each new experience adds to the breadth and depth of a person. She believes the most important thing when one leaves the planet is how well one has treated others and oneself.

Scott Matthews

Scott Matthews

Accounting Manager

Scott has been with Community Roots Housing since 2012. He started as a staff accountant and is now an accounting manager. Prior to joining Community Roots Housing, Scott was a staff accountant at Emeritus Senior Living for two years and graduated from the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington. In his spare time, he enjoys playing guitar and drums, watching live music, golfing, traveling, and supporting local sports teams.

Mceachran

Scott “Mac” McEachran

Director of Facilities

Scott “Mac” McEachran oversees the operations of Community Roots Housing maintenance services program and capital projects. He has supervised the maintenance department since 2002. Mac has vast knowledge and experience at Community Roots Housing buildings and has managed increased responsibilities in his tenure. His efforts have grown the maintenance department and its ability to provide repair and maintenance for the growing portfolio of buildings. Prior to joining the organization, Mac worked as a Project Development Facilitator focused on continuous process improvement, worked in a lead position as Facilities Maintenance Technician for a large manufacturer, and as a Journeyman Union Carpenter. He has 30 years of experience in facilities maintenance, building construction, property management, and project management.

Moodie

Donna Moodie

Executive Director of the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict

Donna Moodie, owner of Marjorie Restaurant in the Central Area, brings years of engagement with both the Capitol Hill and Central District business communities to the EcoDistrict. Moodie co-chairs the Mayor’s Small Business Advisory Council, participates in the Central Area Land Use Review Committee, and serves on the Seattle Center Advisory Commission. She was a founding board member of the Capitol Hill Housing Foundation and chaired the Central District Forum for Arts and Ideas Board. As a consultant, Moodie has advised food business startups and architects on diversity and inclusion. Born in Jamaica, raised in Chicago, and now a resident of Seattle for over 20 years, Moodie is well acquainted with the interconnectedness of social justice, community building, and neighborhood activism.

Lange

Brad Lange

Vice President of Asset Management

Brad focuses on the financial sustainability, physical viability, and mission alignment of the real estate portfolio. Brad has over 20 years of experience in real estate analysis, acquisitions, asset management, financing, and dispositions. Prior to joining Community Roots Housing in 2013, he held positions for a variety of investors. Brad is licensed by the State of Washington as a Managing Broker. Brad earned a degree in Real Estate Appraisal and Investment Analysis from the University of Wisconsin and is active in the Asset Management and Property Management Affinity group of the Housing Development Consortium.

Seiwerath

Michael Seiwerath

Vice President of Advancement and External Affairs

Michael Seiwerath oversees the fund development, communications, and government relations of Community Roots Housing, including the $25 Million Rise Together capital campaign. He is the founding Executive Director of the Community Roots Housing Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization that helps fund Community Roots Housing’s work to build vibrant and engaged communities. Michael staffs the Capitol Hill Arts District, and serves on Seattle Central College’s Standing Advisory Committee as well as the Seattle Asian Art Museum Community Advisory Group. Prior to joining the organization in 2008, Michael was the Executive Director of Northwest Film Forum. Michael has served on the Seattle Arts Commission (chair), Washington Low Income Housing Alliance State Legislative Committee, the Cal Anderson Park Alliance Advisory Council, and numerous grantmaking panels.

Thomas

Ashley Thomas

Director of Resident Services

As Director of Resident Services, Ashley leads Community Roots Housing’s work to connect residents to a range of opportunities that provide social, emotional, and economic stability. Ashley has over 10 years of experience in program management, community building, and curriculum development. Prior to joining Community Roots Housing, Ashley held various paid and volunteer positions with youth development programs at organizations like Rain City Rock Camp for Girls, Powerful Voices, Girls Power Forward, and Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. She received her interdisciplinary Bachelor of Arts from Fairhaven College at Western Washington University. Ashley lives in Capitol Hill, and her favorite thing about working for Community Roots Housing is that she gets to work alongside her neighbors in reimagining what community can look like when everyone has access to life-affirming resources. Outside of work, Ashley enjoys spending time with her rescue chihuahua Ollie, shooting hoops, and playing bass in a heavy, sludgy metal band called Molting.

Jeremy Wilkening

Jeremy Wilkening

Vice President of Real Estate Development

Jeremy Wilkening leads Community Roots Housing’s real estate development work. He began working at the organization in 2016. Prior to this, he led real estate development at other community development corporations in the Boston area, the last of which was Urban Edge Housing Corporation. His development career began in 2002 in San Francisco, and he has experience working in multiple states in the Northeast in creating both affordable and mixed-income housing as well as mixed-use, transit-oriented development. Jeremy earned an MBA at University of California-Davis and a BS in Chemical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Wong

Yiling Wong

Senior Communications Manager

Pronouns: She/Her

Yiling Wong oversees storytelling strategy, media outreach, and event marketing across the organization. She has previously served at King County, the University of Washington, Habitat for Humanity, and Smart Growth America. The common thread throughout has been a need to make positive change across groups and to empower people to flourish. As a Minnesotan child of Chinese immigrants, Yiling enjoys fried potatoes, pot stickers, and behavioral economics for kindness. After renting in four Seattle neighborhoods since moving to the state in 2008, she now lives near Green Lake with her partner, their experimental garden, and three chickens. In her free time, she can be found eating and adventuring on all forms of water. Yiling holds a master’s degree in Public Policy from George Washington University, a B.A. from the University of Minnesota, and a Washington Food Worker card.

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