Chief Executive Officer
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.
Chief Executive Officer
Vice President of Property Operations
Director of Property Management
Community Roots Housing Foundation Interim Executive Director
Director of Information Technology
Senior Manager of People and Culture
Director of Compliance
Vice President of Asset Management
Director of Facilities
Director of Real Estate Development Finance
EVP of Community Development
Executive Director of the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict
Director of Real Estate Property Development
Governance & Administration Manager
Director of Resident Services
Vice President of Real Estate Development
Senior Communications Manager
Vice President of Finance
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.
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.
Valencia Chambers Manora hails from Seattle and loves the liquid sunshine that the city provides. She joined Community Roots Housing in 2014. She began as a site manager of the 12th Avenue Arts Building — also home to the Community Roots main office — and worked her way up to become the Director of Property Management. Valencia has worked in the housing industry for over 12 years. Prior to her work in affordable housing, she honed her skills working as an escrow officer, closing real estate transactions for first time homebuyers working with HomeSight. Valencia holds multiple certifications in affordable housing as well as her real estate broker license.
Valencia has always valued working to ensure that inclusiveness and equity are at the forefront of her work. She loves working with people and is compassionate and fair. When not at the office Valencia loves spending time with her husband Edward, her two children, friends, and family. In her spare time she enjoys decorating, gardening and painting.
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
In the role of Director of IT, Morgan provides guidance, management and oversight for the technology systems that make much of our work possible. With 25+ years of experience in building IT solutions, Morgan develops efficient and creative ways to keep improving how we serve our community, empower our team-members, and support the organizational mission. Technology isn’t just a profession but a passion for Morgan, as anyone who knows him would attest. Being a student of life-long learning and an avid adventurist keep him grounded in the Pacific Northwest where he was born, raised and will always call home. Morgan is grateful to work at Community Roots Housing where his work can continue the drive for our communities to be fair, just, equitable and supportive of everyone.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jason joined our real estate development department in 2021. He currently serves as the director of real estate development finance where he focuses on portfolio analysis, deal structuring and Workforce Housing development activities. Jason brings more than 20 years of affordable housing real estate development and finance experience to this role. His previous work experience includes working for both public and private organizations. Jason’s work as a developer for a nationally recognized firm focused on revitalizing urban communities by effectively utilizing public/private partnerships, along with his experience serving in various underwriting roles for debt and equity providers affords him the opportunity to evaluate a transaction from the perspective of a community-focused owner, developer, and financing partner. Jason graduated from Clark Atlanta University where he earned an MBA in Finance. He is also a proud alumnus of Morehouse College where he completed his undergraduate studies in finance.
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 her role as Executive Director of the EcoDistrict and Executive Vice President of Community Development for Community Roots. 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.
Thea comes to us from Cincinnati, Ohio by way of Portland, Oregon. In Cincinnati, Thea was the director of real estate and economic development for the Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation, a community-led Community Development Corporation nonprofit. In this role, she worked closely with community members to redevelop the neighborhood business district to provide a diversity of housing options along with a ground floor retail program that offered commercial space to serve and reflect the diversity in age, race, and incomes found throughout the community. In Portland, she worked with Prosper Portland, the city’s urban renewal agency, to provide Tax Increment Finance resources into community supported real estate projects in the far east neighborhoods of Portland.
Thea is passionate about the relationship between community and development and seeks ways to center racial equity outcomes to improve the vibrancy and resilience of communities.
Sarah Shoemake-Gamble earned her MSW at the University of Washington with a focus on administration and policy. Throughout college and graduate school, Sarah worked at organizations such as the Wallingford Boys & Girls Club, NARAL Pro-Choice Washington, and Children’s Alliance. She worked at several different organizations before finding her professional home at Community Roots Housing, starting out as a Housing Assistant and moving into the role of Executive Assistant & Board Liaison. Now, as the Governance & Administration Manager, she oversees the operations of the Administration Team and main office, as well as PDA governance and board work.
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 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.
Yiling Wong oversees storytelling strategy, media outreach, and event marketing across the organization. Over the last 10+ years, she has also served at King County, the University of Washington, Habitat for Humanity, and Smart Growth America. The common thread throughout has been making a positive impact across groups empowering 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.
Leslie Woodworth oversees Community Roots Housing’s finance team. She joined the organization in 2021, with over 15 years of experience in the Seattle area. Leslie previously held accounting leadership roles within university housing and online retailing organizations. She began her career in public accounting as an auditor of government and nonprofit organizations, as well as public and private companies. Leslie is a licensed Certified Public Accountant and graduate of the University of Washington Foster School of Business. She is most energized by problem solving and making financial information more accessible to a broader audience. In her spare time, Leslie enjoys playing music, drinking coffee, and enjoying the outdoors with her two dogs.