After intense competition and a rigorous selection process, we have chosen the 25 outstanding individuals who will join the inaugural class of Opportunity Fellows, our innovative leadership program for the CDFI industry. Representing different levels of leadership experience, they hail from all corners of the country, with one thing very much in common: They are committed to addressing inequities in capital to the underserved community through their work with CDFIs, which are critical engines of opportunity in these communities.

Along with BBVA Compass, presenting sponsor of the Opportunity Fellows Program, we congratulate the 2017 Opportunity Fellows:

Executive Leaders:

  • Thelma Adams Johnson - ACT! Albany Community Together Inc.
  • Rex Fowler - Hartford Community Loan Fund
  • Greg Maher - Leviticus 25:23 Alternative Fund, Inc.
  • Mary Ellen Judah - North Alabama Revolving Loan Fund
  • Mary Jo Cook - Pacific Community Ventures
  • Harold Pettigrew - Washington Area Community Investment Fund (Wacif)
  • Wendy Baumann - Wisconsin Women's Business Initiative Corporation

Mid-Career Leaders:

  • Raquel Valdez - BCL of Texas
  • Melinda Clemons - Capital Impact Partners
  • Norma Hernandez - Craft3
  • Justin Chen - Enterprise Community Loan Fund
  • Oswaldo Acosta - Latino Economic Development Center
  • Lisa Riley - LiftFund
  • Nadine Atieh - Low Income Investment Fund
  • Tastonga Davis - Micro Enterprise Services of Oregon
  • Alex Dang - Opportunity Fund
  • Roman Ruiz - Self-Help Federal Credit Union

Emerging Leaders:

  • Jennifer Angarita - Boston Community Capital
  • Heather Rademacher Taylor - First Nations Oweesta Corporation
  • Matthew Singh - Low Income Investment Fund
  • Adam Kopp - Mercy Loan Fund
  • Grant Bennett - PeopleFund
  • Maggie Parker - The Real Estate Council Community Fund
  • Brittany Bennett - Self-Help
  • Roberto Antonio Hernandez - Working Solutions

Interest in the program was particularly high, with close to 100 highly qualified applicants for the 25 available positions, and the judging fell to the esteemed members of our selection committee. We would like to take a moment to thank them for lending their time and talents:

  • Donna Gambrell, former director of the CDFI Fund
  • Carl Crosby, EVP of Talent and Culture for BBVA Compass
  • Matt Hull, executive director of the Texas Association of CDCs
  • Tom Espinoza, president of the Raza Development Fund
  • Donna Fabiani, EVP of Opportunity Finance Network

We also thank the team at BBVA Compass for their partnership and support of this program, especially Reymundo Ocañas, the bank's EVP of Corporate Responsibility and Reputation.

Congratulations again to our 2017 Opportunity Fellows! We're looking forward to seeing everyone in Birmingham, Ala., when the program kicks off on March 7.

The application process for the 2018 class will open in the fourth quarter of this year, so anyone interested in being part of the CDFI transformational journey should stay tuned for details. 


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