The Lilypad Team
Rachel F. Ginis, Executive Director, held on to her home as a single working mom by temporarily turning the master bedroom into a lovely junior apartment. That experience led her to develop an innovative model for flexible housing and to successfully advocate for its adoption in California. Rachel is a third-generation designer, following in the footsteps of her mother and grandmother. She received her bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from the University of Maryland where she studied housing patterns as a reflection and influencer of society. She has been in high-end residential design for over twenty years, is a LEED accredited designer, and a general contractor. Rachel has a passion for small, efficient spaces and believes the home plays a critical role in financial and personal well being.
Ellen Nicosia, Director of Finance and Operations, has been fascinated by houses since age six when she raked fallen leaves into lines to create walls, rooms, and floor plans. She holds a BA in Economics from UCSD and an MBA from UCLA and spent many years in the corporate world at IBM and Autodesk where she managed projects, optimized processes and improved productivity. During those years, she spent nights and weekends studying design and improving her own home and the homes of others. Designing within space constraints intrigues her and appeals to her problem solving proclivity. Still fascinated by houses and how they become homes and serve the people who live in them, Ellen is delighted to have this opportunity to facilitate home creation on a significant scale.
Eva B. Craig, Director of Design and Project Development, guides clients through the entire process of their home transformation. To repurpose underused space in order to enhance a desired lifestyle, meet immediate financial goals, and optimize the home’s value, requires design ingenuity, real estate industry acumen, and listening skills. Eva is uniquely suited for this. Her education and early professional experience are in Architecture (she has degrees from Harvard and Rice University and worked at world class architecture firms). Her more recent ventures include healthful home design and real estate development consulting (AJ Craig Development). And because she believes that the Flexible Housing model is the way of the future, she is keen to explore each of our client’s unique requirements. More at LinkedIn.
Laura Eberly, Board Chair, builds and sustains a growing advocacy program at YWCA San Francisco & Marin as part of the organization’s international mission of eliminating racism and empowering women. She is a community organizer and Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a background in affordable housing and public policy and a deep commitment to working for racial justice and equity. Prior to joining the YWCA movement, Laura led local and statewide campaigns for affordable housing, mental healthcare, and accessible, transit-oriented development in Chicago. Laura holds degrees in Public Policy (AB) and Social Service Administration (AM) from the University of Chicago and trained as an organizer with the Women’s Legislative Leadership Project, and Crossroads Anti-Racism Organizing.
Tony Craig, Board Member, founded AJ CRAIG DEVELOPMENT in 2008 to pursue his entrepreneurial aspirations. His expertise in local markets and his professional connections grew AJCD into a corporation supported by a robust network of collaborators. Prior to AJCD, Tony worked for Lincoln Property Company, as Vice President of Development for Northern California, leading business development, acquisitions and all ground-up development. Tony is a graduate of Harvard University (Master of Urban Planning, Real Estate Development focus) and the University of California, Davis (BS in Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning). He is a licensed California real estate broker. Tony and AJCD are committed to giving back to their community, and are particularly passionate about affordable housing for those in Marin County, as well as the core SF Bay Area, seeking an alternative solution to achieve, or maintain, home ownership.
Mary Jo Lafaye, Board Member, is a certified Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) Specialist and branch manager with Retirement Funding Solutions. Prior to her current position, Mary Jo accumulated 12 years in the Reverse Mortgage industry, including seven years with Security One Lending’s Northern California FHA HECM office, and five years with Wells Fargo. During this time she earned numerous awards, including Wells Fargo Leader’s Club member with highest customer service scores. She has been chosen to train Private Bankers and Wealth Management Advisors on the most effective ways to employ this repayment-deferred line of credit as a financial planning and retirement tool. Mary Jo is well known as a trusted resource for retirees – she has taught HECM concepts to real estate finance students at the College of San Mateo and to those seeking their SRES designation. She has participated in panel discussions and delivered hundreds of seminars, webinars.
Nicole Poole, Board Member, is the Assistant Manager of the Mortgage Lending Department at Redwood Credit Union where she has helped develop a strong team of Loan Officers and support staff who are committed to helping Members achieve their dreams of homeownership. In addition to Nicole’s 12 years with Redwood Credit Union, she has over a decade of experience working with the public in the human resources and retail industries. Nicole has lived in Santa Rosa all her life. She is committed to our community and is involved in events such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, Bowl for Kids’ Sake and United Way Day of Caring.
Azalea Renfield, Board Member, is the Founder/CEO of United Educators Association for Affordable Housing, INC (UEAAH). She has advocated for affordable housing policies for many years and believes that access to sustainable and affordable housing options is a human right and moral imperative. Azalea has worked in city government and nonprofit administration for over seven years and has served on many boards and public sector and nonprofit committees dedicated to housing, policy and equity. Azalea believes that public service is the cure to improving humanity in all areas of life. She holds a Master’s in Public Administration (MPA) from the University of San Francisco, a Master’s in Human Resource Management (MS-HRM) from Golden Gate University, and a Bachelor’s of Arts in American Politics and Communication from UC San Diego.
Barrett Schaefer, Board Member, has had an interest in housing and real estate matters for as long as he can remember. A real estate attorney in Marin County and planning commissioner for the City of San Rafael, Barrett addresses local real estate and housing-related issues on a daily basis. He previously served on both the Board and executive committee of Buckelew Programs, a local nonprofit with more than 200 employees that helps provide jobs, homes, health and hope to roughly 5,600 clients each year. Mr. Schaefer also served on a committee that reported to local authorities about issues involving homelessness. Mr. Schaefer received his B.A. from UCLA and both law degree and MBA from Santa Clara University. He lives in Marin County with his family.