For forty years, Carol George Johnson has been a force in making home ownership a reality for local families. An unwavering advocate for home ownership for all, Ms. Johnson began her career selling real estate. Subsequently realizing the challenges faced by people of color to participate in the process of obtaining a home loan, she shifted gears, moving into mortgage financing.
Carol became the first African American woman in the nation to lead a municipal Housing Finance Authority. She streamlined complex processes of tax-exempt bond programs and developed systems to directly support affordable housing finance. Thousands of families in low-income households realized their dreams of homeowner-ship through these programs, which are still being utilized today, ensuring home ownership for our most vulnerable populations.
In 1993 Ms. Johnson opened her own mortgage brokerage firm, Johnson Mortgage Corporation. Within three short years, the organization was acclaimed one of five top lenders in the United States by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). This distinguished award recognized Carol for providing first-time home ownership opportunities to single, African American female heads of household. Johnson Mortgage Corporation received multiple recognitions from the City of New Orleans for being a “Top Lender,” and lauded a “champion” for affordable housing by real estate professionals and non-profit organizations.
Johnson Mortgage Corporation was instrumental in providing higher-wage job opportunities for African Americans, which laid a foundation for many professionals of color in leading roles today in the mortgage finance industry.
Carol attended the University of New Orleans and has completed numerous training programs in top mortgage banking institutes; she is a certified mortgage broker.
Ms. Johnson is married, has 3 children and 5 grandchildren. She resides in New Orleans, LA.
Program officer at the Greater New Orleans Foundation (GNOF)
Isabel Barrios is a program officer at the Greater New Orleans Foundation (GNOF), where she leads an economic opportunity initiative focused on family economic security, and efforts to support advocacy and disaster recovery. Isabel joined the foundation in 2009 to work with its Community Revitalization Fund, a collaborative of national and local foundations focused on equitable recovery and affordable housing post-Katrina that supported the rehabilitation or building of nearly 9,500 affordable housing units. She has worked in and with New Orleans nonprofits for over twenty years, and is a founding board member of Jane Place Neighborhood Sustainability, a community land trust focused on creating and preserving permanently affordable housing that is community controlled. Isabel also serves on the board of Volunteers of America Southeast Louisiana, is a Hispanics in Philanthropy NGEN Lider, and has been an active volunteer throughout the years, dedicating time to prison abolition, reproductive justice and women’s health, and transportation equity . Originally from Guatemala, she has called New Orleans home since 1987.
Land Use Attorney and Urban Planner, Sherman Strategies, LLC
Avery Foret is a Land Use Attorney and Urban Planner with Sherman Strategies, LLC, a project-based legal consulting firm. Her practice primarily includes zoning and entitlement work for real estate development projects and community and neighborhood engagement related to these developments. Over the years, she has worked on dozens of these endeavors, ranging from multi-family developments with affordable housing set asides, revitalizations of vacant properties, and projects bringing economic development and sustainable employment to New Orleans.
She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Economics from Louisiana State University and returned to New Orleans to earn a dual degree from Loyola University’s College of Law and The University of New Orleans’ Master of Urban and Regional Planning Program.
She was born and raised in New Orleans and now enjoys raising two young children here with her husband.
Secretary for the Board of Directors for the International High School
Earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from Louisiana Tech University
and School of Banking at Louisiana State University, respectively.
Serves as Secretary for the Board of Directors for the International High School
of New Orleans in addition to the following: Algiers Economic Development,
Harvey Canal Association, and the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Matteh
Foundation, New Orleans South African Connection (NOSACON), Jefferson
Community Action, Jefferson Parish Juvenile Services, Volunteers of America,
Jefferson Parish Employment & Training, Youthbuild U.S.A., New Orleans
Employed by Gulf Coast Bank and Trust Company as a Commercial Lender
Since 2004, Monika McKay has been working extensively in large, mixed-income project management, community development, real estate finance, and data analysis of large projects in distressed urban areas.
Ms. McKay is a native New Orleanian and is a proud of her Post Katrina contributions to the redevelopment of her beloved city. At McCormack Baron Salazar, Ms. McKay was responsible for the coordination and implementation of mixed-income and mixed-use projects. Her activities included working with local agencies and officials, securing and leveraging project financing, and coordinating public and private partners. Ms. McKay’s projects included serving as a consultant partner on the B.W. Cooper mixed-income public housing redevelopment and serving as project manager for the off-site components of the Iberville Revitalization project, which was awarded a 2010 Choice Neighborhood Initiative award.
Ms. McKay completed a University of Pennsylvania Center for Urban Redevelopment Excellence (CUREx) fellowship in New Orleans, during which time she served as project manager for Columbia Residential’s Columbia Parc development in New Orleans. Her work on Columbia Parc involved serving as a day-to-day, on the ground project manager for the development and construction of over 460 units consisting of mixed-income, mixed-finance housing. Total development costs on the project exceeded $125 million and the project required the intense management of residents, architects, local utilities, engineers, state and local funders, the Housing Authority of New Orleans, the City of New Orleans, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, environmental consultants, and general contractors. Columbia Parc is the recipient of two Affordable Housing Finance 2011 awards—Best Overall Project and Best Family Project.
Ms. McKay has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from the University of Houston and a graduate certificate in Urban Development from the University of Pennsylvania. In 2011 Ms. McKay partnered in the market analysis firm, Spark InSites, and has been a certified market analyst. Ms. McKay is currently a licensed Realtor with Gardner Realtors and remains committed to affordable housing and homeownership. Monika is a proud Trustee of Ursuline Academy and The Greater New Orleans Foundation.
A native New Orleanian, and devoted mother and grandmother, Kim Piper is the President of the Iberville Resident Council. She was a resident of the former Iberville Public Housing Development for over 30 years, and has been involved in promoting tenant rights for HANO residents since 2003. As a member of HANO’s Board of Commissioners, Ms. Piper will continue to advocate for safe, affordable housing for low income families across the city.
As President of the Iberville Resident Council, Ms. Piper is a strong proponent for resident input, improved housing conditions, recreational opportunities for youth, and social services for low income families. She also previously served as a member of the Iberville Redevelopment Working Team, working with residents and housing officials to preserve Iberville’s historical buildings during its redevelopment in 2012.
Ms. Piper continues to be a dedicated community leader with a strong commitment to helping public housing and HCVP residents – providing transportation to seniors, helping working mothers with school pickups and drop-offs, assisting residents in completing applications for SNAP benefits, and much more.
Member of NAI Latter & Blum's Commercial and Investment Division
Member of NAI Latter & Blum's Commercial and Investment Division since 1988,
and active in the acquisition, disposition and leasing of commercial real estate
investment and development opportunities that include apartments, office and
Post-Hurricane Katrina, focused primarily on tax-credit driven, community re-
development finance projects and is an affordable housing advocate and
proponent of utilizing innovative and alternative financing models.
Strong supporter of the charter school movement in New Orleans and currently
assist Charter Schools and Charter Management Organizations (CMO's) in
locating in non-traditional school site locations.
Born and raised in New Orleans and have been married for 37 years to Gizelle
Poche’ Richard, a dentist, and have three adult kids, Jean-Paul, Gabrielle and
Board Member, New Orleans Chamber of Commerce Member, International
Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) Member, the Louisiana Chapter of CCIM
Member, Algiers Economic Development Foundation (AEDF) Member, Algiers
Kiwanis Club – New Orleans 2015 NAR - National Commercial Award for
Louisiana 2017 CID - Service to the Industry Award 2017 Biz New Orleans - Top
Ten Influencers in Real Estate Past President, Commercial Investment Division
(CID) of NOMAR Past Commercial Director & Board Member, Louisiana Realtors
(LR) Former Lt. Governor, Kiwanis, District 4A (LA, MS & West Tennessee)