Executive Team

Desirée Patno
CEO & President

Desirée Patno is the CEO and President of Women in the Housing and Real Estate Ecosystem (NAWRB) and DesiréePatno Enterprises, Inc. (DPE). With almost three decades specializing in the Housing and Real Estate Ecosystem, she leads her executive team’s expertise of championing 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 the Council’s efforts to raise the number of women leaders and grow women’s employment and empowerment at all levels in the housing ecosystem. 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. The Council for Inclusion in Financial Services (CIFS) gave Desiree the Trailblazer Award in 2018, which honors influencers whose diversity and inclusion initiatives are transforming the industry and community. 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, Desiree 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.

Desiree is the Publisher of NAWRB Magazine—winner of the APEX Award for Publication Excellence in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018—and is a monthly contributor to RISMedia’s Real Estate Magazine, National Mortgage Professional Magazine, Inman and various industry publications.

Erica G. Courtney

Erica G. Courtney President, Zulu Time, Founder, 2020Vet, U.S. Army Aviation, Major NATO Gender Advisor
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

Jay Jones
Procuring Contract Specialist

Jay Jones is the Procuring Contract & Certification Specialist
As President of Chrimata, Jay was directly involved in hundreds of purchases of investment properties and later managed its rental properties portfolio. Jay formed Chrimata, a “management professional leasing company” to meet the needs of other companies’ employee demands. Prior to forming Chrimata, Jay was a Senior Scientist for Xontech, Inc., a leading defense contractor where he was a data analyst and system integration specialist conducting and analyzing flight mission experiments for the space defense program. Jay is an active community leader who sat on the Board of Directors for AYSO soccer league and coached many teams through the years, embracing the motto “everyone plays.” A father of four boys, Jay is consistently supporting the lives of the young. Jay hopes to one day teach Physics at the high school level.

Veronica Cheng
NAWRB Intern

Veronica Cheng is the social media intern at NAWRB. She is currently a rising Media Studies senior at UC Berkeley. In her spare time, she likes to watch TV, make crafts, play League of Legends, and nap in the sun. Veronica will never say no to eating hot pot and getting boba!

Nikki Courtney
NAWRB Intern

Nikki Courtney is the social outreach and engagement intern at NAWRB. She is transferring as a junior to UCLA, with a major in Political Science and a minor in Global Studies and Spanish. Nikki is extremely passionate about global politics and hopes to become a Foreign Service Officer in the future. In her spare time, she likes to play golf, watch YouTube, read about history, and hang out with her friends and family.

Danielle Van Dalsem
NAWRB Intern

Danielle is the Event Planner at NAWRB. She recently graduated from San Francisco State University in May of 2020 with a degree in Urban Studies and Planning. She has a professional background in program promotion and development with universities and municipalities. She became passionate about community outreach and development and hopes to continue that passion while working with NAWRB. In her spare time, she enjoys attending fitness classes, watching cooking videos and tik toks, and traveling with friends and family.