Members are the driving force of SDHF, but it is the Board of Directors and staff that are at the core of its effectiveness and leadership. Directors may serve two consecutive three-year terms. They are elected by the membership at the SDHF’s annual meeting.
Board of Directors
Matthew Jumper, San Diego Interfaith Housing Foundation, President
Paul Shipstead, Wells Fargo Community Lending & Investment, CFO
Kwofi Reed, LISC San Diego
John Seymour, National Community Renaissance
Lori Holt Pfeiler, Habitat for Humanity
Nicholas Hamilton, Red Capital
Bree Wong, SWS Engineering, Inc.
Sylvia Martinez, Community HousingWorks
Rebecca Louie, Wakeland Housing Corporation
Ginger Hitzke, Hitzke Development Company
Nicki Cometa, Affirmed Housing Group
San Diego Housing Federation Nominations and Elections Procedures
The San Diego Housing Federation annually, during the first quarter of the year, conducts an election for open seats on its Board of Directors. Pursuant to the Bylaws, the Governance and Nominations Committee select a slate of candidates to present to the Membership during its annual election. The slate is selected from all eligible candidates, subject to the limitations set forth in the Federation Bylaws (hyperlink to Bylaws) and as consistent with the goals established by Governance and Nominations Committee annually. All Federation members in good standing are invited to submit their qualifications as a candidate for Board membership.
The Federation Board of Directors consists of eleven members. The Federation Bylaws require that no fewer than six Board members represent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations that develop and/or operate affordable housing or provide support for affordable housing developers. Of those, no less than four seats must be occupied by nonprofit organizations that develop affordable housing. The remaining positions may be filled with any member in good standing.
In addition to the requirements established by the Bylaws, the Federation Governance and Nominations Committee has established criteria to assist in the selection of the slate of candidates to be presented to the Membership. It is the goal of the Governance and Nominations Committee to nominate a slate of potential directors that will promote diversity (including, but not limited to ethnic, geographic, and professional diversity) on the Board of Directors. In addition, the Committee strongly weights candidates’ demonstrated commitment to the Federation (i.e., committee participation, financial support, or other commitment).
Those elected shall take office on April 1 of the applicable year.
SDHF staff is the “face” of the organization seen most frequently in the media, before City Councils, and in discussions with other coalition partners.
Stephen Russell, Executive Director
A 2005 graduate of the NewSchool of Architecture & Design, Stephen has a 20-year history working in community and economic development in the Mid-City region of San Diego. He served as Executive Director of the El Cajon Boulevard Business Improvement District, where he was responsible for implementing an economic development strategy for an aging commercial district. He later served as an advisor to then-San Diego City Councilmember Toni Atkins on issues related to redevelopment, infrastructure financing, small business support, and the City’s General Plan (the “City of Villages”.)
Since then he has served as volunteer board member and President of the City Heights Community Development Corporation, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing affordable housing, employment opportunities, and quality neighborhoods in the community of City Heights. Stephen has served on the NewSchool Foundation Board since 2009 and as President of the Board since 2011.
Prior to joining the Federation as its Executive Director, Stephen was a member of the firm Platt/Whitelaw Architects, Inc., a full-service architecture firm specializing in sustainable design.
Laura Nunn, Policy Director
As the San Diego Housing Federation’s policy director, Laura plans, directs, and coordinates development of policy positions as well as government and legislative affairs. Previously, she worked at U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein’s San Diego district office working on federal level issues related to housing, health, veteran affairs, and social programs. She also interned at former California State Senator Denise Ducheny’s office. Laura holds a Master of Arts degree in International Relations from University of San Diego and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Spanish from SDSU.
Sarah Buchanan Mirabelli, Director of Events and Membership
Sarah Buchanan Mirabelli, our Director of Events and Membership, has 10 years of experience navigating deadlines and orchestrating complex event schedules.
An adept problem solver, Sarah possesses the ability to quickly change course and acclimate seamlessly to new environments and responsibilities. She is able to see the big picture without losing sight of the details and excels at translating our members’ creative needs into action. Working with the Presidents and Vice Presidents of companies such as Society for Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM), Creative Group, Inc, and Creative Counsel her role played a large part in keeping the companies on track during hectic times.
Sarah earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and Native American Studies from the University of Oklahoma. She is passionate about all things creative and loves supporting others in their creative endeavors. An Oklahoman by birth, a Chicagoan by choice, and a recent transplant to San Diego, Sarah truly feels at home here in the City in Motion.
Outside of work, you’re likely to find her exploring San Diego, relaxing at the beach with her dogs (and friends or family), singing at a local karaoke spot, or generally finding the beauty and humor in life.
Sneha Craig, Office Administrator
Sneha Craig is the part time office administrator at San Diego Housing Federation. She is a Massage Therapist and also works at Fern Street Circus, a non- profit teaching circus skills to youth in City Heights.
Sneha enjoys life with her husband, 2 dogs, 5 chickens, 3 rabbits and likes to paint in her spare time.
Miriam Melendez, Education Programs Assistant
Miriam earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Women’s Studies with an LGBT Studies minor from San Diego State University. She believes education is key to self and community development, and wants to inspire others to be active in their own communities or in communities of need.
Miriam enjoys travelling, photography, yoga, writing poetry and going to music festivals. Most of the time you will find her by water (beach, rivers, waterfalls, etc.). Her favorite activity is spending time with her partner Carlos and cat Luna.
Blake Nachtsheim, Research Assistant
Blake Nachtsheim is Research Assistant at San Diego Housing Federation. He grew up in Reno, Nevada and moved to San Diego in 2012 to attend San Diego State. He plans to graduate in the spring of 2017 with a Bachelors in Business Management with a specialization in Entrepreneurship. Blake became interested in social business and non-profit management while attending SDSU and hopes to one day create a company that can give back to the community.
Blake also works for the student disability services on the SDSU campus. In his free time, he enjoys surfing, skiing, exploring the great outdoors, reading and watching Kung Fu movies.
Amanda Kilian, Intern
Amanda is currently a senior at California State University, Long Beach and will be graduating with her B.A. Political Science in spring 2018. In the past she has worked for the YMCA where she developed her passion for non-profit work and commitment to strengthening community. Her interest in public policy and affordable housing grew through her research into California’s housing crisis. Her passion for affordable housing is what made her want to learn more from the professionals in the field that are advocating on behalf of Californians.
In her spare time Amanda enjoys exploring National Parks, traveling and road trips big or small. Her most memorable road trip was her 3,000+ journey from southern California to Boston.
Jose Gutierrez, Intern
Jose was born and raised in San Diego. He graduated from San Diego State University in 2016, double-majoring in journalism and geography. Having experienced the turbulent housing crisis in San Diego, Jose wants to one day ensure that anyone willing to work in San Diego should be able to afford living there too.
As an aspiring geographer, Jose loves traveling to new places and exploring the relationship between people and places. After studying abroad in South Korea for a semester, he gained a profound appreciation of how accessible Seoul was to citizens and foreigners alike. He hopes to earn his master’s in Urban Development and help San Diego develop into a city more accessible to all.