Rebuilding Together's
Board of Directors

Caroline Blakely, President and CEO
Rebuilding Together

As president and CEO, Caroline is responsible for guiding the strategic direction of Rebuilding Together.

Caroline Blakely joins Rebuilding Together from Cassin & Cassin LLP, where she was a partner in the Real Estate Finance Group. Prior to joining the firm, she served as vice president in Fannie Mae’s multifamily business, where she defined its strategic direction for growing asset management and counter party responsibilities. Early in her career, she practiced real estate, banking, and corporate law at firms in the Washington, D.C., area, including a woman-owned firm she co-founded to specialize in matters related to the Resolution Trust Corporation.

Active in business and community service organizations, Caroline was a member of the Board of Governors of the Commercial Real Estate Finance Council (CREFC). She was recently elected to the board of directors of the public mortgage real estate investment trust ARES Commercial Real Estate (ACRE). She is active in the Urban Land Institute, where she is a member of the Responsible Property Investment Council, and on the steering committee of the Women’s Leadership Initiative. She volunteers on the boards of trustees for Global Communities, a nonprofit organization and its subsidiary, Vitas, which specialize in international development and micro-finance.

Caroline received her Juris Doctor degree cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center and her Bachelor of Arts with high distinction, Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Virginia. She is admitted to practice law in the District of Columbia and in the state of Maryland.

Wayne Cauthen, Principal
The Insight Group Ltd.

Wayne A. Cauthen is currently Principal/CEO of The Insight LTD, which is based in Denver Colorado. The Insight Group serves as a management consultant firm to state and municipal government agencies. Prior to starting The Insight Group, he had 17 years of executive level experience in local government. Serving as Chief of Staff for the city of Denver and City Manager for The City of Kansas City, Missouri. In both positions he served as The Chief Operational Officer, with budgets in excess of 1.5 billion dollars and more than ten thousand employees.

During his tenure in local government he managed several transformational projects which included: Lowery Airforce Base Redevelopment, Stapleton Airport Redevelopment, Denver Union Station Multimodal Facility, Downtown Kansas City Power & Light Entertainment District and the CenterPoint Kansas City Southern Intermodal International Trade Processing Center.

While in Denver in the area of Economic Development and International trade, he was the lead executive in establishing trade offices in London, England and Shanghai, China. In Kansas City he established the Office of International Affairs and Trade. Which promoted trade between the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Under his leadership both Denver and Kansas City received numerous awards and recognition from organizations such as: The U.S Conference of Mayors, National League of Cities, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government Ash Center For Democratic Governance & Innovation.

He served on numerous Board of Director’s such as Partners For Livable Communities, Stapleton Airport Redevelopment Corporation, Lowery Redevelopment Authority, Denver Housing Authority, Denver Employee Retirement Plan, Downtown Kansas City Business Council, Civic Council of Kansas City, Truman Medical Center University of Missouri- Kansas City, Rebuilding Together and The Eupulions Cultural Foundation

Guy Cecala, CEO and Publisher
Inside Mortgage Finance

Guy D. Cecala is the CEO and publisher of Inside Mortgage Finance, a specialized news and information company based in Bethesda, MD that he founded in 1984. The company produces eight newsletters, numerous special reports, several databases, and a large amount of original market research and statistics related to mortgage finance in the United States.

Mr. Cecala is frequently quoted in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, USA Today and other major newspapers as well as AP, Bloomberg and Reuters. He also has appeared on the NBC Today Show, NBC Nightly News, CNBC, ABC News, CBS Evening News, Fox Business News, PBS NewsHour, CNN, the BBC, CBS Radio and NPR as an expert on the U.S. mortgage market.

Mr. Cecala testified before the Congressional Oversight Panel on foreclosure problems and their potential impact on the U.S. housing and mortgage markets.

Mr. Cecala earned a B.A. degree in English from Boston College, where he graduated magna cum laude. He also holds a M.A. degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.

Mr. Cecala also is a past president of the Specialized Information Publishers Association, an international trade group based in Washington, DC.

Joy Ciani, Senior Vice President
Fannie Mae

Joy Cianci is Fannie Mae’s Senior Vice President – Special Assets and Corporate Facilities, Security, and Resiliency. Ms. Cianci manages the Single-Family Business’ special and distressed assets and the administration of the U.S. Treasury’s Making Home Affordable program. She oversees loss mitigation activities related to Single-Family legacy assets and real-estate owned (REO) and manages the company’s corporate facilities and security team – including its workplace strategy initiatives. Ms. Cianci has served in a number of roles at Fannie Mae. She previously led the Credit Portfolio Management team, where she oversaw Single-Family’s servicer management and oversight, servicing policies, real estate asset management, and credit operations. She was head of the company’s Office of Community and Charitable Giving and interim head of its eBusiness organization. Ms. Cianci also worked in the Housing and Community Development division and Legal department, where she was responsible for servicing, loss mitigation, asset acquisition, policy and government relations, and technology projects. Prior to joining Fannie Mae in 1993, Ms. Cianci was an associate in the real estate practice at the law firm of Ballard Spahr Andrews and Ingersoll. Ms. Cianci has a bachelor of science in economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a juris doctor from the University of Pennsylvania.

Akinjide Falaki, Vice President
Lowe's Companies, Inc.

Akinjide Falaki is a Corporate Finance professional with about 20 years’ experience with global firms like Citibank, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Best Buy. He is currently the Vice President of Corporate Planning & Treasury at Lowe’s Co. Inc in Mooresville, North Carolina.  He graduated from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria with first class honors (Summa Cum Laude) in Agricultural Economics in 1998, trained as an accountant at PricewaterhouseCoopers and then obtained an MBA (Finance & International Business) in 2004 from Baylor University, Texas, where he got the award of the most outstanding graduating student.

Mr. Falaki is passionate about education, community involvement and entrepreneurship, as tools for empowering young people and the disadvantaged. He has been married to his wife, Dr. Folake Falaki for over 15 years and they are blessed with children.

Merrill Friedman, Senior Director

Merrill Friedman leads the Disability Policy Engagement team and advocacy strategy for Anthem, a leading health benefits company serving nearly 74 million people nationwide through its affiliates.  She works collaboratively with consumers, advocates and stakeholders to ensure the diverse interests and preferences of older adults, individuals with disabilities, and children involved in child welfare programs inform Anthem’s health benefits approaches and related initiatives. Ms. Friedman also leads the National Advisory Board (NAB) on Improving Health Care Services for Older Adults and People with Disabilities and advances the integration of the NAB's six foundational principles, the independent living philosophy, and principles of self-determination throughout these programs, as well as Anthem’s member interactions and business practices.  In addition, she leads strategic partnerships with national and local organizations to advance the development of inclusive public policy.

Ms. Friedman is a nationally recognized leader in Medicaid, LTSS and health services that reflect the needs and interests of older adults, people with disabilities and children and adolescents. Health program expertise includes disability, aging, social influencers of health (SDoH), foster care, mental health and substance use, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and justice involvement.  Her extensive experience in program development, strategy, new business growth and operations management informs the innovation and development of home and community-based services and capacity building.

Ms. Friedman has served on numerous national boards and commissions.  She was appointed by President Barack Obama to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities and by Governor Jennifer Granholm to the MI Statewide Independent Living Council where she also served as Board Chair.  Currently, Ms. Friedman serves on the board of directors for Family Voices, Rebuilding Together, and is a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) and the NASUAD MLTSS Institute Advisory Board.  

John Scott Johnson, Vice President
Urban Standard Capital

John Scott Johnson serves as Vice President at Urban Standard Capital. In this capacity, John Scott is involved with all aspects of the development process, from deal sourcing, architecture and design, construction and marketing. He brings 15 years of experience in real estate development and investment to his work at Urban Standard. John Scott began his career at NYC’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development and also worked at Clinton Housing Development Company, West Side Federation and BFC Partners. He received a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science from Bates College. 

While in college, John Scott helped found Rebuilding Together Lewiston/Auburn in 2002. Upon moving to New York, he joined the board of Rebuilding Together New York City where he served in various roles, including president, vice president, treasurer and director between the years of 2006 and 2019. John Scott also serves on the board of the Saint and Streetfighter Foundation and formerly served on the board of Housing Conservation Coordinators. John Scott resides in Brooklyn, NY with his husband, Andrew, and dog, Sheriff.

James D. Kelly, Partner
Blank Rome LLP

James D. Kelly is a business attorney with more than 25 years of experience structuring and negotiating complex real estate, finance, and general corporate transactions.  He is a partner with Blank Rome LLP and is the Chairman of the firm’s Washington, DC office.  Prior to joining Blank Rome, Mr. Kelly served as the chairman of an Am Law 200 firm where he provided leadership and strategic direction of the firm’s legal practice and business objectives, and oversaw all aspects of the firm’s operations.  Mr. Kelly received his J.D. from Fordham University in 1988 and his B.A. from Assumption College in 1983.

Jodie Liddy, Executive Director
Rebuilding Together Hartford

Jodie Liddy has served as Executive Director of Rebuilding Together Hartford since 2009.  Prior to accepting her position, Jodie served on the Board of Directors for Rebuilding Together Hartford for six years, and was the Board Chair from 2007-2008.

In her role as Executive Director, Jodie oversees all aspects of the organization and spends the majority of her time cultivating sponsors to increase revenue.  Jodie is dedicated to fulfilling the organization’s mission, providing strategic guidance, developing new partnerships and growing the organization’s outreach.  In addition, Jodie also manages a staff of two additional employees.

Jodie also serves on Rebuilding Together’s National Affiliate Council and represents Region One which is comprised of affiliates in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Jodie has spent the past 20 years volunteering with several non-profits, and is thrilled to have a career in the non-profit field.  She is a sustaining member and past president of the Junior League of Hartford, and she currently serves as the co-chair of the sustainer council.  She is also a member of the Connecticut Valley Garden Club, and has also served on the Board of Outreach Ministry at Asylum Hill Congregational Church.

Jodie is a ‘displaced Southerner’ from Eufaula, Alabama who now lives in Avon, Connecticut with her husband Jim.  Together they have one son, Evan, who is currently hiking the Appalachian Trail and plans to attend Colorado College in the fall of 2017.  Jodie and her family, which includes three rescue dogs, enjoy traveling, hiking and enjoying the great outdoors.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from Mercer University, in Macon Georgia.

Rick Nelson, Commissioner
Housing Opportunities Commission

Richard Y. Nelson, Jr. has returned to HOC as a Commissioner for a second time. He initially served from 1991 until 2007 and served as chair from 2003 until 2007. Commissioner Nelson was reappointed to the Board of Commissioners in February 2015.

Commissioner Nelson has considerable experience in housing and community development. In 2007, he was appointed by County Executive Isaiah Leggett to serve as Director of the Department of Housing and Community Affairs of Montgomery County with responsibilities for the County’s MPDU program, the affordable housing trust fund, community development activities, housing code enforcement and landlord tenant affairs. Most of Commissioner Nelson’s professional career was spent at the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) where, after holding several different positions, he became the executive director, a position he held from 1987-2001.

He was appointed in January 2015 to serve on the Affordable Housing Council of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta. Commissioner Nelson earned an Bachelor of Arts degree from San Francisco State University and a Juris Doctor Degree from Temple University School of Law.

Karen Nemsick, Executive Director
Rebuilding Together San Francisco

Karen Nemsick has been a Bay Area resident since 1988. Her long nonprofit career has focused on moving families out of poverty. After working five years at Raphael House, a shelter for homeless families, Karen started her own nonprofit called Women In Action to fill a gap in job preparedness training at welfare-to-work programs. Women In Action activities taught teamwork and communication skills to women moving from welfare to work, and the activities built confidence and challenged women to overcome self-defeating beliefs. In addition to her direct service work, Karen has worked as a consultant to executive directors and small nonprofit organizations on program development, leadership, operations, grant writing, and fundraising. She joined Rebuilding Together San Francisco as the Executive Director in June 2009 and has been serving on the National Affiliate Council (NAC) since 2013, currently as the NAC Council Chair.

Ed Peavy, Founder and CEO
Mission Control

Ed Peavy is the founder and CEO of Mission Control, the nation's leading Democratic direct mail company. Since its founding in Connecticut in 2001, Mission Control has grown from a small company with three employees to a political consulting company which has elected dozens of senators and governors, and more than 50 current and former members of Congress. Clients include Senators Elizabeth Warren, Sherrod Brown, Al Franken, Kirsten Gillibrand and Governor Andrew Cuomo. Mission Control has also made a name for itself in progressive causes with clients such as Planned Parenthood, SEIU, AFSCME, NEA and Everytown for Gun Safety.

Prior to starting Mission Control, Ed managed campaigns across the country. He is married to Becky Reno and they live in Wellington, Florida and Washington D.C. In his spare time, you will find him cycling, attending sporting events, cheering on his youngest in dressage or hanging out with his three dogs. Ed and Becky have three children - Bridgette, John and Annie - all of whom share a common thread with Ed as they are all competitive and pursue their dreams with the same enthusiasm.

Kevin Rafferty, Executive Vice President
Hancock Whitney Bank

Since October 2016, Kevin has been Executive Vice President of Hancock Whitney Bank in charge of business development and wholesale strategic implementation. Previously, he served as South Texas Market President starting when IBERIABANK entered the Houston market. The Bank has significantly grown its client base, resources and business portfolio in Houston and announced the acquisition of First Private Bank in Dallas. His previous experience includes leadership and management positions with First American Bank, Washington, DC and Whitney National Bank from 1979 – 2009 in New Orleans, LA and Houston, TX. Kevin is a graduate of Tulane with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and has a Master of Business Administration in Finance.

Active in the community, Kevin currently serves on the board of Rebuilding Together Houston and Waldo Burton Home. He also served as Chairman of New Orleans Lighthouse for the Blind, Chairman New Orleans Children's Museum and was a member of the Tulane Association of Business Alumni. Kevin is currently the chair of Rebuilding Together's national board.

Brad Segal, Partner
Asphalt Shingle Recycling, Systems, LLC

After spending 28 years building Bradco Supply into one of the nations largest distributors of roofing and related building materials with over 150 locations nationwide, peak sales of $2 billion and 3500 employees, Brad left Bradco when the company was sold to help start ASR Systems, an asphalt shingle recycling company.

Brad’s passion for wine led him to purchase a retail wine store in Manhattan with his brother-in-law. He splits his time between the retail wine store and ASR Systems.

An Alumni of Syracuse University, Brad was a member of The Syracuse University Franklin Advisory Board, He has been involved with/served on the Harvard University Joint Housing Studies Policy Advisory Board, the National Roofing Contractors Association and The Alliance for Progress.

Brad is the former Board Chair of Rebuilding Together, the nations largest non-profit focused on providing necessary repairs and renovations to low-income homeowners and the communities in which they live.

Mike Uttam, Board Member
Rebuilding Together Dayton

Mike Uttam serves as the IT Services/Technology Department Manager for Honda North America where he is responsible for operational and engineering service delivery that includes production and disaster recovery NA data centers. He is charged with setting the mission, vision and strategy for the department and IT direction. He ensures a customer focused culture and mindset driven by continual service improvement and delivery. Mike has served on the National Board of Directors as a representative for the National Affiliate Council since 2015 as well as on the Board of Directors for Rebuilding Together Dayton. Mike holds a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science and a Masters of Business Administration from Franklin University.

Kathleen Wu, Partner
Andrews Kurth

Kathleen Wu is known for a sophisticated understanding of her clients’ businesses, successfully guiding them through flawless execution of legal and business matters, and anticipating and planning for what might be needed as an issue evolves. Clients appreciate her energy, innovative thinking, and calm demeanor as she develops strategy and facilitates the “end game.” Her reputation as a trusted advisor has attracted a loyal and far-reaching audience for her work and insights.

As an influential long-time partner at Andrews Kurth, Kathleen brings a unique breadth and depth of experience across the spectrum of business and finance transactions to a broad-based national clientele. She has held leadership roles within the firm including Managing Partner of the Dallas office, Hiring Partner of the Dallas office, and currently sits on a number of national committees, including the Compensation Committee, Finance Committee, and Policy Committee, the firm’s highest governing body. Kathleen has consistently been recognized as one of the outstanding transactional lawyers in the nation. Her inclusion on “Best Lawyer” lists is routine and she has been recognized as: (1) a Top 500 Leading Lawyer in America; (2) one of the Extraordinary Women in Texas Law, (3) a Texas Super Lawyer; and (4) one of the Best Women Lawyers in Dallas, among others.

Kathleen’s advocacy for issues affecting women in the workplace, promotion of the Asian Pacific American community, and other work in diversity and inclusion has earned her many awards, recognitions, and appointments including the Women of Color Achievement Award from the 100 Black Men of America, “Women of Spirit” Award from the American Jewish Congress and the Justice David Wellington Chew Award from the State Bar of Texas. She also serves on the board of directors of both the United States Tennis Association (USTA) and the USTA Foundation, is Chair of the USTA Strategic and Creative Planning Committee and sits on the Executive Committee and Management Committee of the USTA Texas as well as serving as its General Counsel.

Kathleen holds a JD from George Washington University and a BA from Barnard College, Columbia University and is licensed to practice in Texas, New York, and Connecticut. She has been featured on the cover of the Texas Monthly/Super Lawyers and in the associated article “Ahead of the Game.” Kathleen was also recognized as one of only 30 “Extraordinary Women in Texas Law” by Texas Lawyer magazine and as one of “Dallas/Fort Worth’s Most Influential Women” in the Dallas Business Journal’s inaugural Women in Business Award program. She has also been selected to the “Most Powerful and Influential Women in Texas” list by Texas Diversity magazine, as well as being recognized as a member of Lawdragon’s “500 Leading Lawyers in America” and as one of the top real estate lawyers in Texas on several occasions.