MEET OUR STAFF

Executive Staff

Tom Willard

President Emeritus

Tom has accumulated over 40 years of experience in real estate development and consulting. During his 25-year tenure with the Foundation, Tom has supervised the acquisition and development of almost 5,000 units of affordable senior housing using commercial lenders, tax credits, and tax-exempt bonds. Tom holds a degree in Business Administration from the University of Montana, with a focus in Business Management, Economics, and Marketing. He also served as an officer in the United States Army.

Deborrah Willard

Founder and President

Deborrah has overseen the acquisition and development of more than 6,800 units of affordable family housing during her 25-year tenure with the Foundation. She is responsible for business development, contract negotiations, and community and partnership relations. She received a B.A. in Social Sciences from the University of California, Irvine. Deborrah also is the president of Embrace, the resident services arm of the Foundation. Embrace serves family and senior communities in California and North Carolina.

Darrin Willard

President and CEO

Darrin oversees the company’s operations as well as acquisitions, dispositions, and debt/equity structuring. Prior to joining the Foundation, Darrin was co-founder and managing principle of SureHarbor, LLC, a consulting firm representing developers and nonprofits in structuring public finance. Darrin has planned and implemented over $600 million in tax-exempt bond and tax credit transactions. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an emphasis on Real Estate finance and a minor in Law and Public Policy from the University of Southern California.

Melissa Vincent

Chief Operating Officer

As Chief Operating Officer, Melissa oversees the daily functions of the organization, provides day-to-day leadership, and works closely with the Foundation’s Senior Management Team to ensure management and operational effectiveness, align policy and business goals, and leverage those goals to enhance direction and impact.

Dedicated to promoting a culture of high performance, inclusiveness, and a commitment to quality, Melissa participates in the planning, development, implementation, and evaluation of key business and performance objectives and their application. She also evaluates operating results across the organization to ensure that growth and objectives are met. Melissa has worked in the housing industry for over 20 years and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Foundation.

 

Tommy Waldron

Chief Strategy Officer

Tommy brings a triple bottom line focus to the operational oversight and asset positioning of our wholly owned properties. Prior to joining Foundation, he was a co-founder of Cardinal Group, where he oversaw operational growth, asset management, and construction management teams. Tommy holds a B.S in Business from Miami University of Ohio and a Master’s in Real Estate from Georgetown University.

Tarun Chandran

General Counsel

As General Counsel, Tarun oversees all legal matters for the Foundation, including transactions, corporate governance, compliance, and risk management.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Tarun was in private practice for eighteen years, representing a variety of clients in commercial real estate transactions (including acquisitions, dispositions, real estate-secured financing, and commercial leasing transactions). Tarun holds a B.A. from the University of Michigan and a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School.

Asset Management

Mike Ristow

Asset Manager

Mike serves as Asset Manager for our Northern California properties. After Graduation from Montana State University with a BS in Mechanical Technology, Mike was a pilot for Northwest Airlines from 1968 to 2005, starting on the Boeing 707 and retiring as a 747-400 Captain. During that span of 37 years, Mike served as the Chairman of the Board of the Airport Community Counseling Office, the Airport Chaplaincy in Minneapolis-St. Paul. Mike also was heavily involved in work for the Airline Pilots Association, serving as a Contract Administrator, and three elected terms as a Captain Representative to the ALPA Board of Director’s. From 1998 to 2006 Mike served on the Northwest Airlines Board of Directors.

Jonathan Russo

Asset Manager

Jonathan serves as Asset Manager for our Southern California portfolio. Prior to joining the Foundation, he was a key associate in managing a portfolio of affordable properties at WNC & Associates. Jonathan earned his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Real Estate Finance from California State University at Fullerton. Jonathan served as the President of CSU’s Real Estate Club and was a scholarship recipient with the California Association of Realtors.

Compliance

Accounting

Anna Halbur

Controller

Anna leads the accounting department and financial reporting for the Foundation. Prior to joining FFAH, Anna worked in the auditing and assurance practice for KPMG, a Big Four accounting firm. While working in public accounting, she specialized in real estate, asset management, and not-for-profit clients. Anna is a Certified Public Accountant and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Chapman University.

Jordan Ulves

Senior Accountant

Jordan serves as Senior Accountant for the Foundation. He works directly with our Controller to assist with daily accounting tasks and financial reporting processes to ensure completeness and accuracy of the Company’s accounting records. In addition to this, Jordan applies his technical knowledge to serve as the foundation’s IT servicer and point person for IT related developments. Jordan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Economy from the University of Southern California.

Cameron Sordahl

Staff Accountant

Cameron serves as Staff Accountant for the Foundation. He works directly with our Controller and Senior Accountant to complete daily accounting and banking tasks along with financial reporting processes to ensure completeness and accuracy of the Company’s accounting records.

Transactions

Mei Luu

Director of Transactions

As Director of Transactions, Mei oversees all aspects of our transactional work here at the Foundation, working with partners, lenders, and agencies to complete applications and handle due diligence requests for new, as well as existing transactions. Along with those duties, works on the periodic filings required by the state and county municipalities to obtain property tax exemption. Prior to joining the Foundation, Mei was an Assistant Vice President at Deutsche Bank where she closed and administered over 100 asset-backed securities. She was responsible for working with outside counsel, transaction managers and client counterparts to negotiate terms in transaction documents in multi-billion-dollar securitizations. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Gisselle Picard

Welfare Exemptions Manager

In Gisselle’s role as a Transaction Coordinator, she works with internal staff as well as outside parties to ensure a smooth closing and continued maintenance of the welfare exemption status of the Foundation’s portfolio of properties. Prior to joining the Foundation, Gisselle was an Associate at Deutsche Bank for over 10 years where she closed and administered commercial and residential trusts. Gisselle has her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona and her Master in Business Administration from the University of LaVerne.

Nicole Dale

Transactions Coordinator

Nicole serves as the Foundation’s Transaction Coordinator, she works with internal staff as well as outside parties to ensure a smooth closing and continued maintenance of the welfare exemption status of the Foundation’s portfolio of properties. Prior to joining the Foundation, Nicole held various positions in Sales, Marketing and Account Management in her 18 year tenure with NTN Buzztime, Inc. Nicole also holds a degree in Social and Behavioral Sciences from Linfield College.

Resident Services

Amy Curtis

Director of Resident Services

Amy serves as the Director of Resident Services for Embrace, the resident services arm of the Foundation.  Prior to joining the Foundation, Amy spent over 12 years working in non-profit leadership focusing primarily on program acquisition and development, along with cultivating community partnerships and wellness initiatives.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, a Master of Science Degree from California State University Los Angeles in Rehabilitation Counseling, and is a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.

Laura Zavala

Program Supervisor

Laura serves as the Resident Services Program Supervisor, where she oversees the Resident Service Coordinators and works collaboratively on an interdisciplinary team to ensure successful implementation of Resident Services to Family, Senior, or Special Population Affordable Housing Residential Complexes. Laura served as a Resident Service Coordinator for five years, where she created a robust curriculum program for her 340-unit property. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Chicano/a Studies and Education from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Kristi Simon

Resident Services Program Supervisor

Kristi serves as the Resident Services Program Supervisor, where she oversees the Resident Service Coordinators and works collaboratively on an interdisciplinary team to ensure successful implementation of Resident Services to Family, Senior, or Special Population Affordable Housing Residential Complexes.

Prior to coming to the Foundation. Kristi spent over ten years working with at-risk youth and families in various therapeutic, holistic health and advisory roles. Kristi studied psychology at University of Redlands, and medical science at Loma Linda University. Kristi also served as a Combat Medic in the United States Army Reserve for 8 years.

Marketing

Paige Germany Willard

Director of Marketing & Business Development

Paige is the Foundation’s Director of Marketing and Business Development. She specialized in Business Development and Marketing for several Fortune 500 companies, such as CRC Health and ABC Television Network. Her career with CRC solidified Paige’s desire to serve people in need, which makes the Foundation a perfect fit. Paige has spent her career helping businesses establish long-term partnerships that enhance communities all over the U.S. Paige also sits on the boards of several charities in both Bend, Oregon and Southern California. She attended the University of Southern California and received a Bachelors in Political Science and English from Millsaps College, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude.

Administrative

Bonnie D’Alesandro

HR & Admin Services Manager

Bonnie serves as the Foundation’s HR & Admin Services Manager where she supports the Executive Team and company growth as a whole. On the day to day, her focus is on employee relations + retention, office oversight and policies & procedures. Prior to joining the Foundation, Bonnie was the Office & Culture Director for award-winning digital marketing agencies and creative studios, helping to ensure growth, team support and success within all departments. Bonnie studied Sociology with an emphasis on Inequality in the Media at West Virginia University while on a full-ride athletic scholarship for D1 Women’s Volleyball.

Cayla Tyrrell

Administrative Assistant

Cayla is the Foundation’s Administrative Assistant housed out of our Laguna Beach, CA office. Her main focuses are attending to office & employee needs as she continues to create a more functional and organized space. Serving under the Administration department, Cayla manages the Laguna Beach office and its employee relations all while maintaining an inviting & thriving atmosphere. She offers support to all departments to further rapid growth and success at every level of FFAH. Prior to working at the Foundation, Cayla worked in the service industry for 11 years as a server, bartender and events and staffing manager. She studied Psychology and Business Marketing at California State University, Fullerton.

Resident Services Coordinators

Judy Frye

Resident Service Coordinator at Coventry Heights, Cambridge Heights, and Sterling Court

Judy is currently a Resident Services Coordinator at three senior properties –  Coventry Heights, Cambridge Heights, and Sterling Court.  Judy has been with FFAH and Embrace since 2013

At Sterling Court, she arranged for Walgreens Pharmacy to provide the flu shots to the senior residents.  She has also arranged for a Medicare representative to provide annual Open Enrollment workshops.

During 2020, she was able to connect with Second Harvest to schedule a food program twice a month, and with the help of a Second Harvest volunteer, she delivered an assortment of dry goods and fresh farm produce.  As she got to know the residents, she was able to set up outdoor activities such as Bingo, workshops, birthday events and holiday door decoration events with prizes for the winners. She has also started a community vegetable garden, which was a huge success.

Natalie Wickline

Resident Services Coordinator at Bellflower Friendship Manor

Natalie serves as the Resident Services Coordinator for Bellflower Friendship Manor, where she oversees a local network of support for an independent senior living apartment complex.

Natalie navigates multiple social services  agencies to ensure successful implementation of resident services.  Natalie has served as a Resident Service Coordinator since 2015, and has created programming that includes mental health services, daily fitness activities, wellness education, socialization, utility subsidies, food programing, housing recertification with HUD, and programming to spread awareness about the abuse and exploitation of seniors. All programming is designed to empower our seniors and help them ‘live in place.’

Natalie holds a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology with a focus in Cultural Studies from California State University Long Beach, California.

Guadalupe Gonzalez (she/her)

Resident Services Coordinator at Oakland Family Properties

Guadalupe serves as the Resident Services Coordinator for our Oakland family properties. In her role, Guadalupe develops enrichment programs and events for  residents that provide resources, assistance, and empowerment.

Before joining the Foundation, Guadalupe worked in her beloved Oakland advocating for music education. She also worked in various children museums around the Bay Area. Guadalupe is a recent graduate of San Francisco State University and holds a B.A. in Urban Studies and Planning and has her associates degree from Oakland’s own Laney College in Social Sciences.

JULIA STAUDER

Resident Services Coordinator at at Harvest Glen

Julia serves as the Resident Services Coordinator for the Harvest Glen community in Rialto, which is the same California county where she was proudly born and raised.  Julia has a passion for providing help to the families in her community.  She provides resident services to the children, families, and seniors, and has served as a Resident Service Coordinator since September of 2021. Julie has created meaningful relationships with the families and provides them with much needed services to enrich their lives.  Julia holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Gender and Sexuality Studies from California State University, San Bernardino.

Violeta Joaquin-Lee

Resident Services Coordinator at Park Sunset

Violeta serves as the Resident Services Coordinator for Park Sunset Apartments, a 30-unit complex for seniors in the vibrant Inner Sunset neighborhood of San Francisco.  She enjoys working with the diverse senior community, and continues to seek ways to communicate with them (since the majority do not speak English).  Violeta holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a minor in Marketing from San Francisco State University.

Amanda Copple

Resident Services Coordinator at Creekside Apartments

Amanda serves as the Resident Services Coordinator for Creekside Apartments, where she oversees a 175- unit property. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Communication from Southern Oregon University. Amanda served in the Peace Corps from 2012 to 2014. Prior to joining FFAH, she taught Kindergarten for 5 years.

Bliss Montemayor

Resident Service Coordinator at Brisa Del Mar

Bliss serves as the Resident Services Coordinator at Brisa Del Mar, where she creates and implements workshops to benefit the community. She provides resident services to the families in this affordable housing community. Bliss has served as a Resident Service Coordinator since 2020, and works as to provide such resources as food distributions, monthly mental health workshops and an afterschool program.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Dejah Thompkins

Resident Services Coordinator at Desert Senior

Dejah serves as the Resident Services Coordinator at the 63-unit Desert Senior community, where she provides services that that improve the lives of the residents. She has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.

Patricia Hernandez

Resident Services Coordinator at Elwood Family and Cypress Senior Living

Patricia serves as the Resident Services Coordinator at Elwood Family Apartments in Glendora, CA and Cypress Senior Living in Glendale, CA.  She ensures successful implementation of resident services to both the 85 unit family community and the 18 unit senior housing property. Patricia joined Embrace in 2019 and she holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from California State University, Los Angeles.

Katie Hin

Senior Activities Coordinator at Northgate Terrace

Katie serves as the Senior Activities Coordinator for Northgate Terrace, a senior community in Oakland. Katie develops programming for the residents, including Bingo, exercise classes, yoga, arts and crafts, and various wellness events. In addition to the many activities, Katie works closely in partnership with Spectrum to serve on-site hot lunches to residents. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Conservation and Resource Studies and a minor in Food Systems at the University of California, Berkeley.

Rachel Dunkin (she/her)

Resident Services Coordinator at Orange Garden

Rachel works as the Embrace Resident Services Coordinator at Orange Garden, a 52-unit community located in Poway, California. Since starting in September 2021, Rachel has provided resources and worked to bring the residents together through a variety of social events and workshops. Orange Garden is a family housing community and, as such, Rachel runs a Monday-Thursday afterschool program, where homework assistance and different lessons or activities benefit the children.

Rachel is excited to continue working with the residents in this community to further develop their skills and make the community feel like a fun and welcoming place to live. Rachel received her Bachelor of Arts degrees in Sociology and in Business Administration from the University of California, Irvine. She currently lives in San Diego, California, and when she is not working with her residents, you can find her hiking, going fun places with her dogs, or enjoying a new coffee shop.

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