Staff

Lisa Rice
President and Chief Executive Officer

As President and CEO, Lisa Rice leads the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA)’s efforts to advance fair housing principles, preserve and broaden fair housing protections, and expand equal housing opportunities for millions of Americans. NFHA is the trade association for over 200 member organizations throughout the country and is the nation’s only national civil rights agency solely dedicated to eliminating all forms of housing discrimination.

Ms. Rice is a published author contributing to several books and journals addressing a range of fair housing issues including — The Fight for Fair Housing: Causes, Consequences, and Future Implications of the 1968 Federal Fair Housing Act; Designed for the Future: 80 Practical Ideas for a Sustainable World; Discriminatory Effects of Credit Scoring on Communities of Color; and From Foreclosure to Fair Lending: Advocacy, Organizing, Occupancy, and the Pursuit of Equitable Credit.

She played a major role in crafting sections of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, and in establishing the Office of Fair Lending within the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She also helped lead the investigation and resolution of precedent-setting fair housing cases which have resulted in providing remedies for millions of people as well as the elimination of systemic discriminatory practices involving lending, insurance, rental and zoning matters. Ms. Rice also serves on various Boards and Advisory Councils.

Cat Cloud
Chief Operating Officer

Cat Cloud is responsible for supervising NFHA’s programs in the areas of compliance and consulting, membership services, education and outreach, national media, community development, finances, and administration. Ms. Cloud is also responsible for developing and implementing Fair Housing School®, NFHA’s comprehensive training and education program for fair housing personnel. She has been in the fair housing field since 1984 and at NFHA since 1991.

Michael Akinwumi, PhD
Chief Tech Equity Officer

Michael Akinwumi leads NFHA’s Tech Equity Initiative. The Tech Equity Initiative (TEI) is a multi-faceted effort launched by NFHA to increase the fairness of and re-shape the design of algorithmic systems in the housing and financial services industries. Conducting research to advance the AI fairness field is a cornerstone of the TEI. Dr. Akinwumi coordinates stakeholder activities involving identifying, testing, validating, and publicizing AI-centric underwriting and pricing methodologies which responsibly advance fair lending and fair housing. He is responsible for acquiring and managing data and technologies for the Initiative while managing cross-functional relationships to ensure that solutions that result from the Initiative meet needs across NFHA and of other stakeholders. Previously, Dr. Akinwumi led governance engineering efforts at a FinTech by minimizing exposures to regulatory risks, managed a machine learning-powered recommender system that presents product and service offers to retail customers of a bank, and pioneered the use of machine learning solutions in auto and property insurance pricing of a P&C insurance company. Dr. Akinwumi lives his belief that “only a life lived for others is worth living.”

Morgan Williams
General Counsel

Morgan Williams is responsible for leading NFHA’s strategic and tactical legal initiatives and affairs. Mr. Williams leads NFHA’s efforts to pursue pioneering litigation under the federal Fair Housing Act, often utilizing testing-based evidence and working in partnership with NFHA’s network of local fair housing centers. He coordinates NFHA’s actions to file amicus briefs to promote sound fair housing jurisprudence. Mr. Williams also provides training and technical support to local fair housing centers across the country on investigation and enforcement strategies, as well as training to housing providers and servicers on a range of complicated and emerging topics. In addition, he assists with NFHA’s federal public policy advocacy, in coordination with legislative offices and federal agencies, and helps local advocates address state and local legislative matters.

Salome Aringo
Senior Vice President of Finance

As Senior Vice President of Finance, Salome Aringo is responsible for all of NFHA’s financial functions including accounting, internal audits, taxes, corporate finance, and banking relations. She also leads all human resources and benefits activities, and she oversees the organization’s technology needs. As a member of NFHA’s senior leadership team, Ms. Aringo provides guidance on managing organizational assets, works with the COO to prepare annual budgets, oversees grants management, manages volunteer relationships with the finance and audit committees, and offers financial expertise to inform NFHA’s overall strategic planning efforts.

Nikitra Bailey
Senior Vice President of Public Policy

Nikitra Bailey is the Senior Vice President of Public Policy at NFHA. Ms. Bailey manages the Public Policy department and is responsible for developing and spearheading a visionary, comprehensive policy strategy to implement NFHA’s mission. Ms. Bailey provides thought leadership for the organization; liaises with policymakers and other stakeholders; supports resource development; and works collaboratively with NFHA’s departments, membership, and Board of Directors to promote housing equity.

Previously, she served as an Executive Vice President at the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL). She played an integral role in designing and driving CRL’s consumer protection and fair lending agenda. She directed mortgage advocacy; supervised resource development; and served as the principal strategist for coalition partnerships that span civil rights, faith, women, labor, and community advocates across the nation. Recently, she led advocacy to secure passage of the Homeowners Assistance Fund (HAF) in the American Rescue Plan legislation, which provides billions in relief for COVID-19’s hardest-hit homeowners. She is the author of articles and reports on the impact of predatory lending on people of color and women. Ms. Bailey has provided expert testimony to the Congress on housing issues, and she serves on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Consumer Advisory Board (CAB).  She also appears frequently in national media.

Maureen Yap
Senior Counsel

Maureen Yap is a Senior Counsel on NFHA’s Public Policy and Enforcement Teams, with a focus on fair lending, financial technology, mortgage policy, and housing finance reform. Maureen has worked in fair housing and fair lending since 1995. Prior roles include working on a range of civil rights and consumer protection issues at the Federal Reserve Board, including leading the Board’s Fair Lending Enforcement Section and founding the Unfair and Deceptive Acts or Practices (UDAP) Section. Maureen was also an Associate at the law firms of Relman Colfax PLLC and Buckley LLP.

Sherrill Frost-Brown
Vice President of Member Services and Community Development

Sherrill Frost-Brown coordinates technical assistance to NFHA’s member organizations. Ms. Frost-Brown also directs NFHA’s community development programs including the National Housing Accessibility Partnership (HAP) program, which provides grants to fair housing centers to modify homes and apartments for persons with disabilities. She represents NFHA at national and regional events and presents at fair housing workshops

Debby Goldberg
Vice President of Housing Policy and Special Projects

Debby Goldberg works to ensure that federal housing policy effectively addresses the needs and rights of people of color, families with children, people with disabilities, and others protected under our nation’s fair housing laws. She also leads NFHA’s work with its members and allies to ensure that all neighborhoods are communities of opportunity, using the framework of HUD’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) regulation along with other strategies. 

Nicole Turner-Ridley
Vice President of Programs

Nicole Turner-Ridley, working closely with NFHA’s other vice presidents, oversees the general management of program development, delivery, and evaluation. Additionally, resource development, external affairs, communications, and NFHA’s community development initiatives all fall within Ms. Turner-Ridley’s purview.

Laurie Benner
Associate Vice President of Programs

Laurie Benner is responsible for developing, implementing, managing, and evaluating innovative national programs designed to advance research, programs, and policies that provide equitable access to homeownership, housing, economic, and other opportunities. Her primary focus is to spearhead the Keys Unlock Dreams initiative – a 10-city program aimed at expanding affordable and fair housing options; increasing the homeownership rate and related benefits for people and communities of color; preventing an unbalanced recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic; and closing the racial wealth and homeownership gaps.

Jorge Andres Soto
Associate Vice President of Public Policy & Advocacy

Jorge Andres Soto is responsible for advancing NFHA’s public policy priorities and directing the organization’s federal and congressional advocacy. Through local and national coalition-building, Mr. Soto designs strategies to advocate for policies that help protect individuals from housing discrimination, strengthen access to justice for victims of housing discrimination, and remove obstacles to housing opportunity. He leads NFHA’s efforts on issues concerning the federal budget and appropriations, housing and housing-related legislation, and executive nominations. Mr. Soto also staffs the Fair Housing Task Force of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, which NFHA co-chairs with NAACP LDF. 

Danny Cryster
Data Scientist

Danny earned his PhD in mathematics from Dartmouth College and will be working as a Data Scientist in the Tech Equity team. His thesis was on functional analysis/operator algebras. He was an Assistant Professor at St Lawrence University and Kansas State University for over six years. He seeks new ways to prevent algorithms from replicating and reinforcing existing social inequalities.

Izzy Okparanta Woodruff
Director of Communications 

Izzy Okparanta Woodruff leads NFHA’s communications efforts and is responsible for managing the organization’s media relations, social media, website, and e-mail marketing strategies. She collaborates with communications staff at other civil rights organizations to ensure thriving partnerships in support of NFHA’s mission.

Steven Zapart
Application Developer

Steven has a bachelor degree in Mechanical Engineering from Marquette  University and will be working as an AI Applications Developer in the Teach Equity team. Steven’s recent works include personal website, Netflix clone, NBA Player Stat Visualization tool, and Ecommerce Store.  In addition to creating data analysis tools, online stores, and other user-facing applications, Steven has experience working with data and cloud technology used to build and maintain applications. As methods of using AI continue to evolve, Steven has interest in working to ensure AI tools fairly evaluate data and reach unbiased conclusions.

Alayne Hersh
Staff Accountant

Alayne Hersh completes journal entries for the month-end accounting process, prepares invoices, and records credit card transactions and bank deposits to the general ledger.

Yvonne Lewis
Administrative Assistant

Yvonne Lewis is the first point of contact for all incoming calls and for greeting guests. Ms. Lewis provides direct assistance to the COO and all other NFHA staff as needed, and she assists with hosting and planning NFHA’s annual meetings.