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.

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
Anthem

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.

Rahman Khan, Vice President
Charter Communications

Rahman Khan (pronounced Rock-mon Kon) is a seasoned executive in the areas of strategic philanthropy, external affairs, community engagement and diversity and inclusion.  He currently serves as Vice President, Community Impact for Charter Communications in Stamford, CT, leading its strategic philanthropy and employee engagement programs. In this role, he is responsible for developing and executing plans for the company to improve communities, while simultaneously creating opportunities to help business units meet its goals, including enhancing the company's reputation.

Rahman worked as Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Time Warner Cable, working to attract, retain, and develop diverse staff.  He also partnered closely with sales and marketing teams to attract diverse communities to the company’s products and services.

Rahman previously founded GoodWorks Media Group – in which he executive produced and hosted a TV talk show about giving back to the community.  The program, “GoodWorks with Rahman Khan” aired on PBS station WTVI. Rahman also was the architect of the GoodWorks Youth Awards, which paid tribute to local teens who make a difference in their communities.

Prior to GoodWorks, Rahman worked as Director of Diversity and Community Relations with Compass Group, the largest contract foodservice company in North America.  He also headed the Department of Diversity for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, which included several years as host of another television show, Diversity Matters. Rahman is continually requested by companies and community organizations to serve as an emcee, host, moderator, and speaker for programs.

Letitia ("Tish") King, Communications Consultant
Center for Security and Emerging Technology at Georgetown University

Letitia (“Tish”) King is a nonprofit leader and communications consultant including for the Center for Security and Emerging Technology at Georgetown University. She previously served as the Senior Vice President for Communications at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Working closely with the CEO and Chief Strategy Officer, she designed and managed CPB communications programs and media activities to explain CPB’s role as steward of federal funding of public media. Tish worked more than 15 years in international broadcasting, serving as spokesperson and Director of the Office of Public Affairs for the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM), the independent agency that oversees all U.S. government funded, civilian international broadcasting. Prior to joining USAGM, Tish served as the Acting Staff Director for the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, a presidentially appointed board with oversight of this prestigious international exchange program. She joined the government as a Presidential Management Fellow for the U.S. Information Agency on a two-year management development program. Tish completed her Masters at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and her Bachelors in International Relations and French at Colgate University.

Bob Miller, Chairman and Owner
The Schulte Group

Bob Miller is a seasoned general contractor and licensed realtor currently serving as Chairman and Owner of The Schulte Group, a professional mentoring group working with professional speakers to provide learning opportunities to aspiring entrepreneurs. Mr. Miller started his career in 1972 at First Florida Industries as a Superintendent, Estimator and Project Manager, retiring from the company in 2017 as President and Owner. During his tenure the company built 15,000 affordable and market rate apartment units in addition to commercial real estate projects. Mr. Miller is co-Chairman of the School of Construction Management at the University of Miami School of Architecture where he helped create the curriculum to receive necessary accreditation and start the Masters of Construction management program. He previously served as past President and member of the Board of Directors of The Associated General Contractors of South Florida and Chairman of Rebuilding Together Miami-Dade’s Board of Directors. A native Miamian, Mr. Miller holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Architectural Engineering from the University of Miami.

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.

Russ Richards, Executive Director
Rebuilding Together Fargo-Moorhead Area

Since founding the Rebuilding Together Fargo-Moorhead Area affiliate in 2011, Russ has served as the executive director working with his staff and board to help 30 to 50 homeowners every year.

Before founding Rebuilding Together Fargo-Moorhead Area, Russ was the executive director at Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity started the Habitat Restore in Moorhead, ND. Russ led the organization from building one house per year to building three to five houses per year.

Russ has also served as a renovation coordinator for Churches United for the Homeless where he recruited volunteers and solicited donations to renovate an old furniture store into a homeless shelter, as well as executive director at Medcenter One Foundation. Russ owned and operated a small business, Capital Trophy, for 25 years managing day to day operations and leading a team of seven.

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.

Danielle Schira, Executive Director
Rebuilding Together Washington County

Danielle has been the executive director of Rebuilding Together Washington County (RTWC) since April of 2015. She was in the process of completing her Masters in Public Administration when she started with Rebuilding Together Washington County. Under her leadership, RTWC has undergone a number of strategic changes to continue to meet the changing needs of our culture. RTWC now maintains a four-month reserve fund, and is better aligned to meet the demands of homeowners and volunteers. Currently, Danielle is focusing on implementing increased efforts in diversity, equity and inclusion work so the organization better reach homeowners in need of safe and healthy home repairs.   

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.