Conference Speakers

About the Speakers

Alicka Ampry-Samuel, Administrator for New York/New Jersey Region Two, US Department of Housing and Urban Development

Alicka Ampry-Samuel was appointed by President Biden in January 2022 as the New York/New Jersey HUD Region Two administrator. Ampry-Samuel was most recently an NYC Council Member representing Brooklyn’s 41st district, representing the highest concentration of public housing in North America. She chaired the Public Housing Committee and was deputy leader. Prior to being elected to the City Council, Ampry-Samuel served on the senior team at the New York City Housing Authority. She has held a number of public service positions, including as chief of staff in the New York State Assembly and working at the United States Embassy in Accra, Ghana as a Democracy and Human Rights coordinator. Ampry-Samuel has over 20 years of experience helping individuals, families, and organizations in the housing and community development fields.

Karen Blondel, Founder, Public Housing Civic Association

Karen Dawn Blondel is a local community leader and longtime resident of public housing in Red Hook, Brooklyn. She works as a community organizer with the Fifth Avenue Committee and the Public Housing Civic Association. Blondel has been widely recognized at the community, city and state level for her efforts and unwavering commitment to social justice issues, including housing equity, climate change, Hurricane Sandy recovery, environmental health, and COVID-19 preparedness. Blondel is an alumni member of the AmeriCorps Vista Program, the Red Hook Public Safety Corp, Friends of the Library, Red Hook NY Rising Committee, Red Hook Community Collaboration and the Red Hook West Tenant Association. Most recently, the Human Impacts Institute and NYC Department of Transportation declared her one of NYC’s Climate Heroes.

Nicholas Dagen Bloom, Professor of Urban Policy and Planning and Director, Urban Planning Program, Hunter College

Nicholas Dagen Bloom is the author/editor of nine books from leading academic presses. His most recent publication is How States Shaped Postwar America: State Government and Urban Power. His forthcoming book is The Great American Transit Disaster: Austerity, Autocentric Planning, and White Flight, to be published by the University of Chicago Press in 2023. He recently published an editorial on East Harlem for Gotham Gazette.

Adolfo Carrión Jr., Commissioner, NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development

Prior to his appointment as Commissioner of the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development by Mayor Adams, Adolfo Carrión was CEO of Metro Futures LLC, a real estate development and consulting firm he founded in 2012. Previously, Carrión was the Executive Vice President of Stagg Group, a housing development and management firm, and Senior Advisor for Corporate Development to the CSA Group, the largest Hispanic-owned architecture and engineering firm in the US. Between 2009 to 2012, Carrión served as Deputy Assistant to President Barack Obama, Director of the White House Office of Urban Affairs and as Regional Administrator for Region II of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. Prior to his tenure in the federal government, he served as Bronx Borough President and as a member of the New York City Council. Carrión has served as President of the National Association of Latino Elected Officials and is an Aspen Institute Rodel Fellows alumnus.

Rafael Cestero, CEO, The Community Preservation Corporation

A recognized leader in the community development finance industry, Rafael E. Cestero brings more than 30 years of experience in tackling the most pressing housing challenges cities across the nation are facing to his position as CEO of the Community Preservation Corporation (CPC). Upon CPC in January of 2012, Cestero put his extensive background in the public and private sectors to work to lead the organization through a significant restructure and capitalization process following the great recession. His work with senior leadership and the board of directors led to the company’s return to financial strength and a renewed focus on its mission and the expansion of its social impact in New York State and throughout the Northeast. As an AA- S&P rated company, CPC now stands as one of the most financially strong and impactful nonprofit multifamily finance companies in the country.

Moses Gates, Vice President for Housing and Neighborhood Planning, Regional Plan Association

Moses Gates is the Regional Plan Association’s (RPA) Vice President for Housing and Neighborhood Planning, leading the organization’s planning, research and advocacy efforts in affordable housing, economic development, and urban design. He also leads RPA’s efforts to build international partnerships. Since joining RPA in 2016, Gates has led RPA’s recommendations on affordability, economic development, and livable neighborhoods for the Fourth Regional Plan and authored or overseen several reports on housing policy and neighborhood planning. Prior to joining RPA, he was director of planning and community development for the Association for Neighborhood Housing Development, where he led the organization’s housing development policy and planning work and initiated New York City’s first Community Development Fellowship program.

Lisa Gomez, Chief Executive Officer and Partner, L+M Development Partners

Lisa Gomez brings nearly 30 years of experience in real estate development and finance to her position as L+M Development Partners’ Chief Executive Officer, where she oversees the day-to-day operations of the company and its construction and property management subsidiaries. Gomez also leads the company’s growth strategy and has positioned L+M Development Partners as a nationally recognized affordable housing developer. Gomez is a board member of the Center for the Urban Future and the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation and has also served on many civic boards, including the NYC Planning Commission. She strives to help under-represented people find a path in commercial real estate through her work at L+M and volunteer activities.

Ingrid Gould Ellen, Paulette Goddard Professor of Urban Policy and Planning and Faculty Director, NYU Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy

Ingrid Gould Ellen, the Paulette Goddard Professor of Urban Policy and Planning, is a Faculty Director at the NYU Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy. She presently teaches courses in microeconomics, urban economics, and urban policy research. Ellen’s research interests center on housing and urban policy. She is author of Sharing America’s Neighborhoods: The Prospects for Stable Racial Integration and more recently editor of The Dream Revisited: Contemporary Debates About Housing, Segregation and Opportunity. Risa Honig, AIA, Vice President of Capital Planning and Construction, New York Public Library Risa Honig was appointed the New York Public Library’s Vice President of Capital Planning and Construction in 2015. Honig manages a robust portfolio of design and construction projects for a system consisting of 92 locations throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island. A licensed architect with over 30 years of architectural experience, Honig has worked primarily in the public sector, including at the City University of New York and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. She was honored with the AIANY Public Architect Award in 2018. Honig received her BA in architecture and a M. Arch from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

Brian Kavanagh, New York State Senator for the 26th District State Senator

Brian Kavanagh represents more than 320,000 residents in New York’s 26th Senate District, including the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Brooklyn Heights, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, the Columbia Waterfront, DUMBO, Downtown Brooklyn, Fulton Ferry, Greenpoint, the Navy Yard, Vinegar Hill, and Williamsburg and the Manhattan neighborhoods of Battery Park City, Chinatown, the East and South Villages, the Financial District, Little Italy, the Lower East Side, SoHo, Tribeca, and Two Bridges. Kavanagh was first elected to the Senate in 2017 after representing the 74th District on Manhattan’s East Side in the State Assembly, where he was elected to six terms, beginning in 2006. His work focuses on promoting affordable housing, preventing gun violence, protecting the environment, creating a more open and equitable political process, and advancing economic and social justice.

Michael Kimmelman, Architecture Critic, The New York Times

Michael Kimmelman is the architecture critic of The New York Times. He has reported from more than 40 countries, was previously The Times’s chief art critic and, while based in Berlin, created the Abroad column, covering cultural and political affairs across Europe and the Middle East. Twice a Pulitzer Prize finalist, he is the founder and editor-at-large of a new venture focused on global challenges and progress called Headway.

Brian Loughlin, AIA, APA, Director of Planning and Urban Design, Magnusson Architecture and Planning; Adjunct Assistant Professor of Architecture and Real Estate Development, Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation

Brian Loughlin is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Architecture and Real Estate Development at Columbia GSAPP and Director of Planning and Urban Design at Magnusson Architecture and Planning. He also serves as a Co-Chair of the AIANY Housing Committee and as Housing and Community Development Chair at the American Planning Association.

Marc Norman, Larry & Klara Silverstein Chair in Real Estate Development & Investment and Associate Dean, NYU Schack Institute of Real Estate

Marc Norman has worked in the field of housing finance and economic development for over 25 years. Trained as an urban planner, he has worked for public, private and academic institutions throughout the US, working collaboratively to build and finance housing, regenerate neighborhoods and innovate in the area of community development.

Benjamin Prosky, Assoc. AIA, Executive Director, AIANY | Center for Architecture

Benjamin Prosky has been Executive Director of AIA New York and the Center for Architecture since February 2016. Previously, he served as Assistant Dean for Communications at Harvard Graduate School of Design. He has also held positions at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Canadian Center for Architecture, and the French Institute of Architecture. Prosky is a co-founder of ARCHITIZER.

Antonio Reynoso, Brooklyn Borough President

Elected as the first Latino Brooklyn Borough President, Antonio Reynoso is a native Brooklynite, born and raised along with two sisters in South Williamsburg to Dominican immigrants. He attended La Salle Academy on a full-scholarship and received a BA in Political Science from Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York, also on a scholarship. After graduation, he returned to Brooklyn and began working for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), an international collection of autonomous community-based organizations that advocated for low- and moderate-income families.

In 2009, he joined the staff of City Councilwoman Diana Reyna, working in constituent services and quickly rose to become Chief of Staff. When the term-limited Councilwoman stepped down Antonio Reynoso, for the first time, ran for elective office as a candidate to replace his former mentor as City Council Representative for Council District 34, representing portions of Bushwick, Greenpoint, and Williamsburg in Brooklyn, and Ridgewood, Queens. Antonio Reynoso lives in Williamsburg with his wife and two sons.

Muzzy Rosenblatt, CEO and President, Bowery Residents’ Committee (BRC)

Muzzy Rosenblatt is the CEO and President of the Bowery Residents’ Committee (BRC), an impact-oriented nonprofit offering housing and services to provide a holistic and sustainable pathway from homelessness to home for thousands of New Yorkers each year. Prior to BRC, he served in three NYC mayoral administrations, including as the First Deputy Commissioner and Acting Commissioner of the NYC Department of Homeless Services. He is co-author of the recently published How Ten Global Cities Take on Homelessness.

Hilary Sample, FAIA, Co-founder, MOS; IDC Professor of Housing and Sequence Director, Core Architecture Studios, Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation

Hilary Sample is the IDC Professor of Housing Design and Sequence Director of the Core Architecture Studios at Columbia GSAPP, and co-founder of the New York-based architecture and design studio MOS. Since its establishment in 2003, MOS has won major national and international awards and been recognized in significant publications. Monographs about the studio include an issue of El Croquis and Selected Works.

Jamie Smarr, Senior Vice President, The National Housing Partnership Foundation

For ten years, Jamie Smarr has led the National Housing Partnership Foundation’s Affiliate Program, which seeks joint venture partnerships with other not-for-profits, community-based organizations and housing authorities nationwide. His experience also includes 11 years as Executive Director of the New York City Educational Construction Fund, which engages in public-private real estate development partnerships for the New York City school system. Smarr was also a senior aide to five New York City Schools Chancellors, during which time he was responsible for capital planning and public/charter school development. Smarr had previously served as Director of Tax and Zoning Incentives for the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development.

Michael Wadman, Vice President of Real Estate Development, Phipps Houses

Michael Wadman has been named vice president of real estate development at Phipps Houses, a leading nonprofit affordable housing organization in New York City. Phipps Houses owns 4,500 affordable apartments through affiliates, with another 2,300 in construction or development, and manages a total of 12,100 units, including its own. Prior to joining Phipps, Wadman was managing partner of Hudson Affordable Housing, LLC, where he developed a pipeline of 2,000 affordable housing units. He also spent eight years at the New York State Housing Finance Agency and has been a community development lender with JPMorgan Chase.


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