Why does NDILC make a difference?

“I’m delighted to join the NAWRB’s Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Council”, said Dr. Chitra Dorai. “It is an absolute honor to serve alongside an extraordinary group of women leaders dedicated to the advocacy and promotion of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. To quote Richard Hamming, a Computer Pioneer and Mathematician, “If you don’t work on important problems, it’s not likely that you’ll do important work.” The charter of NDILC addresses a very important problem in the housing industry and I look forward to contributing to the important work of this council”.

Dr. Chitra Dorai

AI Scientist, Entrepreneur &

Former IBM Fellow and CTO at IBM Global Services

Dedicated to raising the number of women leaders and growing women’s employment and empowerment at all levels in the housing ecosystem. Our Council, comprised of senior executive women, works diligently toward gender equality and obtaining equal opportunity for women across America

NAWRB’s Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Council (NDILC) was formed in 2015 with a goal of increasing women’s leadership and growing women’s employment at all levels of the housing ecosystem.

The Council is comprised exclusively of senior-level executive women committed to working toward greater gender equality for women. Like many industries, the housing and real estate ecosystem lacks adequate female representation in upper management and in leadership positions. The NDILC encourages all businesses within the ecosystem including financial institutions, servicing, real estate and mortgage companies to increase their efforts in promoting women and minority women.

Through collaboration, women can leverage their power. By collaborating with other women’s trade associations and groups, the NDILC enhances their efforts to help women reach for higher levels of leadership across the housing & real estate ecosystem, promoting more sustainable growth.

Companies with women at the lead have proven their profitability and performance. However, profitability isn’t the only reason why women should have a seat at the table. It’s simply the right thing to do. To encourage companies to do the right thing, it’s important to have allies in every corner. This is one reason why in the summer of 2018, the NDILC voted to allow men to join NAWRB as members.

With the creation of the NDILC, NAWRB has a powerful team of top-performing women executives eager to increase the pipeline of women capable and ready for leadership roles.

Download the NDILC Packet Here

NDILC Leadership

Desirée Patno

NDILC Chairwoman: Desirée Patno, CEO and President, NAWRB

Desirée Patno is the CEO and President of Women in the Housing and Real Estate Ecosystem (NAWRB) and Desirée Patno Enterprises, Inc. (DPE). With almost three decades specializing in the Housing and Real Estate Ecosystem, she leads her executive team’s expertise of advancing women’s economic growth and independence. Representing Fortune 100 companies in their relocation needs and selling thousands of properties across multiple platforms, she brings insider knowledge to NAWRB’s mission of advancing women and women-owned businesses.

As Chairwoman of NAWRB’s Diversity & Inclusion Leadership Council (NDILC), she oversees accountability of increasing women-owned and small business utilization and women’s inclusion at all levels. NAWRB has raised awareness of diverse opportunities, supporting the development and implementation of workforce and supplier diversity standards for the multi-trillion dollar housing sector since 2010.

Desirée resides on the Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) Leadership Advisory Council and Enterprising Women Advisory Board. In 2017, she was named the Highest-Ranking Woman and 4th Overall Top Real Estate Influencer to Follow by Entrepreneur.com, presented On the Margins of the 72nd U.N. General Assembly, The Intersection between Gender Diversity, Innovation and Economic Sustainability, and received the Connected Women of Influence Women’s Advocate of the Year Award and Walker’s Legacy Power25 Award. In 2016, she was honored with HousingWire’s Women of Influence Award and was selected as the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Women in Business Champion of the Year.

In 2012, Desirée won the prestigious Enterprising Women of the Year Award, as well as HousingWire’s Women of Influence Award for the first time. NAWRB is honored to be one of only 11 organizations listed as a Women’s Entrepreneurship Partner for the SBA.

Desirée is the Publisher of NAWRB Magazine—winner of the APEX Award for Publication Excellence in 2015, 2016 and 2017—and is a monthly contributor to RISMedia’s Real Estate Magazine, National Mortgage Professional Magazine, Inman and various industry publications.

Rebecca Steele

Co-Chairwoman: Rebecca Steele, President and CEO, National Foundation For Credit Counseling

Rebecca brings more than 20 years of mortgage origination, community and consumer housing communications and solutions, working with the nations largest banks.  She also has significant default servicing industry expertise, and operations, production, and project/change management (Lean Six Sigma) leadership experience. Steele was the national mortgage outreach executive for Bank of America, where she also managed default servicing management within home loans servicing and was head of national servicing and centralized retail mortgage sales.  She has led many of the mortgage process improvements and projects related to controls, risk and compliance, as well as implementation of many of the new requirements for Dodd Frank and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She most recently founded and was CEO for the Steele Advisory and Services LLC, where she led the strategic and business development efforts for several strategic national servicer and vendor management companies


Marcia M. Davies

Marcia M. Davies is Chief Operating Officer for the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).

As COO, Marcia is responsible for ensuring cross organizational alignment and facilitating the implementation of strategic initiatives, as well as maintaining oversight of key organizational priorities. She is also the lead strategist for MBA’s external activities, providing leadership, guidance and overall management to the public affairs and marketing divisions. In addition, Marcia provides strategic direction and management of MBA’s Conferences, Membership, Education, Information Technology and Office Services divisions. She also provides management oversight to and is a Board member of MBA’s Opens Doors Foundation.

Previously, Marcia worked at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), as Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Housing and Federal Housing Commissioner. She directed HUD’s industry relations program to strengthen relationships, garner support, streamline communications and resolve policy and regulatory issues. Before joining HUD, Marcia spent 21 years at Freddie Mac, where she held a variety of officer positions in communications, customer outreach, marketing, servicer relations and policy.

Marcia is the founder of mPower – MBA Promoting Opportunities for Women to Extend their Reach — MBA’s networking platform for women in the real estate finance industry. She is a member of the NAWRB Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Council (NDILC) and a member of Women in Housing Finance and the International Women’s Leadership Association. In 2015, she was honored by HousingWire as one of its 2015 Women of Influence.

Marcia is a graduate of the Katharine Gibbs School in Montclair, N.J.

Dr. Chitra Dorai

Dr. Chitra Dorai, AI Scientist, Founder & CEO, AmicusBrain

Dr. Chitra Dorai is an AI Scientist and the Founder & CEO of AmicusBrain focused on bringing the power of AI to tackle some of the important problems in banking and healthcare industries.  She  was formerly at IBM as an IBM Fellow (first Indian woman in the globe to receive this recognition) and as the Global CTO for cognitive services in the Global Business Services unit. During her tenure at IBM, Dr. Dorai was a recipient of IBM’s highest honor in 2011 – the Gerstner Award for Client Excellence, was recognized as an IBM Distinguished Engineer in 2012, and was appointed by the IBM CEO as an IBM Fellow, the company’s preeminent technical honor in 2015. Her work on customer focused analytics in mortgage servicing helped thousands of struggling home owners through home ownership retention programs and alternative workout options during one of the most challenging times in the history of the U.S. housing market.  In 2014, Dr. Dorai received the Tamil American Pioneer Award for Excellence in Finance and Business from the Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America.  In 2016, she was profiled as a “Societal Innovator” in the IBM HQ. In 2018, she received “The Visionary” award from Women in the Housing & Real Estate Ecosystem (NAWRB).

Dr. Dorai graduated from IIT Madras with an undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering and received her Ph.D. in Computer Science at Michigan State University with the Distinguished Academic Achievement award. She is the co-inventor of more than 45 patents and has received multiple high-value patent awards at IBM.   She was recognized as a Master Inventor thrice for attaining a significant number of high quality inventions and patents and reaching a certain level of IBM invention achievement award and recognition. She has co-authored 100+ technical papers in IEEE and ACM conferences and journals, edited a book and received 5 best paper awards at international conferences.   She has presented keynote addresses and technical talks at academic research conferences, industry symposia and panels, and has served in many organizational roles on committees at the International Conferences over the past two decades.   She is frequently interviewed or cited in press, web news and blogs, and YouTube video on a wide variety of topics from AI, Blockchain, Big Data and Analytics to lending industry transformation.    Dr.  Dorai was featured as an AI Visionary in NAWRB’s most recent publication.   In a 2016 profile, The Voices & View from FemTech Leaders… Dr. Dorai discussed her work in cognitive computing. Some of her key invited presentations at recent events and conferences include MBA Tech 2018, Web Summit 2017, Watson Summit 2017, MBA Tech 2017, The 2017 Richey May Mortgage Banking Round Table for CEOS and Presidents of independent mortgage banks and The Hackett Group’s 2017 Best Practices Conference.

For a description of Chitra’s Big Data work, see Big Data Profile: Chitra Dorai, IBM and about her appointment to IBM Fellow by the IBM CEO, check out 2015 IBM Fellows. IBM’s marketing video, features Chitra discussing a recipe for digital reinvention and in a recent blog, she discusses AI and BPO.

Stacey M. Walker

Stacey M. Walker, Director, Housing & Community Outreach, Freddie Mac

Stacey M. Walker is the Director of Housing Outreach in the Affordable Lending & Access to Credit Department within the Single Family Division. In this capacity, Ms. Walker is responsible for building relationships with National and Local Intermediaries and other Stakeholders to provide responsible lending opportunities to first time homebuyers, low-to-moderate income borrowers, and families in underserved markets. In her position, she also oversees various neighborhood stabilization initiatives that engage communities, consumers and customers to help achieve business objectives through outreach.

Ms. Walker joined Freddie Mac in 1992, as part of the Mortgage Acquisitions Department. Prior to joining Freddie Mac, Ms. Walker began her career in single family affordable lending at the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, in Lansing, Michigan. In this capacity, she served as a single-family loan underwriter and loan servicer, responsible for ensuring loans were in compliance with the State of Michigan’s affordable program guidelines.

Freddie Mac was established by Congress in 1970 to provide liquidity, stability and affordability to the nation’s residential mortgage markets. Freddie Mac supports communities across the nation by providing mortgage capital to lenders. Today Freddie Mac is making home possible for one in four home borrowers and is one of the largest sources of financing for multifamily housing.

Tami Bonnell

Tami Bonnell, CEO of EXIT Realty Corp International

She is a 30+ year veteran of the real estate industry and was instrumental in building three major brands. Among her many achievements, she was recently recognized by Leading Researcher Real Estate trend watcher Stephan Swanepoel, as one of the 200 most Powerful people in Residential Real Estate, included in the top 10 most powerful women in real estate and she was ranked among the top 10 most powerful Real Estate Franchise Executives all for the year 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Ms. Bonnell has been a featured speaker at the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTOR’S General session as well as National Women’s Council of REALTOR’S in New Orleans in 2014.

She has spoken to Ris Media’s top 500 Power Brokers and at their leadership Conferences, National and State Women’s Council REALTORS across the country, National Association of Real Estate Brokers, Inman News Connect Conference, Xplode Conference, The 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act & Mass Fair Housing Conference.

In 2012 she was named a finalist in the category of Best Executive in a Service Business by the Stevie Awards for Women in Business, the world’s premier awards for women in the work place. A recipient of The Women of Fire award presented by the Warren Group/Banker & Tradesman (Boston) to the top 20 women in Finance, insurance and Real Estate trail blazers, leaders and Visionaries. And most recently she was honored with the 2015 CHANEL award sponsored by the Women in the Housing & Real Estate Ecosystem NAWRB Roaring Twenties edition of SHE Magazine for Changing the perception of the entrepreneurial woman and previously the 2104 TALKIE award for Making her mark in the world of Marketing.

She is a wife, mother and grandmother and in her spare time she is a martial artist, coach, judge and referee.

Teresa Palacios Smith

Teresa Palacios Smith,Vice President, Diversity and Inclusion, HSF Affiliates LLC

She oversees the organization’s commitment to increase diversity among the company, its broker network and the sales professionals affiliated with the brand with the goal of mirroring the diversity found in the communities they serve.

Teresa has extensive experience in sales and marketing. She is a graduate of Mississippi State University, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in broadcasting and public relations. She also has more than 20 years of experience working in the real estate industry and is a frequent speaker at national and local industry events.

In 2015, Teresa served as president of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP), one of the largest minority associations in the country with more than 50,000 members. She is also one of the founding members of the NAHREP Atlanta Chapter, which launched in 2005. Teresa has held numerous leadership roles in the industry and currently serves on the board of many of the top housing organizations in the country. In May of 2018, Teresa will be honored by RISMedia with the Newsmaker Award. Teresa received LISTA’s Leadership Award in 2016 and was named by the Atlanta Tribune magazine as one of Atlanta’s “Superwomen” for her leadership and advocacy in the Hispanic Community. In 2015, Teresa was featured in Allan Dalton’s book “Creating Real Estate Connections.”

Prior to her current position, Teresa was vice president of Business Development and Cultural Initiatives at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties, where she was responsible for business development and marketing of corporate relocation services along with a portfolio of additional programs and products. In her role, Teresa coordinated and managed several mega group moves into the Atlanta area; delivered “white glove” settling-in services to global and luxury clients and managed the Affinity and HUD division.

The daughter of Hispanic immigrants, Teresa has a strong commitment to traditional values, family, service and southern hospitality.

Rachel Beam Jares
Field Manager - Valuation Department Fannie Mae

Rachel Beam-Jares is a passionate leader who has extensive experience in the mortgage and real estate industry. In her current role at Fannie Mae, Rachel leads a team of valuation professionals who are responsible for managing the quality and accuracy of appraisal services provided by more than 500 appraisers across the country. She has championed diversity in the appraisal industry, including through her ongoing participation in an initiative aimed at bringing awareness and support to potential new entrants. Originally from California, she currently holds an appraisal certification in the state of Arizona. Prior to working at Fannie Mae, Rachel held consulting and management roles with several financial institutions.

Sarah Goldfrank

Sarah Goldfrank, Former Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Fannie Mae.

Responsibilities: Sarah Goldfrank is a former Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel – Single-Family, Fannie Mae. Goldfrank reports to the Executive Vice President, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary. Goldfrank leads the team responsible for providing legal services related to Single-Family mortgage selling and servicing contracts, loan-level litigation, seller/servicer oversight, remedies against private label securities issuers, and lender counterparty management.

Experience: Prior to assuming her current position in October 2015, Goldfrank was a Senior Vice President in Bank of America’s Legal Department, where she led several of the bank’s most important mortgage-related legal initiatives, including the horizontal foreclosure review mandated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the joint OCC/Federal Reserve mortgage servicing consent order, and the multistate attorney-general National Mortgage Settlement. Prior to that, she served as counsel for O’Melveny & Myers LLP, where she specialized in representing financial institutions, particularly mortgage originators and servicers, in significant litigation, enforcement, and regulatory matters. During her tenure at both Bank of America and O’Melveny and Myers, Goldfrank had leadership roles in diversity and other talent development efforts. Earlier in her career, Goldfrank worked for Fannie Mae as a senior manager in the company’s Office of Diversity.

Education: Goldfrank has a bachelor of arts in African-American studies and Art History from Smith College and holds a Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University Law Center.

Amy Pienta

Amy E. Pienta, CPA
Senior Director | Family Office Services

Amy is a Senior Director in BDO’s National Family Office Services practice. At BDO, Amy works closely with families to identify and provide ongoing services, tailored to the needs of each family, in order to preserve wealth, provide family transparency and manage the complexities of extraordinary wealth. Amy works with BDO’s regional Private Client Service leaders, local offices and the National Tax Office to provide Family Office Services.

Prior to joining BDO, Amy spent 18 years in a multi-billion dollar family office in Chicago providing a multitude of services to the Family Enterprise including tax planning, family governance, and trust planning. She focused on providing and overseeing all services for both foreign and domestic trustees, including quarterly/annual reporting to beneficiaries and/or trustees, establishing and monitoring policies and procedures for the domestic trustees, and monitoring assets and investment managers for the foreign trustee.

Prior to working in a Chicago family office, Amy began her career in the audit and tax groups at KPMG, LLP. Amy currently serves on the Illinois CPA Society’s Tax Estate, Gift & Trusts Committee. She previously served on the Illinois CPA Society’s Flow-through Entities Tax Committee.

American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
Illinois Society of Certified Public Accountants

M.S., Taxation, DePaul University
B.S., Accounting, DePaul University

Erica G. Courtney

Erica G. Courtney
CEO Zulu Time | CEO 2020Vets

As a U.S. Armyveteran having served in various positions to include; military police, scout helicopter pilot and paratrooper. As a trailblazer, she was part of the first group of women to go Cavalry and the first to graduate the Advanced Armor Cavalry Course. Her staff work includedflight operations, senior logistical, contracting and budget management positions in charge of $750M in equipment, 200 million-dollar budgets and 2,500 people in the most deployable units in peacetime and in war. Upon leaving active duty after 14-years of service, she worked as a corporate executive and then founded a company focused on government business development growing on average of 45% year-over-year for five years. Erica then sold the company in 2014 and founded 2020vet, Inc.centered around supply chain management and engineering services. She is continuing to serve the nation as a Major in the U.S. Army Reserveunder the Joint Chiefs of Staff working on Women, Peace and Security initiatives as the only NATO certified Gender Advisor working at political and strategic levels. Erica wasa Commissioner representing more than 650K women in Florida,is on the Board of Directors for Women Impacting Public Policy, a former Board member of an independent K-8 school in Half Moon Bay, California and a Past President for the U.S. Veterans Business Alliance-the longest running national veteran organization focused on veterans and entrepreneurship. She is also a co-founder of Zulu Time which is a veteran transition center focused on community integration ultimately providing the veteran a livelihood and sense of purpose. Erica has received numerous awards to include being named as a woman with the leadership background and ability to change the world by Oprah and the White House Project, 40 under 40 doing good things in business and the community by the Jacksonville, FL Business Journal, a2015 Woman of Influence by the Silicon ValleyBusiness Journal, 2016 National SROTC Cadet Instructor of the Year, 2016 nominated change maker by the White House Summit on the United State of Women and the 2017 Small Business Innovation award by AT&T. Erica has a B.S. in Communications from the University of Hawaii, an Executive MBA from Florida International University and EMBA program internships in India and China. More at https://www.linkedin.com/in/ericacourtney

Contact us today by emailing: ndilc@nawrb.com