Lee Raagas, Chief Executive Officer of Skid Row Housing Trust, understands that hard work does not guarantee housing or healthcare. From her low-income community roots comes the passion to work on behalf of individuals and families that continue to struggle, and the inspiration for her professional and personal goals. Lee has developed significant expertise in securing financial and organizational stability for corporations as well. The Trust’s Board of Directors recognized that this combination of attributes makes Lee the right leader for the nonprofit’s next chapter. Lee applies her 20 years of experience in the housing / mortgage industry and financial services sectors to build an operationally sound foundation for the Trust’s future. She continues to push innovative and transferable solutions from other sectors to upgrade policies, procedures, and programs at the Trust, expanding the organization’s framework for long-term sustainability and growth. Lee constantly asks, “What else can we do for our mission?”, and partners with Trust staff to overcome obstacles and promote the success, health, and wellness of residents. Lee has a B.S. in Organizational Psychology from San Diego State University and was a mentor for master’s program students at the Shidler School of Business at University of Hawaii. She is a Gallup Strengths Coach and is Six Sigma certified.
Edward Romanov Jr.
Chief Financial Officer
Ed Romanov has 25+ years experience in commercial real estate finance and real estate development at the CEO and CFO levels. That experience includes leading an IPO, all aspects of an S-1 filing along with creating and establishing an NYSE REIT. Mr. Romanov began his career at Fidelity Bank and Ernst & Young where he quickly rose to managerial levels. From those roles, he was recruited and led large development projects that ranged from the $125MM to $500MM that included complex acquisitions, design and construction efforts. Rounding out that experience, Mr. Romanov continued leading real estate development efforts but transitioned into creating, negotiating and managing complex financial transactions and financing in excess of $1.2B which included public and private health care companies. The health care experience included leading a Healthcare REIT (UPREIT) and led the organization to success by facilitating and executing on a $140MM line of credit and an initial public offering of $125MM that included $275MM of healthcare assets. Furthering his financial acumen, Mr. Romanov transitioned into the technology sector where he continued his financial management success by completing three rounds of equity and debt financing ultimately selling the business. Deepening his turnaround experience, he was recruited into an organization to focus on strategic planning and diversification, which included the development of industrial parks. By building out the management team and negotiating extensive land deals resulting in a significant impact on industrial development nationwide, Mr. Romanov procured over $150MM in commitments for public infrastructure funding. That prompted winning a national development competition for major ‘build-to-suit’ project. Mr. Romanov is currently the Chief Financial Officer of the nationwide influencer in affordable, permanent supportive housing; Skid Row Housing Trust.
Chief Real Estate Officer
Sierra Atilano holds over 22 years of experience in multiple facets of real estate, including development, portfolio management, property management, finance and construction. Her track record includes oversight and development of high value, complex real estate portfolios. Sierra has developed a sophisticated acumen related to market rate and affordable housing, including permanent supportive housing, senior housing, farm worker housing, commercial real estate, mixed use, and student housing. She has developed over 2,000 apartment homes, in 17 cities across 3 states as well as 5 luxury single family estates, and 1 million square feet of commercial retail. Starting her career with one of the largest Real Estate Investment Trust’s, Lincoln Property Company, Sierra gained a firm foundation in leadership and portfolio oversight. She then transitioned to work for a construction company specializing in the apartment industry in which she gained project management experience working on new-construction and rehab projects. Sierra then went on to work for several family owned developers such as Cal- American, Korda Construction and Miller Family Companies in which her unique experience in both project and portfolio management earned her a reputation as a problem solver and an asset to the finance and development teams . Following the real estate market crash of 2008, Sierra found her way to a small non-profit, Cabrillo Economic Development Corporation, where she applied her expertise in finance and portfolio management to affordable housing. She was then sought out by Watt Residential to oversee their residential portfolio, and assisted with several affordable acquisitions and rehabs. Over the last 9 years she has honed her asset management and development expertise working for one of the nation’s top developers, AMCAL Residential, and now as the Chief Real Estate Officer at Skid Row Housing Trust.
Chief Community and Engagement Officer
Monique Davis is a lifelong and proactive advocate for people who are fighting every day to stay healthy and housed in the face of poverty and social injustice. It was 2015 when she left her for-profit career and joined Skid Row Housing Trust as Chief Operations Officer, bringing nearly 20 years of experience managing operations, administration, and human resources in the private and financial sectors. Monique currently serves as Chief Community & Engagement Officer for the Trust. You will find her working at the local, state, and national levels to educate the public; build relationships within and outside of the Trust; and advocate for the well-being of those on the fringe of homelessness, those who are currently homeless, and residents of Trust housing. Monique’s accomplishments include pushing the envelope on innovative learning and development models, talent management, and diversity in the workplace. One of her key goals is implementing engagement models across the organization that measure and monitor the participation and commitment levels of both employees and their customers. Monique has a B.S. in Business Management from the University of Phoenix. She is a member of the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) and Professionals in Human Resources Association (PIHRA); and is Six Sigma Certified.
Monique’s extensive experience in varied private-sector industries provides her with a unique lens to oversee her current not-for-profit responsibilities. Previously, she served as Human Resources Manager for Drybar, a successful startup concept with over 70 locations nationwide. Weathering the challenging environment of the financial industry, from 2007-2013, Monique held Human Resources and operations positions of increasing responsibility at Morgan Stanley; Mountain LTD (an AT&T provider); and Equator, LLC (now Altisource). She enjoyed an 8-year career at H&R block as Director, Administration & Human Resources where she earned six sigma and project management certifications and was recognized by the Gallup Organization as a Top Tier (3%) nationwide leader.
Monique began her career with Disney, leading their Human Resource and Training Programs. A native of Los Angeles, she holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management and Organizational Leadership and is a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach & Consultant (StrengthsFinder 2.0) through the Gallup Organization.
As an advocate for affordable housing, in addition to being a member of several housing-focused organizations within the greater Los Angeles area, Monique was an early adopter of a nationwide partnership with Habitat for Humanity which allowed for strong community alliances focused on housing. Her history in the financial sector brought the opportunity for Monique to work on several HUD initiatives including Hope Now, an initiative to facilitate maintaining homeownership during the economic real estate recession.
Monique started at the Trust as a Chief Administration Officer where she designed and administered programs, procedures, and guidelines to align the workforce with the strategic goals of the organization. With a comprehensive background in Human Resources and corporate administration, Monique understands compliance requirements, HR laws, and has the confidence and ability to make tough business and personnel decisions when necessary. Monique is a listener; she identifies and learns how challenges are affecting her organization and she solves complex problems with oftentimes simple solutions. She is adept at shifting mindsets and cultural standards in a proactive and positive way; taking what has been done well and maximizing it to become even better.
Working to end homelessness Monique was recognized by US Bank, in conjunction with People magazine, for her work with Skid Row Housing Trust. As the Chief Community Officer she partners with multiple entities for purposes related to advocacy and ambassadorship for the homeless community and the 2000 Skid Row Housing Trust residents housed in one of their 26 buildings.
She advocates for the homeless community in efforts to address the disparate impact of homelessness in the African American, Women, LBGTQI, and previously incarcerated communities. Those efforts address policies specific to these communities. Monique addresses the needs of these communities by providing suggested legal or policy changes at the appropriate government level and finds “This work, in particular, the most rewarding because I feel I am truly having a positive impact and helping to change lives for the better.”
Under Monique’s leadership as the Chief Community Officer, Skid Row Housing Trust is constantly improving internal organizational effectiveness while diligently working to transform Los Angeles into a community where everyone has a home. Monique has led these efforts by placing an emphasis on client service & expectations, identifying opportunities, streamlining processes, and enhancing personal & professional accountability. Monique has also established a strategic direction based on creating a culture of learning and training which has resulted in significantly improved employee and client engagement and optimism.
Monique’s executive-level strengths propel her to fearlessly direct, execute, and accomplish critical responsibilities within the organizations she leads. She has a strong, diversified business acumen and pays keen attention to financial accountability. Her approach to leadership has been defined as one focused on teamwork, customer service, and financial excellence while creating opportunities for staff to grow, learn, and operate within a positive and flourishing environment.
More details on Monique Davis’ career and related activities can be found via LinkedIn.
Having devoted 28 years to ending homelessness with Skid Row Housing Trust, 14 of those years as Executive Director then Chief Executive Officer, Mike continues to serve the Trust following his retirement in a newly created External Ambassador role. He continues to promote the work of the Trust’s affordable and permanent supportive housing services as an evidence-based solution to breaking the cycle of homelessness.
Mike is an advocate of Housing First, an innovative strategy that prioritizes the security of a permanent home as the first step to ending homelessness. Thanks to his hands-on experience, he pioneered the development of permanent supportive housing to help those facing the toughest challenges to obtaining stability and wellness.
During his tenure, the Trust has become a nationally recognized provider of permanent supportive housing that is on the forefront of building and program design. By creating beautiful, dignified buildings with on-site support services, the Trust alters both how people view our residents and how our residents view themselves.
A native Angelino with a Master’s degree from UCLA’s School of Architecture and Urban Planning, Mike previously worked for Community Corporation of Santa Monica. In his spare time Mike is an avid gardner, cyclist, and enjoys pickleball.
Skid Row Housing Trust
1317 E. 7th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90021