Homeownership Symposium: Speakers and Panelists

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Eileen Diaz McConnell, Associate Professor of Transborder Studies, Arizona State University

  • Eileen Diaz McConnell is Associate Professor in the School of Transborder Studies at Arizona State University. She earned her doctorate in Sociology from the University of Notre Dame in 2001. Professor McConnell's research interests include Latina/o demography, international migration, and Latino homeownership and housing wealth accumulation. She has published on these topics in peer-reviewed academic journals focusing on housing policy, demography, and immigration, and in book chapters and research reports. Her professional website is at: http://www.asu.edu/clas/transborder/faculty_diaz.htm

Andra Ghent, Assistant Professor of Real Estate, Arizona State University

  • Andra Ghent is an assistant professor in the Department of Finance in the ASU W. P. Carey School of Business. Her current research interests are real estate finance and financial intermediation. Prior to her position at ASU, Professor Ghent held positions with Baruch College, JPMorgan, the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, and the Bank of Canada. She holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of California, San Diego, an M.A. in economics from the University of Toronto, and a B.A. (Honors) in economics from the University of British Columbia. More information about Professor Ghent can be found at http://www.public.asu.edu/~aghent/.

Louis Hyman,  Assistant Professor of History, Cornell University

  • A former Fulbright Scholar and McKinsey consultant, Professor Hyman received his PhD in American History in 2007 from Harvard University. His book Debtor Nation, A History of America in Red Ink (Princeton University Press, 2011), is a history of the political economic of debt. His second book, Borrow: The American Way of Debt (Vintage, 2012), explains how American culture shaped finance and in turn how finance shaped culture. His writings have appeared in the New York Times, The Atlanta, Wison Quarterly. Bloomberg, CNBC, and numerous other media. More information can be found at: http://www.louishyman.com 

Robert Manning,  President and CEO of the Responsible Debt Relief Institute

  • Author of the widely acclaimed Credit Card Nation: The Consequences of America's Addiction to Credit (Basic Books, 2000), Dr. Manning is a specialist in consumer finance, financial education, and retail banking deregulation. He is co-organizer of the national "Fair and Responsible Lending" campaign, which seeks to mobilize grassroots coalitions to reform the consumer lending/debt collection industries. He is a frequently invited expert before U.S. Congressional committees, and has served as an expert witness/consultant in many federal, class-action, and civil suits on behalf of consumer borrowing rights. His research has been widely reported in the U.S. and international media. Dr. Manning holds a PhD in Sociology from Johns Hopkins University, and was the past Director of the Center for Consumer Financial Services at Rochester Institute of Technology. He is founder of the Responsible Debt Relief Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to the objective and empirical assessment of consumer debt capacity.. For more on RDRI, see http://www.rdrinstitute.org. For more on Dr. Manning, see http://www.creditcardnation.com.

Kim Manturuk,  Senior Research Associate, Center for Community Capital, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

  • Kim Manturuk leads the consumer financial services research and policy team of the Center for Community Capital at UNC-Chapel Hill. She is an expert on the social impacts of homeownership, short-term credit products and usage, credit and debt among lower-income households, and civic engagement and political participation. Her recent research has explored the relationships between homeownership and civic engagement, family formations and patterns of credit use among lower-income families in North Carolina. A sociologist, she received her PhD from UNC in 2008. For more information about Dr. Manturuk, see://http://www.ccc.unc.edu/bio/bioManturukKim.php

Elizabeth Strom,  Associate Professor of Urban and Regional Planning, University of South Florida

  • Elizabeth Strom is Director of the Office of Community Engagement at the University of South Florida, where she is also Associate Professor in the Department of Geography, Environment and Planning. She holds a PhD in Political Science from the City University of New York, and a Masters in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Strom's past research has analyzed urban planning decisions in Berlin after Germany's reunification (see her book, Building the New Berlin: The Politics of Urban Development in Germany's Capital, 2001). n-going work examines arts, culture, and urban development in US cities; the causes and consequences of mortgage foreclosures in Florida; and university engagement in urban communities. Her work has been funded by the Social Science Research Council, the McCune Foundation, the Fulbright Program, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. For more information about Professor Strom, see: http://gep.usf.edu/faculty/estrom/

Brent White,  Associate Dean and Professor of Law, University of Arizona

  • Professor White writes in the areas of Property and Law & Development, both through the lens of social psychology and behavioral economics. Recently, his work has focused on homeowner behavior in the United States in the wake of the housing crisis. His work has been widely cited by academics, and in the media, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, NPR and 60 Minutes. More information can be found at: http://www.law.arizona.edu/faculty/facultyprofile.cfm?facultyid=278

Jane Zavisca,  Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Arizona

  • Jane Zavisca is an expert on the cultural underpinnings of mortgage-based homeownership, and on the effects of homeownership on demographic, socioeconomic, and political outcomes. Her book, Housing the New Russia (Cornell University Press, 2012), explores Russia's attempt to transition from a socialist housing system to a market-based and mortgage-dependent model of homeownership. Work in progress includes a history of perceptions of the relationship between debt and ownership in the US, and a comparative study of how housing affects social and political grievances in Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Ukraine. Her work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, the Fulbright Program, the National Council for East European and Eurasian Research, and the Minerva Research Initiative. Professor Zavisca holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of California at Berkeley, and an MA in Statistics from Columbia University.


Gary Bachman,  Pima County Community Development and Neighborhood Conservation Department

  • Mr. Bachman has nearly 30 years of experience as an advocate for affordable housing and community development planning, and as an administrator of housing and community programs. For the last 20 years Mr. Bachman has been employed by Pima County, Arizona in the Community Development and Neighborhood Conservation Department as a manager and administrator of federally funded programs including the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, HOME, Emergency Shelter Grants, Supportive Housing Program, and Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS.  He also has developed planning documents prepared funding applications for the department.  Currently he manages the County’s competitive $22 million Neighborhood Stabilization Program (2) award. In addition to serving as Secretary of the Tucson Industrial Development Authority,  Mr. Bachman is the Immediate Past President of the National Association for County Community and Economic Development (NACCED), an organization serving the urban county community development profession.  He received a BA in Anthropology from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1972, and an MA in Landscape Design from the Conway School of Landscape Design in 1984. 

Angela Baurley,  Co-Founder, Affinity Financial Group

  • With experience at a large financial investment firm but a passion for personal empowerment, Angela Baurley started Affinity Financial Group, a financial services business based in Tucson that is based on the principles of independence, honesty, and open communication with clients. She serves on the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity of Tucson, and is an active member of the Rotary Club of Tucson. She has hosted investment consultations to provide financial resource and advice to widowed women, divorcees, and business owners through Pima Community College's Continuing Education Program. Ms. Baurley has received several awards recognizing her as a young business and community leader in Tucson. She holds an MBA from the University of Arizona's Eller School of Management, and launched her career at Dean Witter (now Morgan Stanley).  

Richard Elias,  Supervisor, Pima County Board of Supervisors, District 5

  • Richard Elias has served on the the Board of Supervisors since 2002, when he succeeded Raúl Grijalva, who resigned to run, successfully, for Congress. Before his service in elective office, Richard Elias worked for years in the development of home ownership opportunities for low- and moderate-income families. He was instrumental in the creation of Pima County's Neighborhood Reinvestment program, which used county bond money to develop affordable housing and to make neighborhood improvements in high-stress areas. He also has served on many community boards and commissions, including the city of Tucson's Community Development Advisory Commission, which recommended block grant projects to the City Council. During a stint as Executive Director of the South Tucson Housing Authority, Richard oversaw the development of 20 new units of public housing. He began his career in affordable housing at Chicanos por la Causa, where he developed a subsidiary for-profit construction company to work on affordable-housing projects. In this capacity, he worked closely with minority contractors to promote local economic development with significant impact.

Peg Harmon,  CEO, Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona, Tucson

  • Marguerite “Peg” Harmon is the CEO of Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona, a non-profit housing, health and social services organization with offices and programs in the nine southern counties of Arizona. Her background in the area of housing extends back to the 1980’s when she developed some of the first community based housing for persons with disabilities. Over the years she has partnered with other organizations to develop transitional housing programs, HUD 202 properties, tax credit projects in Sierra Vista and Yuma. CCS has also provided housing counseling programs, foreclosure assistance programs and foreclosure mitigation services. In 2008 she helped organize a community wide effort “A Call to Action for Affordable Housing” which brought together government, business, housing development, the financial sector and the faith community to address the housing crisis in Pima County.

Peggy Hutchison,  CEO, Primavera Foundation, Tucson

  • Peggy Hutchison serves as the CEO of The Primavera Foundation, a non-profit community housing development organization whose mission is to provide pathways out of poverty through safe, affordable housing, workforce development, and neighborhood revitalization. Primavera serves about 7,500 people annually in Tucson and Pima County, Arizona through a variety of programs including: emergency shelters and homeless intervention and prevention services, affordable rental housing, job training and placement, homeownership services, neighborhood revitalization, and community engagement and advocacy. Hutchison has worked in the community development and economic justice field in the United States, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East for more than 25 years. Hutchison has a BA in Spanish and Community Health and a MA in Middle East Studies. Hutchison serves on numerous boards and commissions/task forces, including : Co-chair of the Mayor’s Commission on Poverty (City of Tucson); Board of Directors Pima County Community Land Trust; Board of Directors and Governance Council Crisis Response Network for Southern Arizona; JP Morgan Chase Community Advisory Board; and Board of Directors National NeighborWorks® Association.

Fred Karnas,  President/CEO, St. Luke’s Health Initiatives, Phoenix

  • Fred Karnas has long worked on the intersection of housing, health, and human services, with a focus on the needs of homeless persons, persons with disabilities, and the elderly. Currently Fred is the President and CEO of St. Luke’s Health Initiatives (SLHI) in Phoenix, Arizona, with a focus on creating healthy communities. He has served as a policy adviser for Governor Napolitano and in her cabinet as Director of the Arizona Department of Housing. He spent a portion of his career in Washington, DC, most recently serving in the Obama Administration as Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). He also served as Deputy Assistant Secretary at HUD in the Clinton Administration, overseeing the Department’s homelessness and HIV/AIDS housing programs. His non-profit work has included time at the Area Agency on Aging and the Community Housing Partnership in Phoenix, as well as five years as executive director of the National Coalition for the Homeless. Locally he serves on the United Way’s Ending Homelessness Advisory Committee and the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Homelessness. Fred holds a Bachelor of City Planning degree from the University of Virginia School of Architecture, an MA in social work from Virginia Commonwealth University, and a PhD from the College of Architecture and Urban Studies at Virginia Tech.

Tsianina Lomawaima,  Professor of American Indian Studies, University of Arizona

  • Professor Lomawaima is a specialist in ethno-history and the history of American Indian education. Her firt book, They Called it Prarie Light: The Story of Chilocco Indian School (U of Nebraska Press, 1994), received several national awards. She has published and edited numerous other scholarly works. Her most recent book is entitledTo Remain an Indian: Lessons in Democracy from a Century of Native American Education (Teachers College Press, 2006). Ongoing research projects include twentieth century transformations in Indian homes, architecture, and organization of domestic space; and the federal production and uses of photographic images to publicize programs to assimilate and "civilize" Native peoples and communities. She is also beginning a new study of the impossibility of mortgages on federal trust lands and how that is implicated in Native poverty.

Evelia Martinez,  Special Projects Manager, Don't Borrow Trouble, Southwest Fair Housing Council

Michael McDonald,  Executive Director, Habitat for Humanity, Tucson

  • With a master’s degree in international management from Thunderbird, Michael McDonald is a third-generation Arizonan who has held management positions in all three sectors of the economy: nonprofit, for-profit, and government. For the past nine years, Michael has served as the executive director of Habitat for Humanity Tucson. Michael currently serves on the boards of several nonprofits and government commissions, and teaches a master’s level class in nonprofit management at the University of Arizona.

Gloria Vasquez,  Director of Homeownership, Primavera Foundation, Tucson

  • Gloria H. Vasquez is the Director of Homeownership at The Primavera Foundation. Primavera offers financial education, credit repair, down payment assistance, homebuyer education and foreclosure intervention to low and middle income participants. Her background is in mortgage lending, government contracting and non-profit program management. Gloria received her Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Business and her MBA from the University of Phoenix. Gloria is also a member of the Junior League of Tucson, a volunteer with the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation and an AIDSWalk Committee member.

Betty Villegas,  Housing Program Manager, Pima County Community Development and Neighborhood Conservation Department

  • Betty Villegas has been with Pima County for 14 years. She currently manages the Pima County Housing Center, a comprehensive one stop housing center that serves all residents of Pima County. Ms. Villegas spent 19 years in the retail banking and lending industry, as a Bank Manager and Community Development Lending Officer before moving to the public sector. She has spearheaded many housing inivitaives, from homeowenrship, to foreclosure avoidance, to financial recovery. She currently serves as Chair of the Tucson Convention Center Commission, is a member of the ARizona State Housing Commission, President of the Tucson Pima Arts Council, a Board Member of CHISPA Foundation, Arizona Housing Alliance, and the Pima County Community Land Trust.